Since the recession started, most people have focused solely on keeping what wealth they have.
In an economy where jobs are scarce and budget cuts run rampant, few people have realized that this is the time to grow financially. Opportunities abound in this economic climate for people who are willing to take an active approach to their financial situation.
Why You Need an Attitude Adjustment
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 decreed that retirement decisions need to be made by individuals. This began the elimination of pensions; it forced employees in the U.S. to open 401(k) s and IRAs on their own. This legislation should have ushered in a monumental change in American society, where individual success is lauded above all else. The ability to control your own outcome had never been so accessible.
Instead, more than 35 years since the passing of this act; most people are taking a passive approach to their long-term financial investments. Approximately 99% of the working population still has an apathetic relationship with their income. The abundance of credit availability over the last 20 years has amplified this passivity -- most families can afford to live well beyond their means, so becoming more financially literate isn't required to sustain their immediate lifestyle.
In reality, most people are broke and feeling insecure trying to keep up with the Jones'. They don't know how to produce income without involving a third-party employer or a bank, so they are financially co-dependent on these institutions for their well-being.
This insecurity has created another consequence: the boom of the financial services industry. Hundreds of thousands of financial planners and brokers are currently selling pre-packaged investment vehicles for the masses. Compound interest may be the 8th wonder of the world, but inflation and the cost of living are growing far faster than risk free savings rates.
Thus, the traditional model of investing and saving leaves you vulnerable to market shifts, job loss, and cost of living increases without a strong residual base of cash flow. You're feeding the machine that's put you where you are.
Why Your Comfort Zone Hurts You
When you're looking at investment opportunities, avoid anything that keeps you in your comfort zone.
The reality is that there is no opportunity inside your comfort zone. What's next for you in the way of opportunity lies somewhere outside of what you find natural. It's a myth to think you can act like 99% of the population but have the financial independence of the other 1%.
You're going to make mistakes as you grow; it would be a mistake to think you won't. You can reduce your chances of failure by focusing on investing in items that people consider staples. Products that are regularly consumed and need to be restocked are good income earners. Offering a competitively priced staple of high quality causes people to view your product as a brand switch. This means you're more likely to earn referrals and expand by word of mouth.
Other areas to consider investing in are network marketing or online distribution businesses. These carry the least risk and have the highest return potential. They're also the quickest for the average person to get established.
How to Succeed on Your Own
The simple formula is to make more than you spend each month.
The information age has made it possible to start a business with less than $1.000. The way to create passive income that becomes substantial is to think of it like a plate-spinning act at a carnival. Treat each income-producing investment like a plate. Get it up and running quickly, at a low cost to you (in time and money).
Once the first plate starts generating cash flow, you can maintain it with less effort; your overhead will stay fixed in proportion to your growth. Now, you can get another plate spinning.
The idea is to get several plates spinning simultaneously, generating passive income -- regardless of whether you're watching them every minute or not. The fastest way to fail at generating your own income is to start five plates at once. Focus on one plate and build your skills so you can leverage them to expand.
Five Things You Need to Get
When starting your own source of income, it's important to follow these 5 tips to ensure you're actively boosting your chances of a successful outcome.
1. Get excited.
You have decided to create wealth. The Latin root decisio literally signifies you've cut off all other outcomes. You are making yourself accountable and effective, and therefore, more responsible. That's exciting.
2. Get committed.
Being committed is doing what you said you would do, long after the excitement has worn off. Without a concrete resolution to stick with it, the inertia of your old comfort zone will pull you back in.
3. Get a coach.
Every world-class performer has a coach, not to do the work for them, but to see what they can't see themselves. (The gold medalist doesn't get to the Olympics by himself!) You need to find someone who's successful at coaching others in business-building; he will keep you on track and help you see the big picture.
4. Get capitalized.
The best business idea is just a car without gas if you don't have enough capital. Free up liquidity by sacrificing a little of what you have today for the future you want tomorrow. Capital takes on three forms: time, energy, and money. Bolster each by taking simple steps: hold a garage sale, turn off the T.V., and exercise. You can't be successful in building income when you're not investing in it in other areas of your life.
5. Get the right vehicle.
Picking the right opportunity makes all the difference. If you're spending an extra 20 hours per week building a business, then you need to get the most return for your time and money. Pick something that pays you back more for a $1 or 1-hour investment than anything else would. If you're new to building a business, find a turnkey opportunity, where the structure has already been created for you.
You can take control of your financial future by simply choosing to take action.
Refuse to let others determine your outcome. Create it yourself.
About the author: Chris J. Snook has spent more than 11 years as an author, entrepreneur, and venture catalyst and has spent the last 5 years in the investment community incubating media start ups as the Managing Partner of TLEC Ventures. He co-authored three international best-selling books entitled WealthMatters 2007 and 2011 (2nd Edition) and Burnout: How to Transform Frustration to Fortune in 2005.