A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


Are You Really In Control?

This is important...

What I'm writing about today is absolutely, completely and totally (is that enough superlatives I wonder) central, vital and crucial to your financial well being in the months and years to come, especially in this current financial climate.

Get this wrong... overestimate the strength of your position, and no matter how pretty you think you're currently sitting, the whole house of cards could come tumbling down in a heartbeat...

And there won't be a dammed thing you can do about it.

Do I have your attention? Good... let me ask you an important question then...

Who has control over your financial
destiny - you, or someone else?

You see in October last year, Tony was in an enviable position. At 50 years old he had worked his way up to being General Manager of the UK subsidiary for a large American conglomerate, with responsibility for over 200 people. For over 20 years he'd put his heart and soul into the company and was well rewarded... over £50,000 a year, BMW 7 Series, company pension, expense account... the full works.

But then a new Managing Director took over. Within weeks Tony was made redundant, given the basic state redundancy package, and was left sitting at home wondering what the hell had just happened. He now had no salary, no car, no job, and nothing in reserve to fall back on. All his efforts for the past 20 years had gone into this one job. When that went, so did the fruits of all his hard work.

Everything he had, and everything he'd done
was invested in that one damned job!

Now changing the scenery a little, you might be sitting there smugly thinking that couldn't possibly happen to you because you're self-employed. Well I've got news for you Mr Smarty Pants, the same kind of thing is happening to the self employed too...

Colin for example operated a successful printing business for over ten years. Nothing spectacular, but steady profits year on year and he was ‘comfortable’.

Then literally overnight, he thought he'd hit the jackpot...

A massive local company asked him to quote for some work, they liked his prices and put more and more business his way. Unable to adequately expand his business Colin soon found he was having to turn other work away, and 80 per cent of his time was now taken up printing for this one large customer.

Unfortunately, six months later that company went bust, owing Colin several thousands of pounds. He lost a whole pile of money and 80 per cent of his ongoing business all in the one day. Few businesses can recover from that. His certainly couldn't.

What I’m trying to say is that there are any number of ways you can lose control of your financial destiny. It happens far too frequently these days. And it's all the more ironic because one of the main reasons people give for going into business is to 'be their own boss.'

Well the sad fact is that if someone (or something) else
controls your destiny, you simply cannot be your own boss!

Like it or not - the person or thing in control of your destiny is your real boss.

And relying on a single large customer is just one of the possible dangers...

* New legislations can make a previously profitable business unlawful, or no longer financially viable.

* New inventions or innovations can instantly render your products or services obsolete.

* Competition from new sources could even make your product or service unsaleable.

In fact there can be any number of outside influences controlling your business interests. So you're never really as in control as you’d like to think you are!

So what's the solution?

Let's just get one thing clear...

Whether you're employed, unemployed or self-employed, the only person you should want to control your financial destiny is you. Why? Because nobody else cares about it like you do.

In fact, nobody else cares about it at all!

So do you want your financial destiny in the hands of someone who doesn't much care about it, and won't suffer unduly if it all goes pear shaped for you?

I know I don't!

But what should you do about it? After all, you can't control an employer, a major customer, a competitor, a legislator, or any one of the dozens of people and organisations who can lay waste to your carefully made plans.

But what you can do, is make sure that if it ever does happen, the whole house of cards doesn't come tumbling down with it. Which means diversification.

And that means it's absolutely vital that you spread your financial eggs around a number of baskets - baskets which are subject to separate outside influences - the things out of your control which could screw you up at any time.

So start developing separate profit centres now!

It is far better to have five sources of income, each bringing in £10,000 a year, than one big one yielding £50,000. And put simply, this means not putting all your eggs in the same one basket.

That's why I'm always disappointed to hear from someone who says that, thanks to influences beyond their control, their "search for the perfect business is now over".

The search should never be over!

A job or business activity can never be solely relied upon these days as it is forever subject to so many external influences, over which you can never have complete control.

But if you work towards having several different profit centres, each with a different set of controlling external factors, your position will always be far safer.

You see if any single avenue of income is hit, the others are unlikely to be because their progress is governed by different external factors.

So if you do nothing else in these next 24 hours, at least sit down and assess how secure your financial position really is, and who's really controlling it.

If you have just one source of income, the
chances are it isn't going to be you!

The characters I used; Tony and Colin found out to their own cost, that irrespective of how well you seem to be doing at the moment, that's still not a very comfortable position to be in.

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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