Side Hustle

 
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-hand-displaying-spread-cash-us-one-hundred-dollar-bills-image42507251Make Money Blogging!

Work from Home just Hours a Day!

Turn Your Hobby into Profits!

This all sounds easy and could fit into the definition of what so many entrepreneur cheerleaders call a side hustle. A lot of people post on social media about their side hustles, and Gary Vaynerchuk is a big proponent of hustle in general. The reality, however, is that what many think is a side hustle is really just a time, energy, and money suck.

A side hustle is a way to earn extra money on the side. If you aren’t smart about it and think it will be easy then you will probably fail.

Side hustle isn’t a get rich quick scheme – just ask people who thought flipping houses in the mid 2000s would be easy money.

Most of my side hustles didn’t work out but the difference is that it didn’t cost me much either.

In the appendix of What Next I have a trail map of my career and entrepreneurial side hustles – some are dead ends, some go on for a while, and some have made me lots of money. The point is that I didn’t put all my effort into one thing and I didn’t stop looking for a next hustle. Maybe most important, I was willing to walk away from ones I grew tired of or were becoming a drain rather than an addition to my income, time, or energy.

It’s great to have the motivation to pursue a side hustle but you also have the common sense to know when something is just a pyramid scheme or when an investment could end up costing you more than it makes you. The emphasis should be on the word hustle because these things take work, hard work, and too many people think it will be easy.


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You Have More Than You Think

 
You have more time, money, knowledge, stamina, desire, influence and ability than you know. Those that recognize this fact are more likely to succeed.

You have the power!When faced with an impossible task you either rise to the occasion or you don’t. I think of the rare stories of people being lost at sea or while hiking, people who have survived difficulties none of us prepare for. These people found stamina they never would have imagined they had sitting in the comfort of their homes which means you have much more than you think as well.

There are everyday situations that require extraordinary commitment and focus, that many people either don’t have (I don’t believe that) or aren’t willing to put forth (all too common).

I’ve always considered myself entrepreneurial but I’ve been that way on my terms, meaning I’ve been somewhat conservative. My latest project has me taking on moreCash risk financially than I ever have and while it is daunting, I’m having the best time I’ve had in a long while. The joy I have from working harder than ever before comes from my confidence, I believe I’ll do well, and my sense of adventure, I want to explore my abilities and discover new strengths. These things, confidence and adventure, often lead to flow, a mental state in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus and full involvement. In flow, times flies and before you know it, hours have passed.

So many people complain that they need more of something, more time or money but it’s there if they only look more carefully. You would be amazed how much money you could find if you just figure out where you’re spending it or prioritize things and give up the less important expenses that cost money but give you little benefit. You can find more desire by really exploring what it is you want to do, what you love to do, what excites you.

When we began our latest business journey, Julie was rightfully concerned that with our already busy schedules, we wouldn’t have enough time for this project, and that if we found the time, then we wouldn’t have enough time for each other. So far, I’m happy to report, we’ve found the time to devote to this adventure and, since we’re doing it together, we still have each other’s company – a win-win! But time is only one aspect and we’ve seen that we need more than we thought when it comes to money, knowledge (I’ve done more research for this than I ever did in college), and patience.

We need more of everything but it’s there if we’re willing to do what it takes to get it. In the case of money, maybe we have to give up somethings for the more important stuff and so we reduce discretionary things like cable tv or stop one type of investment in favor of another (which is what we’ve done).

As for time, this blog has suffered. I haven’t been writing new posts in a while but something has to give. As we move forward with this project I’ll blog more about it but that will happen when I’m finally ready to reveal this latest What Next. Stay tuned and check back here often (and explore – there are lots of posts with lots of good information if I do say so myself).


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You Can Retire Early

 

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Retire SunsetHow do you think about retirement? Is it something that’s too far off to worry about, or too close to deal with? Is retirement something you feel ready for or scared about? Do you want to retire early or will you have to work longer than you want?

In yesterday’s post I wanted to turn the cliché “Money is the root of all evil” on its head and I came up with some suggestions such as money is the root of self-confidence, independence, and security. The fact is, money is a means to an end, it’s just a tool to use.

Retirement is thought of as an escape from work, from responsibilities, from the rat race or the grind, but retirement is none of those things if you are ill prepared without enough resources, otherwise known as money.

I know that early retirement will be a reality for me (whatever retirement means for someone who asks What Next). But what is early retirement? If 65 is “normal” retirement is 60 early? How about 55 or 50? My goal is 50 but is that really possible? And how?

The answer is yes it’s possible and I present “Super Saver” as exhibit A. Super is a blogger who retired in his 40s and, as I indicated yesterday, he didn’t use any get rich quick schemes, there were no tricks, and he doesn’t have a system he’s selling to teach you how to do it.

There are three key points to how Super retired so early and how I plan on doing the same: First, he started young and got a good education in a field with potential for good income. Not every career has the same potential for high income but you have to accept that fact if you choose to take a job because you love what you do rather than for the money. As a student you should also think twice about how much debt you’re willing to take on for a job that doesn’t pay well.

Second, he knew that hard work in the short term would lead to options in the long term, he was able to advance in his career getting raises and promotions along the way. I, too, have worked long hours and pushed hard to achieve certain goals at work but I know I won’t be doing this forever.

Third and probably most important, he was able to restrain himself and live significantly below his means. No matter how many times people hear this advice, live below your means, they simply don’t listen. Yes my wife and I have a very good income but we also save a large amount. Super says he saved 10% of his income in the early years but I don’t see how much he saved later. Julie and I save an astonishing 27.7% of our income, on average, over the last 6 years.

Wealth Builder PostsSuper wrote an excellent series of posts recounting exactly how he was able to retire in his 40s and I highly recommend reading all 10 posts.

 

So many people ask, wonder, and dream of retiring early without realizing that they have the resources to do it if only they were willing to give up some immediate pleasures for the future promise of their dreams.

It comes down to choices. Do you have what it takes to make the right choices now for a better future?


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Money Is The Root Of…

I’ve said before that I don’t like clichés and I’m not alone. My friends Jen @gingerconsult and Monika @healingmuse share that feeling. Monika lamented that so many people use clichés on Twitter and I replied with my agreement.

Twitter quote 1

It reminded me of a post Jen wrote on the subject and I tweeted that to Monika.

Twitter quote 2

This is yet another example of the interaction available on twitter (I’ve written about that too).

But this post isn’t really about clichés, it’s about money. There are lots of clichés when it comes to money and while clichés have some truth to them they are often incomplete. A perfect example of this is the statement “money is the root of all evil.” It’s true that money, the desire for money, the greed associated with money, leads people to do bad things but money is also the root of self-confidence, independence, and security.

Another twitter friend @EmpowrdAmerican wrote a post about this very subject with this tweet announcing it.

While they admit that a lot of people think they would talk about politics with a name like Empowered American, they actually spend a lot of time on the subject of money. Though many people like to say money isn’t important, as my friends at Empowered American point out, “money opens the doors for opportunity.” You need not be greedy to want financial security, independence, nice things, and a certain level of comfort. With the popularity of so many financial experts such as Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman, I think there are a lot of people who agree.

While many people want the benefits of money, the security and independence, almost as many aren’t willing to make the choices necessary. The choices, the sacrifices, shouldn’t be difficult but so many of us make them difficult because we’re unwilling to forego instant gratification. Look at the cars people drive and how often they get new cars.

People also tend to wish for a big windfall rather than doing the work necessary for a steady progress toward wealth. That’s why so many people put their faith in things other than themselves like the lottery.

I’m planning on retiring very early (whatever retirement means from someone who asks What Next) and tomorrow I’m going to introduce you to someone who reached that goal. At the risk of you not reading the post, you won’t hear about any trick or full proof system, you’ll see that smart decisions and living below your means (not buying fancy cars and huge houses) can get you to the finish line much faster than you ever imagined.

So what is money to you? Fill in the blank in the comments area below “Money is the root of…” 

 


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Options to Track Your Spending

I don’t like clichés. I try to avoid using them. One cliché I might use and is appropriate for this post but is rather gruesome when you think about it is, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” First of all why would you want to do that and second, why would you want to know all the different techniques?

Applying this to the topic at hand I would modify it to read, “there is more than one way to keep your spending under control.” As clichés go this one is not that good, but it’s true and a lot less bloody than the previous statement.

I have seen plenty of blog posts and advice columns that state the definitive method to keep spending under control, stay within budget, and get your finances in order, but is there really only one way? Most of them are correct, not because the others are wrong but because each person is different and responds to different incentives.

I don’t really care where you spend your money but the key to success is that you know where you spend your money. Tracking your spending is crucial to success. Below are what I call the big three methods of doing this with pros and cons for each. Pick the one that works best for you.

Credit Cards only:

This one is my favorite, it’s the method I use but has one big problem, it doesn’t work if you have credit card debt. If you can’t pay off your credit cards every month, this isn’t the choice for you. If you carry a balance on a credit card, for even one month, skip to the next method.

By using your credit card for all your purchases the tracking of those expenses is automated. I still recommend importing that information into a spreadsheet or financial program such as Quicken because of the ability to see reports and to aggregate all your other bills and expenses.

The added benefit of this option is that if you have a credit card that offers rewards, you are adding value to purchases you would be making anyway.

Debit Cards only:

These are the same as credit cards but with the added benefit that you won’t be paying interest. I’m beginning to lean toward this as a better option because some banks are offering incentives to use debit cards such as higher interest rates on savings accounts. Which is more important, the higher interest or the rewards? You decide.

The downside to this is that you can’t spend any money you don’t have. That’s a good thing but if you need to make a purchase today but aren’t getting paid until tomorrow that can be a pain. The other downside is that you must be aware of your balance at all times. The moment you have an overdraft charge, just one, is the moment you stop using this method.

Envelopes:

This method is a bit antiquated in the digital age of debit cards but offers something the others don’t – discipline. If you have trouble with the previous two suggestions such as not paying your credit card off in full each month or overdraft fees, then this is your best choice.

In this method you simply take out the cash you expect to spend over the next month and divide it into envelopes for the various expenses such as eating out, groceries, entertainment, clothing, etc. You can be as detailed as you like. If you didn’t take out enough it’s ok to go to the bank as long as you’re only taking money that you know isn’t supposed to be used for something else like the mortgage or rent.

Each method offers something but don’t forget that your daily expenses are just one aspect of your overall expenses. I would still use a program like Quicken to keep track of everything. Knowledge is power. If you know where you’re money is going you will make better decisions.

Have other ideas or methods? Let me know!


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Spending Vs. Budgeting

An important part of success is money. I’m not saying that we all need to be millionaires but managing your finances is an important part of success. Many people struggle with their finances because they either underestimate the difficulty, thinking it’s so easy to manage their money that they end up getting into trouble, or they overestimate the difficulty of their finances, thinking it’s too hard to figure out, and also end up getting into trouble.

The real problem with managing your finances is simply knowing where your money is going. It’s not a budgeting problem, it’s a tracking problem. If you know where your money’s going you’ll be able to see in what areas you’re spending too much, what areas that need to be reigned in. If you aren’t keeping track of your spending you’ll just wonder why you don’t have enough, you’ll wonder where all your money’s going.

The video below has been permanently added to my video page. More will follow.


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Functional Financial Illiteracy

 

New York Stock ExchangeAsk anyone and they will tell you that it is very important to understand your finances, to be smart about your investments. Those same people, however, often are not knowledgeable about finance and investment, if surveys and polls are to be believed. One study published in December 2006 states: “Our review reveals that many households are unfamiliar with even the most basic economic concepts needed to make saving and investment decisions.” (emphasis added)

You simply can’t ask What Next without some level of financial literacy.

The media  seems to work hard to educate and inform us. Money Magazine, Smart Money Magazine, Marketwatch.com, and CNBC are read or watched by millions but can they be trusted? When the headlines on the covers of the magazines are things like “Top Mutual Funds for This Year” or “What the Market Will do Next,” they cannot be trusted because no one can predict these things accurately. When CNBC holds a “Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge” and rings the closing bell of the stock market to promote their casinoization of investing they lose any credibility they had.Roulette

The language of investing perpetuates the gambling myth. A stock that does well is called a “winner,” an investment recommendation is called a “hot tip” as if it were a horse running in the third race at the track. No wonder planning for the future is called the “retirement game.” The stock market, investing in general, is not a game where, if the “player” gets lucky, he can beat the house.

Asking What Next takes a much different approach to investing. It’s systematic, researched, and individual. Investing with a What Next outlook means weighing options, understanding that an investment in one area often precludes an investment in another area, recognizes that it’s folly to attempt to do better than “the market” when the market is made up of people all trying to do the same thing. For me, educating myself meant pursuing a career change into financial planning. That was a bit extreme. For most people, seeking the advice of a financial planner would suffice.

Asking What Next is only the first step. Understanding What Next requires work.

ConfusedMany people making financial decisions are functional yet financially illiterate. It’s time to change that. I’d stop treating investing like a game by avoiding the “Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge” and start educating myself on a reasoned, systematic approach to the future.

In my opinion your best resources to educate yourself and take a What Next approach to your finances, investments, and retirement planning are the following. Watch an episode of Til Debt Do Us Part on CNBC then check out Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s website. I’m a big fan of The Coffeehouse Investor both the book and the website – check them out. Of course there’s always my book What Next A Proactive Approach to Success – I’m kind of partial to that one (also available as an eBook).

A big part of What Next is taking action. Will you check out any of the above suggestions?


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