The End of an era, the end of your job…
You sit at the kitchen table – stunned by the news: you have been fired/laid off/downsized/retired/right sized [pick one] or add your own reason for leaving the job.
Well, first things first – Stop And Accept the loss. You might experience grief, denial, happiness – a whole series of emotions – but you must experience them. Get it out of your system. If you can, take a few days (I was going to say “off work”… oops!) take a few days to reflect.
Finished reflecting? Good! Now let’s get down to some serious SURVIVING and when we have figured that out, let’s move on to THRIVING; because I am not sure about your needs – survival is okay but it becomes dreadfully boring… I want more, and YOU will too!
A Random Thought
A business colleague of mine once told me something really interesting, it’s called the theory of effective control. The idea is simple enough and I thought I would share it with you today.
If a client or company controls more than 20% of your income YOU are no longer in control of your business – they are.
Why’s that you might ask – simple really, if they decide to dump you for a cheaper/faster/lighter/whatever version of you or your company’s service/product, they can effectively alter the direction of your success.
Put another way, if they can stop your income in one fell swoop they can STOP YOU!
How do you defend this position, well you just make sure that you spread the risk – have a few clients/income sources. If one stream goes dry you have another, and it gives you time to seek out a replacement without making rash and often inappropriate choices (we all go a little strange when under pressure)
Now who’s in control? Sound like anyone you know ~ food for thought isn’t it.
Reviewing Your Assets (what do you have to ‘work’ with?)
Okay, so you are over the shock – or at least you should be – and now you have to come to terms with the new situation. In this step we need to marshal your resources – we need to review your assets, and develop a list of things we can use to survive life’s little curve ball.
SIDE BAR – Job Security
I was never a big fan of the whole employment mindset for a few very good reasons: 1 – You feel secure in the knowledge of a regular pay check and 2 – You feel secure in the knowledge of a regular pay check
Security is (and always will be) a perception issue – you feel secure because of the regularity of the job, because of the hype and the images portrayed in the press and even spoken amongst friends.
Perhaps I can remind you of something… Those people who own the company you work for (or now worked for) own that business for one simple reason – to make money. If they were not in it “for the money” it would be called a charity! Might I also ask you another question? Usually the biggest single expense a company can incur is the cost of employing people… people like you.
Now if I could automate and systemize my company then I can reduce my labour costs and increase my profits, I can get a larger and healthier return on my investment (ROI). If I am the president of that firm I know I would go that route because my compensation is tied to profit (usually).
So why do you think the staff are always the first to go in a reshuffle or strategic merger… PROFITS! And swinging the axe reaps them quicker than any other way – unless you favour the illegal route like certain nameless companies of late!
Regular pay checks make people sluggish – they trust too much. Gone are the days of job security – heck! I doubt they ever existed really; just things moved a lot slower 30 or 40 years ago.
Something to think about if you want to get another job, maybe you should treat the job differently?
So life threw you a curve ball.
It is a little scary; however most people are only about three pay checks away from bankruptcy. That is about 90 days for most of us, a little less if you were paid more frequently.
So in three pay cycles you could lose the house, the car and become one of the many unfortunate few now filing for personal bankruptcy in greater and greater numbers.
Next we are going to discuss ways to cut some costs, but for now we need to develop this list – here are a few ideas to get you started:
House, cars, ~toys~, jewellery, bonds, investments, paintings, antiques, rare items, land or other property deeds, retirement funds, college funds – use your imagination.
Now don’t get all nervous on me, I am not suggesting you go out and start selling them all – not yet anyway and you would not get much for them in a ‘fire sale’ (a fire sale is when you dump or liquidate assets ~ you can expect well under 50% of the current fair market value in a fire sale) No, I simply want you to get a handle on what you DO HAVE – it will make you feel better for one thing, and you can always pledge assets if you need to get a short term loan from someone such as the bank.
One thing I would like you to pay close attention to are the toys – you know, golf clubs, radio-controlled cars/planes etc, sewing machines, exercise equipment, ‘spare’ electronic gadgets – you know – the toys… The kind of toys that are fun but not a requirement for survival – these items would be the first to go in a controlled fashion IF it comes to it.
There are numerous ways to get top dollar for all your excess ‘stuff’ without people knowing you are hurting for cash (because if they know they will squeeeeze you for a lower price). We discuss some of the best places to sell items later in this report.
So, to recap – just figure out what assets you do indeed have. Try and get a value and try and figure out how much time is involved in converting them from stuff into cash.
Reducing Your Expenses (Cut costs)
So you lost your job, you’ve had to wander around your home assessing your net worth and now I am going to make you feel even more cheerful by discussing ways to cut your expenses. I know this is not fun, but bear with me. But why not focus on earning money, why not focus on replacing the lost income you say?
TIP: A dollar saved is NOT the same as a dollar earned…
To earn a dollar you must earn the dollar plus the tax, to save a dollar requires a simple enough exercise. Now you see why cutting costs is the first step. Earning it back comes next – in fact we start talking about that soon.
Cutting costs is not all that hard really – you just need to be honest with yourself. You need to itemize ALL (and I mean ALL) the monthly expenses – including the fuzzy expenses like cigarettes, occasional lunches and candy bars.
You need to list them all out and then along side record WHAT you use to pay for them. Again, just bear with the process for a moment – I have a point.
Now, order that list (it might be a good idea to use a spreadsheet program like Excel to perform this task) by the payment method.
In a survival situation you need to cut costs and you need desperately to hold onto any reserves of cash you may have. I asked you to list out the payment methods so you are aware how you are ‘financing’ your spending.
If you spend cash it is gone, if you use credit it can be FREE money for a time period – if you carry a balance then it costs you. Credit cards are VERY pricey and to use them to finance your purchases is a dangerous route at best.
BONUS TIP: Identify any expenses that can be converted – find out if the debt can be converted into a payment plan of some kind – reserve your cash for emergencies.
If you are already a very careful person you might not have any obvious costs to cut back on – in that case I suggest you focus your attention on the cost of purchase items – like the credit card and the bank overdraft and the store cards. If you think you are going to be without money for some time you might consider a consolidation loan with the bank – you might want to do this BEFORE they find out about the recent career change!
Another way to cut costs is by consolidating your high interest expenses into a lower rate debt – like a home equity advance. It may make sense to realize some of your house’s intrinsic value by drawing down on the equity – the debt will be cheaper than high rate cards and the cash can help you through the “dry patch”.
Seriously though, take the time and compare your expenses to your assets – in particular your cash position. You need a clear head to focus on the next series of thoughts and ideas – without that sense of peace that comes from knowing right where you stand, you will be plagued with doubt and worry and be unable to fully realize your potential in the upcoming tasks.
Revenue Streams (“Show Me The Money” – J.McGuire)
Let’s talk about revenue streams – I prefer torrents but we have to start somewhere
In an earlier step I mentioned effective control, I also said that you need to spread the income streams around to reduce the risk – this still holds true and we are going to discuss a few concepts that you may or may not be aware of.
Standard Income Stream: LINEAR
Your job was probably a prime example of a linear income stream, you worked 1 hour and they paid you for one hour (less any deductions of course). You never got paid again for that hours work. As you get more efficient in your job you can produce more in the same time – but you still only get paid for the one hour… hmmm, sounds unfair to me.
Residual Income Stream: NON-LINEAR
An example of a non-linear stream is where you do the task once and get paid repeatedly. A perfect example of this is an author, they get paid royalties for every book they sell, a musician gets paid each time the music is played and the list of residual opportunities goes on. Essentially you work once and get paid many times. Now this is more like it.
What I need you to consider now is the fact that you need a few revenue streams – I personally aim for 10 myself and that way you always have some streams developing, some producing and some dying off and the cycle goes on.
You had a job and I bet it provided 100% of your revenue stream. If you have a partner and they work then you may have their income to soften the fall, but none the less the “all the eggs in one basket” is NOT the way to live a smooth and hassle free life… but what am I telling you this for, you know this already!
You need to develop some other money making business opportunities and in the next steps we will look at a few good ones.
Did you know: the #1 business (currently) on the Internet is the provision of adult site material to viewers? Don’t worry, I am not recommending you start up an adult site!
Did you know: the #2 business is the sale of INFORMATION…?
Alternate Cash Sources
There are two groupings for cash – short term and long term availability. Let’s start with the short term – or quick cash sources.
‘QUICK’ CASH – The obvious ones are redeemable investments, cash in the bank, bonds, insurances and so on. We should not overlook the obvious ones like your bank overdraft, your credit cards and your line of credit.
‘LONGER TERM CASH’ – Would be ‘new’ loans secured with collateral or a simple one for most home owners – the home equity loan. This last one is a great way to profit from the appreciation of your biggest asset – your home.
I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking, “But James, I don’t own my own home and I don’t have all these disposable assets…” Well that does pose a problem… but not an insurmountable one.
I have this personal credo I live by and it goes a bit like this… if I need a way out and I am facing a brick wall… I create a door way! In other words, make your own destiny, create a cash generator if you can’t liquidate something… take charge of your life or it will take charge if you.
Enough sophistry, here’s how I recommend you tackle the need for quick cash if you have no convertible assets… actually before I tell you I need you to put yourself in ‘accepting mode’ momentarily. I am going to tell you something that you will probably not accept, you will do everything you can to talk yourself out of why this will not work for you.
As I said, just bear with me – it does work and I have helped many people (and businesses) add another income stream to their lives with this simple approach.
Are you ready?
Drum roll please……. eBay !!!
Those four characters e~B~a~y can change your life … maybe not forever (but that one is up to you) but long enough for you to survive and thrive life’s little curve ball.
eBay is the worlds biggest online market (millions of customers), you can sell almost anything, the ‘store’ is open 24x7x365, it’s GLOBAL in nature and believe me when I tell you this… people will buy the darnedest things and pay the most outrageous prices for items they want.
~ You always make money by finding a need and filling it ~
Remember earlier we discussed reviewing your assets, I told you to pay special attention to ‘toys’ – eBay is why. These toys are the primary items you would sell online if you need quick cash. In eBay terms quick cash is about two weeks or less: the average ‘auction’ runs for 7 days and people usually pay within a few days. You can run an auction for 3 days if the item is a HOT seller.
If you like yard sales then you will find eBay good fun – and profitable too. Try not to limit your thinking about the whole eBay idea – you can sell pretty much anything, your old games, books, clothes, jewellery, pictures – even ones YOU took with digital camera at the last Britney Spears concert (I have seen it done!) and your imagination – and eBay policy – is really the only limit.
Just in case you don’t need quick cash does not mean you should not consider eBay – I use it to sell things I no longer want or need… I sold a radio controlled air plane, some sports equipment, antique geometry equipment and even some old ’78 records! It’s all fair game on eBay. http://www.ebay.com
Rather than get into too many details about running an eBay auction I should just tell you to visit the web site and see for your self – it’s truly amazing!
One final word about eBay, you can use it in many ways – for now I am only talking about the obvious – selling items online, but don’t let that fool you, there are many ways to make use of the power of eBay to boost your revenue streams.
Building Your Future (Be your own boss)
So do you want to build a business?
Do you really want a business or do you just want CA$H ? There is a significant difference, cash is easy enough to get with a little effort and some creativity (see Step #5) however developing or building a business is a whole other matter. For now I am going to focus on building the ground work for a business.
Do you know the difference between being self employed and owning a business…? If you can take a vacation and the business is still MAKING MONEY then it’s a business… otherwise it’s just a job and we all know where that can lead.
If I may be so bold as to make some observations about you:
1) You have access to a computer
2) You can read and write English
3) You are open minded – or you would not be reading this
4) You know how to use the Internet – or you would not have found this
5) You were gainfully employed until recently (or still are employed but are looking to cover your bases)
6) You have at least one hobby you enjoy (hopefully)
7) You are like most humans: you will accept quick instead of slow, easy instead of hard, simple instead of complex and you think of your self as a good person.
Using the above ‘profile’ I can tell you are a lot like me – and about every other person in the Western world. That’s good; it makes the next parts easier.
I will also add to the mix the following criteria for my idea of a perfect business:
1) No employees
2) No set hours (PT or FT)
3) No inventory (darned expensive carrying inventory)
4) No face to face selling (unless you want to)
5) High profits
6) No suppliers or vendors
7) No middle-men (or middle-people if you are P.C)
8) Multi-stream capable
9) Simple and easy to operate
10) YOU have ALL the expertise you’ll ever need
11) It’s non-linear (residual)
12) Completely AUTOMATABLE…
This last point is a really important one, AUTOMATABLE. I have my various endeavours set to run on auto-pilot without my involvement – it sounds corny but I can make money while I am in the bath, or sleeping or out walking the cat – yes, I said CAT, I was just seeing if you are paying attention!
If we look around today at the #1 business on the Internet we find it is adult entertainment… Not my idea of a good business, why? Because the competition is too stiff (if you’ll excuse the pun.) The dynamics of the whole adult industry are based on images and perception. It’s just too subjective in my opinion and very expensive to promote.
One of the other criteria I imagine you have is that you’d like to start your business on a shoestring budget.
Okay, let’s forget about becoming the next great adult site and set our sites on something we can excel in.
What is the Internet ‘really’ all about? In my opinion it’s all about information: huge libraries online and all available for us to find what ever we’re looking for – right?
Okay, it should come as no real surprise the #2 business on the Internet is information sales. It’s become a very lucrative business indeed. I would say that the mail order world found a new media and assimilated it with a passion.
So what has this got to do with you? Simple, your best bet at generating a business that will work tirelessly and relentlessly is that of an automated INFO PRODUCT publisher. It can be about anything you wish, any thing YOU are passionate about, anything YOU know that other people don’t.
You create a short report, a ‘white-paper’ an e-book (if you want to give it its online trendy name) – but it’s just a document none the less. You write it the best you can – no Hemingway’s required here – passion will carry a person further than their legs alone!
You then create around your e-book a marketing engine that will promote your product in e-zines, on web sites, offline in classifieds, you implement an automated order taking, delivery and payment processing system, you partner with others and steadily add more products to your micro- publishing empire.
It will take some time to do all this, maybe a month or so (not full time – just working a bit here and there) and if you do it properly you will end up with a completely automated system.
“But James, my new publishing business generates only $500 a month…” I say “Excellent!” Now here is the ‘kicker’ do it again… and again and again until you have 10 little publishing endeavours and a nice $5,000 a month…
And it all works like clock work and YOU don’t have to do anything other than think up new ideas and ways to spend your time (and money) …
Sounds almost too good to be true doesn’t it?
Well it is and it isn’t. The mechanics are easily explained but what seems to cause most people to fail is the sheer simplicity of it…and the fact that it takes time and effort. To launch my first info product took nearly two hundred hours (it’s a whole lot quicker now – 10 or more times faster actually!)
Human nature being what it is always seeks instant gratification. If you can delay that need until your ‘empire’ is launched you will be so much better off. The work comes first and the profits come later – it is NOT like the service industry where you work for an hour and get paid for an hour at the end of the month. This venture requires commitment and hard work BUT and this is a REALLY BIG BUT… it’s a one time expense and then the royalties keep rolling in.
Work ONCE get paid MANY… No more work, just streams of cash for each product you publish. And don’t tell me you can’t write that wont wash with me – and don’t tell me you can’t think of what to write… IMPOSSIBLE I say! And even if it was true (and it’s not) I can show you a dozen or more ways to get OTHERS to write the product for you… Does “Chicken Soup For The…” ring any bells. These guys got OTHER people to send in their heart warming stories and then THEY published them!!! Amazing and true.
A very good question I might say. Now what indeed? Well if you are even remotely like me you have already sensed that I favour the free agent lifestyle – yes it has its price (the occasional sleepless night) but on the whole I would not trade that for a pay check in an instant.
I prefer the freedom to live the non-ordinary life in an ordinary way. I mentioned earlier that it was not just about money, it was about lifestyle. I like my life, I like the lifestyle – I work when I want to work, I help people I want to help and I play when I want to play.
Now don’t think for one minute I am a ‘goof off’ Oh no, I often work long days and put in 12 to 14 hour days… then I goof off Seriously though, I love what I do so it’s not really work. I work hard and enjoy it and when the business gods favour me, I turn a tidy profit.
What do I want for you – I want you to realize the following 10 items:
1) There is no security in a job.
2) 95% of people who follow the pack are sheep, and sheep get slaughtered!
3) Only 5% are financially successful at 65.
4) Never give away your authority – like trusting a company to invest YOUR money or pension funds.
5) Sh*t does NOT happen as often as the insurance companies would have you believe.
6) You must start your own company – no matter how small, the tax advantages alone make it at least a 30% ROI!!!
7) You must invest in yourself – it will generate rates of return unheard of in banking circles!
8) The Internet has changed everything, and at the same time NOTHING has changed with people – fundamentals still exist and remain the same.
9) Self employed people earn at least twice as much as ‘employed’ people… and they can avoid on-coming career damaging activities because they are aware these negatives actually exist.
10) Self employed and a owning a business are not the same thing.
BONUS TIP: There is NO security in a job – say it with me.
Wishing you every success,
PS. This article and advice was excerpted from my compendium project referred to internally as “HTSATWAJ” … silly name but a cool project none-the-less. Basically I compiled a HUUUGE resource library of short articles and other information explaining hundreds of ways to make money if you were either unemployed or simply looking to create some more cash. The compendium is over 300 pages long and contains more than 400 unique and creative ways to survive and thrive in today’s tough economic, social and political environment.
> It’s yours FREE if you’d like a copy, simply CLICK HERE.