Kim Kiyosaki, author of Rich Woman: A Book on Investing for Women, began her career as a real estate investor in 1989 after launching her first business with her husband, Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the bestselling Rich Dad, Poor Dad series. Today, Kim controls millions of dollars of investment property and teaches women how to achieve financial freedom through investing and taking control of their financial futures. We recently spoke with her to get her insight and advice on the importance of taking charge of your money – and your life.
Given your own success in building companies and buying real estate, why do you think that so many women are still afraid to take business risks?
I think part of it is that many of us haven’t been educated about investing and haven’t really been expected to be the ones handling the money. Being risk averse is not necessarily a detriment unless it’s to the point where you become so afraid of risk that you do nothing. What I’ve found over the years is that the way I grow and the way I learn is by placing myself in situations where I have to face something I’m not familiar with or to break through a fear. I want to create a movement throughout the world to teach other women to put [my principles] into practice and become financially independent.
Most women know how risky it is to depend on a man for financial support, yet millions of women continue to hope that their husbands will take care of them. Looking back on your own experiences growing up, what was the turning point that transformed you into the financial risk taker you are today?
I’ve always been very independent. When I was 14 years old, I came home one day and my mother was sitting with her girlfriend in the dining room, and my mom’s girlfriend was crying, very upset. I was ushered out quietly, but I stayed in the other room and overheard the conversation. This woman was saying that her husband had left her for another woman and how horrible it was, but when my mom asked: “Did you know? Did you have an idea?” she said that yes, she did have an idea but that, even though the marriage wasn’t working, at least she was financially taken care of. And I just remember thinking: “Why would anyone want such a miserable life?” I think so many of us women still have this idea that Prince Charming is going to take care of us. With one out of two marriages ending in divorce nowadays, that’s just not the case any more.
Another challenge for women entrepreneurs is balancing work and family. What advice do you have for women who don’t have the time to invest in a business venture?
Let’s say you’ve got a full-time career and you’ve got a family. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is go look at property. You’ve got to somehow make that a priority. I think that every woman has her own business called “Managing and Growing Your Money.” And it has to be looked at as a business, not just a thing to do to pay the bills. A lot of women business owners say: “I’ve got a business, and it’s doing well, so why do I need to invest?” I would bet you that every businesswoman out there has said to herself at some point: “I’d love to shut it down. I’d love to not have to go to work today.” Eventually, you’re going to get tired. You’re going to want to take a break. By creating that income stream, you have a choice.
In your book, Rich Woman, you talk extensively about leverage – that is, the power of debt financing to increase an investor’s returns. What do see as the pros and cons of financing real estate and other investments with borrowed money?
I see leverage as a plus as long as you know what you’re doing, as long as you understand the numbers of the deal. With real estate, you can put down 10% to 20% and own 100% of the property. Now, if you manage the property well, you’ll have a nice, positive cash flow. The con is what I call “the flipper” – when you buy the property with the sole intention of turning around and selling it for a profit. If the market turns, as it’s doing right now, people are finding themselves stuck. If the market doesn’t go up and they don’t have a renter, now they’re stuck and they’ve got this big mortgage payment that they’ve got to make every month. If you’re buying to buy and hold, then the fluctuations of the market don’t affect you as much.
You say in your book that your husband, Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, has been very supportive of your investing activities. What advice do you have for women whose spouses are less supportive?
I’ve talked to a lot of women about that, and when I asked about it, I got answers ranging from: “Dump him!” to “Learn how to work together!” But, ideally, if you can do it with your spouse or your partner, you’re going to be more successful and you’re going to get a greater return on your money. For those women whose husbands aren’t supportive, the best advice I can give is to start, just start. Don’t not do it because he’s not interested. Because once you start and once he sees how interested you are and once he sees the cash flow coming in, often he’ll jump in and say: “Let’s do it together!”
Every woman who seeks financial freedom through starting a business or buying a piece of real estate has to start somewhere. What’s the first step that you’d advise a woman to take?
Number one, whether it’s business or investing, is education. If you’re starting a business, get some education about the business you want to start. Talk to mentors, talk to people who are doing what you want to be doing. Read up on it, attend seminars, go to speaking events. There are some great organisations that are supportive of women in business. If you can hook up with them, fantastic! There are also some great investment organisations. Hang around people who are going to support your ideas and support you in what you want to do. Don’t hang around with negative people, people who say it’s never going to work, that you’re crazy, that it’s too risky. Get those people out of your life.
One of the challenges that women entrepreneurs continue to face is lack of capital. What advice do you have for women who want to start businesses or buy properties but have little access to cash or credit?
For every business that I’ve ever started – and I’ve started them all with my husband – we had no money. There’s this idea that you have to have a lot of money to build a business or you have to have a lot of money to invest. I don’t subscribe to that. Borders bookstore started in a garage. Apple Computer started in a garage. None of those companies was highly financed. When it comes to property, Robert and I were broke for quite a while. We were homeless for a short period of time when we were building our businesses. But when it came to investments, we didn’t have money, either. My very first investment was a little two-bedroom, two-bath house in Portland, Oregon. I needed a $5 000 down payment and I didn’t have it – but I found a way to get it. The thing I’d say about investing, especially about real estate investing, is to find the investment first because then it’s a tangible thing. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Once you find the investment, it becomes real to you. Then you can figure out how to find the money.
Become Your Best In Business
How can you streamline the actions you take in your business?
A few of the primary keys to becoming successful in business include having a clear intent or purpose, a truly inspiring vision, a grand message to share, a genuine social calling and a targeted niche to serve. From these initial basics arise the primary strategic objectives you would love to accomplish or achieve and a plan for their implementation. But before these objectives can be met, the mastery of the mind is to be initiated.
True business leaders are those who are congruent and integrated and who can organise and lead their inner parts purposefully. Once leaders govern themselves, they can govern others.
Time Is Life
When you loaf about, your mind starts thinking about all kinds of doubts, insecurities, fears, other people’s beliefs and worries about what’s happening and what isn’t happening. Such dead time can zap your energy and confidence levels and distract your mind from your purpose. Any time or space that’s not filled with high priorities often automatically becomes filled with low priorities.
Have you noticed that when you’re busy, you often accomplish and create much more? The more intensely you’re focused and active and the longer you maintain such a focus, the faster your accomplishments (time x intensity = results). Time spent on doubt, fear, or low-priority actions slows down your accomplishment process.
When you take your mind off your focus, all you see are obstacles. When your mind is focused on your dreams, you don’t have time for the many self-doubts that block them.
Raise Your Standard
Anything you do consumes time. To maximise the value of your time, prioritise your interactions. People who seem less busy and want to consume your time may think you’re being rude when you say no to their invitations, but busy people understand immediately that you’re just choosing to prioritise and wisely manage your time.
People who don’t value their own time want to take up yours with small talk, and if you keep associating with people who talk small, you could end up with a small life. You’ll find out what kind of people they are by putting a fee on your time and raising that fee regularly. If people really value your skills and time, they’ll pay for it.
“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Efficiency and Effectiveness
Often when you perform a service for less than you feel you deserve, you lower your worth and enthusiasm and slow down your business. Even though you may be working like a ‘dog’, it’s neither efficient nor effective.
Any aspect of your work that pays less than you truly feel you deserve can become the weak link of your business. In addition to undermining your motivation, inefficiency and ineffectiveness can also reduce profit margins. When you or your employees perform effective actions in an inefficient way, ineffective actions in an efficient way or ineffective actions in an inefficient way, your business becomes undermined. Your worth can be determined by how efficient and effective you are at performing high-priority actions. Business masters are those who love what they do, do what they love, and work efficiently and effectively. They delegate everything else to those who desire to do the same.
How can you streamline the actions you take in your business? Ask yourself, “What can I delegate?” You’ll be far more productive, energised, and inspired at the end of the day when you can stick to actions you deem to be high-priority. Unless you value your time, neither will the world.
For more information on Dr Demartini’s teachings, visit www.drdemartini.com
How To Be A Leader
Lead by example and you’ll win the respect and loyalty of your staff.
Being a successful entrepreneur is not about locking yourself away in your workshop and bringing a great innovation to life. Certainly, you need a must-have product that will have customers beating a path to your door. But you also need the business skills to ensure you can scale up production – and the leadership skills to motivate the staff you have employed to help you make this happen.
It is rare to find these three key skills balanced equally in an entrepreneur. Most have more of one quality than another – but there is one of these qualities that we tend to fool ourselves about.
Most of us know whether we have creative skills that can produce great innovations or whether we need to improve our business skills. Almost all of us assume we can be leaders if circumstances mean we have to step up to the plate. However, almost all of us are wrong about that.
Leadership skills are something that you develop and hone as your career progresses. You might think that being head girl at school, rugby captain or president of your Toastmasters’ branch means that you have got leadership nailed.
You would be right that you have some leadership experience. But you are wrong because so much about leadership depends on context. Just as what works on the rugby field and what works in the debating chamber are not the same, so what works in business is different.
In part, it can depend on the size and sector of your business. That in turn is partly because your understanding of the context – your business savvy as opposed to your business skills – is as important as your credibility as a leader.
But there are some common traits in leaders that work in all business contexts. Once you have these nailed, you will find that you can reuse them in different businesses as you expand your entrepreneurial interests.
Here are three starter principles to put into practice today:
1. Be first
Get to work first and leave last. As an entrepreneur, one of the prime qualities you need is energy. You need to put mental and physical energy into knowing the detail of what is going on in your business. Listen to the insights of your staff as to how your systems are taking strain or could be streamlined. If you are serious about growing your business, you cannot expect to achieve this as a sleeping partner who drops by the business premises at best once a week.
2. Be a team player
Make it clear that you are not giving yourself privileges just because you are the boss. If your business involves any kind of production line, whether actual or virtual, you should be able to pitch in and help out if there is a rush of demand or an unusual number of staff hit by the virus that is going round. This is also an opportunity to check personally on the effectiveness of the systems you have set up and make tweaks where you see bottlenecks or downtime occurring.
3. Be last
As well as leaving work last, you should also pay yourself last. Consider this part of your investment in your business – and also an investment that will pay dividends in consolidating staff loyalty.
Peak Performance – How To Become A Strong And Legendary Business Leader
The starting point is to consistently and constantly build and mould an unshakeable character and add a clear strategy for your personal life and your business.
‘Leadership is a potent combination of Character and strategy’
– General Norman Schwarzkopf
Leadership has long fallen into the category of the enigmatic. It is no longer the case considering the ‘deep dive’ neuroscientists, psychologists and industrial psychologists have taken into understanding the brain and human behaviour in general.
For those that have a deep and driving desire to understand themselves better volumes of highly beneficial research are available to you. How willing you are to seek for and apply the infinite amount of knowledge out there is dependent upon your priorities, your ‘grit’ and your level of desire to personally transform and be impactful in this world.
Most of all a strong belief in your own abilities to become a legendary business leader is a basic requirement for the alchemy from follower to leader to take place.
The human nature guru Robert Greene describes a strong character as follows:
“Strong character has a tensile quality like a good piece of metal – it can give and bend but still retains its overall shape and never breaks”
Character is who you really are, not what you want others to think of you. Who you truly are is especially revealed under the most challenging circumstances. How your investors, co-founders, employees and clients view you is highly dependent upon your actions during times of business crisis, failure or when you as an entrepreneur are faced with turbulent personal circumstances.
The ability to authentically and empathetically (towards yourself and others) take a stand for your beliefs, admit (to yourself most of all) to your mistakes, rectify them (the highest and truest form of an apology) within times of strife and difficulty leads to a strong and un-breakable character.
Through this writing you are strongly urged to reflect on the fact that a strong character will not fall from the sky and simply be bestowed upon you, instead a strong character, akin to steel, is moulded and shaped by fire meaning that your character is mostly shaped by challenging times.
As the late master poet Leonard Cohen said –
‘There is a crack in everything that is where the light seeps in’
Nothing is perfect and when you truly learn from failures and mistakes your wounds can become blessings, your tests can become testimonies and you can lead others to achieve the same.
Those that have a slight and very determined smile on their face and maintain belief and even dramatically increase their levels of performance the moment they recognise that they have arrived within a highly challenging space are the ones that have trained for that exact moment.
The Navy Seals say:
“You do not rise to the challenge you fall to your level of training”
All external information gathered within each moment enters the brain and is processed through the Amygdala first – that part of the brain that provides housing for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Information is first filtered through your very own doubts, fears and insecurities.
If you have not worked on your own fears diligently and instilled habitual mechanisms of effective action triggered by fear your re-actions of lack of action (procrastination) will not be optimal at all. ‘Grit’ is born at the intersection of passion and perseverance and can be trained. Bravery can be trained. Leadership can be trained. Character although influenced by genetics can be trained.
All tools to succeed at the aforementioned subjects are within us all, in a lot of cases lying dormant and anxiously awaiting your increased levels of awareness which will empower you to use the tools required effectively.
As a practical example I coach my ‘Peak Performance’ clients to train for Grit in the following way – Choose a day of the week when you are especially tired and not in the greatest of moods force yourself to the gym and train the toughest muscle group for you (usually legs) and where you normally do three sets of squats do seven and make those sets harder than before in every way.
Or again choose a day of the week again where you are very tired and instead of taking a plunge onto the couch to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ or whatever it is, go and hike, a long tough hike that will really test you.
It does sound harsh but you will thank yourself when the tough times occur and they will, that you have willingly trained yourself for grit.
On to the subject of Strategy which forms a potent combination with character and results in Leadership.
Dictionary.com defines strategy as:
A plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.
For a strategy to be effective a basic requirement of many requirements is that a clear and highly specific end vision and/or goal, and/or result must be defined. Visions, goals or desired results are often vaguely defined because the often subconscious fear of clearly defining our failures by setting clear and measurable goals plagues us.
The mind struggles with finding solutions, answers and strategies when vague goals are set. It is also very hard to retain focus on anything that is very vague. As the importance of an effective plan to achieve your well defined Vision and goals cannot be overstated I strongly recommend getting expert help to facilitate a future session.
Once the desired end result, goals and vision is crystal clear we can ‘reverse engineer’ an effective plan that can actualise our dreams. We need to create a metric system that constantly, consistently and visibly measures our progress and success of our plan. The metrics will notify us of challenges and will signal a need for adjustments within our strategy.
The very good news emanating from this article is that anyone can be a legendary leader should they not only sincerely wish to be a leader but also take effective action on becoming one. The starting point is to consistently and constantly build and mould an unshakeable character and add a clear strategy for your personal life and your business.
Company Posts2 weeks ago
Changing The Shape Of What’s Possible
Entrepreneur Today7 days ago
3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of
Snapshots2 weeks ago
Alan Knott-Craig On Learning To Overcome Your Fears And Building Successful Businesses
Entrepreneur Today2 weeks ago
How SMEs Can Stand Out From The Crowd
Entrepreneur Today1 week ago
SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman
Entrepreneur Today1 week ago
4 Dangers Of Business Under-insurance
Entrepreneur Today2 weeks ago
Inspiring A New Generation Of Learning – Education As A Basic Human Right
Company Posts2 days ago
Executive Education Geared For Industry 4.0