READ: Work Harder, Not Smarter!

I must confess something. It’s rare that I get annoyed at anything but I am really tired of reading adverts and books on how to get rich quick or how to work less and earn more. I am also tired of the mantra ‘work smarter, not harder’.

We are all working smart these days but there are not enough of us working hard. I believe that is what’s wrong with Western World economies. We do not lack intelligence. We lack a strong work ethic. We constantly focus on making money quickly.

I want to share with you THREE pieces of advice that I give to my business-coaching clients:

1.      Build your business brick by brick, day-by-day. There is no easier way.

2.      Stick to what you know best. Do NOT diversify into areas of no competence. And do not invest your money on the stock market. Re-invest it into your own business where you have control. That’s where you will make the most money. I knew a guy who was one of the top mortgage brokers in Sydney. He made a lot of money. Instead of opening more offices and hiring more staff and expanding he invested in a café. He lost $400,000 and even worse took his eye off his business. He lost it all and had to rebuild.

3.      Stay focused on the micro. Ignore what is happening with the macro-economic picture. You cannot control that. Focus on what you can control. And don’t watch the business news. It is full of bad news and paralyses you into inaction. (nobody ever reports the good news) There are a lot of businesses that are quietly making a lot of money because they have a great brand, a great product, and they stay focused on adding value to their customers. Look at apple!

Anyway, that’s my rant for the week. Hope you wok harder, stay focused and run your own race. Oh and don’t forget to work just as hard on your health and family life 😉

Sam.

IS FINANCE KILLING YOUR ROMANCE?

I bet that most of you with a mortgage carry it around like a subconscious load. You tell yourself: ‘my life will be better once I pay off my mortgage’. Consequently you defer your happiness. You worry about your finances to the point where it kills the romance for life. The conversation with yourself usually goes something like this: “When I have more money or when I pay off my mortgage I will eat better, I will exercise, I will be a better husband/wife, I will change jobs and do what I really love, I will spend more time with my children, I will read more books, I will go on more holidays, I will be a better person, I will be happy!”

The sad fact is that by the time you pay off your mortgage you may have compromised too many areas of your life. You may have put on unwanted weight or developed health problems. You may feel unattractive. You may not enjoy a satisfying relationship with your spouse. You may not have a good relationship with your children. Or you may not have developed enough lasting friendships or an active social life.

Living like this for a long time creates momentum in the wrong direction. And momentum is hard to shift. The good news is that you can reverse momentum by hitting the reset button at any time. How do you do this? It starts with a simple decision to change course. When you make that decision you stop momentum dead in its tracks. And when you take action you will start to have momentum in the right direction. You may start to act on any one or all of the following areas of your life that need changing. It may be:

• Having high energy & enthusiasm
• Looking more attractive
• Excellence at home
• Excellence at work
• Connecting with your partner
• Connecting with your children
• Having more friends

An amazing thing will happen when you take daily action to change your life for the better. As sure as night follows day you will attract success into your life. You will look better. You will feel better. You will attract good things into your life including more friends and more money. You will get the promotion. You will have more fun. Your mortgage will then take care of itself and probably be paid off much quicker.

So what actions can you start taking daily? Eating the right food and exercising daily is a very good start. When you begin the journey of self-discovery and self-mastery you will be amazed with the financial and relationship success that will flow into your life. And yes your mortgage will be last thing on your mind but the first thing to benefit.

The biggest mistake ever made in business

I meet many talented and passionate entrepreneurs that often make one big mistake when it comes to creating wealth – they invest in other people’s dreams instead of their own.

Allow me to clarify. Small businesses usually evolve as follows: A smart person thinks of a big idea. They execute it with passion and hard work.  They grow the business and attract more customers. They make money. Grow some more. Attract more customers. Make more money. So far so good.

There comes a point however where most business owners start to get tired and start thinking ‘there must be an easier way to make money. There must be a way to make money which does not require so much of my time and effort.’

Invest in your own field of dreams
An entrepreneur in born

This is when they usually make the biggest mistake. Instead of investing back into their business by purchasing newer technologies and hiring more staff who can take the business to the next level, they look to external investments: Usually the stock market and/or real estate. They think that such investments are an easy way to accumulate wealth. Consequently they take their eye off their business. They spend a lot of time looking for real estate, watching the stock market, meeting with experts etc.. They become immersed in these external investments. They devote a lot of time and energy learning about them. Meanwhile their businesses are dipping in performance. They start to lose customers and lose some key staff. ‘But that’s ok’ they say, ‘I will make more money on the stock market. Who needs the headache of running a day-to-day business.’

Wake-up Call

The GFC hits and they lose a lot of money on the stock market. Their real estate investments drop in value. Their superannuation does the same.

The big mistake they made is this: They invested in other people’s dreams instead of their own. When you invest in a company on the stock market you are literally handing over control of your money to someone else. You are investing in their dreams and not yours. And worse still, you have no control over the affairs of that company. Some people call that a ‘smart’ passive investment, but I call it a ‘dumb’ investment. It’s like claiming victory (or suffering defeat) for a game where you weren’t even on the playing field. Where’s the fun in that?

So when you think about investing in other people’s dreams on the stock market, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I acting out of fear of failure? (You see I believe that some of us invest in other peoples dreams because we fear failing in our own. We want someone to blame if we do lose money.)

2. Do I really love my business? Do I believe in the mission? (You see I believe that if you really love what you do, then you would never want to invest in other people’s dreams)

The answers to these two questions will hopefully will lead  you to this conclusion: The best investment you can make is in yourself and in your own business. That is the best form of wealth creation. Sure, it does require you to work hard but the return you get is much more than money. You get to wake up every morning and lead a life of purpose. You get to experience the joy of adding value to your customers lives. You get to inspire the people you work with. You get to control your own destiny. And you get the opportunity to grow your business on your own terms.

Investing in yourself pays the biggest dividends

[A dear friend and client of mine is slowing climbing out of a financial mess. He had spent so much of his time and energy working and investing his money on the stock market. He put his life on hold for much of the decade. He worked tirelessly because his plan was to make enough money so he could eventually retire and spend time travelling with his wife and ‘being happy’. After the GFC hit however, he had to start again because he lost so much on the stock market. The following is a snapshot of what I shared with him.]

Imagine if you will a tall beautiful tree with two branches; a left branch that reaches high into the sky with a barren trunk but the most abundant fruit sitting at the very top. And a right branch that reaches away from the left branch but then curls back towards it at the very top. This right branch has an abundance of lower lying fruit scattered throughout, and is easier to climb.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

This “money” tree is a metaphor for creating wealth. The left branch represents investing your money in shares, bank deposits or real estate.  The right branch is where you invest in yourself. I see so many people trying to climb the left branch too early in life and then fall. They lose their money and become despondent. They end up quitting on the idea of being rich. The mistake they make is this: The left branch may or may not make you rich but it will never make you wealthy.  Only the right branch can do that.

Being rich gives you money but being wealthy gives you freedom.  The irony is that most wealthy people I know have both, freedom and money. And they all have one thing in common. They invest in themselves by climbing the right branch first.

What does it mean to invest in yourself? It means to spend your time, energy and money improving the following areas of your life: Your health, your love life, your family, your work, your friendships, and your learning.

As you invest more and more in these areas you are climbing your way up that right branch and getting closer and closer to the top of the left one. A funny thing happens when you actively live your best life. You put yourself in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. When you live a complete life that makes you happy, healthy and loved, you start to develop a positive frame of mind and a warm attitude. This attracts good things and good people to you. And these often come with opportunities to work and invest in new ideas that excite you and make money for you.

Then, and only then, should you invest some of your time and money on the left branch. Whether you make money or not, you will always have your wealth. No one can ever take that away from you.