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How To Make $3 Billion A Year

By Bigg Success Staff
01-23-08

Success Story

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Unless you’re the Wall Street-type, you’ve probably never heard of John Paulson. You may be familiar with Henry Paulson, the United States Secretary of the Treasury. Well, they’re not related.

We’ll bet that you are familiar with the subprime mortgage mess. John knows it well. He manages his own hedge fund, which made huge bets in the subprime market last year.

In 2007, he made over $3 billion! Yes, we wrote that right. BILLION!

Gregory Zuckerman wrote an excellent article for The Wall Street Journal Online called Wall Street Trader Paulson Made Billions on Subprime. He does a fantastic job describing the details of how John made his billions. It’s definitely worth the read, particularly if you’re a serious investor.

Going against the grain
John bucked the herd mentality with his subprime bet. Most people in the business were still very upbeat about the market. John believed that he had a lot of upside potential with very little downside risk. It turns out he was right.

The biggest winners are often “contrarians”. But be careful – find ways to minimize your risk without sacrificing your reward too much.

The outsider’s perspective
John wasn’t an expert in the subprime market. They were all still highly optimistic. Because John was an outsider, he was able to see an opportunity that the insiders missed.

Usually it pays to have special insight into your market. However, sometimes 136 insiders know too much]. That’s when outsiders find opportunities because they’re looking at things with a fresh set of eyes.

Pay the price
John worked long and late, pouring over data to confirm his suspicions. He had a hunch – but he didn’t just play it. He continued looking at the evidence.

You have to pay the price if you want to make millions … or billions! Learn about the market. Look for inconsistencies. But then you have to … 

Go!
John had a bigg idea. It turns out that it was a $3 billion idea! But it’s not the idea that made him the money. He had the courage of his convictions. 130 He took action]!

This is one of the hardest parts of success. You have to put yourself out there. You have to take risk. You’ll never get anywhere until you 144 take a step].  

Persist
John placed his bet … and he lost money! His advisors 166 discouraged him from pressing on]. They reminded him that experienced traders were still very enthusiastic about the market. John didn’t listen – he invested more!

You will face obstacles on your path to success, just like John did. If you’re confident in your idea, you have to find a way to push on. It won’t always work out …. but, you never know, you might just make $3 billion!

The rest of the story
At times during this ride, John faced so much stress that he just had to get away from it all. He went on long runs. Find a way to relieve your stress so you can keep going. Get away from it all somehow.

John started his firm with $2 million under management. Now, from his success last year, new money has poured into his firm. He is now managing $28 billion, becoming one of the world’s largest fund firms. Everybody loves a winner!

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

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(Image by mokra, CC 2.0)

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Use Your Strengths To Balance Your Life

By Bigg Success Staff
01-23-08

Work-Life Balance

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Like most professionals, you probably feel pulled almost constantly. Work demands spill over to home and vice versa. You often feel pulled in several directions at once. You try to sort things out by priority, but what do you do when everything is a high priority?

There’s a great article at the Business Week site called Custom Building a Life.
Jeff Weinstein tells his story to Nick Leiber. We give a “bigg salute” to them both! We’ll give you a summary here, but you should definitely read the article.

Jeff started The Counter, a restaurant that serves custom-made burgers at a great price, in 2003. He mentions three goals for his business at that time:

  • To earn a good income
  • To satisfy his customers by serving quality food at an affordable price.
  • To have a place to have dinner with his wife

Things didn’t turn out the way Jeff planned – they turned out much better!

He attracted attention because customers loved his place so much. Soon he started franchising. Last year, sales topped the $3.5 million mark from his seven stores. Now with 125 more stores on the table, he projects $9 million in revenue this year!

Obviously, Jeff is still focused on his growing business. However, he also wants a satisfying life outside his career. That desire is not unique. It’s HOW he’s trying to fulfill it that’s interesting.

He gives his customers what they want, when they want it. Why couldn’t he apply that to his life?

He wouldn’t segment his life anymore; that was a recipe for failure.

Instead he would flow like soda from one area of his life to the other. His wife may say something that helps him at work. His co-workers may give him insight for things at home. He would pay attention to all the important people and priorities in his life all the time!

What about your work? Is there something that works in your professional life that you can use to balance your world? Your solution may be different than Jeff’s. He’s doing what he understands … what works for him.

That’s the real lesson – use YOUR strengths to find the balance you desire.
Share your solution with us! Leave a comment below.

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

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157] 

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113] 

57]

32 The Home Stretch ] 

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(Image by mushroom and rooster, CC 2.0)

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Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

123]    

127]   

Coping With Life Change    

165]    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

135 Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)]    

117 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business]    

34]    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

108 How Do You Define Success]      

11 Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)]    

144]    

Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Too Much To Do? Take A Nap!

By Bigg Success Staff
01-18-08

Work – Life Balance

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A recent study by the New York Presbyterian Hospital / Cornell Medical Center shows that taking a nap may help you get more work done. At least, it will help you do your work better.

The researchers suspect that naps especially help if you don’t normally get enough sleep or you’re getting older. They also found that napping this afternoon will have little effect on your sleep tonight.

The researchers checked the participants’ mathematical, decision making, and reaction skills. They found that participants who napped performed better immediately after the nap.

Here’s more good news – the researchers also found that the effects spilled into the next day!

So go ahead – take a nap! You have so much to do … you should get some rest!

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

(Image of cat napping by daveybot, CC 2.0)

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Do Your Customers Trust You?

Recently, the Better Business Bureau released the results their first Trust in Business Index. They found that trust in business is down and cite contributing factors such as:

  • toy recalls
  • the sub-prime mortgage crisis
  • ethical lapses in leadership
  • declining customer service

All of these things affect a company’s reputation. Stephen Covey, in his great book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about “emotional bank accounts”. When we do good things, deposits are made into our emotional bank account; when we do bad things, withdrawals are made.

Trust is built as we make more deposits. Relationships are built on trust. According to BBB, the single biggest factor in earning customer trust is honesty, closely followed by dependability.

Today, we’ll look at three things that you can do to increase your customers’ trust.

  • Under-promise, then over-deliver
  • Unfortunately, we usually see the opposite. In most cases, the intentions are good. However, good intentions don’t build relationships. Good actions do. One of the keys here is to manage expectations to make sure you don’t over commit.

    On the show, George talked about a customer who wanted him to commit to something he didn’t he could do. After much prodding, he told the customer that he could lie to her now, and make her happy. But she would probably be disappointed later.

    Or she could accept what he’s saying, and be happy when he was able to do it. He asked which one she preferred. She understood.

    Tell me now and it’s an explanation. Tell me later and it’s an excuse. Customers accept explanations; nobody likes excuses. Once you have set the proper expectations, you can work to exceed them. That’s where it gets fun!

  • Follow-through
  • This is closely related to the first point, but it’s so important that we thought it deserved to be separate. Say what you’ll do, and then do what you say. We’re all so busy these days; it’s easy to make promises that we don’t keep. Don’t be one of those people! Follow-through.

    Develop a personal system that tracks your promises so you rarely “drop the ball”.

    During the show, George talked a friend who’s in sales. When he called prospects, they often told him to call back some time later. He developed a system to notify him when he should call them back. Then he called them!

    George liked this idea. He started testing sales people by agreeing to a follow-up date. A very small percentage actually did it! If someone won’t live up to their promises before they sell you something, how do you think they’ll do afterwards?

    Follow-through won’t always make you money, but it always builds trust.

  • Address the needs of your customer first, then worry about your needs.
  • On the show, Mary-Lynn talked about her sister, who recently saw some fraudulent activity on her credit card. When she called the credit card company, they tried to sell her another credit card and additional services on her current credit card.

    She explained that she didn’t care about that right now; she was stressed out that someone was using her credit card. The service representative just kept pitching her on other services.

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would design a process that way. If someone comes to you with a need, you won’t get anywhere until that need is addressed.

 

How do you build trust with your customers?
As a customer, what do you wish businesses would do?
Leave us a comment.

 

Going back to the survey, we talked about honesty and dependability, which finished first and second in building trust. In case you’re wondering, here are the next three:

#3 – safe products
#4 – value
#5 – price

There’s one more thing that we found interesting from this survey:

67% of the respondents would rather patronize a small business than a large one.

That’s good news for all you small business owners. You have an edge – consumers trust you more! And now may be a good time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about. Check out 117 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business].

Our Bigg Quote today comes from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Remember that your customers will last if they feel like you put them first. Your honesty and dependability leads to their loyalty.

Next time, we’ll talk about the marshmallow test. Can you resist sweet temptations? Until then, here’s to your bigg success!