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The Best Investment You Can Make Now

finance_mazeStocks are up significantly from their low in March of this year. Of course, they still haven’t clawed their way back to the level we saw in 2007. However, you have to ask yourself if stocks are the best place to put your money right now.

Treasuries – bonds issued by our government – have also had quite a run as investors have fled to safety. If interest rates go down, the value of the underlying note goes up. Interest rates are incredibly low right now. How much lower can they go? Read more

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Mixing Work and Play

work-play.jpgFortune does a great job every year of compiling the 100 best places to work. They put out the list for 2009 a little while back. We found their top pick this year interesting.

NetApp, a data storage and management company, knocked Google out of the top spot for the first time in three years.

You can find a great video about NetApp on the Fortune site. NetApp invests time and money to create a culture where people want to work. The video shows people playing volleyball and working out in the company gym. It sure doesn’t look like work!



They do more than encourage play time at work

NetApp has a program that pays employees to take time off to volunteer for something they’re passionate about. They’ve found that employees sometimes come together to work on a cause. So this program has helped build teamwork among their people.

You may be thinking …

“Well, this is great but it sure wouldn’t work in my business.”


georgeI understand why someone might think that because it wouldn’t have worked in the businesses I was in before we started Bigg Success. Most of our people were in the field. We didn’t need a gym – the work was very physical so most of our employees got a great workout with their job. We were lucky to see most of our people for fifteen minutes a day. But the details of what NetApp does aren’t really important.



marylynnYeah, it’s the idea behind what they’re doing at NetApp that we think is most interesting. Bigg success is life on your own terms. The leaders of the company are certainly doing that. They set out to build a great company by creating a great place to work. The founder says that they took a leap of faith and spent time and money to create this incredible environment for their employees.


That’s three of the five elements of bigg success right there – growth, time and money! But they hit all five because they have found ways to let their employees play at work.

Now isn’t that an interesting idea? Work doesn’t have to be … work.

Something magical happens

In the interview, NetApp’s founder talks about energizing people. They think when people feel good – when they feel motivated – something magical happens.

That’s why we’re talking about them today. They are a great example of something that’s critical to living our lives on our own terms. It’s the bigg idea behind bigg success:

You create synergy between the five elements of bigg success by understanding the relationship between them and discovering ways to get them all working in sync.

Our lives are fuller when we’re able to do that.

We work to make money so we can afford to play. But what if you can work and play all at the same time. Isn’t that so much better?

What if you loved your work so much that it seemed like play? What if that work paid you enough to buy everything you really wanted?

NetApp took a leap of faith that’s paying off for them. Sure, they’re being affected by current economic conditions. But their market share has gone up in spite of it.

It can happen to you too. In your life. In your business.

Look for ways to blend the five elements for your benefit. That leads to bigg success!

Have you found ways to blend work and play?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at

Thanks so much for stopping by our site today.


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Bigg success is life on your own terms. Please join us next time as we discuss ramping up your savings one term at a time.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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Make 55 Percent More Money – Part 2

We are continuing our discussion on how to make 55-percent more money.

Last time, we discussed using the way a venture capitalist invests as a model for how we invest our time. We talked about a 4-step process to create a portfolio of activities that generates the greatest return.

The example

Now we want to look at an example. Let’s say that you make $100,000 a year. You invest 2,500 hours a year – 50 hours a week for 50 weeks – to earn that money. We immediately see that you’re making $40 an hour.

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Make 55 Percent More Money – Part 1


We recently did a couple of posts about project selection – how to choose the projects that are best for you. First, we talked about knowing if you should invest your money in a project. Then we integrated the value of our time into the project selection methods.

Now we want to extend that concept. We hear a lot about the right mix of assets when it comes to investing in our retirement portfolios. But we don’t often think of the activities we perform – how we invest our time – as a mix of assets.

Investing time like a venture capitalist allocates money

We should because the things we do should add value to our lives or we shouldn’t do them. So we want to approach our investment of time like it’s a portfolio … specifically, a venture capitalist’s portfolio.

A venture capitalist invests in a bunch of companies. Then they see how they perform and make decisions. If a company is hitting its marks, they keep funding it. If not, they don’t. They are constantly allocating money to the companies that look like they will generate the greatest return.

We can use this as a model for how we invest our time.

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Is Your Project Worth Your Time?

time_pieces Last time, we looked at the two most common ways to analyze a potential project. We focused on the money side which works great for business decisions because the cost of time is included implicitly.



But if you’re a business owner, do you include the value of your time in your calculations? How about when you’re making a personal decision? It’s important to add time into the equation.

To do that, follow this process:

  • Step 1: Estimate project hours. How much time will you spend if you do this project?
  • Step 2: Select your alternative activity. What would you do if you weren’t working on this project?
  • Step 3: Calculate your opportunity cost per hour. Your opportunity cost per hour is the amount of money you could earn (or not spend) per hour on the alternative activity you chose in Step 2.

For example, if you would watch TV instead of working on this project, then that time wouldn’t be valued at much. Maybe, instead of watching TV, you would clean your house. Now that’s worth something!

How much would you pay somebody to clean your house? How many hours would it take you to do it yourself? Divide the amount you would pay someone to do the work by the number of hours it would take you to do it yourself to get your opportunity cost per hour.

  • Step 4: Determine the total cost of your invested time. Multiply the number of project hours (Step 1) by your opportunity cost per hour (Step 3). That’s the value of the time you will invest in this project. This should be added to the money you will invest to find your total investment.

Example – Getting certified (Part II)

Let’s look at the same project we considered yesterday – you decide to go back to school and get certified for some specialty. Here are the details:

Cost: $2,000
Incremental income: $2,000 in Years 1 through 3 (then you retire)
Opportunity cost of your capital: 6%

Now let’s add in the time component. Assume that, if you put the same time into another activity instead of this certification program, you would expect to earn $2,000. That’s the opportunity cost of your time. So instead of an investment of $2,000 (as mentioned above), your investment is really $4,000.

Payback period doubles

We see that your payback period is two years. You’ll be fully compensated for your invested time and money by the end of the second year. But remember, when we didn’t factor the value of your time into the equation, your payback period was only one year. So it doubles in this case.

Net Present Value falls

We said yesterday that calculating the Net Present Value (NPV) was a better way to determine whether or not you should do a project. In this case, with the value of your time factored in, the NPV is about $1,300 as shown in this screenshot from Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft Excel Time Set Up Screen Shot

As you may recall – if our NPV is greater than $0, then we take on the project. That’s the case here so we would want to do this project. In fact, even factoring in our time, this project – under the assumptions we’ve made – would return 23%. That’s a pretty good return on our time and our money!

But not nearly as good as the 84% we thought it was when we weren’t placing any value on our time. That’s why it’s so important to include our time. As we said, businesses do this implicitly because they have to pay people to do projects. But when we’re taking them on ourselves, we have to be sure to place the appropriate value on our time. We forget this too often … to our own detriment. 

Now you have the ammunition you need to determine whether or not you should take on that project you’re considering! 


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We thank you so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we share a magic elixir we just discovered … it’s success in a can! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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