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Ramp Up Your Savings

uptrend.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. One of the five elements of bigg success is money. We need to plan ahead so we have enough money to live our golden years on our own terms once we no longer work, another one of the five elements. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine our golden years being golden.

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The silver lining

There’s at least one silver lining (boy, we’re hitting all the precious metals today) in the dark cloud we’ve been experiencing with the economy – we’re saving money again! It’s not easy to save money, but many of us have realized how important it is to have a reserve.

Financial planners say we should save at least ten percent of our income to put toward retirement. We’ve even heard some recommend twelve percent.

A lot of us face a bigg challenge in socking away that amount of money. Some people may get discouraged because they can’t come close to saving ten percent. So they just don’t save at all.

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georgeI can relate to that because I’m somewhat of an all or nothing guy. But as my dad used to say, “Fifty percent of something is better than a hundred percent of nothing!”

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marylynnAnd nothing is what we end up with if we don’t stash some away now! But there’s no need to get discouraged if you’re not saving all that financial planners recommend.

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Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

  • not being discouraged at what they could save now
  • saving every bit they could now
  • improving it a little bit every year

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The underlying secret

In this simple example is a secret that can help you with all your goals, not just your financial ones. Bigg success is life on your own terms. If you think about “terms” as time frames, you can reach bigg success faster.

We’ve said that you are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. You may or may not be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of the word. That’s immaterial. What’s important is that we can learn a lesson from successful entrepreneurs, particularly those who work with outside financiers like venture capitalists.

Milestones

An entrepreneur and a venture capitalist come to terms and strike a deal. The venture capitalist will invest a large amount of money in an entrepreneur’s company. However, the entrepreneur only gets a certain amount of it upfront. He or she must complete some agreed upon action – for example, get a customer – by a certain time to insure the venture capitalist puts in more money. These agreed upon actions with a deadline are called milestones.

As the entrepreneurs of our own lives, we think it’s helpful to set milestones in all areas of our lives.

Think about your bigg goal.

Then carve it up into milestones – specific activities you will complete by a certain time.

By breaking your bigg goal into little actions with deadlines, you can achieve things that you would think were impossible otherwise.

You can measure your progress each step of the way. You can take corrective action if you’re off the mark. Or if you’re ahead of schedule, you can celebrate your bigg success!

Do you set milestones?

Tell us how you do it by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for reading our post today!

Please join us next time as we build on this subject of milestones. We’ll talk about creating a cumulative advantage.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00371-041309.mp3

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Strapped for Cash?

money-in-handA recent trend report from TrendWatching highlighted the increasing number of people who are supplementing their income with a part-time business. This report is full of resources that will help you find your opportunity for some spare cash.

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It’s no wonder that so many people are jumping on this bandwagon. We’ve seen increases in our health insurance, our property taxes, and more. It sounds like there’s more to come.

The three-income family

Isn’t it interesting, though, that just a few generations ago, most families got by on one income? Then we added a second one in the household with more and more women joining the workforce.

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marylynnI don’t think it was purely a financial decision. It was also about fulfillment for many women, but it certainly helped the family’s income.

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Now a number of people can’t get by on two incomes. They need three or maybe more. If you find yourself in this position, it may be good to ask if all the obligations are really worth it.

Is that life on your own terms – being weighted down by the cost of things you thought you wanted? With careful analysis, you may realize they’re not so important – especially if you find you can’t enjoy life because you’re working so much.

So if you feeling that you need a third income, it might pay to look at your obligations to see if there are areas where you can cut. Spending time finding ways to reduce your obligations might get you further faster than spending that same time trying to make some extra money.

This new trend is about something more important than income.

Many of us now realize more than ever how much we want to be in charge of our own lives. The TrendWatching report mentions that people fantasize about being their own boss, even if it’s just for a few hours a week.

Bigg success is life on your own terms. You’re the entrepreneur of your life whether or not you’re an entrepreneur in the traditional sense.

Some people want to be the boss all the time. According to this new report, that trend is still alive and well. But more and more people are finding ways to be the boss at least part of the time.

They have the security of a full-time job along with the freedom that being in charge gives you part of the time. Freedom with security … what a great combination!

When you find fulfilling ways to make extra money in your spare time, you’re getting synergy working in the five elements of bigg success. If you make the right moves with that extra money, you can accelerate your journey to bigg success, to life on your own terms.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Turning $3 into a multi-billion dollar business

One way that people are making extra money is by selling their expertise. Another way is by selling, or renting, assets. One clever example of this is ParkingSpots.com, which helps people rent their extra off-street parking spaces.

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georgeI heard Michael Krasny tell his story of the founding of what became CDW. Most of us have probably done business with them. They do a great job. Back in 1982, Michael had a used computer he wanted to sell. The Chicago Sun Times was running a special on classified ads – 3 lines for 3 days for $3. He ran an ad and his phone started ringing off the hook. He realized he had a business here. He was right – within about ten years, the business he started from that classified ad became a Fortune 500 company. Michael Krasny became a multi-billionaire, recognized on the Forbes 400 as one of the richest people in the world! Now that’s bigg success!

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You never know … your idea for making a little extra money may turn into the next Fortune 500 company!

What do you do for extra money?

Share that with all of us by leaving a comment below. You never know … you might earn a little spare cash!

Thank you so much for reading our post today.

Do you think you don’t have enough spare time to make any spare cash? Please join us next time to see how one group people found the time.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00366-040609.mp3

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A Crucial Part of Your Personal Brand

business_cardBigg success is life on your own terms. We’ve said that the reason for the redundancy – “your own” – in our definition of bigg success is to explicitly show that you are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life.

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If life on your own terms means building your own personal brand, there’s a very important principle to keep in mind:

You’re the entrepreneur, the CEO, and the brand manager!

With their careers, some people fall short in reaching their potential because they just sell a service. They exchange their time and knowledge for money.

As bigg goal-getters, we don’t want to just sell a service. We want to create our own brands.

But we don’t want to just create a personal brand, we want to build our lives on our own terms.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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One crucial key to building our personal brands is consistency. There are at least three areas where this holds true:

Promotion

One of the things the biggest brands do very well is convey a consistent brand image. Yet that’s one of the mistakes that we make most frequently in building our personal brands: we’re inconsistent in showing ourselves to the world.

You want to convey a consistent message across all the media you use – your resume, your cover letters, your e-mails, notes you send, social media you might use, clubs you join, and on and on. With these materials, you create the image of who you are.

You also want to keep in mind who you’re trying to relate to in order to create the best promotional materials for your brand. Promotion sets the expectations. What can I expect from you? That’s your brand promise.

Performance

You want to meet, or better yet exceed, the expectations you set. Believe it or not, it’s better to deliver at a consistently lower level than to perform poorly at times and superbly at others.

Kind of counterintuitive, isn’t it?

However, think about your experiences as a customer. Aren’t you happier if your expectations are low but satisfied, than if your higher expectations aren’t met?

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georgeFor a very simple example, think about getting an e-mail from me today that is written well and has no typos. Tomorrow, I send you an e-mail that’s just full of typos. What would you think?

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marylynnI might think, “What’s going on with George today? Is he sick? Is he too busy? Is he just this careless sometimes?” It raises a lot of questions.

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At the start, strive to meet expectations all the time. Then find ways to gradually improve your performance so you exceed expectations regularly. That leads to bigg success!

Persona

Have you ever dealt with a person who is very chatty and friendly one day and may seem somewhat aloof at other times?

It’s okay to be moody; we just don’t need to share it with the world! We have to find a way to control our emotions so we present a consistent temperament.

Sweatin’ to an example

Think about Richard Simmons. He’s done pretty well for himself. He’s always dressed in the same kind of clothes, complete with the shortest of shorts. He’s wacky and upbeat. He’s always empathetic and dancing to the oldies!

You may not want to emulate Richard Simmons. We can understand. However, he has done an outstanding job of building his brand. You know what to expect and he consistently delivers.

All someone has to do is say Richard Simmons and you get a clear image in your mind of who he is and what he’s about.

That’s the lesson for all of us. Consistently – in your promotion, your performance and your persona – build your personal brand so you can live your life on your own terms. That’s bigg success!

What are you doing to build your personal brand?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for personally reading our post today. We brand that a good day!

Please join us next time when we share how recent bad luck and bad timing almost kept us from life on our own terms.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00364-040209.mp3

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Money Tips if You Do Not Have a Steady Income

life on your own termsBigg success is life on your own terms. We talked all about that last week in a series of five posts where we painted the bigg picture.

Now we want to get into the nitty-gritty. What keeps us from living our lives on our own terms?

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The challenge of irregular inflows

One of those things is not having enough money – one of the five elements of bigg success – when we need it. It’s one thing if you have a regular salary. However, a lot of people don’t have a steady income. It fluctuates from month-to-month.

What if you’re a salesperson working on straight commission?

What if you own your own business and don’t draw a regular paycheck? You may be a freelancer or a solo entrepreneur. You may be in business and have employees. You not only feel responsible for putting food on your table, you also have a group of people to whom you feel responsible.

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georgeI certainly can relate to this subject, having been a business owner for pretty much all of my adult life. Come to think of it, before I went into business for myself, I worked on commission as a sales person so I’ve seen both sides of it.

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marylynn
Of course, with George, I now am a business owner too.

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george
Welcome to the club, Mary-Lynn!

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marylynnWe have a couple of businesses in their early stages. I left a job in the corporate world with a regular paycheck, but I sure understand now what it’s like not to have that. I know I’m not alone. A number of people in our community have mentioned this as a major challenge to living their lives on their own terms.

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So what can you do if your income fluctuates from month-to-month?

Understand your cycles

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georgeOne thing that I found is that I had to understand my cycles. I’ve struggled with this one. When I wasn’t busy, I’d spend time and money promoting and prospecting. Then I would get too busy – I don’t have time to promote and prospect. So I stopped doing it. The thing I knew, I wasn’t busy again and the cycle would start over!

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If you can be consistent with your most important activities – those things that generate the most income for you – you may be able to smooth out your inflows.

You might even find that you can hire an assistant to perform some of these activities for you. You spend a little money now to save you time and make you money a little later.

What if you can’t afford to hire someone to help you? Then you’ll have to invest the time yourself. When you find yourself in your next “up” cycle – you’re too busy to spend time on crucial prospecting and promotional activities – take a look at it again to see if it makes sense.

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marylynnAnother thing I’ve found is that I can be more consistent if I carve up my activities into smaller chunks. For example, I may send out five e-mails every day of the week instead of thinking that I need to send out 25 e-mails. If you don’t have the time to do that, start with three e-mails a day.

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Stabilize your outflows

Risk is often measured by volatility. So by definition, if we have irregular inflows, we are taking more risk. Because of that, we should strive for less risk in our outflows.

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marylynnWe do this by keeping our standard of living relatively low. Our businesses are in their early stages. So we watch what we spend and live very frugally. For example, we watch how much we shop and go out to eat less than we did when our incomes were more regular.

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One of our newsletter subscribers, Randy, says “rowing his own boat” by working for himself are his terms for his life. He’s been on his own for about 25 years now. He’s put his two sons through college while remaining debt free. He says he did it by having a plan when his boys were just babies. That plan paid off. He just turned 50 and plans on living the way he wants from here on out.

Congratulations Randy and thanks for sharing your story with us!

Randy’s story also helps us understand a second part of stabilizing our inflows:

Be very, very careful with debt.

We have to resist the urge to pile onto our outflows by adding principal and interest payments. It puts even more pressure on our inflows and more stress on us because we have to earn even more.

What do you suggest?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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One of our listeners just accepted a new management job. Join us next time when we help him with bigg challenge.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00361-033009.mp3

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The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

life on your own termsLast time, we introduced the five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. Today, we want to talk about the bigg idea behind our definition of bigg success, life on your own terms.

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1 + 1 = 3

We saw an opinion recently that “synergy” is an outdated word. We disagree. When synergy exists, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

1 + 1 = 3. It doesn’t work in mathematics, but it does happen in our lives. With the right elements in place, a tiny spark can turn into a full-blown fire.

The bigg idea

That’s the bigg idea behind bigg success – finding ways to sync the five elements so we reach bigg success, life on our own terms, faster than we could otherwise.

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marylynnHere’s a very simple example of how these five elements come together. I want to take a course on CSS to improve my web design skills. That’s growth. It’s going to cost me a little bit of money. It’s also going to cost me quite a bit of time. But this new knowledge will allow me to get more work, which will help me make more money so I can travel more. That’s play! In the short term, it will cost me time but in the long term, it will me save time because I’ll be able to work more efficiently. That’s synergy!

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By thinking about the whole – all five elements together – and working on them all at once, we find solutions that we couldn’t, or at least didn’t, see before.

It empowers you

When you have a choice to make, you can use these five elements holistically to weigh how that choice impacts your vision of bigg success, of life on your own terms.

It empowers you as the entrepreneur of your life.

You can say “No” without guilt! If it’s not moving you closer to the bigg success you dream of, just say no.

You can say “Yes” when you clearly see that it is taking you down the path you want to follow.

Don’t balance, blend your work and life

Our idea goes beyond work – life balance. The old way of thinking was to draw a line in the sand. That was how we tried to separate our personal and professional lives.

It’s great if it works for you. Most people have found this nearly impossible to do in the 21st century. We use technology prodigiously and that technology is live 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have responded in kind which has placed stress on the idea of work – life balance.

So we moved to integration. Don’t separate the personal and the professional. Keep them both live simultaneously and move seamlessly between the two worlds.

We found this concept helpful, but it doesn’t go far enough. There is little benefit to integration other than giving ourselves permission to not feel guilty if we’re working when we should be playing or playing when we should be working.

So the bigg idea is synergy:

Our two worlds should not only blend, but benefit one another.

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georgeI spoke with an inventor recently about how he discovered his latest idea. He said that he was reading a book for pleasure one weekend. This book sparked a thought that became his bigg invention. He wasn’t reading the book for any reason other than enjoyment, but he also kept his whole being, his whole mind, live. By not turning off his professional side as he read for personal reasons, he discovered his bigg opportunity.

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So as you can see, you don’t have to be in work mode to find something that can help you professionally and you don’t have to be in play mode to find something you might enjoy personally. Keeping our whole person live all the time leads to bigg success.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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The age of interdependence

There’s a final element to this synergy, to what’s running throughout the five elements. Synergy goes beyond just ourselves. The 21st century is the age of interdependence.

We can’t succeed bigg by ourselves. We must build relationships that build value. We add value by doing what we do best while working with others doing what they do best.

There’s the synergy; we create value together through interdependence. When we build together, we reach bigg success faster!

Let’s build bigg success together

So what does life on your own terms mean to you?

What challenges are you facing right now in your quest for bigg success?

How are you using synergy to get to bigg success even faster?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us toll free at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We’ll take the most common challenges and do a show about them. We hope you will share your solutions to these challenges as well. Working together, we can all reach bigg success even faster!

We’ll also highlight how people are living life on their own terms. In these stories are lessons for all of us. So share your story and get in on the fun!

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

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00360-032709.mp3

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