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August 2014 Newsletter: A Call to Action; and Start Your Own Enterprise
August 31, 2014
|Hello to all my frugal friends:
I've been up to my neck in summer projects, and great progress has been made on many fronts. If you see me in suspenders, sunglasses, a ball cap, and the tips of my ears smeared with sunblock, then you know that I'm focused on outdoor projects. We've enjoyed a rather cool and wet summer here in southeast Wyoming, and we're all very thankful for that. The grass is high, our trees have grown quite a bit, and the danger of grass fires has been rather low.
I'm following the same pattern as usual, two articles you won't find on the site; one on personal finances, and one on being better prepared from an economic and financial perspective.
The first article this month is about recognizing and responding to the call for action to better our condition with respect to our personal finances. If we're paying attention, the need for action should be easy to recognize.
The second article deals with the series I'm writing about economic and financial preparedness. I've talked before about making more money by challenging ourselves as an employee of another, and getting skilled up as an employee, but now I want to talk about starting a business of your own, a service-related business that requires very little investment, yet can have the potential to substantially increase your income.
Tough Financial Shape? Just Listen for the Call to Action
by Clair A. Schwan
At one point or another, many of us will recognize that we’re in tough financial shape, and that becomes our call to action. We ought to be thankful we can hear the call when it comes, because for some of us, we don’t “get off the dime” and act in our own best interest until it’s absolutely necessary.
And, some of us are financially hard of hearing.
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to peek in on the lives of others, through social media, and learn a little about their challenging financial conditions. I’d like to share some of my observations, and insights and suggestions, all in an effort to get some value out on the table.
I do this in the interest of helping others understand there are various indicators that we should recognize as a type of wake-up call. We ought to create insights regarding these indicators, and put them to work for us, so we sleep better at night.
Here is what I’ve learned about the financial conditions of others, just through casual observation of what is mentioned in public forums on the web. Some of these might be difficult to believe, but since the conversations are regular and between friends, I assume that there is far more sincerity behind the comments than drama or fiction. In any event, we can learn something by glancing at the lives of others.
The more I learn about the lives of others, the more I understand the difference between survive and thrive. There are far more people living on the financial edge than I ever imagined. I believe it was Dave Ramsey who coined the phrase, "Broke is normal, be weird." Okay, so I’m happily weird, but very concerned about others who don’t have much of a grip, and are indeed in tough financial shape.
Insights and Suggestions
As usual, the examples above aren’t what's important, they’re only the attention-getters. The important part is what we might learn from these examples, and how those lessons might be implemented in our lives so we don’t slip into, or farther into an undesirable financial condition.
Here are my take-aways:
Resist Being Satisfied
Many of us might look at some of these examples, wipe our brow, and say, "Well, at least I’m not in that tough spot." I would caution against becoming overly satisfied with where we might be, unless we’re clearly sitting on top of the world – very few of us are. Instead, I would suggest we take these observations and insights, and compare them with our own situation, by "holding them up to the light" to see if we might need to make some changes. Are we getting too comfortable, talking instead of acting, not holding our own feet to the fire, or simply waiting around until the decisions of others narrow our field of choices by default? If so, it’s time to listen up so we can hear that call to action.
The compassionate person in all of us will be concerned about the future of others, and we’ll want to help, but the best thing we can do is to take good care that we’re crafting the best financial situation we possibly can for ourselves. It’s the only way we can be sure that we might be in a position, by way of experience and resources, to help others. Leading by example is powerful, and to do so we must be our own leader (and cheerleader) first and foremost.
Are the above examples of financial leadership of others akin to what’s going on in your life? If so, consider this to be your call to action. "About face, forward march!"
Economic and Financial Preparedness – Start Your Own Enterprise With Limited Investment: Examples of Service-Related Businesses
by Clair A. Schwan
When I think of economic and financial preparedness, one of my first thoughts is to start a service-related enterprise of my own, using not much more than what I already have. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs started on their road to financial independence in a garage. Many small businesses start in a garage, basement or small home office. And, I think these are some of the best small businesses you can possibly have.
Small service businesses you start yourself are great because you become a more integral part of the economy, you have much more control over your destiny, and they’re generally the easiest and least expensive to start up. And, it’s very likely that such an enterprise can be used to put you in a position where you can create wealth faster and to a greater extent than you ever thought possible.
Let’s start with my original suggestion from the article about creating wealth so we stay focused here:
The idea here is to minimize risk by making use of what you have in terms of knowledge, skills, tools and other resources. If you think you’ll be putting a lot of money at risk, you might discourage yourself before you even get started, and that’s why I’m suggesting you first think about something you can do now, with very little need for investment.
Examples of Service Enterprises
To give you some ideas to start thinking about, consider the following careers that you might kick off with just a small office in your home…or your garage or basement:
There are many more service-related businesses that one might start as a way of fostering economic and financial preparedness, but let’s consider this list of suggestions as sufficient for our purposes.
As a small enterprise, you have the best potential for making the highest income possible under your own direction. This is true because you’re directly connected with the source of income for the business...your customers. The money you earn comes directly to you...you’re not funding unnecessary levels of management that suck the life out of your hourly billing rate with unnecessary expenses. It could very well be that your gross income doubles simply because you don’t have the overhead of the larger company. In addition, you get to decide what expenses your operation will have, so you not only orchestrate your gross revenue, but you control factors that influence how much more of that revenue gets turned into profit. All of this means you build wealth much faster than you would as an employee. More wealth means a better potential for financial preparedness. Direct control means you ride the wave of changes in the economy, instead of playing crack the whip as an employee of another.
More Details Next in the Series
Since the idea of starting your own business is a bit involved, I’ve elected to break up this topic into three separate articles, so let’s talk next about keys to success in your own business. It’s only fair that I spell out some of the ideas that I think are most helpful when starting your own enterprise.
Next MonthIn next month's newsletter I'll provide an article about a different way of looking at financial assets, and how we might approach wealth preservation.
I'll also provide another article in the economic and financial preparedness series. This time I'll provide suggestions about the keys to success when starting and operating your own enterprise.
Thanks for being here with me at Frugal Living Freedom. I hope you enjoyed the articles and can put them to good use in your own life to better your financial position and enhance your own financial peace of mind.
All the best to you and yours,
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