Posts

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.

___

marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.

___

georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!

___

$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.

Takeaways

We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

Related posts

Got Milk? Young Mom Finds Her Mission

The Greatest Miracle In The World

BIGG Success Logo boxed

We the People are Taking Back Our Country

we_the_people We usually talk about money on Mondays. As we discussed possible topics for today’s post, we realized there was no bigger issue than what’s going on in Washington and Wall Street. Our apologies to our international listeners, but we’re going to be domestic today. But as we’ve seen, it obviously affects everyone worldwide.

___

___

We usually don’t talk about politics. We won’t be partisan; there’s plenty of blame to go around. We know that we may upset everybody today; that’s not our intention.

We think it’s time to look at the facts so we can make the right decisions here in a few weeks … who are we going to hire?

Not just for President, but for government at all levels. It’s time that we, the people, take back our country, our states, and our cities.

We’re sick and tired of the blame game and passing the buck on personal responsibility. Leadership is about taking responsibility. The leaders of our biggest companies aren’t taking responsibility, but even more sad, our elected officials aren’t bearing it, or requiring it, either.

We, the taxpayers, invested $85 billion in AIG. What was AIG’s response? They threw a $440,000 “party”. Sure they called it a “planning meeting” or an “executive session”. But how can you justify spending that kind of money for a retreat when you’re using our money and you’ve been on the brink of financial collapse?

It was a complete slap in the face and our leaders should have seen it as such. But what did they do? Turn around and give AIG another $38 billion two weeks later!

How many of us could walk into a bank two weeks after we borrowed a bunch of money in desperation and get more?

How successful would we be at getting more money if we so grossly underestimated how much it would take the first time around?

“Oh, and by the way, Mr. Banker, we know you’ve heard that we wasted some of it on a spa getaway, but we need about half as much again as we borrowed the first time. Will you lend it to us?”

Can you imagine the response?

Fortunately, AIG scrapped plans for another “party” after news got out about the first one. Of course, we’ve also learned that they tinkered with the idea of spending some of our money running an advertising campaign to apologize for the first “party”.

Some insight into the mismanagement

Warren Buffett was interviewed by CNBC’s Becky Quick back in August. Part of the conversation turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’ll paraphrase …

Congress set up the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) back in 1992. The sole job of this agency was to evaluate the soundness, accounting practices, and the like of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Two companies … that’s all OFHEO had to oversee. Buffet, of course, notes that he does more than that all by himself.

It took 200 OFHEO employees and a $65 million dollar a year budget to do that.

Year after year, OFHEO reported to Congress. They stated that the accounting was sound. The directors were great. Everything was just fine. There was nothing to worry about.

Well, we all know what happened – two of the greatest accounting misstatements in the history of the stock exchange caused by management misconduct. What was OFHEO’s response?

A report to Congress blaming the management, the directors, the audit committee. Everybody but themselves.

200 people with a budget of $65 million overseeing just two companies. Yet they assumed no responsibility for this huge blunder.

The problem we have is that everybody blames anybody else every time there is a problem. It needs to end now.

How to put an end to it

The solution may surprise you. It starts and ends with us. We need to take personal responsibility. We made mistakes too. We bought in.

We saw government borrowing and living beyond its means, so many of us borrowed and lived beyond ours. From this day forward, that ends. We won’t forget this lesson. We will bailout ourselves. We will get back on our feet. We will prosper.

We also delegated too much. We voted, but we didn’t pay close enough attention to what our elected officials were doing. Well, Mr. or Ms. Politician, you have our attention now. And we’re going to keep paying attention.

What we can’t control

Here’s what paying closer attention has shown us – we see a complete vacuum of leadership. You’re not a leader if you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes. You’re not a leader if you don’t solve problems; you only assign blame to others. You’re not a leader if you can’t tell us where we’re at, why we got here, and what we’re going to do about it to make tomorrow better than today.

We can’t personally do much to change the leadership on Wall Street. We can’t do much to change who reports our news, because the media missed the boat on this one as well. We can’t choose the bureaucrats, like the ones at OFHEO, who oversee key agencies and put policy into action.

What we can control

We do get to choose who we hire to represent us. We have important decisions to make in a few weeks. Not just for President. Not just for the Senate or the House in Washington, D.C. We get to choose who will represent us at all levels of government.

So here’s how we put an end to it now. Quit thinking like a Democrat or a Republican. That’s another trap they’ve led us into and we bought in.

No, we will hire the best person for the job. We need to do our homework: What’s their record? What have they accomplished? How have they handled their fiduciary duties in the past?

The past is the best predictor we have of the future when it comes to human behavior. That’s how we would hire anybody else. Why would we hire our elected officials any differently?

We have access to the records of our current elected officials. We can know what they’ve done. We need to start paying closer attention.

Resources

Current legislation before Congress

Votes Database by The Washington Post

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

Official site of the U.S. House of Representatives

Official site of the U.S. Senate

List of government agencies – federal, state and local

Find the official sites of state, county, and city governments

We the people

We’re looking for public servants, not party servants or power servants. We the people are taking our country back.

Go ahead, Mr. or Ms. Politician … take that special interest money. But you better be clear about who you serve. We the people.

Mr. or Ms. Elected Official, go ahead and listen to your party leaders. Just know that, on Election Day, we won’t vote for the person who serves the powers that be. We will vote for the person who serves us. We the people. 

Combined, we’re more powerful than Washington can ever be when we are educated and informed. We will take personal responsibility to learn who best serves our interest, and the interests of our children and grandchildren.

We the people are taking back our country.

What do you think? 

 

BIGG Success Logo boxed

The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

tpentrepreneur We were joined today by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur and author of the just released book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Times, and is a frequent guest on one of our favorite television shows, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

___

___

___

marylynn
The first thing we have to ask is … what the heck is a “toilet paper entrepreneur”?

___

___

mikeA toilet paper entrepreneur sheds insight on what entrepreneurialism is all about. What a lot of us read in Inc., Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company is what Google, Facebook, and YouTube did. They’re overnight successes. The dirty truth is that “overnight success” is ten to fifteen years of hard work for most entrepreneurs. Just like with entrepreneurship, there’s the stuff that happens in the bathroom that no one talks about. So the title came from an experience we’ve all had. We’re in the restroom and we’ve done what we came to do. We look over and, sure enough, there’s only three sheets dangling there. It’s in that moment where true entrepreneurialism kicks in. We do the incredible – we grab the toilet seat like a pommel horse, stretch the foot out, hook the garbage can, root through it and find three sheets and the torn up cardboard roll. With that, we’re able to complete the job!

___

___

georgeMaybe Sheryl Crow is the quintessential Toilet Paper Entrepreneur because she can get by with one sheet! Seriously, that’s a great analogy – entrepreneurs find a way to get the job done, no matter what.

___

___

mike
No matter what. A true entrepreneur will dig deep and use things no one would ever consider.

___

___

marylynnDon’t you think that the Facebook guys and the Google guys did that at some point? We often hear that some of these overnight successes are created in a garage. They do the same thing too, don’t they?

___

___

mikeThey do in the sense that that’s how they all started. The only difference is Google received funding within a year. That’s what I call the “full roll” of cash. Most entrepreneurs don’t ever receive funding. There’s a path when you don’t get that money; there’s other ways of doing it, sometimes just as quickly.

___

___

marylynn
In your book, you say that sometimes money is actually a detriment to entrepreneurs.

___

___

mikeI totally believe that money is a detriment. Money amplifies the habits we have. In my own life experience, I was 25 the first time I received a good chunk of change – a $250,000 investment. I bought nice furniture. I hired employees. I got a good car to impress people on sales calls. I wasted the money. When I didn’t have the money, I learned how to leverage it appropriately. Then as the business grew, and more money came in, I was able to use it as a vehicle for growth.

___

___

george
Another thing that I found interesting is that you’re not a bigg believer in business plans.

___

___

mikeI’m the antithesis of it. I just received some hate mail from a university professor saying that he couldn’t believe I said that.

___

___

georgeHey, today was my business plan lecture by the way! I’m kidding – we actually don’t talk about business plans in my class.

___

___

mikeIn my experience, business plans are wonderful dust collectors. If someone can project their own financials four or five years out, they should invest in stocks because, if you could do that only ninety days out, you could become a millionaire overnight.

___

___

georgeI’m not an advocate of “ready, fire”; you do need to “ready, aim, fire”. But at the same time, it’s amazing how many times someone writes a full-fledged business plan and then, within a few months, they end up in a completely different business. And that business takes them to their success.

___

___

mikeYes. So I think, in the early stages of a business, you have to be very cognizant of everything that’s going on, watch the consumers’ behavior, and then flow with the river and adjust the business, sometimes 180 degrees, to match what they want to buy.

___

___

george
I thought you were going to say “flow with the toilet”!

___

___

marylynnSince we’re back to toilet humor, tell us about one of the crappiest resources you used when you had nothing.

___

___

mikeHere’s one little trick I’ve used – the most expensive cost, besides rent and your employees, is professional services … your attorneys, accountants and so forth. I go to the local colleges. They have CPAs and attorneys working there that are now professors. They are more than willing to give free advice and work up the documents with you. Sometimes the exchange is simply being a case study for their class. It saves me thousands and thousands of dollars. I still use it today.

___

You can get a free chapter of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on Mike’s site. It’s a great book that we highly recommend to you. You’ll find it to be great bathroom reading!

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your time and wisdom with us. We wish you bigg success with this wonderful book.

Next time, we’ll talk about lovin’, touchin, and squeezin’. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Related posts

The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

BIGG Success Logo boxed

Smart Investors, Tough Times

investing People who find joy in bad news have to be pretty happy lately. The financial crisis has dominated the news, as we watch Wall Street and Washington scramble.

___

___

We don’t usually do this – in fact, we’ve never done it in the 230 shows we’ve done so far. But this subject is so important and so timely. So we want to share some valuable information that our newsletter subscribers received in their In boxes last Friday.

In the last edition of The Bigg Success Weekly, we discussed “Profiting from Panic”. It was about maintaining the proper mindset in the midst of all this turmoil.

We started with the safety net that exists for depositors, investors, and insureds. Here are some links directly to pages that can answer your questions about banks, brokers, and insurers in a hurry. 

Banks

In general, banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). However, not all money invested through banks is insured. What would happen if your bank failed? If you have accounts with a failed bank, what should you do? How can you obtain a release of lien, if a failed institution is your lienholder? The following links provide the answers to all of these questions:

What is the FDIC

A Guide to What Is and Is Not Protected by FDIC Insurance

FDIC Bank Find (make sure your institution is FDIC insured)

When a Bank Fails- Facts for Depositors, Creditors, and Borrowers

Is My Account Fully Insured?

Obtaining a Lien Release

Brokers

Accounts with brokerage firms also offer some protection through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The coverage isn't anything like that offered by the FDIC, but it's still important to know what remedies might be available to you. 

How SIPC Protects You

Insurers

While banks and brokers have federal backing, insurance companies have backing through associations at the state level.

The National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds

If your insurance company fails, you'll want to contact your state's Department of Insurance, since insurance companies are overseen by that department in each state in which they operate. Click here for a directory of each state's office. 

Your State's Department of Insurance or Guaranty Association

Two billionaires, two eras, one mindset

Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world according to Forbes, recently invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs, in the midst of all this turmoil. That’s pretty typical of how he’s made his fortune – he says he’s “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

He has also opined, “We want to do business in [a pessimistic] environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces.”
 
From: The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor, by Robert Hagstrom, Jr. 

Warren Buffett is not alone.

J. Paul Getty was one of the first billionaires and the richest man in the world in his day, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. He said, “I began buying stocks at the depths of the [Great] Depression. Prices were at their lowest, and there weren’t many stock buyers around. Most people with money to invest were unable to see the forest of potential profit for the multitudinous trees of their largely baseless fears.”

He went on to say that he made over 100 times his investment on many of these stocks!

From: How To Be Rich, by J. Paul Getty.

Our best strategy

So we can learn from these two men that we shouldn’t panic, even in turbulent times. Now, you may not want to rush out and buy a bunch of stocks. However, you probably shouldn’t sell out right now either.

These two billionaires made a fortune by going against grain. So keep making those 401(k) contributions. By investing consistently over time – paycheck by paycheck – you’re dollar-cost averaging into the market. In bad times, you’ll buy more shares with the same money than you can in good times – just like the billionaires. 

Above all – diversify, diversify, diversify. Diversification is one of the four key investment principles, according to William Sharpe, a Nobel Prize winning financial economist. Our newsletter subscribers read about these as well as some ideas to simply put them into practice.

Today, more than ever, it’s important for you to take on the role of Chief Investment Officer for you and your family. You can’t count on Wall Street or Washington to do it for you!

___

If you would like to get the newsletter we’ve referred to here, just e-mail us: bigginfo@biggsuccess.com, with “Profiting from Panic” in the subject line. We’ll send it to you and sign you up for The Bigg Success Weekly!

___

Next time, we’ll discuss why it’s so important to move beyond personal productivity. Until then, here’s to your bigg success! 

 

Related posts

Why Your Brain May Not Be the Best Money Manager

Getting Aggressively Passive: Creating A Passive Income That Sets You Free

Recession Progression

Warren Buffet’s Single Piece of Wisdom

Want to be a Millionaire? Here’s How to Think Like One

(Image by PocketAces)

BIGG Success Logo boxed

When A Saver and a Spender Become a Couple

opposites_attractWe’re told that opposites attract. We also hear that money is one of the most frequent things couples argue about.

In a lot of relationships, there’s a saver and a spender. Or maybe both people are spenders, but they spend differently. One likes to buy bigg ticket items infrequently while the other spends a little bit of money on daily extravagances.

___

___

___

marylynn We’re both pretty frugal, but I have to admit I do like my gadgets. We were at a conference recently and there was a microphone I just had to have! And of course, I do like my clothes.

___

___

georgeAnd I like to go out for dinner more often than Mary-Lynn. Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that I’m the one who usually cooks dinner?

___

How to come to an agreement on the family finances

We’ve found a good way to reach an agreement, on how your household saves and spends money, is to hold a summit! Heads of state do it; why shouldn’t you?

This summit has a three-fold purpose:

#1 – Values
You each need to fully understand where the other person is coming from. What’s important to him or her? By knowing each other’s values when it comes to money, you’ll be more flexible in your own financial decisions.

For example, a saver may value being debt-free. A spender may think it’s important to “live a little” now. Both positions can easily be defended. If you understand why it’s so important to your spouse, you’ll be more willing to accommodate his or her desires. You’ll find that you’re more flexible in looking for solutions.

#2 – Goals
Now that you have a good grasp of your respective values, you can discuss mutual goals. Only now you can both work to help each other get what’s important. So the spender will try to find ways to reduce debt. And the saver will see that buying a toy once in a while makes the spender more committed to saving. It’s win – win!

#3 – Strategies

You can’t stop now. With your goals in mind, develop specific strategies. For example, you may each set aside a certain amount from each of your paychecks for debt reduction and that certain toy. You’re working together to get more than you could get working alone!

___

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

___

Next time, we’ll talk about the energy crisis … only it has nothing to do with oil. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Related posts

63 Moves to Stop Living from Paycheck to Paycheck

You Can Be Debt Free with These 5 Steps

Getting Aggressively Passive: Creating A Passive Income That Sets You Free

6 Easy Steps To Financial Freedom

(Image by foobean01)