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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!

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Are You Choking Your Chicken?

A recent episode of Survivor inspired today’s show. In case you’re not familiar with the show, there are two tribes in the competition. One of the tribes, the Malakal tribe, won a couple of chickens in a reward competition. Since food is scarce, the eggs from these chickens are extremely valuable. But the chickens themselves also obviously would provide a much needed feast.

Episode 7 begins with Ozzy, one of the tribe members, angry because Tracy, another tribe member, wants to kill their chickens. Ozzy likes the eggs because they are renewable. Tracy thinks the protein from the whole chicken is needed now by many of the tribe members.

Today, we want to talk about the chicken and the egg strategy – a lot of people choke their chicken, and then they don’t get any eggs – by looking at three situations where people choke their chicken.

#1 – Playing less risky
With March Madness winding down here in the States, we had to include an example that applies to sports and to business.

You’ll see a team get momentum. Then they relax, get less aggressive, start playing to NOT lose, and stop taking risks that gave them the momentum.

They choke their chicken! Then they don’t get any more eggs.

When you get momentum, keep pushing in order to win.

#2 – Not acting out
There are certain activities that make us successful. Let’s look at sales people for an example. They may send out e-mails or letters, make phone calls to existing clients and prospects, attend networking events, and work their contacts.

At first, they’re hungry. They need the sale. As time goes by, they start achieving a level of success. Then they get content, lackadaisical, perhaps even arrogant or cocky. They stop doing the very things that made them a success.

They choke their chicken! Now they don’t get any eggs.

When you start achieving some level of success, build upon the thing that made you successful in the first place so you get to the next level, rather than taking a step backward.

#3 – Money matters

A person saves money (chicken). That money makes money (eggs). They start seeing their savings grow. Then they get tempted …

They choke their chicken!

They’re doing so well that they think the chicken doesn’t matter. But now they don’t have a chicken. So they don’t get any eggs. They’ve spent their savings so it doesn’t earn any interest.

If you want to build a nest egg, don’t touch your principal and keep reinvesting your money. When you do that, your money makes money so you’ll eventually be free to spend your time however you want.

Our bigg quote today is an Ashanti proverb:

“One cannot both feast and become rich.”

So don’t choke your chicken until you don’t need any more eggs!

Next time, we’ll discuss how to relax during a job interview. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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5 Places to Find Cash for Your Business Today

cash

We have a friend who is setting sales records in her business. However, she recently faced a severe cash crunch. She felt overwhelmed and discouraged, to the point of giving up. She was scared. What should she do?

We told her to find the low-hanging fruit!


When you’re faced with a cash crunch, think about all the places, prospects, and possibilities where you could get cash today. Then spend your time on the things most likely to pay off TODAY.

5 things to understand about this strategy

#1 – Long-term strategy

This is not a good long-term strategy – in fact, it distracts from it! However, when survival is the issue, who cares? Survive today so you can thrive tomorrow.

#2 – Perceptions
This strategy can create misperceptions with customers, employees, vendors, and investors. For example, customers may expect discounts if you offer them frequently. They’ll sit back and wait for the next one.

#3 – Frequency
If it happens occasionally, perhaps seasonally, that may be okay. Even then, you should plan for those occasions in advance. If you’re in this position frequently, it’s probably a sign of a bigger problem.

#4 – Financial statements
To find the real problem, understand your financial statements. What are the numbers telling you? How can you prevent this from happening again? Is it a short-term problem? Or do you need to make some adjustment for the long-term?

#5 – Mindset
Get over any reluctance to cut special deals. Some people really struggle with this. For example, they find it hard to sell inventory at less than cost. But if it’s not selling at its current price, it’s not worth its current price! Mark it down so it moves and you get the cash you need!

5 places to find cash today for your business

#1 – Call people who owe you money.

See when they will commit to paying. Consider a discount if your situation is severe enough.

#2 – Contact customers.

Find the customers who are the far along in the sales cycle. Follow up on proposals you’ve already made. Once again, if your situation dictates, offer them a discount for signing on the dotted line and paying today.

#3 – Work your contacts for referrals.

Who do they know that might do business with you? Tell them you have a special deal that you want to share with as many people as possible.

# 4 – Sell assets you don’t need any longer.

They’re costing you money sitting around. This includes inventory as we discussed earlier. Also think about your receivables. If you have customers with good credit, you may be able to sell your receivables to a factoring company.

#5 – Borrow.
This is similar to #4, only here you use your assets as collateral for a loan. You have a short-term problem; get a short-term loan!

One final tip – don’t appear desperate. People do business with successful people. So don’t present it as your problem; show them an opportunity.

Our bigg quote today is unclaimed, but still good.

“Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.”

And absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Next time, we’ll discuss six factors that will help you succeed when opportunity knocks. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Hot Businesses in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

2009_hot

It’s not easy to succeed in your own business even in good times. So why would anyone consider starting a business now?

You might be surprised to know that many people think it is a good idea. They learn they can’t easily replace the income earned from a lost job and decide to try their hand at self-employment. In addition, after losing a job, a person might want to feel a stronger sense of control over his or her own life. Being your own boss may be the answer.

Whether you’re considering starting your first business or adding to your empire, it pays to think about what will be hot in the near future. Here are our picks for the best businesses to be involved in for 2009:

Repairs

Consumers and businesses are expected to cut back on their major purchases in 2009. So rather than replace their old do-hickey, they will repair that old do-hickey. This will create tremendous opportunities for repair businesses.

As an example, shoe repair shops are reporting incredible demand. This is a highly fragmented industry with lots of possibilities. How about a service that picks up and delivers shoes that need to be repaired? A good place to start your investigation would be the Shoe Service Institute of America

Reports are that more people are staying home more often. So home repairs of any kind should do well in the coming year since people will be home to see, hear, or smell the problems they may not notice in good times. For example, handyman services were booming even before the recent financial storm. They are expected to continue to thrive in the current economy.

These are just two examples of repair businesses that are likely to thrive in 2009. It is impossible to list all of the possibilities. So think about your own repair skills or find a partner who can do the repairs while you run the business. Then research the industry to see if the service you’re thinking about is experiencing growth right now.

Used

Consumers and businesses are also expected to purchase “used” more often in 2009. In fact, used may become chic in a world where frugality is a status symbol. So look for opportunities in industries that offer lower-priced second-hand products rather than something new.

If you have a flair for fashion, consider starting a resale clothing business. There are many possibilities even within this category. In most cases, these businesses are racking up sales almost as fast as they can get clothes on the rack. 

Beyond clothes, there are many more businesses that sell second-hand items that are reporting boom times. From books to office furniture, if there’s been demand for new products in the past, there is probably demand for used items now.

Think about what you like to buy and then do some research to see where it’s being offered second-hand. Don’t be discouraged if you see some competition. Instead, think about what you could do differently (and better).

Seniors

The baby boom is starting to retire. This will create demands for products and services for seniors like never seen before. Many of these businesses will thrive in spite of economic conditions.

Start a senior service business to and help seniors do things that they don’t know how to do, don’t want to do, or can’t do. There are a number of ways to service this large and growing market including starting a(n):

  • adult day-care center
  • relocation service
  • home health-care service
  • concierge service

You could also think about combining opportunities. By this we mean, you could target seniors with your new repair business or think about used items that would be useful to seniors.

Free agency

Here’s something to ponder – if you have a job, you essentially have one customer. What kind of security does that offer? We think it’s possible to have freedom with security.

The overwhelming majority of small businesses are micro-businesses, often consisting of a single person. We think more people will continue jumping on this free agency bandwagon in the years ahead.

So instead of going for a new job, why not try to land two customers that pay you what you would expect to earn from a single job? Take that special skill you have and market yourself as a specialist rather than an employee.

Like any business, it’s usually not easy to get started. While start-up costs can be minimal, you still need the financial resources to weather times with little income or you can start part-time. However, many people find the lifestyle of a free agent very rewarding.

Consider a franchise

Franchisors often state that, when layoffs occur, they get more prospective franchise buyers. So expect franchise sales to do well in the coming year. Another piece of good news is that many franchisors will be more likely to help with the upfront financing, directly or indirectly, in light of the credit markets.

In addition to that, when you think of investment alternatives (e.g. stocks, real estate), a franchise may seem like a good option. Many people may prefer to invest in something over which they feel they have more control after the volatility of the last year. 

Many franchisors offer a proven business model. They are often less risky than a new franchise system. However, there may be more opportunity in a new franchise system. You have to determine what is best for you. Start by learning how to buy a franchise.

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Beware of scams

One word of warning – in tough economic times, scam operators come out in full force. Kiplinger has a great quiz that tests your ability to spot a scam. They present you with eight business opportunities, some which are legitimate and some which aren’t. See how you do!

Then apply this to the real world. With any opportunity you consider, trust your own instincts and do your own research. Prove to yourself that it is the right opportunity for you and the right time for the opportunity.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Making the Most of Every Contact

By Bigg Success Staff
05-22-08

Bigg Success in Sales

grand_prix 

There’s a small portion of the tire on a race car that actually makes contact with the race track. It’s called the contact patch. Racing crews do everything they can to get a good contact patch because it’s one of the more important factors in winning the race.

As a sales person, you also have a contact patch. You spend a small portion of all your time in front of your prospects. What happens in those moments is essential to making the sale.

However, what happens in those moments is dependent on what you do before you get to them. Preparation is what makes the difference. You need to be sure you’re ready when the opportunity presents itself.

You’ll succeed when product knowledge, prospect knowledge, and people skills meet.

Product knowledge
You need to fully understand the features and, more importantly, the benefits of your product. But don’t stop there. You also need to fully understand the features and benefits of your competitors’ products.

And when we say “competitors”, we mean every alternate way your prospect might meet their need. It goes beyond people who do exactly what you do. You also need to understand what substitutions your prospect could make for your product.

Prospect knowledge

What problem do you solve for your prospect? Find a problem your prospect wants to solve and show them how to solve it. In order to do that, you’ll need to do some research on your prospect.

Problem-solving is a case-by-case thing. One prospect may be experiencing difficulties that another one isn’t. If you take the time to find the unique needs of a unique prospect, and then offer them a unique solution, you’ll make the most of every contact.

People skills

You also need to develop the people skills necessary to communicate your message and understand what the prospect is saying. And not saying. Learning how to read non-verbal cues is an essential art of being a great sales person.

So listen as much as you talk. Question your prospect to make sure you fully understand their responses. Watch them to see what they’re not saying with words. Then use your product knowledge, your prospect knowledge, and your people skills to make the sale!  

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Get Your Prospect’s Permission to Persist for Success in Sales

By Bigg Success Staff
04-02-08

Career Builders

prospecting 

Being persistent is good. Making a pest of yourself is bad. But how do you know when you’ve crossed the line?

Get your prospect’s permission to contact them again!
Take a hint from internet marketers – they get permission to send e-mails to their prospects. It’s called permission marketing. You’ll practice permission selling!

If they ask you to contact them, you’re not being a pest by doing so, are you? So getting permission is the key.

It’s easily done in two-steps:

1. Ask them when you should check back.

2. Then do it!

Most sales people do great with Step 1. Many fail miserably on Step 2.

In order to execute Step 2, you need a system that alerts you that it’s time to follow-up.

You may use advanced contact management software or simple index cards.

It doesn’t matter as long as it works!

As long as you follow-up when your prospect asked you to do so, you’ll have a leg up on many, if not most, of your competitors.

It sounds so simple, but apparently it’s not. Because if it was, more people would do it! So it’s not easy, but it is effective.

3 reasons why follow-up is so important


#1 – Test

Your prospect may be testing you. After all, if you don’t follow through as requested before you make a sale, how can you be expected to perform after a sale has been made?

#2 – Sales cycle

The length of your sales cycle depends on your product or service. However, many items require multiple calls to even give a proposal, let alone make a sale.

If you stop following up, on average, before you’ve reached the number of calls it takes to sell a typical prospect, you won’t succeed in sales. You have to persist, persist, persist.

But keep this in mind …

#3 – Busy, busy, busy
Your prospects are as busy as you are. Perhaps even more so. Your conversation may hold a higher priority in your mind than your prospect’s at that point in time.

That has nothing to do with you, your company, or what you sell. So you need to contact your prospect on the date they requested until they buy from you. After all, they’ve given permission to do just that!

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Believe in What You Sell to Succeed in Sales

By Bigg Success Staff
04-01-08

Career Builders

believe 

If you’re honest and a salesperson, you’re screwed!

That is true, unless you really, truly believe in what you do. If you don’t believe in what you sell, whether you admit it to yourself or not, deep down inside you think you’re nothing more than a con artist.

You may fool some of the people some of the time, but you won’t fool yourself for long. As time passes, your true feelings will rise to the surface. They will boil up into your conscious mind.

When that happens, you’ll find any success you may have achieved before nearly impossible to replicate. Your prospects will sense your true feelings and decline to purchase from you.

So to be successful in sales, you have to truly believe in these four things:

#1 – Your product or service
This is the one everyone talks about. Believe that your product or service delivers on the promises that you made in order to sell it. Believe that it’s better, quicker, or cheaper than any other solution your customer could find. Ultimately, believe that it’s the best solution for their problem.

If you don’t believe in what you sell, find something in which you do believe in and sell it.

#2 – Your company
You also have to believe that your company offers your customers something unique relative to its competitors. Believe in the values of the company. Believe that it stands behind its products and services. Ultimately, believe that your company operates ethically and always considers the people it serves in all decisions.

If you don’t believe in your company, find one you do believe in and sell for them.

#3 – Your profession
Many people look down on the sales profession. Without sales people, there are no other jobs! Don’t be arrogant about it – without your co-workers, you can’t fulfill the promises you’ve made to your customers. Customers also need sales people to help them make the best decisions. Buy from a good sales person and you get a consultant for FREE!

Believe in your honorable profession. If you don’t, get out of it!

#4 – Yourself
You have to believe in yourself and the value you provide individually. You do what you say you will do. You have unique knowledge that benefits your customers. You serve as a liaison between your company and your customers, with the judgment to know what to do when something goes awry.   

When you truly believe in these four things, you’ll be on the road to success. When your belief turns into outright excitement, you’ll find bigg success!

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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