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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 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today.

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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!

 

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

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One-Up Yourself for Bigg Success

one When the phrase “one-up” is used, it’s usually referring to the competition. We had an interesting discussion after working out recently.

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marylynnI was on the treadmill and noticed that I was running slower than others around me. I’m competitive but I just can’t sustain the higher speed that other people can.

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That led to today’s show topic … one-up yourself!

Think one percent better or one percent more. Self-improvement requires patience. A little bit of improvement over time makes a bigg difference.

1% a week leads to a 50% improvement

For example, let’s say you walk two miles in thirty minutes. If you can just do one percent more the next time out, you would walk 2.02 miles in thirty minutes or you might stick with the two miles and plan to do it in 29 minutes and 40 seconds. Either way, it’s a one percent improvement. If you do that every week, over the course of the year, you would have improved over fifty percent!

It’s easy to get discouraged if we don’t see results right away. We’re bigg goal-getters so we always shoot high. However, shooting too high is a recipe for de-motivation. Take baby steps rather than a leap that you can’t sustain!

There are five steps to one-up yourself:

Find the baseline. Measure where you are now so you compete only with yourself, not others. It doesn’t matter what that point is; it’s just important to know it because it’s your starting point.

Set your initial one-up goal. You may want to go faster or longer. Are you in a sprint or a marathon? Are you trying to improve quantity or quality?

Determine the time frame. Do you want to improve one percent every time, each week or some other period? Specify a time frame for your incremental improvement.

How will achieve it? What specific activity will get you that extra 1%? Let’s look at an example, using a savings goal:

Assume you have a base line, how much you’re saving now, of $500 a month. You want to save more money in the same time (each month). In other words, you want to go “faster.” So next month, you plan to save $505 next month.

Okay, so you want to save $5 more next month. How will you do it? You decide that you’ll pack your lunch one more day.

See how easy that was!

As you do it, analyze your results. If you hit your one-up goal, congratulate yourself. But then set your next one-up goal and go get it.

If you didn’t hit your goal, analyze why. Then try, try again. Don’t get down on yourself for missing your goal one time. You’ll one-up yourself next time!

One-up leads to bigg success

There are things in our lives that are sprints; others are marathons. Set your goals accordingly and one-up yourself for bigg success!

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We thank you so much for spending your time reading our post today. New research shows that there is a fountain of youth. Join us next time when we tell you where to find it. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00283-121008.mp3

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Night Moves

moon You’re probably familiar with Bob Seger’s great song. We want to talk about a different kind of night moves today.

We have a friend who has to be to work at 9. He gets up at 5 and makes a full breakfast, irons his clothes, and still has time left over! He doesn’t need our advice today.

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marylynnI’m a night-person by nature. I set the alarm to its max and I even hit snooze a couple of times. So, of course, that leaves me rushing around in the morning.

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georgeIt seemed like whenever I was late for work, I felt like I was behind all day. It reminds me of something my dad used to say, “The faster I go, the behinder I get!”

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But there’s a solution to this problem if you’re not a morning person. Work on your night moves.

Since you have trouble getting to sleep anyway, why not accomplish something in the meantime? Here are eight ways to make the morning better with the moves you make at night:

Set out your clothes for the next day.

Our moms always told we should do this. Of course, they were mostly concerned with clean underwear! Just in case we were in an accident, right? Because that was their biggest concern if that happened!

Prepare tomorrow’s to – do list.

Spend ten minutes or so mapping out the most important things you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Even if you just decide upon the one or two things you will work on when you first get to work, you’ll be off to a great start.

Pack your lunch.

You can have it ready to grab on your way out the door. Not only will it save you time in the morning, you’ll save money and will likely eat healthier too!

Pack your briefcase.

Gather together all the papers, files, and folders you need and put them in your briefcase so you’re ready to go.

Do your hair.

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marylynnAnd time for a “girlie” tip. I have thick hair that takes forever to dry. I rely on my straightener and styling tools for an easy fix in the morning so I can do my hair the night before.

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george
Or you could be like me and just have a receding hairline!

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Establish a sleep time.

Studies have shown that going to bed at the same time every night trains our minds and our bodies that it’s time to rest. To make sure you fall asleep quickly, develop a sleep routine.

Make coffee.

Get a delayed-brew coffee maker so you can get that morning pot ready the night before. Then let the coffee maker do its job. You’ll save time and money by avoiding that stop on the way to work!

Ain’t it funny how the night moves can help you lose the morning blues!

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Thank you so much for stopping by today. Join us next time as we discuss how to “one up” your way through the New Year. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00282-120908.mp3

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When It Comes to Investing, Time is on Your Side

time_money On Tuesdays, we usually talk about time issues – time management, productivity and getting things done. But today, with the volatility of the stock market, we thought we’d take a look at how time affects your investments.

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It took many years to create a portfolio of value. It’s been frustrating to see that value fall so quickly. But we’re reminded of a Gordon Gekko quote from the movie Wall Street:

“Don’t get emotional about stocks. It clouds the judgment.”       

Yet that’s exactly what we tend to do. We get emotional and do the opposite of what we should do. We should buy low and sell high. We buy high on exuberance and sell low in a panic.

The smart money does just the opposite. It buys low in the panic and sells high on exuberance.

A look back at the Dow

We ran some calculations to see if there is a benefit to buying and holding for a period of time. We specifically looked at the Dow Jones Industrial Average because it’s the basket of stocks with the longest history.

Going all the way back to 1896, we assumed we bought the Dow on the last day of every year right before the close. We looked at every period up to December 31, 2007. Then we looked at holding periods of:

  • 1 year
  • 2 years
  • 3 years
  • 5 years
  • 10 years

We looked at two specific things for each holding period: our return and our chance of losing money.

Risk and return results

We found that the longer we held the Dow stocks, the better our return with one exception – the average 3-year return was lower than the average 2-year return.

Even more interesting, we found that the longer we held, the less likely we were to lose money:

  • In one year increments, we had a one in three chance of losing money.
  • Over five year time frames, we had a one in four chance of a decline in the value.
  • Of the ten year periods, we only lost money in one out of five cases.

Then we looked a little deeper – to the size of the volatility. The range of highs and lows went down over time, so the downside was as follows:

  • About 14% for the 1-year increments
  • About 2.75% if we invest over 5-years
  • 0.55% for the 10-year ranges

So based on these historical numbers, the longer you hold your portfolio, the less likely you are to lose money and, if you do, the less you are likely to lose.

Just remember – the past doesn’t necessarily predict the future. However, it’s not unreasonable to use it as a guide.

Beyond the Dow

You’ll most likely invest in a bigger basket than the Dow. You’ll also probably want to invest in more than just U.S. stocks. You’ll also almost certainly invest in bonds and other assets. As a general rule, the more diversified you are, the more likely longer time periods will work in your favor – even beyond what we’ve shown here.

You, CIO

Here’s something we can’t possibly emphasize enough – no one will look after your money like you will. You are the Chief Investment Officer for you and your family. So it’s important to understand investing basics.

DIY doesn’t work

Having said that, do-it-yourself investing doesn’t work well for most of us. So plan to outsource and inspect. Your most critical decision, then, is the hiring decision. You’re not trying to figure out specific stocks to buy, how to allocate your assets among stocks, and those kinds of decisions.

Turning to professionals

With full knowledge of investing basics, you’re ready to work with a certified financial planner to help you plan your retirement portfolio. You’re also ready to invest in mutual funds with proven managers.

Time is money in the bank

As we saw with the Dow, time is money in your account. So keep investing – month after month or paycheck after paycheck. In times like these, you’ll get a sweet deal. The smart money is getting it too! You’re buying low so you can sell high later.

That puts time on your side!

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Are You Afraid of Success?

afraid We won’t name names. However, we’ve all seen it – usually with a celebrity – a person who is on the verge of bigg success, but then they go through a meltdown.

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We wonder what could have caused it. Usually, it’s a very individual thing but there are some common reasons:

#1 – Self-doubt
You’re not sure that you can handle bigg success. You worry about what you don’t know. You dwell on what you don’t have (a common worry is not having the right degree). You tell yourself all the reasons why you don’t deserve this level of success, even though you’re so close to it.

#2 – Fear of loss
If you become more successful than your friends, what will they think? Will they still be your friends? Will they be jealous of your success? You know the answer to these questions already. What kind of friend wouldn’t be thrilled with your bigg success?

#3 – Fear of embarrassment
This fear is a carry-over from childhood – that adolescent fear of standing out from the group. You’re afraid of what people will think if they see you fail. Which leads us to …

#4 – Fear of failure
You may think that it’s better to have never experienced bigg success, than to have it and then lose it. Somehow it’s better to never get there. But why do you assume it will be fleeting?

The net result is that we talk ourselves out of succeeding bigg. We accept that it’s better to be part of the crowd than to blaze our own trail. We feel more comfortable. It seems less risky. But we’re wrong!

How to conquer your fear of bigg success

#1 – Self-talk is so important.

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marylynnAs a first-time entrepreneur, fear has crept in on occasion. I’ve been lucky to have George around. He’s helped me understand that negative self-talk isn’t going to help you succeed. You have to turn it around.

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georgeEven as an experienced business owner, I still have to battle that little voice that impedes bigg success. You just have to constantly keep telling yourself why you will do it.

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Think of all the things you’ve done right to get this far. Remind yourself of the obstacles that you faced and how you overcame them. Focus on the things that have already gone your way.

#2 – You don’t have to get it perfect; you just have to keep going.
It certainly hasn’t been perfect up to this point, has it? So why would it have to be perfect from here on out? Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the growth you’re experiencing.

Every time we reach another plateau, we celebrate our victory. Then we look back and realize the victory had already occurred. We grew. We learned so much. That’s the real joy of bigg success!

#3 – Success comes one level at a time.
Sure you have to keep your eye on that ultimate goal. But you get there one step at a time. You only have to take the next step.

You’ve learned enough to know how to do that. Perhaps more importantly, you’ve already learned how to find out anything you don’t already know.

#4 – Surround yourself with people who have made it.
We can’t possibly over-emphasize this point. Develop a support network of mentors and coaches. People who were once where you are now, but are now where you want to be.

Don’t be afraid to take those little steps that lead to bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
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Evidence shows that more and more of us are running two businesses simultaneously. Next time, we’ll get some tips from an expert who’s doing just that. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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