I would like to take a little detour with this piece, so it has nothing to do with marketing or communications, but perhaps, it’s more relevant in its own way.
Every time I lecture a group of graduate students (or any students for that matter), I make a point of starting or ending with a conversation about career paths and life, as they, for the most part, are about to embark upon their journey.
The beginning of the end
It all starts with graduating from high school. All the pressures of studying, the joys of a busy social life and the month-long holidays are over. Now you’re off to study further, get a diploma or degree – or if you choose not to study, get your first job.
No-one realises how critical their first job is, there is no proper investigation or planning done; unless someone knows exactly what they want to do (be a pilot etc.), they tend to ‘fall into’ what comes along.
When I lecture grad students at advertising schools, I find exceptionally few who know anything about the industry after three years or more of study. Sure, they know the theory and their craft, but virtually none can name the top five agencies in the country. How does one choose the right job on that basis?
The fact is, a lot of us choose our jobs by what we can get, and who offers a position, not on what we want to be doing, not what we always dreamed of doing.
It’s like anything in life, to build a fulfilling, rewarding career and work life, the beginning, the foundation, is the most important part.
Debt is modern day slavery
A soon as you graduate, or start doing well in your first job, you suddenly have cash to spend. Credit cards, overdrafts and insurance policies follow. You feel important; you can afford nice clothes, cool stuff, even a car a little down the line.
You have ‘swagger’. Welcome to slavery. You have just been plugged into the matrix. Now you’re in a cycle of ‘having’ to earn money, to pay for your stuff, three or four times over.
Society is plugged in. It’s all about the big title, the fancy car, the house in a good suburb; everyone works more and more, harder and harder to go home to more stuff. Real living becomes a weekend thing, and maybe a holiday twice a year.
So it goes; the more you earn, the more credit you’re offered, the more stuff you buy, the more you ‘need’ your job in order to maintain your lifestyle. Have you noticed that every time you get an increase, you are soon spending it all, just like you were doing when you were earning less?
Looking forward to Friday
This is what really gets to me: Go onto any social media site and from Sunday all you hear is complaints about the fact that it’s almost Monday and that the weekend is over. All week long you hear about how people hate their jobs, their bosses, their colleagues and how they are looking forward to Friday.
So we are all wishing away five out of every seven days of our lives. When we reach our end, how many of us will look back and wish we had worked more?
A book was written by a nurse who worked in a hospice for many years, she compiled a list of the eight most common wishes people had before they passed away. Number two on that list was: “I wish I had worked less and lived more.” If we can help it, I don’t think it should be on any of ours, do you?
So, what then?
I’m not saying don’t work. Money should become just a tool in our lives, instead of a fanatical focus. What I am saying is, try your best to get paid (in a job or your own initiative) for doing what you love. I’m saying, if you’re stuck in a job now that you don’t like, get out. It’s the scariest thing in the world, but trust me, I’ve done it, and it is also the most liberating thing.
The best advice when it comes to money and life is: Get out of debt. Or if you are just starting out, avoid it like the plague. Wait a little longer for the things you want and you’ll be able to afford more. Don’t spend your life paying your blood, sweat and tears to credit cards, overdrafts and loans. Get rid of your cards, get a money-clip, it’s cool.
Some of the happiest people I know just walked out of impressive positions in top companies, put a few things in a backpack and went traveling. They came back to start their own companies and get involved in their passions and they are happy – and they make a good living, in spite of not concentrating on the money.
It’s that simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Living creatively and joyfully requires dismissing gloom, defeatism and negativism. We have to acknowledge the problems, but must not allow them to dominate our thinking and our direction.
The future, your future
Joel Osteen says: “You’re never too old, it’s never too late and the mistake is never too big. Your destiny is bigger than your mistakes.”
I must say I share this optimism – the world around us is changing so fast, if ever there was a time to break the cycle, unplug from the matrix and find a different way, the opportunity to do it is now.
I always tell my grad students: Take a minute and forget about what you are studying and the money spent and the expectations of your parents and people around you. Find what you really love, your passion, what gets you out of the bed in the morning. Choose to do that instead – and then figure out a way to get paid to do it.
So, in conclusion, you can work for someone, buy stuff and die as you lived: A slave. Or you can wake up.
It’s time to wake up. If you’re going to be alive, you may as well be incredible.
(Infographic) The Financial Advice Millennials And Gen Zers Want To Know
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful. And that starts with getting the right advice.
Whether it’s saving for retirement or paying off credit card debt, money management can be a challenge. Of course, different people have different concerns – and that often comes with age. While a 60-something baby boomer might be organising their savings for retirement, your 20-something millennial might be focused on paying off student loans.
In a recent study, financial intelligence company Comet surveyed more than 1 000 people to uncover the top financial concerns of various age groups, as well as the financial advice millennials and Gen Zers want to know and what they hear instead.
Overall, saving for retirement was the top concern across all age groups, with saving for an emergency and affording monthly bills following in second and third. However, it’s no wonder these are some of the most pressing worries – according to the research, 23 percent of people admit they don’t have a savings account, and 43 percent reported not being on track towards their retirement goals. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t hear the right advice growing up. At least that might be the case for Gen Zers and millennials.
According to the research, these young people want to learn things such as how the stock market works, how to manage an investment portfolio, how to invest in real estate and how to build credit. Instead, they’re simply told how to create a budget, save for retirement and pay credit card bills in full every month.
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful and comfortable. To learn more, check out Comet’s infographic below.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
14 Ways To Make Quick Cash On The Side
If you need money quickly, here are some solid ideas.
Need to make some fast money on the side, whether it’s to pay off a credit card or to make your rent?
Keep in mind, making quick side cash isn’t about making a lot of money or getting rich. It’s about getting a shot of capital to help tide you over and put something extra in your pocket. However, some of these side-income ideas can build up your wealth over time. There’s many ways to accomplish this: By participating in the gig economy, the sharing economy, online sales networks, passive income techniques and more.
If you’re looking to make extra money in a relatively short period of time, check out these 14 slides.
Take Advantage Of Financial Democracy Made Possible By The New Stock Exchanges
Why should financial democracy matter to entrepreneurs?
Because it creates a society able to afford products and services. Without it, even the innovative products and services that are entrepreneurs’ bread and butter will fail.
What is financial democracy, exactly?
It’s both the right and the ability of the (wo)man in the street and business people to make the decisions that affect their financial circumstances.
Financial democracy does not automatically follow political democracy. For almost 25 years after South Africa’s political transformation, the exclusiveness of our financial markets continued to deprive the vast majority of South Africans of the means to invest, save, and build wealth. South Africa has, therefore, never developed a retail stock exchange environment. So, it has deprived the majority of small and medium sized business of access to capital.
For entrepreneurs to truly flourish, they need a mechanism that easily and seamlessly connects the investor pool with every size of business. And, they need affordable ways to enter both the retail and institutional market.
In short, they need stock exchanges. Ones on which listing takes weeks rather than years, doesn’t break the bank for listing fees, and provides the shortest route to the largest possible potential investor base.
That’s not been possible in the stock exchange monopoly that existed for six decades. Now, it is.
We now have four new stock exchanges. The resulting competitive environment will significantly reduce the cost of listing – and the cost for investors of buying and selling shares.
Instead of restricting share trading to people or organisations who already have tens of thousands of rands to invest or millions to spend on listing, by licensing four new stock exchanges, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA, formerly the FSB) has recognised that most financial decisions do not call for high levels of education.
Most people know how to spend their own grocery money. Most know that it’s better to keep their R1 000 monthly income in a coffee jar than spend R50 of it on bank account fees. People who can barely read and write are immensely skillful at manipulating air time deals to their advantage.
There is significant financial savvy in all social strata.
In the same way, although the mechanics of bookkeeping and accounting may be unfamiliar territory to many entrepreneurs, most have a clear understanding of the difference between profit and loss.
The FSCA has therefore enabled democratisation of the financial markets by enabling the broadest possible spectrum of entrepreneurs and investors to use stock exchanges to participate in and contribute to the economy – on their own rather than prescriptive terms.
How do you take strategic advantage of this democratisation?
- Base your business strategy on people’s instinct for making decisions in their own best interests. Trust financial decentralisation, such as one sees in crowd funding and in digital environments such as block chain, where people would far rather trust one another than institutions and governments. This is democracy innately at work in the financial environment and it’s accelerating organically as digital technologies give people more means and the confidence to help themselves – to information and opportunities. Ride the wave.
- Tap into people’s desire to innovate. Consumer organisations have proved that letting people interactively help them develop products is a powerful growth engine. Apply the principle by letting people grow your business by buying shares in it, giving you capital and themselves a platform on which to build wealth.
- Remember, the ultimate loyalty reward is equity.
Your financial democracy business plan
Look to list on an entrepreneurial stock exchange; one that was founded by entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial principles.
That means: A stock exchange that is already built on financial democracy and decentralisation. One that has, at its core, a single operational concept that keeps things simple for you, automatically gives you an immediate competitive advantage, and, ensures that no matter what your business needs in terms of attracting capital, the exchange can provide all the options in the same, consistent way.
What does such an exchange look like?
It has fintech capabilities. So:
It slashes your listing costs. It achieves this, among other things, by enabling you to populate an electronic prospectus, demonstrating your financial viability, and self publish.
It gives you control by having the granularity and agility to impose relevant governance right down to the individual investor. You get to decide the types and quantities of investors you want to attract. This also enables you to achieve black economic empowerment in perpetuity.
It leads the world by clearing and settling trades in T+0. No-one in the value chain has to hold large sums of money for days following a transaction. Small transactions become profitable. Investors don’t have to risk their life savings on a single large trade. A retail market is opened. An investment and savings culture is entrenched. The economy expands. Your business grows steadily.
It enables anywhere, any time trading via a mobile app that allows investors to see share value in real time. See economy expansion point above.
It integrates processes and procedures, simplifying them and ensuring rapid onboarding of issuers and, therefore, speed to market with new concepts and alignment with the digital economy.
It operates a principles-based regime. So:
It treats you, as an executive, with respect. It’s not prescriptive. It does not insist on excessive oversight, allowing the Companies Act to guide you to sustainability.
It does not attempt to squeeze your company into a pre-defined business or listings format. It recognises and works with your uniqueness.
It obviates the need for expensive specialist listings advisors.
It focuses on financial inclusion and access. So:
Shares can be bought and sold for no more than R1 000. See economy building point above.
The new world of stock exchanges is integrated, synergistic, holistic, organic, self-fulfilling
Decentralisation of financial control, democratisation of opportunity leads to a whole new economy. One in which, for instance, a taxi operator can finance a minibus through a company in which his purchase gives him shares. A single purchase gives him two benefits: a vehicle on which to found his business and a longer-term investment in shares that he can trade. The funding company gains liquidity through access to a wider base of investors while being able to control who buys and sells and the conditions on which trading takes place. Increasing black equity in business becomes an organic, natural, self-perpetuating process.
Everyone wins in a decentralised, democratised financial market. And it’s the stock exchanges that drive the process.
As an entrepreneur, can you afford to ignore the acceleration that listing could give your business growth?
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