What is it that separates successful people from the rest of the population? The starting point for everything we do is the brain……
The Winners Inner Circle has been created to help you deal with a more general theme of how to make more money and learn new ways to provide for yourself & your loved ones, now and particularly in the future.
With my background as an experienced business owner, currency trader & economic commentator I explain what I believe is currently happening in the financial world & how we all need to learn how to think and act differently in the future.
Change Your Life
Why You Must Learn to Look After Yourself.
Many western governments are technically bankrupt and I can not see how pensions in their current format can survive for much longer & therefore I believe it is crucial that people are aware of the potential problem and take POSITIVE ACTION now & learn how to look after themselves.
This is not intended to be scaremongering. This is simply pointing out a potential major problem and my fellow mentors & I will offer suggestions of how to make extra money now & create income streams & businesses that will continue to deliver profits long into the future. I have one aim with this site, that is to help as many people as possible become financially wealthy, astute & secure. Most people receive little or no financial education and simply repeat the same old mistakes whilst helping the rich, financially literate become more wealthy.
Those at the top of the financial food chain are positioning themselves now to take advantage of the current financial melt down that we are living through.
Unlike many of you who may be concerned or even down right scared as to what you are going to do protect yourselves, these guys already know how they aim to become even richer at the little guys expense. This is NOT by accident. William T. Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889 one of the creators of the US education system had this to say:
“Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American [should be] content with their humble role in life, because they’re not tempted to think about any other role.”
In other words the education system was created to create “worker bees”, intelligent & literate enough to work in factories and operate machinery but NOT to join the financial elite. Little has changed in the last 120 years in my experience. My children still leave school with no idea of even how to write a cheque, let alone the intricacies of APR nor compound interest.
In the Winners Inner Circle the aim is to to show you innovative ways that you may choose to learn how to protect and grow your wealth despite the fact that we are currently living through what could become THE biggest financial crash of all time. Also the steps you need to take to become successful. The step by step strategy you need to plan your future. How to follow that plan & then offer you a whole range of “shop windows” where you can take this new found skill and apply it to the type of income generating methods that suit your pocket, your personality & your goals.
I have over 30 years business experience but I am NOT a registered financial adviser. I will show you ways that my mentors, families and I are making money BUT YOU have to make your own decisions. If I turn out to be wrong and everything in the pension garden comes up smelling of roses then you will have lost nothing and hopefully gained extra income anyway!
Its only a few 100 years ago that most of our ancestors were working in the fields.
Along came mechanization of farming & the industrial revolution was born.
In 1998 Google was founded and began its meteoric rise from a garage. It is now one of the richest, most well known and used companies on the planet. In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg started work on Facebook which floated for $100 Billion, just 8 years later. In 1903 the Wright Brothers made the first powered, piloted flight in history, less than 70 years later and man was on the moon.In 2011 Richard Branson with his private company, Virgin Galactic is very near to offering space flights to the paying public!
Times change and in the last 100 years, at an incredible rate. Those who are willing to open their minds to the possibility of change and more importantly TAKE ACTION will be the ones who will benefit the most.
Change Your Life
The financial world is a very scary place right now especially for the majority of people who have little or no financial education or business experience. Financial advisers are still chanting the same old mantra of “put all your money in the stock market in a diversified portfolio.” As a former financial adviser, I believe that this is THE worst possible advice.
Why? The financial system is broken. The level of corporate greed and corruption has been exposed and yet these same fat cat clowns are still running the show. They make money from other peoples ignorance & misery.
Doomsday Scenario: A possible major recession will see many, many companies go to the wall & with it your stock or pension portfolio. Already pensioners are seeing their lump sums shrinking and savers are receiving little or no interest on their nest eggs. More and more people will lose their jobs and their homes. If this happens greater numbers of people will need to live on welfare and yet most western governments are bankrupt. The official figures for unemployment in the Eurozone group of 17 countries is currently over 17 MILLION & countries like Spain and Greece have 50% of under 25 year olds who have no work.
Politicians and governments lie. I know you are shocked In the USA the official unemployment rate is 7.7% as of October 2012. However in 1994 the then government removed (the figures were looking bad) the long term unemployed. These people are known as “discouraged workers” – if they were added back into the figures the rate would be over 20% today!
Another of the the big lies is inflation. In the Uk at the time of writing (December 2013) the official government figures state that the rate is 2.2% and it will go down next year. At the same time energy prices alone have risen an average of 10% and a business associate of mine has just been told his contract will be increased by 50% next year. How can those two figures be accurate? They are not. Governments lie and manipulate figures.
Inflation is destroying the value of all of our money. If the true rate of inflation is 12% and your savings are earning 2% it does not take a mathematician to see that their value will be wiped out in just a few short years.
Even if we (hopefully) avoid this doomsday scenario, the financial world has changed forever.
In the next article we look at practical steps you need to consider to take control of your financial future, CLICK HERE to go the article
Author: Marc Walton
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
If you wish to thrive & survive in the coming months and years you need to learn to think & plan differently from the crowd. Relying on governments is not the solution. Consider new & alternative ways of making money and then know what to do with it when you have it.
I originally wrote this article in June 2012, almost all that I predicted has come about or is likely to do so. Despite all the politicians collectively trying to talk things up, they are simply kicking the can down the road. Today, December 12th 2013 the US government is still printing $85 BILLION per month so that it can buy its own debt! The Eurozone continue to try paper over the cracks and yet fundamentally little has changed. What HAS changed is the publics’ realisation that pensions, health care and social security systems will never be the same again. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if a lot of what has gone on was done deliberately for this very reason!
Change Your Future
2012: Many friends & members of my Forex Mentor Pro mentor group are becoming seriously worried about their financial future & especially their retirement. Many governments have or are about to move the goal posts and change the age of pension entitlement from 65 to 67 years of age (this will be replicated around the world and will not stop there). Nor will this gradual shifting be enough, there is even the danger of some governments defaulting on their pension obligations, they simply do not have the money. Many people have contributed for over 40 years and had a “contract” with the government to enable them to retire with a reasonable income, often supplemented by private pension payments.
Those who have private pensions (80% of people do not or do not pay nearly enough – the average private pension pot in the USA & UK for example is less than $75000) have seen recent stock market falls, galloping inflation and almost non existent interest on savings decimate this side of the equation as well.
A friend of mine, Frank (not his real name) is from Holland. He has been paying an extra 1.9% of his gross salary to the government for the last 25 years so he can retire at 62. This adds up to well over $100.000 when you add compounding. Everything Frank has is geared to this date, he will be mortgage & debt free, he has already bought a boat and is planning to fulful his dream of sailing around the world. This year his government have changed the rules and now he can not claim these additional benefits for another 5 years. As Frank says “not only have they broken the contract and stolen my money it also feels like they took 5 years of my life.”
Frank & I are the same age. In contrast I am doing rather well. I don’t say this to brag, but simply to point out that many conventional investments, savings and state pensions are becoming obsolete, a thing of the past. I started to change my thinking over 10 years ago when I semi retired aged 40 & with four young kids. I had been successful in creating and building businesses from scratch, the first when I was only 21 & with neither money nor family experience behind me. By the time I hit the big 4 0 I was able to sell my third business and semi retire and that was despite a major financial crash in my early 30′s when a messy divorce and bad business decision meant I lost almost everything and had to start again. During this period I was getting up at 4.00 am to drive a truck for less than minimum wage.
Change Your Future:
A New Century, New Thinking
2000: A new century dawns and the previous year I decided to semi retire aged 40. I had been creating, building & running businesses since I was 21. I had also bought and sold lots of property and built my own 5 bedroom detached house at a fraction of the normal cost and with huge tax savings. I had accumulated a decent amount of money & assets. I was sick of working 70 hour weeks, the 140 mile daily round trip on clogged up motorways, the hassle, the labour laws & all the other energy sapping, non profitable paperwork mountains that the government seemed to delight in creating. I was permanently tired & usually in a bad mood on the rare occasion I saw my 4 young kids. Time to change for the better.
My wife & I ( I will write in the 1st person from now on as its easier, but most financial things I recount are she & I together) spent the next 18 months buying & refurbishing houses to rent out and create extra income. Then we cancelled the private pension plan, sold the business, house, cars the lot and emigrated to the Canary Islands. Friends and colleagues were convinced I had lost the plot. Who in there right minds builds a business to that level and walks away? I discovered later that they were betting on how soon I would pack my bags and come back to “reality.”
I define this time as to be my financial epiphany, when I started to think & act differently to the herd.
This was to be of immense help when the economic collapse finally arrived around 2008. The old way of thinking is finished. If you want to protect your financial future you need to think differently. The old days of paying the top rates of tax and handing the balance over to a financial adviser are not for me.
In the last 30 to 40 years everybody has been advised to save money and or invest in the stock market. To put your money in a pension plan. Put your money in a 401k. If everybody is doing that and stock markets continue to dive then lots and lots of people are going to be in for a major shock short term and especially the long-term. Handing over money to some financial adviser to look after my money is not the solution.
Often these advisers have less life experience & earn less than their clients and they only have one mantra “You need a diversified stock portfolio.” Had you followed mine & my gold mentor Georges lead and invested in gold at $400, $700 & yet more gold in January 2011 you would currently have made substantial gains. Most financial adviser either do not know any better or because they do not earn commission on things like gold & silver bullion, they continue to push the same old format.
I speak from experience. In my early 30’s and after a difficult financial period in my life I went from driving a truck for less than minimum wage to being a financial adviser for one of the big UK banks. A two week training course, with multiple choice questions (get an answer wrong and go back and change it) and I was in a bank the following Monday advising clients. I know things have moved on since then BUT the advice, in my opinion, is still flawed.
On the subject of flawed systems lets talk about the biggest ponzi scheme on the planet, government pensions. These are simply unsustainable. The current pension crisis is not going to go away. If you are anything less than 40 years of age the chances of the pension arrangement existing in its current format by the time you come to retire is very slim.
Equally if you’re in your 40s now then I can see the retirement age by the time you do come to retire being upwards of 75 years of age. Already some European countries have moved the goal posts for the retirement age from 65 to 67. The bottom line is that the world population in most western countries is getting older which means there will be more people claiming on the system. More people expecting (quite rightly, as that is the “contract” they had with their governments) to take out their share. More people needing health care and yet there will be fewer people contributing.
In the USA for example when the pension system was created there were 44 workers paying into the fund for every retiree. Now that figure is nearer two to one, not helped by the baby boomers who are retiring now and in the next few years. The system clearly can not continue to work in its current format, if at all.
The bottom line is you need to think for yourself.
You need to think now of how to provide for you & your family both in terms of your general financial future and especially when it comes to the subject of retirement. You will have heard the comment that there is a huge transfer of wealth in progress right now. To take advantage you need to learn to think and ACT differently NOW.
In the next article mentor Dan Low, veteran self improvement & behavioral expert shows you the psychological mindset you need to adapt to become a successful person. CLICK HERE to go to Dan’s simple solution!
Author: Marc Walton
Change Your Future
He has spent more than 25 years helping individuals control negative emotions and life situations through Eastern/Western behavioral modification techniques and is the author of “Maximize Your Potential with Powerful Tools… And No Stress”.
Dan is a long time member of my mentor group who wrote this for us over a year ago, but I wanted to post this article first as we start to develop one of THE most important foundational tools needed on the path to success- the mind. In my experience most ideas die and people fail before they even take the first step. Why? Because their inner voice or negative people around them decide “It’ll never work.”
In my experience of being in business for over 30 years & when coaching others, the vast majority of people who fail to fulfill their potential do so because of negativity. When in actual fact the only limit on your current and future income and success levels is what is between your ears. Easier said than done but we will deal with this in great detail as we proceed.
“Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.” Abraham Lincoln
Dan has kindly supplied a whole series of articles on the subject of how to reprogram your mind for success and you can find them in the diary area.
The Basic Psychological Mindset – Needed to Succeed in Life & Business
When I was asked to write this article, my immediate thoughts were to draw from my more than 25 years of experience as a corporate self-improvement trainer. By doing so, I intended to illustrate what the basic mindset needed to succeed in life and business would look like based on close observations of successful clients. Simply put, their actions were highly revealing with regard to their basic psychological mindset. They were:
- confident and positive
- open and ready to learn
- focused and action-oriented
- healthy in their attitude towards people
- comfortable with failures, as they believed that one can learn through errors
They believe in themselves
Do you believe in yourself? The majority of us do not. We lack the confidence to take action for fear of failure or what others would think. A healthy mindset incorporates risk taking. It is not influenced by what others would think. Otherwise, it would be contaminated with fear, prejudice, and enough negativity to pollute the environment.
These successful people possess a healthy mindset and know what they truly want. They are also focused and action-oriented. They do not suffer from paralysis through analysis.
Mindset For Success
They just do it. They are proactive. They do, test, and learn through trial and error. They are open
- They are eager to learn and to sharpen their tools. Have you ever heard of the tale of two lumberjacks in a contest to fell trees? The weaker, older man won! He felled more trees than his much younger and stronger competitor because he took time to sharpen his axe.
- My successful clients routinely sharpen their axes by acquiring powerful tips and tricks. They put their egos aside to become eternal students. They are ready to learn from the young and from the old. They learn the most from those who fail!
“There is no reason why you should not be happy when you fail!
You are sharing invaluable information that others can use to progress.
Think of yourself as a pioneer, an adventurer, a decision maker that others can admire through your own actions. Failure and success are nothing but results of ACTION! Individuals learn through action, thus leading to future success.”
They are focused and persistent
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States.
- They are extremely positive in their attitudes toward people
- They treat each person as a VIP! This does not mean kowtowing or being obsequious. What if you were sincerely treated as a VIP by someone? How would you feel? Would this person not have an impact on you? Would you not value that person as much as he or she valued you?
Mindset For Success
These were some of the behavioral traits that illustrate the basic mindset of individuals I know who succeed in life and in business.
- They are fighters, rather than passive onlookers.
- They have a mindset that is disciplined and focused.
- You know how difficult it is for many people to exercise discipline and focus.
- Having focus is one of the key assets of successful people.
So here is a small trick I want to share with those struggling with discipline and focus. I have found a simple way to remind you to bring your attention to the here and now.
Time and energy, your most precious resources, are often wasted through distractions triggered by subconscious preoccupations or other worries. The following technique will help to remind you to get back to the present and focus on what you have and what you can do with what you have – instead of getting tossed around aimlessly in the subconscious ocean of your thoughts.
More than 580,000,000 viewers have viewed it on YouTube. If you do not like it, find another song.
Heres the link: To Waka Waka
Put your headphones on and try to immerse yourself in the beat.
While listening to it, replace the lyrics Tsa-mina mina eh eh, Waka Waka eh eh, with Tsa-mina mina here here, Waka Waka here here.
If you listen to it often enough, this song will follow you intermittently throughout the day and gently remind you to be in the present. Try it, it works!
So here is the profile for success:
- Believing in oneself
- Accepting failure as a learning process
- Being proactive
- Being open
- Being focused and persistent
- Being positive towards people
Finally, we need to define what success means.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”
So, if you share this perception, all you need in life and in business is an abundance of enthusiasm to become successful in whatever you do.
If you do not agree with this definition, then what is success to you? What are the criteria? How do you know if you have the mindset to succeed? Get a piece of paper and start establishing your own criteria for success right now!
In the next article you will find The 10 Key Steps to Success
About Dan Low
A self-improvement and behavioral expert, Dan is also a corporate trainer. He has spent more than 25 years helping individuals control negative emotions and life situations through Eastern/Western behavioral modification techniques and is the author of “Maximize Your Potential with Powerful Tools… And No Stress”.
Main Areas: Behavior Modification, Self-Improvement, Corporate Training.
Best Sellers: Maximize Your Potential with Powerful Tools… and No Stress
Career Focus: Author, Speaker, Corporate Trainer
His seminars were initially attended by CEOs from multinationals before being extended to the general public and company personnel in 1993. Since then he has held more than 500 interactive sessions and given 150 conferences in Europe.
Dan taught the techniques of advanced management at the French University Paris Nord. He was formerly coordinator of the Management Group in an international networking association of professionals and alumni of major business schools.
He intervened at UNESCO, and ARFEC for top and senior executives, and currently trains managers at all levels, as well as engineers, heads of department and sales personnel.
His book ”The Art of Self-Combat”, initially published in France by Pearson Education was re-edited in 2007 by Lulu Enterprises Inc. under the title ”Maximize Your Potential with Powerful Tools… and No Stress”. It was published in Japan by PHP Institute.
The book has been censored in China. Low believes it is because the behavior modification tools/methodology are too revealing and empower the individual.
Dan Low, in his article “Psychological Mindset for Success ” explains the traits he has found in the most successful people he has been involved with in his 25 year career as a personal development trainer.
Here, in my opinion are the key ingredients. If you are weak in an area then we can concentrate in the coming weeks and months on overcoming the hurdles. These are the core subjects we will covering in much greater detail in the coming modules. No negativity here please.
Anyone can become whatever they want if they will simply change their mindset.
10 key Steps To Success:
Step one. Ideas.
“All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.” – Napoleon Hill
“Oh dear” I hear some of you cry,
“I have no idea”
– a few points here: Sit down with a blank piece of paper in a quiet place and write down at least 10 things you are interested in. Do this every day.
- Then list 5 things that you have previously considered to make money or improve your life- it doesn’t matter if they seem impossible to achieve, or are just a dream. For now we just want you to get in the habit of sitting quietly and thinking.
- It doesn’t matter if some of your ideas seem silly, you are the only one who is going to see this.
- If you have only have 1 idea per day then at least one or two will be moved to your list of possibles.
- Get in the habit of doing this on a regular basis. Get those creative juices flowing!
- Look around you, there are loads of opportunities all around you, get in the habit of opening your eyes to them
- If you can not think of something original, copy someone else! Richard Branson and the late Sam Walton (unfortunately no relation)! of Walmart fame, both acknowledge that they regularly copied other peoples ideas and then simply aimed to do it better.
“All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.”
I have some of my best ideas in bed & the strangest of places and I have a terrible memory-
Write things down!! If you prefer to make notes on your computer here is a great free online tool that I use: workflowy
Get into the habit of thinking creatively, thinking positively, opening your mind to new possibilities. Look around you at new businesses that are opening, interesting websites. It is estimated that we have 60.000 thoughts a day, get into the habit of thinking “I could do that.”
Maybe, like me, you have so many ideas it is difficult to know where to start? In which case prioritise them. Which would be the easiest to get started. Which would be the most profitable with the least hassle.
In the last few months I have seen three types of offline businesses on my travels that I know would do well in my area. I have also seen a very unusual (some will consider its silly), simple, yet profitable new business where I live that could do well in many places around the world.
- It is high profit
- It is new with little or no competition.
- Lowstart up costs.
- Low running costs
- High profit
- Minimal staff & its not a skilled profession so minimum wage.
- I and many of my friends have never seen or heard of it before so it has the “latest craze” factor.
In the “How to Start a Business” module I will write a detailed review showing you what at first appears to be a ridiculous idea. You may have course have seen it before, but that is not the point. If you get into the habit of opening your mind then you will be amazed at the possibilities that you will start to see.
The thing is I am constantly looking and thinking about different ways to make money. It’s a habit I got into 30 years ago and its one you should develop as well. If you have done all of the above and yet still have no ideas then do not panic. If you get in the habit of opening your mind and looking around you, ideas will start to flow, BUT we also are here to help.
One of the major benefits of being a member of the winners inner circle group is that in the coming months we will give you lots of ideas and the opportunity to test drive them for pennies or, wherever possible, free of charge. So if you are struggling to come up with an idea right now, move on to step 2.
Step 2. A Positive Mental Attitude
I have the following quotation pinned to my office wall & I use it every time one of kids comes up with an excuse for failing to do something:
“A positive mind finds a way it can be done. A negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done.” N Hill
I mentioned in the introduction that it’s vital to surround yourself with positive people and that I walk away from negative ones.
A friend of mines mother in law is one of the most spiteful, nasty, negative individuals I have ever had the displeasure to meet. Every time she opens her mouth it’s a constant stream of negative drivel and she seems to delight in peoples failures. How many times have you heard this kind of person?
“it will never work,” “that’s a stupid idea,” “Mr Jones son went bankrupt doing that”…et al “But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”
― Timothy Ferriss, The 4 Hour Workweek
95% of people do not even have the mindset to succeed, your job is to find the 5% who do. You have made a great start by joining the winners here.
Step 3. “A burning Desire”
The starting point for success at anything that is important to you is passion.
If you are not passionate about what you are trying to achieve, how can you expect others (your friends and family, potential clients, business partners, investors, etc) to feel the same?
Napoleon Hill, in his classic book “Think and Grow Rich” refers to this as a burning desire.
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
I started my first “offline” business aged 21. I was working in sales for a business equipment company who were doing well, but could have done so much better. The directors wouldn’t listen to any of my ideas so I decided to start my own business. It took me 9 months of planning and sleepless nights to start the company. I had no family money nor business experience. My dad worked in a factory 12 hours a day, doing a job he hated.
The banks would only lend me peanuts, BUT I spent every waking hour (and a fair amount of sleep time) thinking of ways to succeed. Learning to overcome all the obstacles that were put in my way.
I didn’t realize it at the time (it would be another 10 years before I read Napoleon Hills classic book “Think and Grow Rich”) but, I had a burning desire for sure. In subsequent businesses I had the same feelings, and let’s face it you, have to be 100% committed at the beginning or at the first sign of trouble you will fail.
Ask yourself this question: Are you “interested” in being successful or are you committed to it?
Step 4. Mastermind group
Congratulations you have already taken that step by joining us here at the winners inner circle mastermind group.
“The richest people in the world build networks; everyone else is trained to look for work.” - Robert Kiyosaki
Step 5. Enthusiasm
Step 6. Clear, written goals
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ― Albert Einstein
This is a huge subject that we will cover in depth in future articles.
Step 7. Time Management
Learn to be organized and make time for your new project.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Professor Morton Grosser PHD. He is in his 70,s but is currently learning his 7th language. He already speaks fluent Russian & Chinese plus 5 European languages.
He is an author, venture capitalist, professor, astrophysicist, pilot, and so much more. I asked him how he found the time?
The simplest of answers “I never owned a television set in my life.” Now this suggestion did not go down well with my wife & kids BUT I hardly watch tv and I do find time for lots of projects. At the very least you can make time by cutting down on the amount of time you spend sat in front of the television. In a later article we will cover this subject in much greater detail.
Step 8. Take Action & Do Not Be Afraid to Fail
High achievers take action.
Procrastinators get nothing done. I have heard so many excuses over the years including the classic “we are going to emigrate but we are waiting for the dog to die.”
The world is full of “gunners”- “I am gunner (going to) do this when: the kids have left home, I have more qualifications, I have more money in the bank, when I retire”……Guys, we have one chance at life and it can be taken away at any minute, this is not a dress rehearsal.
If procrastination is a problem for you then get over it and do something, anything, right now to start the climb to the top. Get off your butts and do something TODAY.
“An ounce of Action is worth a ton of theory”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Successful people are not afraid to fail and if something doesn’t work they will learn from it and move on to the next idea. Thomas Edison famously failed many, many times but had this to say:
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
Step 9. Focus & Persistence
It took me 3 years to master forex and internet marketing and 95% of people would have thrown the towel in.
I repeat the quotation from Dans’ article:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States.
Step 10. Hard work!!
Many of the websites I created over 3 years ago still earn me a few $100′s a month & I haven’t touched them in that time, however to get them up and running took me a great deal of time and energy and some cost.
The 10 houses my wife & I bought & refurbished took 18 months of hard work, sweat & tears but they earn us a phenomenal income every year & we haven’t seen them for over 5 years!
Be prepared to work hard and give 100% commitment at the beginning of your journey, later on you can choose how much you want/need to work.
Also if you choose wisely you can rule out the labour intensive options before you start.
10 Keys Steps to Success : Summary
If you can inject a burning desire into your thought processes and apply the other ideas and concepts above then you have made the first steps to become a more successful individual.
If you “quite fancy…”, “think you would like to…” “it would be nice to be rich…” – then take my advice and walk away now. You are wasting mine & your time and no amount of effort on our part will get you there.
Once again I ask you this question: Are you interested in being successful or are you committed to it? – its your call
In the next article we show you some of the 10 key steps in action. ACTION is the KEY to YOUR SUCCESS. Follow Richards Bransons strategy here: Screw it, Lets Do It
Author: Marc Walton
10 Key Steps to Success
I mentioned in earlier posts the need to take ACTION. The world is full of people who will never get off their butts and do anything.
In the “Start a Business” section I will talk about starting businesses with little or no money and the fact that if you are stuck for an idea then look around you at existing businesses & see if you can think of doing something similar but BETTER.
At first glance he is hardly the archetypal business tycoon, as he says himself “”For me business is not about wearing suits, or keeping stockholders pleased. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”
And yet the following traits are attributed to Sir Richard and you may recognize all of them from the previous post. Here is someone who is incredibly successful, the important lessons for me are these:
- Everything he started was born from an idea or improving an existing business model as he did with Virgin Airlines
- He had no money
- He had no educational qualifications
- He does have an incredibly positive mental attitude
- He has always had a burning desire to succeed
- He is obviously very enthusiastic about everything he does
- He is willing to learn from his and others mistakes
- He is a keen advocate of goal setting “I believe in goals”
- He has created his own mastermind group
- He is an excellent manager of his time
- He takes action “Screw it, lets do it” is his mantra
- He is not afraid to fail but learns from it
- He works hard, but his priority is to have fun. If he is involved in a business that he doesn’t enjoy he gets out
In other words although the first impression is that he does not fit the conventional image of a billionaire business magnate and yet he has all the attributes + a few more of what was discussed in The 10 Key Steps to Your Success.
On a separate note I have just finished reading Sam Waltons autobiography. He was the founder of Walmart and its a fascinating story of how he grew his business from a small mom & pop shop to become the biggest retailer in the USA, he also is a perfect example of the 10 steps principle AND he was quite happy to copy new ideas from his competitors.
This is another important point to note in improving your financial education. Read as many books and articles by and about successful people. Discover what makes them tick. What attributes they have that you may be lacking and need to work upon. I read this type of book on a regular basis.
Screw It, Lets Do It
What is it that makes Richard Branson so successful?
He himself has put forward five criteria for success:
- Enjoy what you do ”Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work, requiring a great deal of time, you had better enjoy it.”
- Create something that is unique or stands out
- Make sure your staff can be proud of what you are doing ”Businesses generally consist of a group of people, and they are your biggest assets.”
- Be a good leader Be visible –lead from the front ” As a leader you have to be a really good listener. You need to know your own mind but there is no point in imposing your views on others without some debate. No one has a monopoly on good ideas or good advice. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them. As a leader you’ve also got to be extremely good at praising people. Never openly criticize people; never lose your temper, and always lavish praise on your colleagues for a job well done. People flourish if they’re praised.
- Do not be afraid to fail: ”remember that most businesses fail and the best lessons are usually learned from failure. You must not get too dispirited. Just get back up and try again.”
“There is a very thin line between success & failure & I have often come very, very close to the wrong side of that dividing line” – Richard Branson
So what is his history?
Richard Branson was “asked” to leave school aged 15 due to his disruptive behaviour “Since nobody had heard of dyslexia, being unable to read, write or spell just meant to the rest of the class and the teachers that you were either stupid or lazy.”
Screw It, Lets Do It
He had started his first successful business “Student Magazine” whilst still in school. To fund the venture his mother lent him $10 for phone calls that he made from the payphone in school – Do NOT ever let anyone you can not start a business due to a lack of funds, I have done it twice and Mr Branson who is slightly wealthier became Forbes 254th richest man in the world by 2011 having started with nothing..
“The Student” survived for 5 years which is the first goal of any business owner. Richard then saw an opportunity to use his Student knowledge to open his first record shop & Virgin records was born.
Once more a lack of capital meant that he needed to be creative. He negotiated a deal with the owner of a local shoe shop and rented the room above on a minimal rent. Virgin records eventually was sold for an estimated $1 Billion.
He clearly knew what his path in life was, as by the age of 24 he was a millionaire. He started with a mail order record business, moved onto shops and then entered music production and on the Virgin record label featured Phil Collins, Culture Club, The Sex Pistols and Mike Oldfield.
The Virgin brand had been established and he transferred this to Virgin Atlantic in 1984. He had no experience in the airline field but new that if the customers were satisfied then he had overcome the first major hurdle.
He was competing against British Airways who tried all kinds of dirty tricks to drive him out of business but Branson’s persona and business skills got him through, at great expense to BA, who lost a court case and found their approach had cost them millions. The Virgin brand grew from that point into a number of other business including trains, finance, soft drinks and video games to name a few.
In the 1990’s Branson was to suffer the effects of the high price of airline fuel and the terrorist threats, and this caused him to sell Virgin Records for $1 billion. This not only shows the success he had made it, but one of the keys to his success. When you have been knocked down, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and go again. Virgin Records had been the making of Branson, but he just moved on. He bought Virgin Atlantic back from the banks and put himself firmly in the driving seat.
The important point to note is that Branson has led from the front, but he has surrounded himself with a solid management team. Yes he is a good leader but each business has its own directors and they are guided by the Virgin Management Company Ltd. This company stands aside from the day-to-day management of any of the companies and looks at the overall strategy and reports to Branson direct. This is part of the Branson success. Surround yourself with the right people, lead from the front and focus on the customers.
This experience led him to reevaluate his business position and he felt that the way forward was to ‘brand’. He took a fresh approach to success with ‘branded venture capital’. This allowed him to grow the brand by gaining controlling interests in other businesses. That interest now extends to more than 250 businesses that operate under the Virgin brand. The secret here is that the Virgin brand is at the forefront and the vast majority of people do not know more than a few of the names of the 250 companies.
The shareholders include Branson but are largely the people, who by having a stake in the company, are driven to make it succeed. The delegation of management responsibility and the sense of belonging are the key to success.
This target of ‘brand’ drove Branson to say “he wanted to turn Virgin into the most respected brand in the world”. Branson has indicated that originally it was all about business but now it is brand: “Back then we would create a company based on frustration at other people’s service, and suddenly we realized we had one of the most respected brands in the world”, said Branson.
Branson has seen the dangers of licensing the brand and he counteracts any criticism of licensing by taking the stance that each business is individual, and thus there is no group policy that will dominate the business.
It can be said that the only hint of a group policy is to promote the Virgin brand, which is now the key to Branson’s success, but that brand is driven by the individual success of each business. The brand expansion is now through organic growth and not further business expansion.
By allowing each business to diversify and create its own growth Branson sees this as the best form of success. The brand develops, the staff increase their value in the company and the customer is better served.
So what is the overriding philosophy?
Enjoy yourself and have fun. If the business does not interest or excite you, then dispose of it even if it is profitable, as you will become bored and that boredom saps your energy. Your home life should be fun, so take that fun into your business. This is of course easier said than done if you have an existing business. I grew to hate my offline business and the impact it was having on my quality of life, so I did follow Bransons mantra.
If you are currently looking to start something new, then wherever possible choose something that interests you and that you will enjoy. Believe in yourself
So lets look again at those five points that Branson used as his criteria:
- Enjoy what you do
- Create something that is unique or stands out
- Make sure your staff can be proud of what you are doing
- Be a good leader
- Do not be afraid to fail
Does he enjoy what he does? I think it is clear that he does and he ensures that those who work with him, and for him, share in that enjoyment. Has he created something that is unique? He had a virgin idea at the beginning and turned that into ‘Virgin’ that is now a unique brand.
Are the staff proud? Whilst it is best that they speak for themselves, the fact that they are investors in the business through their shares and management contributions would suggest that they are proud of their involvement. If the business you contribute to is a success, then justifiable pride will follow
Is Branson a good leader? If the success of the Virgin Group is an answer to that question then the he is a good leader. He leads by delegation and example and that gives motivation.
Has he experienced failures? The banks threatened to foreclose Virgin Atlantic the day before its launch which must have been his darkest hour. Virgin Vodka, launched in 1994, was a flop, similarly, Virgin Cola only achieved a 3% market share in the UK. These companies have since virtually disappeared.
Branson was also forced to sell Virgin Cinemas and Virgin Cars, two ventures that he could just not make profitable. “If you are trying to do something for the first time, it’s always an enormous challenge, and there is no guarantee of success,” says Branson. “You never know with these things when you’re trying something new what can happen. This is all experimental.”
But, that is precisely the Branson philosophy – try new things, branch out, and when you can’t find success with one venture, you simply move on to the next. He understood that an integral part of being an entrepreneur meant being willing to not only accept failure but to also be able to rise up and start again. After launching Virgin Vines in 2005, a hip new wine brand, Branson said, “We’ve got an engaging, edgy, vibrant, fun product. It may or may not work, but we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Branson once said: “Business is giving people in their lifetime what they need and what they want. And you know, I’ve had great fun turning a lot of different industries on their head and making sure those industries will never be the same again, because Virgin went in and took them on.” Try new things and if they do not succeed don’t cry over spilt milk. Business opportunities are like London buses. You miss one but another comes along soon after.
The key to Branson’s success comes from how he views himself. He is not an entrepreneur; he is not a businessman; he is simply someone who likes to set exciting challenges for himself and rise to the occasion.
“If I was a businessman, or saw myself as a businessman, I would have never gone into the airline business,” he says. “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”
Here is an interesting brief interview with Richard Branson, where he discusses his philosophy & career advice on becoming an entrepreneur:
In the next article I show you how the new rich approach modern day business. The mentality being that its best to outsource as much of it as possible whilst you make the big profits! I am all for that and recommend you start any new business or income stream with the same philosophy: New Age, New Thinking
Author: Marc Walton
Screw It, Lets Do It
I have just finished reading for the 6th time one of THE most important books that I beg you to read and more importantly, act upon- “The Four Hour Week”-by Tim Ferris.
In other articles I have mentioned the profound effect that Napoleon Hill and his “Think and Grow Rich” had upon me. You can download a free copy of Dr Hills Book here: Napoleon-Hill-Think-and-Grow-Rich (separate page opens, right click on the link on THAT page)
Think & Grow Rich is a book that you should definitely read first, not least for Hills thoughts on positive action and the power of the mastermind group of mentors he was surrounded by BUT it is dated and was commissioned by insurance companies to give to their new sales people. Therefore “work your butts off for the company if you want to get on” was one of the fundamental messages.
New Age Thinking
The modern day mantra is “Live for now and enjoy the moment.”
Work smarter not harder. Do NOT live your life in the hope that you can enjoy your twilight days, enjoy it now.
Heck we still want to accumulate money but it is not the driving force nor the be all and end all.
I semi retired aged 40. I am not a multi millionaire in monetary terms but I spend a lot more time with my wife and kids and doing things that I want to do than most people. I live in the place that I dreamed of living when I was 30. I gave up a very profitable business to sing in a rock band!
However I didn’t just ¨drop out¨– as I explain in the goals section, I made a substantial plan and acted upon it. I have created, businesses from nothing and been successful. Had I stayed in the UK for the last 12 years then I would be very cash rich now, but you can not buy time nor experiences.
In retrospect I always enjoyed the adrenalin rush and excitement of the creation of a new business more than the ongoing success. The periods when I was 100% focused and the risk of losing a lot if not all if I was proved wrong. Am I a gambler? No. I take calculated risks after research. When life gets boring I either delegate or sell up and move on to something more interesting.
New Age Thinking
I explain in another article why I do not have nor was interested in the concept of a conventional retirement, pension plan. That by definition meant that I was paying not insignificant amounts now for a potential pay off at some time in the far and distant future. In the process earning a fortune for the insurance company or fund managers and leaving me with little or no control.
The idea of semi retiring now, whether you are 20 or 50, and enjoying lot of mini retirements whilst still creating income streams to fund it is the key to this new mentality. In the coming weeks and months I will show you lots of interesting, fun and exciting ways to fund this new lifestyle.
Here is a quote from a recently departed mega entrepreneur that neatly sums up the thinking of the creative and new rich where money is not the god:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs – Apple founder February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011
The book in question is The 4 Hour Working Week, by Tim Ferris. Intriguing title for sure and some of it is not practical for some of you BUT here is an insight into a new way of thinking. Each time I read it I take on board new ideas not least organisational and time saving methods and it prevents me from falling back into my old 70 hour a week lifestyle. If you get nothing else from the book then at least let it open yours to the fact that there is another way.
By working faithfully 8 hours a day you may one day become a boss and work 12 hours a day- Robert Frost
Tim Ferris had created his own business that grew to such a point it took over his life. Many self employed and business owners will relate to this. He was earning some serious money ($40.000 a month) but was working himself to death, so much so that he rarely got to enjoy the fruits of all his labours. When he had his epiphany he stopped. Outsourced the whole process from manufacture to delivery and wandered around Europe for 18 months checking in via email only once a week.
Ironically once he empowered his outsourcers (removed himself as a bottle neck as he says in his own words) his monthly profits almost doubled. Its an extreme tale but it is achievable and if you have or are looking to start a business its important to create an entity that will function without you. The goal is NOT to create a monster that will not function without your presence.
“The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain” – Colin Wilson
Self employment is the dream of many employees, however unless they create a system that can operate without their hands on involvement, many self employed people work harder for less and increased income is for most only achieved by working more hours.
Self employment often means that “work” takes over your whole life and can be physically & mentally draining.
Robert Kiyosaki, in his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” – another MUST read book – stresses the importance of creating a system so that people can move from the left, E & S Quadrant to the right B & I Quadrant. 95% of the worlds wealth is held by the right quadrant, B I’s – business owners & investors.
When I talk of a system what do I mean? McDonalds for example is operated at ground floor level by young people. They can be taught the method in a matter of hours and can be replaced very easily. The products are identical as the business has a system from farm to the table which is documented throughout.
If you are employed and do not wish to change then Tim Ferris also offers fantastic strategies, including scripts and tactics for those of you who want more freedom to travel and yet still retain your job by persuading your employer to allow you to work from home.
At face value this remote working arrangement may seem a ridiculous idea, however it can have great benefits for both employer and employee and in the following article I introduce you to a friend of mine who has done just that. He now lives with his girlfriend and young family on a remote island in Sweden and yet still works for his London based employers and the salary that goes with it.
This new age thinking is not just about money. Most people do not have the luxury of having $40.000 a month income from an automated business and many enjoy their job, but would like to have more personal time and to travel or do other things. If you are ready to open your mind even to the possibility of having your cake and eating it too, then this is a MUST read book. Let me know your thoughts and comments below.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on unreasonable men.” -George Bernard Shaw
If you are an employee who negotiates a remote working arrangement that allows him to satisfy his employer whilst travelling extensively. A business owner who learns to eliminate the least profitable parts of his business and control or get rid of the customers who create the most stress before outsourcing the rest, or a student who has not yet jumped on the treadmill or a retiree who wants to leave it completely, there is something here for everyone.
This is not about playing the game in the way that we were indoctrinated. This is about turning the rules on their head and BEATING the game.
Think of retirement simply as worst case insurance, a pensions as a hedge against the worst case scenario. As I wrote in recent articles the system is madness personified. Work hard all your life making sacrifices so that one day you can stop. Face facts 99% of people will not have a big enough fund to retire and enjoy life fully. The few that do will have worked so hard they will probably have no energy left! I don’t want to retire completely and vegetate. I enjoy what I do.
What I do want is to be able to choose when and where I will work and if I fancy taking a money off to trek round Tibet I can do so. However this new thinking is a massive sea change for many people and goes against everything they were brought up to believe. Fear is the biggest hindrance to the majority, but you could be dead tomorrow, why not go for it and chase your dream?
As Tim Ferris says ¨Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
Mark Twain famously said:”I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Benjamin Disraeli : “Action may not always bring happiness BUT there is no happiness without action.”
Becoming a member of this new rich is not just about working smarter its about building a system to replace yourself- Tim Ferris
In the next article I show how a friend of mine and his girlfriend followed the plan and now live on a remote island which is perfect for their young children and yet still earn a substantial, “big city income”, you can find their awesome story here: Living The Dream
So there you have it. Lots of great advice from smart people, but will you take the advice, get off your butt and live your dream? Take ACTION AND DO IT NOW
Author: Marc Walton
New Age Thinking
In the previous article: Change Your Life, Change Your Thinking, I explained the profound effect that Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Working Week book has had on my life and others to whom I have recommended it. Here is the story of some friends of mine who took the book to heart (after a LOT of initial scepticism) and threw themselves into and are now members of the “New Rich.”
They made a plan; ring any bells? They implemented it and now two years later are financially better off, much happier with their less stressful lives and time rich. Here Louisa explains hers and her boyfriend, my friend, Gostas story:
Living The Dream
‘Stuff society’ said my Swedish boyfriend, Gosta, as he marched outside to put the flags up on the flagpole in our garden. His father had said that by law, only one nation flag was allowed on a flagpole at any one time.
But although he was also on occasion the dutiful son of a judge, Gosta was also an ex-punk rocker, a tattooed rebel and determined that for our housewarming party at least, we would have them both up… Gosta would have you believe he’s a rebel
‘Why don’t you put the British flag on top then?’ I said.
‘Because it implies occupation.’ He replied. ‘I want to ignore convention…but not too much.’
Above is the view from our living room. We live on an island in the Gothenburg Archipelago with our two children. And this is the story of our dream come true.
Our island has no cars and no crime, which is lucky because at 2 years old, our daughter Freya’s most fun game is running away from me, giggling as she waits to get caught. Felix is just 4 months and has started laughing already… it’s the most beautiful sound in the world. On mornings like this, we go out rowing. Whilst I dangle my hand over the side of the boat marvelling at the pure smoothness of the water the most angelic little hooligan you ever saw sings raucously next to me. ‘Row, row, row, your boat….’
Four days a week Gosta goes to work in what we’ve christened ‘The Studio’. Although it’s a part of our house, it has its own entrance and that means some of the mortgage can be expensed on his limited company. The company is used to funnel earnings from three sources; his contract work, his song writing and his foreign exchange trading. All of them are performed online and that means no commute and a very flexible part-time nine to five. Even though the island has no cars, it does have perfect 4G internet coverage so we are not quite cut off from reality…or Facebook.
And every day as we take lunch gazing out together at the family of swans drifting on the quiet sea, we both remind each other how wonderful life is. But whilst I will never be ungrateful for what we have,
I can also proudly say we imagined and created our dream life. We built our own reality. And you can too.
You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true- Richard Bach
Events in life are serendipitous. And it’s no coincidence that I was given ‘The 4 Hour Work week’ during one of the most stressful periods in my life. Freya, my beautiful daughter, was barely 6 weeks old when I was forced back to work to take a contract which gave me the liberty to work online from home. On paper the deal was great; the company paid for a full time nanny on top of my contract rate, and she sat downstairs with my baby cuddling her and amusing her until I came out of my office at regular intervals to breastfeed. The best of both worlds, you might say.
But the wrench every time I handed her back and the agony I felt on hearing her cry downstairs for what felt like hours, meant that often I worked away blinded by tears eventually having to turn up the music on my headphones to be able to accomplish whatever task I had at hand. My baby wanted her mother, and I wanted to be with her. As the weeks progressed, I gave up breastfeeding because we decided it was better for both of us that my daughter was out of the house. My nanny took her out of my hearing and out of my broken heart.
‘You can keep it, I have two copies.’ Said my friend, handing over a copy of ‘The 4 hour work week’ by a guy called Tim Ferriss. Marc had coincidentally also recommended the book to Gosta. ‘You’re recommending this?’ I said half derisively. It promised 4 hours of work a week and 40,000 dollars per month…and quite frankly stank of ‘too-good-to-be-true’. But something so explicitly tantalising, that promised the dream I needed, and which was given to me by a friend, deserved a closer look.
Once a contractor, my boyfriend had taken a permanent job as a database programmer the year before. He was our only ‘secure’ income and as such was forced to commit to his daily grind in Hammersmith, London. Every morning he’d jump on his bike and pedal off, dodging ferocious traffic and breathing in the toxic fumes of the city.
But working full time on top of a new born baby, not to mention his new hobby of forex trading, didn’t leave time for it.
‘The 4 hour work week. If I had that I could dedicate more time to forex and music. I used to be a songwriter who did IT on the side.’ He said morosely. ‘Now I’m lucky if I write one song a month.’
It was then that I started reading the 4 hour work week and tried without luck to persuade Gosta to do the same. There wasn’t enough time for reading in his life. Fortunately the entire book was also recorded on CD. And he listened to the whole thing on his way to and from work – narrowly missing several severe car crashes – until one night we started to talk seriously about our future.
Living The Dream :
Our Dream Life
The 4 hour work week was filled with extravagant promises and hyperbole – ‘Warning: Do not read this book unless you want a new way of living!’ it said on the back of the book… ‘Step by step guide to living the life of your dreams’… but the more I read through it, the more it changed – and challenged – my mindset. Quite simply, the first goal is geographical freedom and the second automation of income. And with all the time and money you save, you are free to travel the world and for example, compete – as Tim did – in the world Tango championships in Buenos Aires.
But whilst dancing the tango with a blind Al Pacino might have once been a fantasy of mine, our dream life now consisted of more time for our family and our passions. Like all good self-help books, the 4-hour work week gave us the impetus to imagine more, to strive for more and simply to expect more out of our lives.
As Gosta and I sat down to design our ideal life, this is what we came up with.
1. Goal: keep our current income, but move somewhere with a lower cost of living
2. We would ideally like to be close to the sea and nature
3. We want to have a home big enough to welcome our friends from around the world.
4. We want to work less on the boring stuff, more on the dream stuff – and if possible, work less.
It had been often a subject of discussion that whilst London was great for job opportunities, the good salaries were simply cancelled out by the cost of living. Buying a lovely house in Richmond, where we lived, would have cost close to a million or more and even the tiny terraced house we rented was worth 600 thousand.
‘Ok. So where would you want to live ideally?’ I said. ‘Somewhere hot.’ Said Gosta promptly.
‘France.’ I said. ‘I would consider the south of France.’ He said. ‘Next to the sea.’
‘I don’t know anyone in the south of France. And that’s even more expensive than London. My friends are in Paris.’ I said
‘I can’t see myself in Paris.’ He said. ‘I don’t speak French.’
‘But they speak French in the south of France too.’
‘Yeah, but it’s hot down there. I really want to live somewhere warm.’
Obviously we now live in Sweden. The least hot place in the world. But he speaks the language. Sorting out your real priorities from your fantasies is an important exercise to go through. And once we’d done that, we carefully constructed a plan about how to get it. I take no credit for the implementation – that was my boyfriend all the way. I am proud to admit he did a wonderful job.
Our first goal was to spend 3 months the following summer in Sweden (the only time when it was vaguely hot) – but as Gosta only had 4 weeks paid vacation a year, it seemed an impossibility. ‘They have to trust that you can work without supervision. Surely that’s the first key.’ I said.
‘Even when I’m at the office I talk to most of the guys on skype.’ He said. That’s what’s great about the IT world, I thought, 10 people sitting in the same room chatting to each other silently over messenger. ‘So it should be easy to persuade them to give you one day at home. You have a new baby; will they give you any leeway?’
‘Not to look after her, but maybe to cancel out the travel time.’ He took the issue to his managers, who are schooled to think nowadays that family balance is an important issue. It was decided that this day would be a trial only which gave them the assurance they needed to change their mind if it didn’t work out.
As he could work via VPN, actually doing the work wasn’t a problem. However there was a daily morning meeting which he proposed was moved to skype. This move proved very popular with some other team members as they could also benefit (mostly to sit at their desks playing solitaire).
He made a conscientious effort to be ever present on skype and set the volume on his computer to high so he never missed a call even when he went to grab a sandwich for lunch. He worked late on those days and took every opportunity to send constructive emails with a time stamp on them. He was as accommodating as possible which instilled them with trust in his ability to work independently and was even there when they didn’t expect support. The trial day was eventually made permanent after a few months and because it was such a success, we moved onto phase 2….
Asking for time off to program forex robots, or write pop songs may not be looked upon kindly by your employer. Fortunately asking for permission to work remotely so that your daughter gets to know her grandparents and her Swedish heritage is. Finding the reason that drives a decision into HR is crucial…the more HR gets involved with the longer term decision making the more ‘locked in’ the decision becomes. Managers can’t simply turn around and change their mind anymore, and working remotely becomes a contractual permission, not just a laissez faire management style. On the other hand, once HR says ‘no’ your ability to change the situation is more difficult, which is why it was also important to make the reason something that did not indicate dissatisfaction with work.
And in this, one of the trickiest aspects of the negotiation was persuading his management that whilst he didn’t want to leave, he did want to reduce his time at work. Reducing your time whilst making a move to work remotely, would send up warning signals with many. But in our case at least there was no financial risk to the employer – 80% working time also meant 80% of salary, although we timed it so that this reduction took place just after a salary raise and any corresponding impact to our household budget was lessened. Nevertheless, our finances were stretched tight since my income was sporadic and the need to move out of Richmond to somewhere less costly, was on our minds at all times.
A big discussion these past months had also been a calculation of how much we spent every month, what we regarded as necessary (need to have) and what we desired (nice to have). Because we chose to rent a house over the summer, the double rent on our home and on our holiday was expensive. But the move was so important to us that in the short term we economised on luxury. Truth to be told, 3 months by the sea required little expenditure. Food, sunblock and a pay-as-you-go internet connection. It was fortunate that we had a Swedish address (his sister’s) with which to order the internet connection…think in advance who your contacts are and who might be able to do you this favour. Because roaming charges are high.
‘Three months is a bit too long to go without some things and too short to bring other things.’ Said my boyfriend. ‘How can I bring and set up a music studio in under 20 kilos luggage allowance?’ As it turned out, it was cheaper to buy speakers and have them delivered to our holiday home than it would have been to pay excess baggage….another set of calculations we made.
By this point then, he had already achieved a working week which was divided into 3 days working in the office, one day working at home and one day working with music. We needed to get the other three days working remotely. In fact the only way you might be able to get those days is by proposing a foreign trip. Very few companies will accept that you work from home if you live so close to the office (35 minutes door to door).
We went over several drafts of the email that he sent to his managers. It contained several important points.
• That making sure his daughter got to know her culture was very important to him
• That to make this happen I was taking her to Sweden for the summer with or without him
• That the prospect of us gone for the entire summer was very hard for him
• That he would be willing to mix holidays and unpaid time into the 3 months in order to accompany me
• That his working online was very successful and he actually got more work done at home than at work
• That he loved his job, but this was a head and heart decision …and that really, they didn’t have a choice. He had to be with his family.
Gosta concluded the email from the heart –
‘You mustn’t think that this move one step for me to be able to leave this job. On the contrary, if I can take these three months you have given something so incredibly important to my family, something that means so much to me, that my loyalty will only increase.’ Needless to say, after two meetings, they agreed.
In hindsight, I think that last tactic was a stroke of genius. He had appealed to their emotions to be with his family. Whilst economists may hypothesize that decisions are rational, any marketer will tell you that all decisions have a large dollop of emotion thrown in. He had appealed to them about a universally recognised need and psychologically given them the power to be the bigger man.
We rented a house on the small island of Brännö over July, August and September. As it was a long term holiday rental we haggled quite a bit over the price and whilst we didn’t get it down much, we did get September chucked in for free as it wasn’t peak season (note to English people. Get a non English person to do the haggling. They’re far more shameless than we are).
It was just as we arrived that I started throwing up. Sure enough I was pregnant. And we were delighted …sort of. The pregnancy was planned in the way that, since I wasn’t getting any younger we had thought it better to start trying a year after my daughter was born. But our luck at getting pregnant precipitated a move out of Richmond. Our tiny terraced house wasn’t big enough for the three of us, let alone a fourth. We considered many options, but Sweden and more specifically Brännö, held numerous advantages:
• Brännö was next to the sea…
• And slap bang in the middle of nature (in fact it was the nature)
• We could get a house which was twice the size for half the cost
• Childcare is [practically] free
• Parental leave is paid for 13 months
• We had family close by
And although I am ashamed to admit it, our living expenses would be reduced substantially due to the consumerism to which I found myself vulnerable in more civilized society. There was no Harrods in Brännö, in fact there was just one grocery store (I have since found that Amazon has profited quite nicely from this though). For all the resources at our disposal it made sense. Childcare alone would increase our wealth by 40K a year.
Addressing a permanent move here with my boyfriend’s company was a big ‘ask’. For many reasons, we decided to wait until the last three weeks of the stay so that it was already proven he could do all the work remotely. The plain truth of the matter was that we couldn’t afford to stay in London and for our family’s sake we had to move out. My pregnancy wasn’t designed to be used as a manipulative tactic but nevertheless, we regarded it as a very useful negotiation tool – yet another resource at our disposal.
If we had to move out of London anyway, they would either have the expense of losing and having to find another person, or accepting that they got the service from someone who worked out of the office. And for whom they didn’t have to pay the overhead.
After several email exchanges, the negotiation boiled down to two sticking points.
a) That they didn’t want to have an employee based in Sweden and be subject to Swedish HR law
b) That he needed a little face to face contact to ensure his continued relationship with his colleagues
Promptly we offered to transform his employee contract into a rolling 6 month contract with a trial period and agreed that he would come over – at his own expense – every two months. Luckily for him the next opportunity to go over coincided with the Christmas party…And they got a contractor for exactly the same price as an employee with no risk on their side.
One month later, supported by his salary, we moved. In our new home, we feel rich (in money terms) and – of course – hugely wealthy if happiness is the currency.
We’re not all the way there and certainly have some way to go on reducing working hours. But our next goal is to spend the winter months in a rather warmer climate. Cyprus is an option since my father lives there. We’re lucky that we have an international family. And of course now that Gosta is free to work from wherever he wants, we don’t have to stay in Sweden….the world is our oyster.
So there you have it. Dreams can become reality BUT you have to plan it and then take action and follow it through. In the next section we show you, step by step how to plan your future: Why Goals Are Vital To Your Success
Living The Dream
Goal Setting Guide
First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (over say the next 5, 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve. Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals. Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.
This is why we start the process of goal setting by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the coming year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.
For example, if your goal is to be able to lose 12 pounds in weight, do not focus on this goal.
Aim to lose one pound a week for the next 12 weeks and it will be a lot easier to manage and will increase your chances of success massively.
Re-evaluate your current goal after the 90 days has expired If you wanted to lose weight, what would you do? Decide how much you want to lose (your goal)
Make a Plan:
- Set a target, what weight do you want to be?
- Choose a diet
- Throw out all the fatty foods in the fridge and cupboards
- Join a Gym or devise an exercise program
- If you really intend to succeed tell EVERYONE
- If you are ultra serious offer to lose weight for charity
- Set long term goals “I will lose 12lbs”
- Shorter term achievable goals “ I will lose at least 1lb per week”
- Reward yourself when major milestones have been achieved -not food
- Get a friend to check your weight or join a diet club
Step 1: Setting Lifetime Goals
The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.
To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):
- Career & Business – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
- Do you want to start your own business? If so what type and how?
- Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
- Education – Is there any knowledge you need to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
- Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
- Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
- Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back?
- Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find a solution to the problem.)
- Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you simply want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
- Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
Spend some time brainstorming these things, and then select one or more goals in each category that best reflect what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals that you can focus on.
As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. (If you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants – however, make sure that you also remain true to yourself!)
Productivity studies show that most people can’t focus on more than 5-7 items at any one time. My wife says that as I am a man, that figure is reduced to one Don’t try to take on too many things with a long list of objectives. Focus on a handful of objectives – the ones you care about most – and the ones that you can almost repeat from memory.
Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals
Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.
Then create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan. Then create a daily To-Do List of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.
At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.
Finally review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.
Staying on Course
Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily or weekly basis. Have you achieved this weeks goals. If not why not and what do you need to do to get back on track?
Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary. I use this one, www.lifetick.com the basic version is free & the upgrade is only $20 a year)
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we’ve included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:
S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model. WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc. WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish? HOW are you going to do it? (By…?)
Ensure the goals you set are very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2cm off your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.
In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, then it is a success.
However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.
Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! “I want to read all the books in Marc’s library before my birthday” shows the specific target to be measured. “I want to read more” is not as measurable.
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.
A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you’ve achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.
Reward each small achievement.
If its a big goal then when you are in the planning stage set the rewards. “Once I get the sales to $1000 a week I will take the family to Disneyland,” tell the family first, you now have created yourself a fan club AND someone to motivate you if things go astray. The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.
This is not a synonym for easy. Realistic, in this case, means “do-able”. It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn’t break them.
Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, crisps and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.
For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.
Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!
Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague.
It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.
Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.
Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART, is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives.
In the next article there are some great goal setting tips to help you get started on your new life plan. To access it, go here: 18 Goal Setting Tips
Author: Marc Walton