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How the Rich Make Money

golden_eggs.jpgThe Federal Reserve recently published some new wealth data [PDF]. They looked at levels of net worth and the income associated with each. They defined net worth as total assets (including a primary residence) minus any money owed.

You need a net worth of over $8 million to make the top 1%, $2 million gets you in the top 5% and it takes about $900,000 to place yourself in the top 10%.

So those are your targets if life on your own terms means being in the top 10% or above.

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Making more doesn’t mean having more

This report also looked at share of total wealth. As it turns out, the richest of the rich – the top 1% – didn’t get richer. They still held approximately one-third of the country’s total wealth in 2007, the same as 1995.

However, their share of income was up significantly – from 17% in 1997 to 22% in 2007.

The wealthiest people in our country saw a bigg increase in share of income, but their share of net worth didn’t go up. Does that mean rich people got caught up in the “spend, spend, spend” economy? Possibly.

We often think, “If I could just make a little more money.” This study offers further proof that making more doesn’t necessarily translate into having more – even for the richest among us!

Make do, then make more

The crucial thing – the starting point – is to figure out how to make do with what we already have. Then when we make more, we’ll have more because we manage it all better.

We can enjoy some of it now and invest the rest for our future – for the life we dream of living.

How the rich make money

As might be expected, the average person gets most of their income from salaries and wages. As we move to the top 5%, we see that a larger share of income comes from business ownership and investment real estate.

It really kicks in for the top 1%. Plus they have built up enough assets to get a significant boost from selling those assets for a profit. It’s Economics 101 – buy low and sell high.

But it’s no panacea

We’ve recently seen people losing money in business and real estate. Like most things, it’s no panacea. It’s risky. But if you aren’t trying to get rich quick, you can greatly improve your odds.

The best advice

We also found it revealing that this study showed that the bottom 50% lost money holding assets and from the ownership of businesses and real estate.

The rich made a lot. The bottom half lost money. What do the rich know?

Before you jump into investing in a business or real estate, educate yourself. Get advice from someone who’s actually succeeded at it. If they’ll mentor you, that’s great. If they charge you for it, it will be worth every penny.

You’ll get where you want to be faster by learning from people who have done it rather than trying to learn it on your own.

So if life on your own terms means building wealth, get started creating multiple streams of income today – even if it’s just part-time!

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Please join us next time when we ask, “Are you talking to the right person?”

Thanks for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

When you own your own business, you have your highs and you have your lows. And it seems like you rarely have any in-betweens.

George said  …
I never talked about this for years. I thought it was just me. Then I got up the nerve and mentioned it to my sister, who also owns businesses.

She said she knew exactly what I was talking about! So that encouraged me to ask other business owners about it. So far, every single person I’ve ever talked to about this knows exactly what it means. You can see it on their face as soon as you bring it up.

But it’s something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about.

Mary-Lynn added  …
With Bigg Success, I’m experiencing business ownership for the first time. And I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. There are days where I feel exhilaration from the ride and there are days when I feel sheer terror and want to get off the ride.

Entrepreneurial terror

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky, but most people in business have.

You can feel terrified at times even with a job. You may fear you’re going to lose yours when you see other people’s jobs getting cut. But it’s still different for business owners.

George …
I remember one of the guest speakers for my class who talked about the number of mouths he had to feed now. A lot of the most successful business owners I know take personal responsibility for their people. They don’t look at just putting bread on their table; they worry about their employees as well.

That can keep you up at night!

Inc. published an article (way back in February 1987) called Entrepreneurial Terror. A portion of it has been republished on Wachovia’s Small Business site.

It was written by Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only. He said:

“… the ability to handle terror, and to live with it, is the single most important
– and, yes, necessary – ingredient of entrepreneurial success.”

This company doesn’t love misery

He says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them. Unless they’re your partner in business.

He adds that you should always share your highs, though.

How highs turn to lows

The way you spend your time and money when you’re on a high often has a lot to do with how low you go. Let’s look at two examples:

  • Too busy for marketing
    When you’re so busy, you may even be running at capacity, and you know your business couldn’t crank out any more volume no matter how much you wanted to. So you slow down – or even stop – your marketing efforts.

    George …
    I’ve done this! It’s easy to do – there’s no time! But that insures the next down cycle because you’re not doing those things that you did to get to the up cycle.

  • Being careless with money
    A lot of times cash flow is at its peak during an up cycle. That’s part of the reason you’re on an emotional high. So you make that major expenditure. Or you add to your overhead. The next thing you know you’re on a low because business and cash flow have slowed down and you have little or no cash reserves.

You may not be able to avoid the highs and lows. What you can do is conduct business so that your lows are higher … and your highs are higher!

It may not feel any different, but you know it is. You’re reaching ever higher levels of success! Now that’s bigg success!

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Find Your Fortune Through Promiscuity

Don’t be alarmed – we just thought it was a catchy title. Nothing explicit here!

A lot of very successful entrepreneurs have multiple businesses. So today, we’ll look at starting the “other” business!

Benefits of the other business

#1 – Your Compensation
You have one business now. So you can draw one salary. When you have two businesses, you get two salaries!

Your current business pays for your company car. Why not have two businesses so you can have two cars? And two expense accounts. Two planes! You get the idea!

There may be better ways to do this, but that’s beyond the scope of today’s blog.

# 2 — Diversification
Basic financial theory says you should diversify – don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!

If you have one business, you’re completely subject to the ups and downs of that one business. With two businesses, one may pull the other one up during times of adversity and vice versa.

#3 – Your Wealth
Entrepreneurs have most of their wealth tied up in a single asset, but they typically have more wealth than the average homeowner. So owning a business is a great way to build wealth. Why not double the pleasure and own two?

One reason not to do it
Obviously, there are many reasons NOT to do this, but space doesn’t allow a full discussion. Let’s look at one – how to maximize your opportunity while minimizing your complications.

Ask yourself this question – how much can you grow your existing business? If it’s still significant, stick with what you have. Growth consumes money, so keep it in your existing business to maximize that opportunity.

Why take on the complication of the other business if what you have now is satisfying you?

Borrow a page from bigg business – feed what’s growing. It’s evolutionary. But as its growth winds down, get revolutionary – find the other business!

How to know you’re ready
Let’s assume that you’ve taken your business as far as you can. It’s still a good business, but it’s hit a plateau. There are two sides to knowing if it’s time for you to move on:

  • Your head – Is your baby ready for you to leave?
  • Your heart – Are you ready to leave your baby?

Here’s a great technique to listen to your head and your heart – take an extended vacation!

For you workaholics, this may require baby steps. If you haven’t been on a vacation for awhile, take an extended weekend. Then get away for a week. After that, make it two. Work yourself up to at least a month away.

You’ll find out if you’re emotionally ready to leave. You’ll also learn how your business functions without you. Who calls? Why? What are the problems?

If no one calls, you’re probably ready to go for it. The worst case scenario is that you’ll come back with the knowledge you need to get ready.

If you’re interested in pursuing a second business, get our FREE special report, Don’t Make These Mistakes When You Start Your Second Business.

You’ll learn important lessons that often trip up second-time entrepreneurs, even those who have succeeded wildly the first time out.

Just e-mail us: bigginfo@biggsuccess.com
Type “2nd business report” in the subject line.

Our bigg quote today is by Michael Gerber, the great author and entrepreneurial guru.

“The entrepreneur is our visionary, the creator in each of us. We're born with that quality and it defines our lives as we respond to what we see, hear, feel, and experience. It is developed, nurtured, and given space to flourish or is squelched, thwarted, without air or stimulation, and dies.”

So if you’re getting the itch, it may be time to pursue the “other” business.

Next time, we’ll discuss why women can’t win. Things could get heated on the show! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

Last time, we talked about Todd, a young real estate entrepreneur, whose triumph turned to tragedy. Todd’s story comes from an article, in the New York Times, by John Leland, entitled A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust. We discussed some lessons you can learn from Todd’s misfortune.

Today, we want to go beyond the lessons and offer some advice on how to recover from a devastating turn of events.

Keep your dream alive.
Stay positive. Reach out to people close to you. People love helping people. Let them.

You should also be thankful for your misfortune. Yes, we do mean that. It means you’re one step closer to success! History is ripe with examples of people who failed before they succeeded bigg. Plan on your name being added to that list!

Here’s the first step to starting over:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not going to repeat the past, you have to learn from it. That’s how you fail forward. Learn from it and then forget about it – move on.

In Todd’s case, it’s obvious he is a dynamic young man. His banker said he performs. That’s a striking compliment coming from a banker who has foreclosed on him. It appears that Todd is good with Operations and Sales. Management, particularly financial management, is his weakness. This is common among entrepreneurs.

You want to build on your strengths and get around your weaknesses. For example, Todd may take in a partner with strong financial skills to complement his abilities.

What if you’ve declared bankruptcy (or are deep in debt)?
We’re not attorneys, or financial planners, or anything else worthy of giving you information for your specific situation. Keep that in mind.

A successful business person referred a friend, who had just declared bankruptcy, to a banker. The bank turned him down. The business person called the banker and explained that his friend was a better risk than he was.

“How can that be?” the banker asked. “You have stellar credit.”

The business person replied, “Because if you lend me the money, I can declare bankruptcy tomorrow. My friend can’t do that for seven years.”

We’re not sure if that’s still the case, but the point is to find ways of turning your liabilities into assets. Todd has changed from a merchant-model (i.e. he buys it, then sells it), to a broker-model. Now he makes money without having to invest any capital. Brilliant!

Our quote today comes from the great Dig Hammarskjöld.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.
Then you will see how low it was.”

Keep climbing. You’ll find that many of your mountains were really just mole hills.

Tune in next time to see what people regret the most, according to a recent study. Until then, here’s to your big success!

Lessons Learned From A Bankrupt Business Owner

Last time, we talked about jump starting your passive income by investing in rental real estate. Today we’ll look at what we can learn from a bankrupt business owner.

We came across an interesting article a little bit ago in the New York Times. It was about a young real estate speculator named Todd.

Back in 1994, after attending a seminar on buying real estate, 20-year old Todd found a property which he bought, fixed up, and sold for a $4,000 profit.

By the year 2000, Todd, now 26, was holding as many as 25 houses at a time. He had perfected his system – making up to $15,000 on every house. Eight banks were in line to provide him money when he needed it. Todd decided to start building new homes because prices had gone up so much on the houses he was buying.

Fast forwarding to May of 2006, Todd was living the American dream at 33. He had a 5,000 square foot house that cost $1.2 million. He had a BMW and a Corvette. An inventory of 89 lots was waiting for buyers. He owned an office building. Life was good!

Now, his marriage has collapsed. Banks have taken back his lovely house; he now rents a small one. His beautiful cars are gone. He’s driving a pick up truck. He’s lost everything else. He sells beverages full-time, and brokers deals to other speculators part-time.

We applaud Todd for sharing his story. And a big salute to John Leland for this excellent article – A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom to Bust.

So what can we learn from Todd’s experience? Here are some lessons:

Just because a bank will give you $$$, that doesn’t mean you should take it!
Todd had a banker who did him a favor, if he would have only recognized it. She told him “no”. So Todd went to another banker who kept the funds coming. If Todd had only paused to consider why his first banker said no, he may be in less of a mess now.

When you’re living on borrowed money, you may be living on borrowed time.
Todd was highly leveraged, in business and at home. Being levered in business may be fine. Piling on to that with personal debt is a bad idea. Borrowing money is a two-edged sword – it will make you rich, or poor, more quickly.

When it comes to your standard of living, keep your standards low.
Todd had the best of everything – the house, the cars, and more. Which is fine, if you have assets that will produce the income to pay for everything. But when you’re borrowing to buy status symbols, you’re bound to wind up in trouble.

Know how you’re getting out before you get in.
If Todd had done this, he might have noticed that it was getting more expensive for his customers to buy houses. He could have shifted his business model once – find a customer, then build it. That would mean he was “out” without getting “in”.

Fully analyze your situation by considering a number of situations.
Todd did this once – he shifted from flipping houses to building new ones. He didn’t contemplate how rising prices were affecting his customer’s ability to buy his product. He failed to consider how long it would take him to sell his inventory of lots. Had he done so, he may have prevented the major disaster that happened.

Todd learned the hard way – by making the mistakes himself. Hopefully, you can learn from his mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

Our quote today comes from Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares,
but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”

So shake off the nightmare and rest assured, your sweet dreams will come true.

Next time, we’ll offer some tips for starting over, for turning misfortune into fortune. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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