2 years ago
I have in front of me an e-mail which arrived this morning from a gentleman who had read through a few of my blogs. Here's what it says...
"I am a failed businessman currently living on £49 a week. I can't afford to pay you anything, but I need to get rich and quick. Please send me any information you have on how I can make millions free of charge, and then when I get rich I'll send you a cheque for £300 and you can add me to your list of success stories."
Now believe it or not, letters like this arrive almost daily. Some days I feel like laughing, some days I feel like crying, but most days I feel like just reaching into the page and grabbing the writer by the lapels and shaking him vigorously until his brain starts to work.
But I can't do that because...
There are usually no lapels on a beer and curry stained T shirt! Isn't it strange how people can afford alcohol and takeaways, but not information which will help them achieve success and prosperity? Anyway, I digress, back to the plot...
There are three important points about success and making money which come out of a letter like this:
1. You can't start with nothing.
Now don't misunderstand this. Very many businesses can be started on an absolute shoestring, and I've often looked into quite a few of them. I've frequently advertised businesses as requiring little or no capital to start too.
And I can genuinely mean it...
But if you do try to start a business while living on just £49 a week, with no other money behind you, you're instantly heading for trouble. The slightest hiccup is going to put you out of business.
So to anyone in this situation, I would advise one of three things:
a) Find a job... any job... and get together a small nest egg.
It will help provide some security in the early days of your business, even one that requires very little start up capital. I get really annoyed when I hear people saying they won't do this job or that job because the pay isn't good enough, or it's somehow beneath them.
I've got news for those people...
If it's the only job they can get, the pay is exactly what they're worth at that moment and the job isn't beneath them.
You can only become under paid in a job when someone offers you something better. And that's far more likely to happen if you have a job already.
b) Borrow money to give yourself the necessary breathing space.
While I don't normally advocate borrowing, sometimes it's the best way to give yourself a kick start - particularly when you have a great idea, but are held back because of money. Family, friends and the bank are all options.
c) Take on a partner - sleeping or otherwise - who has a little money behind them.
Do you know what people with money lack above everything else?
They lack the time to make their money work for them as hard as possible. You see, they know that they can get a 5%-7% return on their money if they hand it over to a bloke in a suit, who exchanges it for a fancy looking bond or share certificate. But they also know that if they invest that money in a business opportunity, they could get a 100% or more return...
Their problem is that they don't have the time to do it themselves, and they don't know anyone with the where-with-all to do it for them.
Anyone who can fill that gap, creates a Win-Win situation for themselves and the Joe with the dough.
2. Nobody ever values what they get for free.
This is very important. We place a value on things, roughly corresponding to the amount of the hard earned cash we've had to pay for them. If you pay £5,000 for a wristwatch, you're going to look after it, but if you only paid £5, you probably won't care nearly half as much.
And it's exactly the same with information. The faith you have in information, and the use to which you put it, will vary in direct proportion to what you've paid for it.
So even if, out of the goodness of my heart, I'd decided to send this gentleman the information he'd requested, he wouldn't have valued it, and therefore wouldn't have acted upon it.
That's one reason why most franchise businesses succeed. If you invest £10,000 in a Wonder-Pizza franchise, you're going to move mountains to make sure that it succeeds. You've spent money you can't afford to lose, and it must be a good system to have cost so much. Mustn't it?
But what if someone from Wonder-Pizza gave you a copy of the franchise manuals for nothing? Would you value it so highly? Would you put as much effort in to making it a success? Or might you just be tempted to give in at the first hurdle, secure in the knowledge that you've got nothing to lose, and maybe the system wasn’t that 'hot' anyway if they gave it to you for nothing?
In reality, there isn't usually any correlation between the value of information and its cost. Some of the best ideas I've ever come across have appeared in magazines and journals which cost next to nothing.
And dare I say it... oh I think so... some of the best information you'll ever get on making more money will come from this very blog site over time.... something which to my eternal bewilderment, I'm letting you all have for free.
3. You have to be realistic.
Start out with the sole stated intention of 'making millions' and you're going to be sorely disappointed. By all means have a long term goal of becoming wealthy... very wealthy if you like... but that goal will only be reached if it is underpinned and supported by more realistic and achievable short term goals.
Starting from a position of living on £49 a week (unemployment benefit I would imagine), a more realistic financial goal for our man would be to earn enough money from his own efforts to replace the dole, and maybe make a little extra.
To talk of making millions from such a position is like standing at the foot of Everest in sandals and a T shirt and earnestly discussing the best way to insert the flag in the summit! There's a lot of work to do first.
Anyone can become successful. Anyone can grow rich...
But it calls for a systematic long term approach. It isn't necessarily easy, but it is very simple.
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