Can you have financial freedom?
Wonder what bill to pay next? Wondering if the ‘pile’ will ever go down? You are not alone. Research (and a trip to the grocery store!) show the American Middle Class is in trouble.
The Census Bureau's annual report on income and poverty shows that median household income was $47,589 in 2016, after adjusting for inflation, still well below its inflation-adjusted peak of $57,909 in 1999. The typical family's take-home pay is now at 2007 levels. And the percentage of Americans living in poverty is 12.7 percent, representing 43.1 million Americans.
It’s not in your J-O-B (You'll never achieve Financial Freedom making someone else rich!).
If you are like me, you grew up believing in a myth. We were told the story that if we went to school, learned a trade or got a college degree: we could go to an employer, offer them our services and be guaranteed a lifetime income. And for many people that was true.
There were those who got factory jobs, perhaps in the auto industry. Once they were hired and joined the union, they were guaranteed a 40+ hour work week as long as they wanted. Layoffs were rare, pension and health benefits were great.
Many joined the corporate world. White-collar workers sitting at their desks pushing paper 48 hours a week. They too were secure. Good work was rewarded by increased pay, a health benefit package, and a generous retirement plan. Those days are over. Millions of Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
REAL FINANCIAL FREEDOM
Working for someone else for 40 years, hoping to live long enough to retire
Building up another person’s business – making it more valuable
Being subject to the unpredictable nature of business; unemployed without recourse
Creating work and a lifestyle you enjoy living
Not being dependent upon one ‘boss’
Building value in your business - an asset you can sell or pass on to your children.
I’ve had my own business for 19 years; I could never trade it for a J-O-B. There were times I worked very hard to start my business, more hours than I might have put in for an employer. But, the rewards are worth it:
As a ‘baby-boomer’ I do not fear poverty in retirement,
My children grew up working in the business: they are successful ‘self-starters’
My children will never have to look for employment: either (or both) could build this business as big as they wish.
But starting a business is not an end in itself. For Financial Freedom, you have to Work ON a business, not just IN it.
There is a big difference between the two. No matter how enthusiastic you may be today about your new business, your enthusiasm or energy level will probably not stay the same. Old Man Time takes his toll of both our physical and emotional energy, as do the curve balls that life throws at us. For that reason, as entrepreneurs, we need to be thinking ahead…
Successful business people treat their business as a lifelong endeavor - thinking beyond balancing the books at the end of the month. They plan long-term, transitioning their role from being the developer of the business into achieving Financial Freedom as a business OWNER.
You see, whether you are a brand-new rookie in the business field, or have some experience under your belt, the time to plan and execute is now, not next year, or five years from now, or when you have enough money to think beyond getting your next contract.
1. Choose one day per week to move beyond the day to day activities of your business.
Block off a few hours to work on improving, systematizing, or implementing new strategies.
2. Focus on one target market at a time.
You cannot be all things to all people. I started out by selecting small office buildings between 5000 and 20,000 sq. ft.; big enough to be profitable, but not so big I couldn't staff them. Do a good job and establish a solid reputation in the business community.
3. The idea is to get rich, not famous.
You are not the ‘brand’. If you build your business all around you… your image, your personality, your expertise and experience… you'll have a hard time stepping away, or expanding because people will expect to work only with you. Build your company's reputation.
4. Alternate. Outsource. Delegate.
If a task is hard for you, find someone for whom it is easy. I would never try to keep my company's books, or file the tax forms. I can pay an accountant to do that and use my time to solicit new accounts.
5. Let your current clients lead you to new clients.
We all know that it is much cheaper to keep a current client happy than to solicit new accounts. Let the happy client become a referral generator. They are already in their business networks. Let them know you are looking for new accounts and offer incentives for referring new customers to you; perhaps a gift card for dinner at a local restaurant if they refer a prospective customer.
Doing some of these things will allow your business to grow, and you can reap the benefits of time well spent.
Can YOU have Real Financial Freedom?
Yes. You can start your own business with just a few dollars’ worth of supplies and equipment; buy more of what you need as you ‘grow’, hire employees when and if you want to, etc. Why not start today?
Check out these 4 great low 'start-up' cost businesses here