Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you earn, you find a way to spend it? Well, you’re not alone. Many people seem to have a way of living up to – or even beyond – their means.
How many times have you seen a person who won the lottery lose it all and become broke five or six years later? How about the great athletes of recent history?
Take Curt Schilling for example, who made and spent in excess of $100 million over his 20 seasons with Major League Baseball. The same is true of directors, actors and entertainers Willie Nelson, Billy Joel and Francis Ford Coppola; all went broke.
This also happens to the rich-beyond-their-dreams prize fighters who hit the canvas with a thud. Look at the up-and-down-and-out career of former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, who made more money in his time than any other boxer in history – nearly half a billion – only to become bankrupt.
But five-division world champion Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. is about to beat Iron Mike’s earning record. Like Tyson, Mayweather fought his way up from hardscrabble beginnings. In September 2013 he scored a guaranteed purse of $41,5 million for a bout against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. His take became more than $80 million based on pay-per-view totals.
Before this giant payday, he had already topped the Sports Illustrated Fortunate 50 list, ranking among the richest athletes in the United States. I love Mayweather as an extraordinarily gifted athlete, with a work ethic like few people alive have. He’s also incredibly generous with his friends.
But Mayweather fought his way to the top of this list before, only to lose his fortune to wild spending sprees and bad investments. He is reported to spend recklessly, carrying a backpack filled with $1 million in cash, just in case he needs to make an emergency donation to Louis Vuitton.
Like so many achievers, the champ is smart as a whip and my hope is that he is following better investment practices today. But according to 50 Cent, Mayweather’s former business partner, the champ has no income outside of fighting. The rapper summed up the boxer’s financial strategy: “It’s fight, get the money, spend the money, fight. Fight, get the money, spend the money, fight.”
1. Get off the hamster wheel
Sound like a ridiculous strategy? Unfortunately, many people can relate: Work, get the money, spend the money, work is the American way.
If these individuals could not build on their talents and blessings and earn their way to financial freedom, how can you expect to earn your way? You can’t.
But what you can do is make a simple change in strategy and embrace a whole new mindset. It will change your life. You have to move from just working for money to a world where money works for you.
It’s time to step from the sidelines and get into the game because ultimately everyone must become an investor to be financially free.
You’re already a financial trader. If you work for a living, you’re trading your time for money. Frankly, it’s just about the worst trade you’ll ever make in life: You can always get more money, but you can’t get more time.
I’m betting that the primary ‘money machine’ in your life is you. You might have some investments but may not have set them up with income in mind. If you stop working, the machine stops. The cash flow stops. Your income stops. Basically your financial world comes to a grinding halt. It’s a zero-sum game, meaning you get back just what you’ve put into it.
You’re also an ATM of another kind. The acronym suggests that lousy ‘time-for-money’ trade. You’ve become an anti-time machine.
It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but for many people, it’s a reality. You’ve set things up so that you give away what you value most, time, in exchange for what you need most, income.
If you stop working, you stop making money. So let’s take you out of the equation and look for an alternative approach. Let’s build a money machine to take your place and set it up so that it makes money while you sleep.
Think of it as a second business, with no employees, no payroll, no overhead. Its only “inventory” is the money you put into it. Its only product? A lifetime income stream that will never run dry, even if you live to be 100. Its mission? To provide a life of financial freedom for you and your family.
If you set up this metaphorical machine and maintain it properly, it will hold the power of 1 000 generators. It will run around the clock, 365 days a year, with an extra day during leap year, and on the Fourth of July, too.
Theodore Johnson worked for UPS and never made more than $14 000 a year and yet in his old age he was worth more than $70 million.
When he said he had no money to save, a friend told him that if he were taxed, the money would be taken out of his account and he’d never see it.
So he created a tax for himself to make him wealthy. Even though he made little money, he took 20% of his money and it went straight into an investment account. Over more than five decades, that compounded to make him $70 million.
If the government taxed your business, you’d pay it. Maybe it’s time for you to place a ‘tax’ on your business – one that sets you up for financial freedom and that gives you an alternative, a secondary business with no employees and overhead – a true ‘money machine’.
But your machine can’t start working until you make the most important financial decision of your life: What portion of your paycheque do you get to keep? How much will you pay yourself off the top before you spend a single dollar on your day-to-day living expenses?
3. Save to step off the 9-5 conveyor belt
How much of your paycheque can you – or will you – leave untouched, no matter what else is going on in your life?
Think about this number because the rest of your life will be determined by your decision to keep a percentage of your income today to ensure you always have money for yourself in the future. The goal here is to enable you to step off the 9-to-5 conveyor belt and walk the path to financial freedom.
When I asked Burt Malkeil, who wrote the classic investment text A Random Walk Down Wall Street, what the single most important mistake of investors was, he said, “So many people fail to tap into the power of compound interest.”
While many are aware of the concept of compound interest, most Americans make the same mistake, thinking they need to earn a large sum of money to become financially secure, stable or free. In reality, a small amount of money consistently set aside will provide a greater ability to achieve financial freedom.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how much money you earn. If you don’t set some aside, you could lose it all. But once you set up your money machine, don’t just set it aside stuffed under your mattress. Accumulate it in an environment that you feel certain is safe but that still offers the opportunity for growth.
And while your machine is running, you can trade less of your time for money, freeing you to spend your days doing things you truly care about. This is the first and most important step in putting yourself on the road to financial freedom. Take that step today.
(Infographic) The 10 Things You Should Cover In Every Investment Pitch
If you want to wow potential investors, you need to cover your bases.
If you’ve ever watched Entrepreneur’s original series, Elevator Pitch, then you’ve probably seen smart founders make dumb mistakes while pitching their ideas to potential investors. They might flub an answer or get tongue-tied, or they might just be a little boring. Other times, you might notice that something seemed off about a pitch, but you can’t quite put your finger on why.
Investors are gambling every time they put money into a new project or idea. Your job when pitching is to prove to them that you’re worth the risk. That means you’ll need to not only show them the possible upside of what they have to gain, but also be clear about what they could possibly expect to lose and their odds. In other words, you need to give them a holistic view of what you do, not just the one good idea.
You might have pitched an investor yourself and thought you crushed it, only to hear that the investor isn’t interested. If that’s the case, there’s a chance the pitch was missing one of 10 essential elements.
This infographic by Buffalo 7 breaks down 10 slides you should have in your next investment pitch deck. If you’re not presenting formally, though, you can still keep track of these aspects in your head and make sure you cover each one. They include:
- The vision, where you concisely explain your idea.
- The problem. Why is your vision necessary or helpful?
- The opportunity. What is the market size, and how can you position yourself to earn a share of it?
This is just the start, though. Check out the infographic below to see the rest of the slides you need when pitching investors.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
‘Shark Tank’ Investors Reveal Top 5 Tips To Make Your Business Famous
Is your business worthy of fame? If so, pay attention to what the Sharks have to say …
Shark Tank enters its tenth season as popular as ever. Over the past decade, millions of people have watched fascinated as entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas and startups in the hopes of winning an investment and support from self-made millionaires and billionaires.
The multi-Emmy® Award-winning reality-based show has had a tremendous impact on the business world and has been a major influence on the increased popularity of becoming an entrepreneur. Over the years, the show has evolved into one of the world’s top platforms to launch a business and recently reached an astonishing $100 million in deals offered in the Tank.
I was recently invited to attend a private event hosted on the set of Shark Tank to celebrate their 10th season and met with all the Sharks and most of the guest Sharks for the current season. This year’s guest list includes luminaries:
- Charles Barkley, Hall of Fame NBA star and TV analyst
- Alex Rodriguez, legendary baseball player and businessman
- Rohan Oza, an iconic brand builder and marketing expert
- Sara Blakely, founder and owner of SPANX brand
- Matt Higgins, the co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures and vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins
- Bethenny Frankel, TV celebrity, author, and founder of Skinnygirl brand
- Jamie Siminoff, the CEO of RING, who rejected an investment offer in season 5, but went on to sell his company to Amazon for a whopping $1 billion.
My better half was also invited, and we arrived promptly on time at Studio 24 inside of Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA. We were greeted by the cordial staff who informed us that the Sharks were still filming the last takes of the day. After several minutes, we were invited to chat with the Sharks on the main floor where nervous entrepreneurs excitedly pitch their companies to the investors under the bright lights of the studio set.
I was curious to know what excited the Sharks the most about their tenth season and what they believed to be the best advice for an entrepreneur to help make their business famous.
1. Create an ingenious product
When asked, Lori Greiner said, “It’s a mix, right? Of smart marketing and ingenious product. For example, Scrub Daddy was a technology. So, taking that one sponge, which was revolutionary, changed the whole sponge arena. We now have, to date, 20 different SKUs, and we have 30,000 new retail locations and 170 million in sales. That’s what takes it from one idea to a global brand.”
Of course, skillfully promoting your product on a platform like QVC is another excellent way to make your business famous. The day after the Scrub Daddy episode aired, Greiner helped CEO Aaron Krause sell their entire inventory of 42,000 sponges in less than seven minutes on QVC.
2. Leverage social media marketing
During my chat with Bethenny Frankel, she stressed, “Social networking is so important. Also being a little bit disruptive now … and you have to be creative. You have to be creative. The President was the most disruptive candidate that there’s probably ever been in history. He got people’s attention, and young entrepreneurs need to get people’s attention in some way. So be a little disruptive.”
Matt Higgins responded, “I’d say that you have to understand social and digital marketing. You can’t survive unless you understand Instagram, Snapchat or all the tools out there. You have to be contemporary.”
Barbara Corcoran claimed, “Every one of us successful entrepreneurs, for the last two years, were phenomenal at social media. It’s true. No exceptions.”
No smart entrepreneur will deny the power of social media when it comes to making your company famous. With more than 2 billion people worldwide using some form of social media, any business can put their business in front of a large audience, especially if they can create content that goes viral.
3. Build a community
Daymond John stressed the value of building a community. “You’ve got to build a community,” stated John. “Nobody needs to buy anything new in this world. They only buy it because there’s some form of community and/or need that you are supplying for them.”
John speaks from experience. He built a successful clothing empire by creating a vast community of his own via his clothing brand FUBU. John wisely invested in celebrity endorsements, making him an early pioneer of modern influencer marketing.
If you lack the resources to build your own community from scratch, you can leverage the power of others. Partnering with influencers who have cultivated their own communities allows you to introduce your product or service to larger audiences. In fact, some consider Shark Tank to be the world’s largest business influencer platform.
4. Devise a publicity hook to win earned media coverage
Barbara Corcoran also said, “I’d say you need a publicity hook. Some hook, angle or gimmick that grabs the attention unfairly from your competitors.”
Remember, Shark Tank is a unique combination of reality television, business acumen, and entertainment. Doing something unique, different, or disruptive can get you significant media attention and abundant free publicity… especially if you’re able to leverage that publicity and captivate the show’s producers, who decide your fate as to whether you’ll appear on the show.
Regardless if you want to appear on Shark Tank or not, being featured in the media is a way to differentiate your business from the competition and reach a broader audience. Be creative and willing to take educated risks when it comes to getting noticed by the media. You should always be actively building relationships with media representatives and ask for their insights when formulating your plan.
5. Know your strengths and stay focused
When I asked for billionaire Mark Cuban’s insights, he thoughtfully replied, “Knowing your unique advantages, play to that, and your strengths. And focus. You know, what happens is very often people start with an idea, get a little bit of traction, then it gets hard. And when it gets hard, they start looking for other things to do as opposed to playing to their strengths. Because businesses aren’t supposed to be easy. You know, if they were easy everybody would already be rich, and we’d all be sitting on a beach somewhere. And so, when it gets tough, you gotta dig in and work hard. I’d say the final thing I’d add is that sales cures all. There’s never been a business that succeeded without sales. So, if you focus on selling … if you’re able to sell … and that’s something that is one of your core competencies, then you’ll be okay.”
These are wise words from one of the world’s few billionaires.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
The Best Way To Get Your Teenager To Start Investing Right Now
Jeff Rose advises a young fan on where to start his investment journey.
In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Jeff Rose talks about receiving a letter from a young investor, who is looking for advice on how to begin investing.
Rose talks about the act of actually doing the investing versus worrying about reading books or asking others about the process. Taking action gets the most results, since you are able to make mistakes and start the learning process. Taking action also leads to more experience, which is to say if you begin investing as a teen, you will be much more savvy about investing as a twenty-something.
In answering this young investor’s concern about investment direction – the fan hopes to balance short-term gain and long-term gain, as well as to establish some padding for a future business – Rose turns him in one specific direction: A Roth IRA. When he was younger, Rose didn’t even know what a stock was until far into his college years; during this time, he discovered the Roth IRA and learned of its compounding power, as well as the accessibility of an initial investment.
As another route, Rose also mentions starting a business. This path, Rose explains, will help you achieve the most return on investment.
Click on the video to hear more tips for a younger investor.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.