The Best Return on Investment: Yourself
You should use your hard earned money for better things than spending on consumption products, like future investments, to increase your net worth. A consumption product like a car has only one kind of value and that is depreciating value. A consumption product works opposite of the time value of money, in that the product becomes less valuable than the preceding year, where it is supposed to earn value. A product’s value decreases year by year until it is practically worthless. However, real investments like those of an investment portfolio are supposed to appreciate. But, be aware that not all investments are equal. There is one investment that is above and beyond all those stocks, equities, mutual funds, and commodity investments. Nothing is more valuable than yourself and the potential that you contain. And the reason why you should lay down the good sacrifice and save your money rather than spend it on products you don’t need, is so that you’ll have money to invest in yourself through a business idea or a venture.
There’s a reason why the average hedge-fund can’t beat the market. When you invest in something like a stock or mutual fund, you are solely relying on others’ work and the speculation of economists to propel your money forward. If that isn’t gambling, I don’t know what is. For instance, if a company is projected to earn $110 million for the year and comes up short, making $100 million, the stock price is inherently going to go down because of the speculative figures regarding its market value. Even though the company PROFITED one-hundred million dollars, the stock price goes down. Would you take all of your life savings…all the hours and hours of slaving as a construction worker or an employee of a luggage store or a chef in a restaurant or a doctor working in a hamster practice office just to get by or a beginner lawyer struggling to make ends meet and walk over to Las Vegas to put it on black at the roulette table. Is that your plan for your kids’ college fund? Is that your plan for your retirement fund so you can have some glimpse of a life after work? I hope not and I hope that your plan isn’t being dependent on these kinds of strategies. In good times, the stock market is great and the 1990’s and the tech era have showed us its advantages. But we are faced with an entirely new situation. No longer are the days where real estate is a sound investment that will only include an increase in a home’s value. We are in an economic downturn and in such an economic recession, entrepreneurship is usually the savior. Use your money wisely to save for the future. Use your money to create further opportunities. Use your hard earned money to commit in yourself. Put your hard earned money to its best use, which is your potential, your ideas, and your commitment. No one looks after your money better than you do, so utilize that knowledge that you already know. Your interest in your money is by far its most compelling force to either appreciate or depreciate (hopefully, the former).
Therefore, your most valuable asset is you. As an asset, you need to take measures to appreciate yourself and by extension, your net worth. You need to constantly build inherent value in yourself by adding new skills and techniques, working more efficiently and effectively, and creating a larger surrounding network to use at your disposal. Ways to invest in yourself include personal improvement in regards to further education, cultural growth, vocabulary expansion, being more articulate all while ameliorating your personal appearance, self-confidence, motivational speaking, diet, exercise, health, and morale. This is the genetic makeup of you as an asset and one that will embody a successful return on investment for years to come.
You are the one who provides value to your spouse and your children. Therefore, you need to take measures to secure yourself financially. With that in mind, seriously consider how to branch out and make something new of yourself. Create, rather than depend upon others; and one way to do this is by taking on a new business venture.
“I have no time” is not an excuse. There is always time to take the next step in developing a new venture. If you spend an hour a day watching TV, you could have spent that hour working on a new venture. If you started last year, you’d have 365 hours of work put in. That is equivalent to 9.125 full work-weeks at 40 hours a piece. If you had over 2 months, working on it every day, could you create an opportunity for yourself? I would like to think so. Noah built an arc, with all of God’s creatures on it in 40 days and you can’t write a business plan? Give me a break. And that’s only 7 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week. Even if you worked 50 hours a week and slept 8 hours a day, that leaves you with 62 hours a week for everything else. Think you don’t have time? I suggest you reconsider. I know you have more than you think you do on your hands and you can reasonably put in a few hours a day into another venture. Even if it takes a few years, who cares? If you’re 40 years old and start now, by 43 you may be able to establish something special. If you can’t make time, you’re making excuses and not trying hard enough. Stop loafing and visualize your “free” time as opportunity.
First things first- you need to raise capital. Realize that any business venture is something that will transpire over time and will take a while. It will possibly be years before you get your feet off the ground and running in this venture. Therefore, you need to start saving your money now. Each week you need to put money aside; and trust me, you won’t miss that money that you put away either. For instance, if you earn $1,500 a week (a $75,000 a year salary), put away a portion of that away (between 10% and 20% of your salary in an entirely separate bank account that you promise to yourself you will not touch…EVER…under any circumstances…it does not exist (i.e.-put away $300 a week and live within those means of only earning $1200 a week). Envision yourself as earning only that mitigated salary ($60,000 a year). You’ll get along just fine and will be able to live within those means. While you want enjoy as lavish a lifestyle and you’ll have to make plenty of sacrifices (i.e.-bringing bagged lunches instead of eating out, brewing your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks, etc.), you’ll find yourself setting up the future for some immense gains. Furthermore, you can take out SBA loans to get you on track. Once you’ve established enough capital, you can start on the intricacies of your venture, which is what type of business to get involved in.
Once you peruse below on the various types of business options out there, you then need to devise and create a schedule, where you put aside a little time (i.e.- 2 hours a day during the week and 4 hours each on Saturday and Sunday) to work on your project. Don’t make the schedule as follows: 5-7 PM- Work on Business project. No..make a detailed schedule in the allotted time of what you will be doing. For instance, it should look something like this:
5:00-5:30- Shop around for computers
5:30-6:00- Research Viable Locations in the Manhattan Region
6:00-6:30- Work on Mission Statement- Purpose, Goals, Action Plan
6:30-7:00- Call Advertising Companies to Receive Quotes- ZoomMedia, ArchMedia
Detail is important and a schedule like this will put you on the track towards success much more efficiently. Making the schedule takes all of 5 minutes, but when you have it out in front of you you’ll save half an hour when it comes to actually doing it. The structured time will force you to stay within those time bounds and provide you with reason and purpose to get the task done within that time slot. Structure is very important when starting your own business. You’ll be more equipped and prepared while more motivated and focused to get the tasks you assigned to yourself done.
Let’s look at types of businesses:
Start Up Your Own Brick-and-Mortar Business
While this may be risky, considering the time, capital, and straight up balls it takes, it could be the most rewarding given the total autonomy you have while doing it and the significant profitability it could return. However, starting your own business requires a lot of time, commitment, and time management skills. You need to be as productive as possible, so you need to structure your time properly and work as efficient as possible within the time frames you a lot yourself.
Devise a business plan with 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year ideals. Include marketing strategies like advertising, and most importantly financials. Investors love to see numbers and will not put their money into anything that they won’t be guaranteed success in. Businessmen, by their very nature, are very calculated decision makers and like to be assured that their money is being used for good purposes and that their return on investment will be high. Take time to develop a proper cost-benefit analysis and at what point your investors are likely to achieve a profit. It requires steady production and not just jumping in to things head first.
Calculated decisions are the most important factor in starting up a business. You have a restricted budget and have to use that money wisely. Shop around and get the best quality for the best price on everything. Things you need to ask yourself: Who to hire, where is the proper location for your business, what supply chain system to use, where is your inventory coming from, etc. All of these decisions need to be made with the utmost care involved while paying attention to the minute details.
Start up an Internet Business
Starting up your website is probably the least risky of any business venture. While it doesn’t require that much in terms of capital, it requires an extraordinary amount of time and patience to wait until the business thrives (and one that may never, even after several attempts). However, it can be very profitable. The Internet is full of success stories. Look at the sensations like YouTube, Google, or FaceBook and you have more money going around those companies than in third world countries. But regardless of the big powerhouses, there are many mid-tail websites out there that make so much money on advertising, you wouldn’t believe it if you saw what these website s look like and what they encompass. There are many websites out there that don’t have much in terms of content or appeal and provide a very successful level of income. With that being said, you too, can pose a threat in an industry of your choice within the e-commerce world.
An internet business is not very different from a traditional brick-and-mortar business. You’ll still need to devise a business plan, do plenty of research, gain significant capital, perform thorough research, and a tremendously pervasive marketing plan.
Pick an idea and roll with it. Determine if it’s going to be content based where you will solely make money off of advertising and potential sales off of an e-book or if you plan on selling actual products through your website, either through your own inventory or through affiliates; or a combination of both.
First, create diagrams and sketches on how you want your website to look. Determine the amount of pages and the detailed layout of the site including the site map (main pages) and inner detail pages. Make sure you determine the proper categories and subcategories along with innovative strategies to draw unique visitors. Once you’ve done the legwork, hire a web developer to design your website. My best advice is to outsource to India. You’ll get great quality of work and it will be 1/6 or 1/7 the price there that it will be domestically for the same quality of work. A great company who you may like is one who has great customer service and is very reliable and efficient, called Viteb.
Then, once the site is up, you need to implement adsvertising and marketing strategies to entice visitorz. Hire search engine optimization (SEO) experts like ZoomMedia or ArchMedia. Your goal should be to want your site to appear on the first page of search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and MSNBC when keywords pertaining to your site’s content are searched. Then, hire advertising experts like Adify Media, Technorati, or Tribal Fusion, who are experienced in PPC and CPM advertising to implement advertising platforms and solutions on your site, so you can start earning that dough.
Moreover, like any business, you’ve got to continue to add and implement new ideas if you want to maintain your success. Never being satisfied and always staying hungry to further your goals and opportunities by working on it each day is a necessity in this industry. You need to provide reason for your customers and visitors to come back to your site and this is often attracted by offering daily information and updates. Static sites are rarely successful.
Patenting an Invention
Have a great idea? Implement that idea into a successful venture. The risk is relatively low and doesn’t require much capital so long as you have a great detailed plan regarding a new and useful product.
We’ve all had great ideas throughout our life. While you may think of new ideas like might be great…that’s not the hard part. It’s the ones who actually follow through on that idea and implement it who are special. The hard part and the great effort is in actually taking the time in to put that idea into motion.
Patenting an invention is a very complex venture and one that could potentially put you in the red very fast. Do a quick patent search by simply typing in a description of your invention at google.com/patents. But don’t be discouraged if there are similar ideas, because you can make an accurate determination to see if your idea is distinguishable from it. If you have the greenlight, don’t hire a patent attorney. Instead, file a patent application at uspto.gov and formulate the description yourself to save you a lot of money.
Perform the sketches of your product and describe all of the intricacies of how the product works by including detailed instructions and formulations of its’ working.
Once you’re legally protected, determine your ideas’ pliability for commercial potential. Conduct surveys and pass it to prospective customers to gain objective feedback. Also, look for investors showing them the potential the idea has from the objective opinions you’ve obtained from your surveys.
You can go one of two routes- the latter a less risky, while the former is more potential for gains and profitability. 1st route is to take the initiative yourself and try to build the product yourself and develop the marketing plan on your own. This is very difficult to do and I do not recommend this. The second is to take it to a suitable company. This is the better of your two options. Learn of proper marketing techniques so you can get a conducive company to buy in on your idea. You can try to sell or license it to an appropriate company, where they’ll do the legwork for you and either buy your idea out or give you royalty fees off of its sales. Be wary of who you select and don’t leave yourself vulnerable when pitching. Always keep the upper hand and don’t dispel too much information to reveal your secrets. Show them your inherent value and how you’re the man for the job.
Buying a Franchise
Getting in on a franchise is a great way to enter into a business venture. While it takes significant capital to do so, it is much less risky than opening up your own business given the lack of autonomy in the inner-workings and the already proven business model of the company who you are a franchisee of. You will not have total independence, because you must do it their way, but they also help you out with the tiresome and daunting tasks of running a business (i.e.-like ordering inventory). Go on franchisegator.com, franchiseopportunities.com, or franchisedirect.com to look at franchise opportunities.
The average franchise fee is about $20,000 and requires around $100,000 for start-up costs. While this may seem like a lot, iit is more or less going to be a success, because you are working with a proven business model that has established its name already. Marketing is done for you because the name is already out to the general public. Businesses like Starbuck’s or Powerhouse Gym, who are big-name franchises across the country, are proven business models specifically designed to provide you with easy generating income.
Make sure to research the company in and out. Find out how many franchises failed that opened up with that name. Find out what the average income is for all the franchises across the country and especially in areas that are similar to where you are thinking of opening up one. Moreover, view over all of the financial details that you have to pour into this venture, which the company will provide you with at the outset. Look for proper locations by conducting surveys and ensuring the least amount of general competition in that area. Talk to other franchise owners and get a sense of what that business is like. If you are a person who needs to be in control of the intricacies of the business, maybe a franchise isn’t for you. Do your homework and then make your decision.
Go Back to School
One way to be an asset, worthy of being a vital component of a company, is encompassing knowledge and intellectual understanding of the task at hand. Knowledge is so powerful. The more you know over someone else, the more valuable you come. The more educated you are, the more irreplaceable you become. With that being said, one way to beat this recession is to go to school and be smarter, more experienced, and more informed than the competition pool. There’s always more you can learn, so take the opportunity to do so.
Ultimately, school will provide you with a major opportunity that will open new doors and career paths. You’ll immediately be viewed in a new light by prospective employers and your resume will be that much sharper. You can either go back to acquire your MBA, JD, MD, or any other specialized degree you desire.
Read the article entitled “Back to School” to read into more about the advantages that going back to school has to offer.
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