Posts Tagged ‘money’

“Not-only-for-profit”

July 18, 2010

Not all businesspeople are greedy.  We’ve heard the Bernie Madoff investment stories, heard about banks that lend to unqualified candidates, and have seen the get-rich-quick promises on late night TV.  It’s easy to quickly classify all businesspeople or for-profit companies as greedy.  And I agree, greed is typically a short-sighted model for taking advantage of others.

But on the other side of greed is the fear of money. Too many people shun the idea of making money as evil and believe good can only be done by non-profits.  These individuals then spend 80% of their precious time begging for money in lieu of working on the cause about which they are passionate.  Don’t get caught in the delusion that being destitute is a necessary situation for helping the world.  In fact, it will cripple your ability to do so.  Money is like fire – it can burn you and leave you disfigured, or it can keep you warm and safe.

Since Adam Smith, economists have understood that “self-love” leads to quality products and social benefits.  If a baker makes wonderful bread, he/she brings nutrition and pleasure to the community as well as financial rewards for himself and his family.  It is not his “benevolence” but self-interest that provides the most benefits for everyone involved.  And there can be true authentic “benevolence” as well.

Good intentions and a pure and giving heart are not enough.  Economic accountability is a good thing.  If an organization’s efforts are secured by God, the government or the heartstrings of generous individuals, it can be run inefficiently with little measurement of accomplishment.  The businessman has no such cushion.  Either something of value and fair exchange is produced and delivered or the business will not survive.  In that sense, the business model requires more honesty and transparency than the non-profit.

I love running a business.  I love not being handcuffed by a publicly traded board of directors or by the required board for a non-profit organization.  We can make decisions quickly about giving and blessing – and about sound financial opportunities.  I am deeply grateful and feel privileged to be able to have a “not-only-for-profit” company.

How would you categorize your work or business?

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Confused and Stunned – awesome!

July 2, 2010

Is now a time to try something new – perhaps something you’ve never done before?  Or should you sit out the “recession” and wait until “things get better.”

“The times when everyone is confused and stunned can present an enormous opportunity because no one’s really doing anything,” says Dell Computer founder Michael Dell.  “I think this is the time when the seeds of really successful new businesses will be created.”

Designer Kenneth Cole says, “When things are going well, people want to do what’s working and more of it.  It’s only in difficult times that people are open to creative alternatives.”

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, points out that some of the greatest businesses were built in recessionary times.  “Money is easy to find in boom times, which leads to far too many businesses getting out of the gate that don’t deserve to be started.  When money is scarce, better ideas face less competition and better execution can lead to greater success.”

Whether it’s changing career paths or starting your own business, there’s never been a more opportune time than today.  July 1st marks the beginning of the second half of 2010.  And what better time to claim your “independence” than on July 4th.  Recognize you are in the driver’s seat, break ties with the mother country if necessary and begin your personal revolution. And remember, “things” get better when you get better.

Show me the money – in my paycheck!

April 30, 2010

Here’s a question I received a couple of days ago:

“Dan – I work for a large corporation and have recently applied for a new position. The person in this position before me has the same credentials as I do and about the same experience. They have offered me the position for about $5,500.00 less than what was being paid to the previous person.  What do you think is the best way to handle this situation?”

 Here are some guidelines:

Pay is NOT based on:

  • Your age
  • Your previous salary (or the previous salary for the position)
  • Your degrees
  • Your work history
  • The amount of your mortgage payment
  • How long you’ve been unemployed
  • Whether you’re married or single

The only criteria for determining your value is:

  • Your unique value and level of responsibility

 The biggest mistake people make in negotiating salary is:

  • To discuss it too soon

 Check sites like Salary.com to see a realistic range

No Money – Just Think

April 6, 2010

The most common complaint I hear today is “Dan, I’d do something on my own but I don’t have any money”  Fortunately, many of the best ideas do not require buildings, leases, employees, or inventory.  And many can be started with very little, if any, capital.

Here are some recent hits:  

  • A hunter got an option on 400 isolated acres, then sold 40 hunting licenses for $5000 each.  He then completed the purchase free and clear and pocketed approximately $50,000.
  • An artifacts dealer arranged an exhibit for some rare Dead Sea Scroll pieces.  He had 30,000 people come through a minimally promoted showing in a small town.  Now he is opening in a major city, anticipating 50,000 viewers at $19 each.  You do the math.
  • A computer guy discovered the internal battery on his Apple computer needed to be replaced – at about $125.  He researched and found a small tool at Sears for $3.00 and the batteries in bulk for $2.00 each.  With these and a one-page explanation he created a repair kit for this common problem.  In a sixty day period he sold 700 kits at $24.95.
  • An artist received a comment that her paintings were so peaceful.  This comment triggered a thought that people going to dentist’s offices needed a peaceful surrounding.  She has been immensely successful by going to dentist’s conventions – likely the only artist there – and selling her paintings to dentists.
  • A high school student went to garage sales with his mother to buy Disney items.  He then placed them on eBay, netting approximately $3000 monthly in anticipation of beginning college.  Kinda beats the $8/hr job at McDonalds.
  • Another client wanted to be in the antique business but had no money.  He leased a warehouse, dividing it into 72 spaces for an antique mall.  In a 60-day period he rented 70 spaces, collecting first and last month’s rent.  With this $7000 he completed the lease, did some minimal renovations, and opened for business.  His rent is $1500 and he is collecting $3500.  In addition, he has two spaces for his own merchandise and receives a 10% commission on everyone’s sales.
  • One of our 48 Days coaches wanted to write a book.*  He got eleven other coaches to submit a chapter.  Then he had them pay $3500 each to get 500 copies for themselves (a 50% discount off retail).  He printed the books showing himself as the lead author – put a clean $30,000 in his pocket and continues to have the contributing authors purchase books from him.

*If you want to know more about how to turn your writing into income join us for the next Write to the Bank event here at the Sanctuary. 

I’m completing my list of 48 ideas you can start with less than $2500 – and make $30-40,000 part time.  Just finishing up with pictures and links. If you want to be featured send me your success story to askdan@48Days.com.

What’s your idea?  Keep in mind, ideas alone don’t put any money in your pocket – you must ACT!!

Is this a scam?

March 3, 2010

Here at 48Days we field a lot of questions where readers want to know if something being promoted is a scam.  Just today someone wanted to know about a Robert Kiyosaki business idea.  The dictionary defines “scam” as to obtain money from somebody by dishonest means.

If someone asks you to send $4000 as a processing fee so he can release his uncle’s money from Nigeria and share the windfall with you, trust me, you’re being scammed.  But most ideas are not that easy to read.

If you see a training course to teach you how to write your own book and after spending $495 you didn’t get a deal from any major publisher, were you scammed?  If you spent $1250 for a windshield repair business and never even recaptured your investment, were you scammed?  What about if you went to an investment training seminar and then proceeded to lose your own capital?  If you purchased a business opportunity to do medical billing – which included you buying an expensive computer system, and then you found out the only key to success in this is being able to market and sell your services, were you scammed?

I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of seminars, workshops, training programs and business opportunity products over the years.  I consider this an integral part of my ongoing learning process.  Yes, I have a library of “millionaire” tapes that provided little useful information, “business opportunities” that consisted of photocopied government forms, teleclasses where there was too much background noise to hear the presenter, and hot cashew vending machines that quickly produced moldy products.

But I have never considered that I was scammed.

The real key is to see the learning that takes place for you in this process.  Not every college course offered any real value – but it was part of a larger process to help you clarify your best options.  I recently worked with a young couple who had just sent over $20,000 to an invention company that promised them wealth and fortune.  We know they will never see any return on the very ordinary ideas they submitted.  But my counsel to them is that some people are sitting in classrooms spending $20,000 a year hoping to get a good idea here and there, and some people are getting their “education” in other ways.  Either way, it’s a legitimate way to be moving toward the right idea for your ultimate success.

Bottom Line:  There’s less risk from getting “Scammed” than there is from doing nothing.

I want a raise

March 2, 2010

This message arrived early this morning as the thought for the day from the Napoleon Hill Foundation.

“Those who do no more than they are paid for have no real basis for requesting more pay because they are already getting all they deserve to earn.”

If you look around you, it will be apparent that there are two types of people in the world: There are those who say, “When this company decides to pay me what I’m worth, then I will do what they want me to do.” The second is the person who says, “I’m going to be the best I can be because that’s the kind of person I am. I also know that if I consistently give more than expected, I will eventually be rewarded for my efforts.” It is easy to see that the positive person contributes most to the organization. Yet, very few people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve success. Make sure you’re a member of that group.

I know this may seem like a tough concept but the principle is pretty simple. If you stand in front of the wood-stove of life and say, “Give me some heat, and then I’ll put some wood in” you’re going to experience a long, cold winter. In real life, work is required before compensation is given.

  • Expecting a guaranteed salary with benefits before proving your worth is an antiquated model. Be willing to prove your value with no guarantee – it will dramatically expand your opportunities.
  • Expecting a raise because you’ve been there one more year is an antiquated model. In today’s workplace you get a raise when you add more value.
  • Expecting a raise because your personal expenses have gone up is an antiquated model. Your personal obligations have nothing to do with your compensation.

Be clear on your value to an organization — and then negotiate a fair exchange.

No Money – No Problem

January 26, 2010

This question from a reader addresses a common concern:

Considering that my calling is going to involve a large pile of cash, how do I balance the principles that you teach about following your calling, and while keeping in mind the principals Dave Ramsey teaches, which include not taking on more debt? (For example, I feel that part of my calling is to build an outdoor roller hockey facility, which will have leagues, community events, and destination for after/year-round school programs. Obviously I will need to purchase a rink, among other things, to get started) – Matt, from North Carolina

No, no, no – you don’t need to “purchase a rink” to get started.  That would be a horrible risk with a brand new business.  Get an agreement with a school to use their parking lot on a Saturday.  You’ll have instant credibility and an audience because of being at the school and you can test your idea.  My oldest son was a bicycle racer for many years.  We organized and attended races all over the country that were set up in downtown business sections, in business office parking lots and rural roads.  The most popular “criterion” races took place on city streets, often right in the middle of a university.  No one would have dreamed of purchasing land for that kind of race.

Frankly, I’ve never had enough money to start a business – but I just went ahead anyway – with whatever resources I had available.  Here are a couple real examples from my past:

  • Auto Appeal – pinstripping.    I ordered the supplies where I had 60 days to pay for them – I ordered about $300 worth of supplies for this business targeted at new car dealers.  I knew the supplies should not be more than 10% of any job.  So that $300 in supplies turned into $3000 in revenue with a $2700 net profit in the first month and I grew the business rapidly with the business profits funding the growth.
  • Telephone Address Book.  I purchased a telephone/address book at a bookstore for $12.96 – still have that receipt.  Then I went to a church and offered to give them 1000 personalize copies of that telephone/address book with their church logo on the front cover.  In exchange, I asked them to give me the names of people they did business with – hotels, restaurants, insurance, etc.  I then gave those businesses the opportunity to highlight their business on the inside front and back covers.  That first project took me four days to complete and netted me $4600 after paying for the 1000 free personalized copies that I gave to the church.
  • Self-publishing 48 Days to the Work You Love.  I did not have a fancy publishing deal when I first started.  Instead, I bought a few three-ring binders at Office Depot, had the inside text copied, recorded a little cassette to stick in the pocket and then sold over 50,000 at $39 each. (total cost $7.50 each)  That’s over $2 million – with start up costs of less than $100.

There are many such success stories I could share. I worked with a gentleman one time who bought an orange grove, using the existing oranges on the trees as his only down payment. Another purchased an old estate house, contracting to sell the antique furniture inside as his

down payment.  Several years ago I bought a house on a Saturday morning, gave the owner $3,000, took over the loan, did some cosmetic improvements, put it back on the market, and sold it for a $21,000 profit. Many of the best ideas today are not capital intensive. They don’t require buildings, employees, and inventory. Fear of failure is a much larger obstacle than the lack of money.

You can go ahead with your outdoor roller hockey business.  Just don’t try to convince yourself that your calling requires you to violate your personal principles.  That’s a compromise you never want to make.

More on No Money – No Problem in No More Mondays, chapter Eleven

Don’t look at the white elephant

November 5, 2009

Boy, talk about calling a spade a spade.  Joanne and I were driving through the mountains in east Tennessee this weekend and passed this real church sign.  I cranked a u-turn and went back for this picture. 

 Church sign

 

 

And then yesterday morning I was pulled aside by a long time friend who wanted my opinion on how his church is asking for money.  He feels like they are begging and using guilt to get people to “give sacrificially.”  Yes I know churches are struggling with the economic downturn as well, but should they resort to the same tactics as a street panhandler? 

 

Here’s the first of nine steps on How to Panhandle from wikiHow:

Swallow your pride. Most people find it difficult to quietly beg for money from friends or relatives; it’s even harder to beg from complete strangers where everybody can see you. Still, you’re going to have to suck it up and be humble.

Or if you’re uncomfortable facing the people you are asking for money, here’s a site that will help you set up your own website to cyberbeg:  And there is a “success” story there where a lady raised $20K to pay off her credit cards.

Personally, I think there are more honorable ways to generate money, whether you’re a church or an individual. 

 

Make Yourself “Fire-Proof”

January 28, 2009

It should be no surprise that the easiest jobs to cut in any downsizing are the ones that cost the company money rather than make it money.  If you know you’re in the first group, start acting like you’re in the second.  That means if you’re the receptionist, be alert to the possibilities for new business in every phone call.  If you’re in an administrative position, be creative in suggesting ways to save the company money.  If you’re in IT, try to spot opportunities for new projects that will generate revenue.  If you’re the janitor, offer to take on the window washing and paper shredding as well.  Let it be known that you are creative and eager to add even more value.  Position yourself as someone who’s part of the solution, not part of the problem. 

 If you’re already someone who is clearly in a revenue generating position, continue to shine – no company wants to cut its income stream. 

If you know you’re costing the company money every day you show up – start polishing your resume.

Money Therapist?

September 21, 2008

ComPsych, the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAPs) reports that requests for therapists are up 20% in the last three months.  Biggest worry: Money.  So let me get this straight – workers are concerned about mortgages, college tuition, collapsing stock prices, and the threat of losing a job – so they are asking for a therapist?

I have a Masters degree in clinical psychology – but really.  Why would someone go to a counselor for money concerns?  I’d recommend they go see someone with money.  If you want to go to a higher level of success in a particular area, find someone who is already performing at the level at which you want to perform.  What’s up with this?  Why would I want someone to help me stop worrying?  I can just bury my head in the sand if that’s the desired goal.

If I have a problem with my 500SL I’m going to go to someone with a proven track record of fixing these fine machines – not someone who will help me stop worrying about the problem.  If I’m struggling with my marriage I’m not going to go to a divorce attorney to help me bury the cause of the problem — I’m going to schedule time with someone who has the best marriage I’ve ever seen.  If I’m worrying about money I’m going to find someone who has knocked it out of the park financially already.

Seeing a therapist seems to be a variation of The Emperor’s New Clothes – let’s just pretend we have no money worries – and feel better in the morning.