Often, I offer a lot of money tips on ways to save money, but it's even more important to know how to make more money, wouldn't you agree?
After hearing Marianne Williamson, author of "A Return to Love", speak in Salt Lake City, UT a few days ago, I felt impressed to address this topic. I encounter a lot of people, entrepreneurs and employees alike, who wonder:
"What can I do to make more money?
Do I need to work harder? Smarter?
Why does it seem so hard sometimes?"
Although these are great questions to be asking, it's the wrong question. The reason the answer seems so mystifying to many is because everyone is trying to get more of the result (money) without addressing what causes money to show up in the first place. Once I finally understood this, making money got a lot easier and caused a lot less guilt.
If you want to earn more money, add more value (that OTHERS see as valuable) to more people's lives.
And stop looking at your employer or your potential customer/client as a way to make money! Seek to serve first, profit second! The other way around makes you broke and makes people not like you.
In other words:
Cause - Adding Value to Others
Result - Money (and other forms of compensation)
It's that simple...and that complex. Every dollar I've ever earned, and you've ever earned, has come from someone else's bank account. Money doesn't make more money. Money is only a currency that people use to exchange with others. If you offer something they value more than the money, they'll exchange it.
For example, I'm about to release my 6-disc CD set for $97. The reason I know that that price is more than reasonable is the concepts should add hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to anyone who listens and applies it. It's the same way with my mentoring packages too. My whole goal is to help someone get a much better return on investment than what they pay for it. Shouldn't that be your focus too? Add more value than what you take?
So how does this apply to you?
If you work a job - Your wages have to be less than what you are worth to the company. Otherwise, you won't have a job for very long. If you want better job security or a raise, find ways to add more value to your employer that exceeds your wages.
If you are an entrepreneur - Find ways to add value that others want to justify compensating you. It annoys me when business owners assume people just want to buy their products or services. Do your customers or clients know why they should buy it? Why should they care? Is that really what they are looking for? How are you communicating it?
As Anthony Robbins says, "Success leaves clues." Money is a clue about whether you are providing value to others. The more money you are earning, the more value you are creating.
The secret to making more money is adding more value for more people!
Make sense? What have you learned about how to earn more money? Please comment below!
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What's the one thing people forget when aggressively trying to pay off their debts?
What was it that saved my client's business when the unexpected happened?
Although I mentioned this in last week's blog, it's worth revisiting again.
Before you pay off your loans, build your savings to take care of at least one month's expenses!
Because you need a good defense to compliment your offense if you're going to win the money game.
So often, we get so focused on paying off our loans, we forget that life happens. Our life does not work in a calculator! Stuff happens, right? (G-Rating just applied)
Maybe you have done what I used to do where I would focus my extra money paying down loans and then wonder why I would have a credit card balance from time to time. You're happy when you pay them off, but feel guilty when you charge them up again. Your money feels like a rubber band that grows and shrinks.
I told you one month's savings, but will want a lot more than that. One month is just the beginning. 6 months in your business and your personal savings is the next goal. Make sure the money is easy to get to (liquid) by keeping some in cash and some in the bank.
What if I don't have extra to save each month?
Great question! Subscribe so you can download my "7 Secrets to Free Up Cash Today" and have more money to save.
Not having savings could not only cost you interest on a credit card, it could cost your peace of mind, thousands of dollars in income you would never see due to a scarcity mindset, and maybe even your business!
For instance, I worked with a couple in New Jersey who thought I was nuts for asking them to keep some money in savings even though they could pay off some credit cards. However, when Hurricane Sandy came to town, their practice had to shut down for 2 weeks dealing with the damages.
How many of us would be stressed if we had to pay our employees, repair costs, and bills, but didn't have money coming in for 2-3 weeks, especially when it can take months before insurance pays you back?
They called me a few weeks ago and admitted that their practice would have had to lay off all employees and shut their doors if they didn't have the reserves I recommended. That really made my day! They weren't the only ones. I heard that dozens of times last year from others. Why was I so confident? Because I screwed up too when "crap hit the fan" in my life. Isn't it amazing what life teaches us? I'm just glad others could experience joy from my pain ;)
What do I do?
Start saving immediately! Start with one month before paying any extra to your loans. Please leave a comment below about how savings has helped you, or questions you have.
Did you make a New Year's resolution to pay your debt off, or at least pay it down?
Did you know that most of the strategies you're taught is slower and riskier than it should be?
How can you pay off your debt without being too risky (which is how everyone teaches to do it)?
I'm going to teach you a few tricks that I've taught hundreds of my clients to do to pay off their debt faster and safer than Dave Ramsey. However, I'll warn you, it might seem against the mainstream advice. If you're not open to doing things differently to getting different results, it won't work for you.
Are you sure you want to know?
Okay, enough playing around.
As a disclaimer, it's very likely that you could do it even faster than I'm teaching you here. My clients were able to do it faster because I was able to see their individual situation. However, these are some common tricks that can work for most. They are:
1. Build your emergency reserves to at least one month's of your expenses
2. Stop contributing to retirement accounts
3. Refinance your loans
4. Ignore the interest rate
Build Your Emergency Reserves
The biggest mistake I see is that people feel guilty about having debt (another conversation for another time) and only focus on paying it off. Along with a good offense, you need to have a good defense. Why pay off that 5% car loan quicker only to have to use your 18% credit card for an unexpected emergency because you used all your cash to pay off your car? Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Build your defense and peace of mind first, then attack!
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Stop Contributing to Retirement Accounts
Same thing here! Why hope and pray for a 5% return in the stock market when you could be paying off a loan at a higher interest. Paying off a debt has a guaranteed rate of return. No financial planner can compete with that!
Refinance Your Loans
This is the one where I get the most push-back, but often gives them the biggest results and peace of mind. We have been so emotionally brainwashed by the banks to pay them back faster, that we feel guilty when we refinance to a longer term and/or lower interest rates. Now is a great time to refinance because of the low rates! Remember, it's about freeing up cash flow so you can pay off the debts faster. Sometimes, refinancing your home may free up $1000/month to make you more financially stable to pay off your other debts faster!
Ignore the Interest Rate
I asked you if you were ready for this. Are you still with me? Buckle up!
Like the refinancing point, we have been trained by banks to pay them back faster so they can use our money to make more money faster. They use interest rates as a tool to get you to do what they want. Financial freedom and peace comes from having cash flow, not just having less debt. Don't lose sight of this!
For example, paying down your mortgage or your car loan in half doesn't help you when the payment stays the same and you get laid off or your income reduces for some reason. Until it's totally paid off, you don't notice a difference. Focus on paying off one loan at a time that has the lowest balance with the highest payment.
That doesn't always mean paying off the lowest balance first either. For instance, if I had two $1000 loans - one car loan (5%) at $200/month and one credit card (18%) at $30/month - I'm paying off the car ASAP. It's safer because you just saved $200/month instead of $30, and you'll pay off the credit card just as fast anyway. Interest doesn't make much difference short term. It's all about the cash flow! Can you see how this could be safer AND faster than the typical, worn out advice?
Start here and apply this in your own situation. After helping hundreds of entrepreneurs, and others, use these methods (and more), I've seen them hit financial benchmarks they've never seen before. They're happier during the process because life doesn't slow them down, and they're excited afterward. Try it, you might like it! ;)
What other methods have worked for you?
This is the time of year that entrepreneurs start worrying about taxes and catching up on their numbers from last year. The question I'm often asked is: "Should I set up a corporation?" Or, "at what point or dollar amount should I set up a corporation?"
This can be a confusing thing to do because you want to do it right and you want to be sure you don't pay for something you don't need, right?
So when should you set up a corporation for your business?
The simple answer is my typical answer: "It depends."
Big Disclaimer - I am not an accountant or an attorney. Consult with them for your specific situation!
Here's what I can tell you:
If you are starting to bring in money, for liability protection alone, you should consider setting up something like an LLC or S Corp/C Corp. It's wise to separate your business activities from your personal. You don't want someone suing you who can get to anything they feel like, right?
What's an LLC for? This is typically for holding assets (property, equipment, etc.) or certain types of partnerships. It can also provide some tax advantages as you get started.
What's an S Corporation for? This is usually best for businesses that offer services, like consulting practices, small businesses, family run businesses, etc. This can have better tax advantages after you start paying yourself at least $50,000/yr (consult your accountant for verification). There can be HUGE tax savings with this type of corporation over using an LLC. Unfortunately, most small business owners don't know what they are and their accountants/CPA's don't teach them.
Pet Peeve alert - I can't stand accountants or CPA's who are "passive accountants" that only do your numbers, but never offer counsel to improve your situation, especially before the end of the year!
What's a C Corporation for? This is typically best if you want to take your company on the public stock markets or sell off shares of the company to others.
As mentioned earlier, consult an attorney to know the right corporation for your business, and your accountant to know the tax advantages.
Unfortunately, I've noticed most people don't have a good attorney/accountant team that agree like our team does. Be sure to question why they say it. For example, I've know accountants to say you need to make at least $250,000 in your business to worry about setting up anything. That's usually wrong, and potentially, risky to you. Some may get defensive by the question because they were being too passive with your money.
Don't hire passive professionals who never advise you unless you ask. Hire those that will look after your best interests BEFORE the question arises.
To sum it up, don't procrastinate setting up your corporation if you are starting to bring in money. Contact your attorney first to know what corporation to set up, then contact your CPA to know how to use it.
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Of the hundreds of entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with one of the biggest obstacles I see that prevents them (and all of us really) from making more money is because they lack two things – clarity and a willingness to take action now.
Does this seem familiar to you too?
Clarity - Do you know EXACTLY what you want, and most importantly, WHY?
Before I can show anyone where they are leaking money (both personally and professionally), I start by asking where there is the biggest potential leak, “What do you want?”
Ironically, most don’t really know. They usually know what they don’t want, which, keeps them getting more of what they don’t want. A recently divorced person tends to focus on not marrying the same type of person. However, they usually end up marrying the same person because they are so focused on not marrying that kind of "insert favorite adjective" again.
Therefore, they feel stuck in a vicious rat race.
Write down what it is you really want, not what you don't want!
Taking Action - Once you're clear on what you want, are you willing to do what it takes? Are you sure? Are you REALLY sure?
For instance, as I help entrepreneurs get clear how they are losing money (overpaying taxes, missed income opportunities, paying too much for debt, etc.), the true test begins. I would ask you the same questions....
- Are you willing to call my accountant to have their taxes done right, or do you seem to care more for your accountant than your own family?
- Will you increase their fees or start that new product/service, or are you procrastinating (but only until tomorrow)? ;)
- Will you follow my advice to get your loan payments down, even if you got a “no” initially? By the way, this happens a lot and many won't keep trying.
- Are you committed to invest only 30-60 minutes to keep your finances in order and save yourself thousands?
- What are you willing to do or exchange to get more out of your life?
Knowledge isn’t power. Properly applied knowledge is power. We, as entrepreneurs tend to over-think things or make it more complex than it needs to be. Like Nike’s old motto, sometimes it’s better to “just do it.”
Simply put, when you know what to do, go do it right now!
***Get instant access to the Thrive Mastery Book (business tips from 25 successful small business owners, including yours truly), plus additional trainings FOR FREE! - http://bit.ly/XtgUTn Get it now!
How do you feel about your money situation in 2012? Was it better than expected? Worse? Are you "planning" on making 2013 better? Are you committed to making it happen, or are you going to be like most people and "should" all over yourself talking about what you're not doing. Are you committed to use only an hour or so of your vacation time to finally achieve what you want?
Remember, you can't expect to have different results thinking and acting the same way you did last year. It requires new commitment and a new strategy. Besides, do you really want to end up like most who get disappointed they got similar results as the previous year? Even if you did better in 2012, do you wonder why you didn't have more savings or pay off more debt? Because I understand our human nature (being human myself), I am offering 3 simple ways that has worked for me that WILL improve your financial life in 2013.
- Create a budget by reviewing at least 6 months from 2012
- Set objectives for 2013
- Spend at least 3-5 minutes weekly actively tracking your money
That's it! Let me explain each of these further so you don't just read it, but never act (big pet peeve of mine).
1. Create a budget by reviewing at least 6 months from 2012
This one is the most time consuming, but fortunately, you only have to do it once this intensely. A great tool to use is setting up a free account at Mint.com and connect all of your personal accounts. If you want to track business expenses, use QuickBooks, Quicken, or a free site, like Mint, at Outright.com. Once you've connected your accounts, go back as far as you can, and start categorizing your income and expenses. Warning - This is the toughest part! But once you do it, and follow the other steps, it gets easier.
Once you've done this, go into the Budgets section (or the Trend section), and view the average you have spent each month. From there, create a rough budget. Don't get too married to this number since it can change on some of these when you track it for 12 months or more. There are great tutorials to help you with this. The key is to get started here and commit to doing it all year long.
2. Set Objectives for 2013
You need to have a driving force (a big "why") to inspire different habits this year! Although you may like it, I can't stand using the word "goals." Goals, in my mind, are those lofty dreams you set only to get disappointed later. I prefer to use the term "objectives" because it sounds like I'm on a mission and it MUST be accomplished. However, use whatever word works best for you.
Be sure to set objectives that you are at least 70-80% sure you can achieve and that excite you. It must be measurable, believable (with some effort), and excite you! These are objectives (goals) that you cannot give up on nor be too "airy-fairy." It's okay to set an objective that is only a little better than last year. Remember, progress over perfection.
3. Spend at Least 3-5 Minutes Weekly actively Tracking Your Money
This one is the simplest, but many people fail here. Tracking your money is like working out, but WAY easier. Each week, we should be spending at least 2-3 hours exercising, right? But all I ask is that you spend no more than 5 minutes each week tracking your money. Imagine if you could get a super lean and fit body working out only 5 minutes per week! So why not spend that time tracking something that affects every aspect of your life - your money?
The neat thing about these programs, is they remember how you categorize, and you don't have to do much maintenance. For example, if you shop at Costco and categorize it as Groceries, the next time you shop there, it'll automatically categorize it in Groceries. Isn't that awesome?! All you have to do is make sure they are categorized correctly, make sure your budget is working, and make sure you are profitable each month (more income than expenses).
Doing these 3 things alone will increase your odds of success this year! I've also noticed people saving money and paying off debt faster just because they are actively tracking it rather than spending whatever they have and fighting with their spouses about spending money. Acting on these simple strategies will guarantee less stress and better odds that you'll achieve your financial desires in 2013.
To help you stay accountable and achieve results faster, you can receive our weekly money tips and, as a bonus, "7 Secrets to Free Up Cash Today" by subscribing HERE.
Now, stop procrastinating and get to work!!!
Had a fantastic time interviewing on Dr. Ande's Solutionspreneur Radio Show! My interview begins 60 minutes in, but you're welcome to listen to the other experts in other fields as well. On this show, I addressed:
- The importance of tracking your money or you will lose it
- How having a corporation can save you in taxes and keep you from losing money
- The financial myths that keep business owners struggling and how it drives me nuts
- How business should be your #1 investment
Click HERE to listen to this informative radio show interview!
Are you feeling a little stressed with the holiday season coming up and wondering how you will afford a nice Christmas without running up credit cards? Would you like to have some extra cash to take that nice getaway with your family? To help you have more money this holiday season, I'm providing some easy money saving tips below that I've tried and tested to help me free up $1,819/month in my own budget just in time for the holidays!
- (Consult an accountant before trying this) Increase your tax exemptions so they withhold little to no taxes. I used this one before where I would go tax exempt for a month or two so I wouldn't lose half of my holiday bonus because of taxes. Most of us, if we pay taxes throughout the year, pay what we need to pay by September. Why not take more money home today rather than using it to pay off your credit card bill from Christmas where you got charged a few months worth of interest? As I said above though, since everyone's situation is different, consult your accountant.
- Do our 5% Challenge. Look at your expenses and see if you can find ways to cut at least 5% from each area. For example, last month, I called up a competing internet company where I was able to save about $20/month and get faster internet speed. If you spend $5000 each month, this would mean you would strive to cut $250/month out of your budget. Wouldn't that be great?
- Temporarily stop retirement plan contributions. Don't pass up on some potentially wonderful memories with your family today for putting away only a few hundred dollars over the next month into a retirement plan that you may not even be alive to enjoy. It's even worse if the stock market tanks. I'm not saying you don't save for retirement, but there are some investments into those that you love most that you may be forgetting. If you tend to charge credit cards during the holidays, this could save your from having to pay higher interest rates than what you would earn in a retirement plan.
- Sell off your junk! Find a way to clean out that garage or storage shed while earning some extra cash by selling your junk. I'm sure your spouse will thank you and it will declutter your life. My wife and I made an extra $2000 one year just from cleaning out our house!
- Earn extra income. Now is usually a great time when stores need seasonal help, work some overtime by covering shifts, or by having a side business. If you only focus on decreasing your expenses, you've forgotten about the other half of the equation - increasing your income. Find ways where you can earn a little extra cash, whether it be temporary or permanent.
- Refinance or restructure loans. This is the main thing that allowed me to free up the majority of the $1,819/month and can be a lot of fun to do. With interest rates being low, you could end up refinancing some loans to get a better interest rate AND skip the next month's payment! If you already have great interest rates or need the cash, you can also call your loan company (i.e. mortgage company, auto lender, student loan lender, etc.) and ask to skip a month or two payments on your loans. They will often allow you to extend your loan terms which could give you extra cash for the holidays or pay off a credit card faster.
- Make minimum payments on loans this month. So often, I see people try to apply extra payments to all of their loans. First off, it's a slow and depressing way to pay off your debts. Second, you should only focus it on one loan at a time. Why not pay minimums temporarily to ensure you don't have to charge a credit card later? Spending just one or two months paying minimum payments will not destroy your ability to become financially free. Ironically, I watch more people become frustrated because they applied too much to their loans (especially the lower interest loans) and then have to charge up their high interest credit cards. As a result, they feel frustrated that their debt acts like a rubber band - always shrinking and expanding.
Try these out and leave a comment about how much you were able to free up this holiday season. Also, what other ways were you able to free up cash?
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