5 Ways to Help Your Kids Imagine Themselves as Entrepreneurs

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I look forward to meeting many of you at Podcast Movement this weekend!

On the Rich Dad Radio show, legendary entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki said, “The worst thing you can teach your kids is to go to school and get a job.”

I wouldn’t go that far — if one of my kids wants to be a doctor they’ll need college — but as an entrepreneur, I want to teach my kids how a life of freedom leads to happiness. Entrepreneurship is one option to experience that freedom.

Today, the average college graduate will leave school with $33,000 in student loan debt. Of those graduates, only 27 percent will get a job in their major. The days of going to school and getting a great job after you graduate are over.

Student loan debt stays with many of our children for the rest of their life. Entrepreneurship can be one way to avoid that struggle. We can teach our kids how to build a business that either supports them, or generates enough income to pay for their college outright. Here are five ways to teach your children about entrepreneurship.

1. Don’t make allowance contingent on chores.

If you give your children an allowance, do it to teach them how to handle money. Giving it to them for the chores they do teaches them to trade time for dollars. Subconsciously, they’re learning that how much money they earn depends on how many hours they spend at the job. Entrepreneurs don’t buy into that argument, so why teach it to your kids when they’re young and impressionable. Teach them that income results from creating value.

2. Get them involved in your business with little tasks.

There are little tasks you can delegate to your children, pretty much whatever their age. You can have them help you with your equipment or let them write a few lines in an email you’re sending out. When they’re older, you can have them answer email. There are tasks that won’t harm or help your business that your kids can manage. They feel special, even with handling the little tasks.

3. Discuss openly why entrepreneurship is important.

Your message will fall on deaf ears until your kids understand the “why” behind what you do. Teach them that life is short and time is our most precious resource. Teach them it affects every area of their life when they spend 40-plus hours at a job, especially one that doesn’t fulfill them.

Teach them that entrepreneurship can let them live life on their terms while earning money. Teach them that it takes time to grow, but it’s well worth the effort to build something that’s yours. (more…)

Why I Quit My Job With No Plans for What’s Next

Derek And Carrie OlsenThis is a guest post by Derek. Derek and his wife Carrie encourage couples to have better conversations about money. Derek and Carrie challenge everything money related on their blog, in their books, and on their podcast. Download the free e-book Four and a Half Conversation Starters from Derek’s website and start having better conversations about money today! If you would like to guest post, hit me up :) 

If the next five years of your life are the same as the last five years, will you be okay with that?

That question grabbed my attention so tightly I nearly choked on my breath. At the time, I had been at my job for exactly five years.

Those five years of my life had been awful, and the thought of doing it over again was too much to even think about. 

The answer to the question was… No! I would not be okay with that! Maybe this was a sign?

I was in the wrong place

I started my first real-world job one week after graduating from college. It was okay at first. I made the rounds and earned my paycheck. I did my best to not screw up and pretended I knew what I was doing long enough to actually learn what I was doing.

After about a year, the newness had worn off, and the reality of the situation was clear… I was in the wrong place.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the job, the company, or the people I worked with. It just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t supposed to be there. 

Responsible, hardworking, honest people don’t quit their jobs.

When I told those around me that my job was draining me, and I wanted to do something else, I was told to do the responsible thing: stop complaining and suck it up.

I had dreams of starting my own business helping couples with their finances. 

At the time, I didn’t know any other entrepreneurs and I didn’t have a support system to encourage me to explore other options. I felt trapped. I felt like I had no options and no way out. So I stayed.

I thought I was doing the right thing by being loyal. I didn’t want to be seen as an irresponsible quitter. I was worried about what people would think about me if I quit my job to start a business. But the stress kept building, and it started to show.

I gained some weight. I wasn’t heading in the right direction health-wise and I was unhappy. Then it got worse. (more…)

When to Give Free Advice and When to Charge For It

14441128264_3d96a0e5ca_zThere is an audio version below. 

I’ve had a roller-coaster ride when it comes to free and paid advice. I’ve coached 127 hours for free, I have answered thousands of emails, I have written hundred’s of articles, and I have been a guest on over 100 podcasts. I have also charged for advice and now operate a $15,000-a-month business.

Figuring out when to charge and whether or not giving free advice will lead to business, is a delicate balance. There is a lot of information online about what to do and how it might lead to business. There’s some good stuff, but a lot of it is confusing and will have you working for free without the possibility of business later.

My business was growing pretty steadily from 2012 until January of this year (2015). At the end of January, I was a guest on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast. The growth went from steady to crazy out of control. February was my highest income month, my email list grew by 2,000 people, and I started getting 60 more emails a day. It was a blessing, but also overwhelming.

I’d like to say I was ready or that I handled everything properly, but I didn’t, and I may have been a little bit of a jerk. The last five months I’ve learned first hand when you should give free advice and when you should charge. During the last five months, I have done both, and I can say I feel good about my decisions.

How to Know

I can’t take credit for what I’m about to tell you. My mentor, Dixie Gillaspie, taught me this principle. The idea is you give free advice when you choose to—it’s a gift you give. This means that you don’t give away advice in hopes that it leads to business or as a part of some other strategy.

You give free advice through your blog, podcast, videos, and on social media to grow your dream. When you add value to people and help them through your free content, some people will decide to spend money with you. When that email comes into your inbox asking for help, it’s up to you to look at it and decide whether you can or will help. You don’t look at the email as an opportunity to make money. (more…)

My Weight Ruined My Sex Life

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I love food. The way it looks, tastes, and makes me feel when I’m eating it. It’s not the “good” food that got me in trouble—it was the junk. I delivered bread at midnight for 12 years. When I woke up, my body told me it was my “morning”, and I should eat breakfast.

The problem was that at one a.m. the only place I could get breakfast was at fast food restaurants. I would rotate between McDonalds, Taco Bell, Checkers, and various gas stations. I would eat everything that wasn’t healthy for my body, and I ate it in substantial quantities. It didn’t take long for the pounds to start piling on.

As I gained weight, I felt less confident. I suddenly wanted to turn the lights off during sex because I didn’t want my love to see the rolls. Over the years, I got up to 370 pounds. My energy and confidence disappeared. What once was a healthy sex life turned into a leap year event.

When sex became infrequent because of how I felt, I turned to porn. I figured it was easier to masturbate than expose my body to my wife and “risk” her leaving me when she realized what I had become. Porn was my escape and felt good for a little while. I settled into a fantasy world that felt so much better than my life.

Porn ruined me in ways I still am trying to heal from. Every time I would watch it and masturbate, I would emerge an angry man. Looking back at it now, it was probably because I was upset the fantasy was gone. The few times I did have sex with my wife, I would think about the porn stars and lose my erection. My wife was patient when me, but the porn was too much. As a result of the weight, our financial problems, the porn, and the jerk I had become, we separated.

It took losing her for me wake up. I called her every day begging her to come back, but she said NO. She wanted to see proof I was changing, not my empty words. I realized if something was going to change, it had to be me, and it started with taking action. I had talked enough. I went to work on myself (my mind, body, and my soul) and haven’t looked back.

My wife was gracious and tried to help me, but I was battling myself and couldn’t break free from the prison I had created. It took two years, but I was able to lose 170 pounds. As I worked on myself, I realized my crappy job had to go—I quit at the end of 2012. I paid off all our debt and reconciled with my love. (more…)

The Day I Panicked and Applied For a Job

9237231325_e7618eddbe_zThere is an audio version below. 

Last week, I was driving home from dinner with my wife, and we were talking about a friend of ours. He has worked for himself for years, but because his business is slow, he just started applying for jobs.

I had the most random thought and a flashback to a similar time in my life. I have told you a lot of parts of my story, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared this part.

In 2013, I was fully supported by my writing, speaking, and coaching. Well, almost… The month of January was great–I made $4,200. The month of February was OK–I made $2,600. The month of March was depressing–I made ZERO. Like not even a PENNY. My wife and I were scared after March, as we used some of our savings to pay our bills.

At that point, I started to get desperate, so I applied for jobs.

I figured I would get a desk job or work remotely, so I went on Craigslist and applied for every marketing, social media marketing, or website job I could find. I had a resume and tried to leverage what I had done online to impress an employer.

I didn’t get any of the posted jobs on Craigslist, Monster, or a host of other employment sites. All I got was scams in reply. No luck. No Job. And, I made $97 in the month of April.

When I realized no one would hire me, I discovered what the word “hustle” means. I took any call I could when ANYONE who even hinted they could give me some work. I hustled harder than I thought was possible. I got a check from Amazon in May for $4,236 for book sales. I made $1,300 in coaching revenue, and I got $400 to design someone’s website. (I don’t offer that service anymore because I suck at it)

What’s the point?

I lost belief in myself and my dream. That led to desperation, which resulted in me getting sidetracked. If I had just focused–instead of applying for jobs I knew I couldn’t get–I would have hustled sooner and gotten back on track.

When you’re chasing your dream on the side, it’s easy to get sidetracked because of disbelief. Your dream isn’t working out, so you get another job, or try MLM, or try to freelance, or mail order from home, or WHATEVER. Don’t get sidetracked by disbelief. (more…)

What Living On Maui Has Taught Me About Life

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There is an audio version below.

After 30 years of dealing with unbearable Wisconsin winters, I moved my family to Maui, Hawaii. We made the move on April 8th of 2014. 14 months later, I can tell you we still love Maui life and think this is one of the best decisions our family has made. We thought this would be a great place to live, but it has exceeded our expectations.

The move to Maui was a four-year journey that included many highs and lows. After vacationing here in 2010, we got on a flight back to Wisconsin promising to make Maui home someday. The death of my father in 2012 was the catalyst to turn the talk into action.

As you can imagine, people didn’t get it. They didn’t understand why we wanted to move to one of the “most remote places on earth.” Just like any big change in life, even those closest to you have a hard time understanding. The move and living here has taught me some valuable life lessons.

Life Is Short

Our initial conversations about a move to Maui were centered on retirement. We thought when our kids left home, and we were settled, we would retire on Maui. The death of my father made the idea of death seem real. We realized death doesn’t come when you think or hope it does, none of us is guaranteed a moment past right now.

I hope everyone who reads this lives a long and happy life, but things rarely work out as planned. Life is short and how we live each day is important. Your dreams are important, and they’re in your mind and heart for a reason. Your dream may not be to move to Hawaii, and that’s OK. Whatever your dream is, life is too short not to try.

Too often we live our life the way other people think we should live it. It may be parents, friends, or what society thinks is “normal”, but we’re afraid to step beyond what we understand. It’s scary making big changes in life, but being comfortable should scare us even more. Life has too much to offer. (more…)

The Struggles of the Work-Life Balance

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I wish I could tell you that I have the proper balance in every area of my life. You are reading my blog, and I am supposed to be somewhat of an expert, right? The truth is that I suck at a lot of things and struggle more now than when I was chasing my dream. As I’m writing this, I’m struggling to resist the temptation to check Facebook.

Whether it’s social media, a blog, or some other place online, we like to show the best of who we are and what we do. We want to show the world we have it together—especially if we want people to buy from us. I do my best to be honest, but I put on a front from time-to-time like everyone else.

If you look at how I spent my time while chasing my dream, and how I spend my time now, you would be disappointed. My balance is out of whack, and I’m struggling. The only blessing is that the Lord blessed my business in a crazy good way so far this year. This year has the strong possibility of being a multiple six-figure year. If I can get my act together, who knows what will happen. UGH!

Balance While You Hustle

When you’re building your dream, you don’t have a choice, you have to hustle if you’re going to escape. More than that, you’re fueled by a desire to break free from what’s keeping you from the kind of life you want to live. The key is to not make the hustle the center of your life. (more…)

3 Fears That Keep Your Business From Growth

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Every time we turn on the news, we hear another story of business failure. We understand how the economy is recovering, and it’s eating businesses for breakfast. Entrepreneurs look at those stories and shrug it out.

We can look around and see more opportunity than any time in history. The Internet alone has given access to 2.5 billion leads that are online every day. That’s not to say we’ll reach all of them, but the opportunity is mind-blogging.

The news is wrong, but that still doesn’t take away all our fears. Deep down inside, every entrepreneur is afraid of something. It can be self-limiting beliefs or negative experiences in our past, but if our business is going to reach that next level, we have to beat our fears.

Here are three fears that can keep our business from growing, and ways for us to overcome them.

1. We’ll lose business if we raise our prices.

What to charge for our products and services is a constant work in progress. The only true way to know what we should charge is by testing. There are too many of us, however, that won’t even get to the testing phase because we’re afraid to raise our prices.

It may be what our competitors charge, or what an “expert” told us to charge, but we don’t charge based off of the value we provide. If we provide a valuable service, we should never be afraid to charge a fair and profitable price for our time.

Time is the only thing we’ll never get back, which makes our time the highest priced offering our business provides. Yes, we may lose some business, but when you trade time for dollars, all we have is a job. Lose a few tire kickers, that is perfectly OK. You will then be able to serve those who will truly use what you provide. (more…)

The Day After I Quit a Job I Hated

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I hated his voice. It didn’t start out that way, but after years of taking his verbal and mental abuse, his voice made me want to punch myself in the head. He always had to one-up me and made it very clear that I worked for him.

He was the boss and could tell me what to do. Even on the day I told him I was quitting, he argued about when my last day would be. He said, “I’m the one that says when this is over.” What a jerk. In the end, I’ve had the last laugh. He’s still with the company, and I’m living out my dream on Maui, Hawaii.

The Job

For 12 years, I was a vendor. Specifically, I would get up at midnight and deliver bread to grocery stores. I had a wife and kids, and we had the regular life stuff; this meant I slept three hours a night for those 12 years. I was always cranky, tired, stressed, and a jerk.

When I started the job at 19 years old, I loved it. $55,000 a year that young meant I lived well. As the years wore on, the job and hours began to get to me. About eight years in, I started working for a spineless control freak. When we started working together, he knew I was working on my dream of becoming an author and speaker.

He took every chance to put my dream down. When I asked for time off to speak at conferences or attend some training that would help my dream, he was quick to come up with excuses. Coincidently, he started his blog and book. His ideas “seemed” to be the same as mine.

Vendors have a hard job because they get it from everyone. If they run out of a product, the store, the customers and the companies yell at them. If they have too much, the store and company yells at them. You’re expected to be perfect no matter what. It’s a high-pressure job that is also hard on the body because the job is very physically.

My Escape

After spending three years building my dream on the side I was finally able to give this boss my notice. I worked 60 hours a week at the job and spent every waking moment after writing, travelling to speak, and building a coaching business. I finally made enough money to pay off all our debt and save ten month’s worth of expenses. (more…)

When Is It Time to Spend Money on Your Dream?

3218172465_2aa5f75453_zThere is an audio version below.

In 2012, I was making progress on my dream. I was over the horrible defeat of no one buying or caring about my book. I had a plan to grow my audience, exposure and hopefully my income. At that point, I wondered if I should hire a coach. I thought about it and talked to my wife. We were skeptical.

We settled on a compromise; I would take a course offered by a well-known online marketer. The course was $697, which was a HUGE investment in my world at the time. I paid for access and got the login information—boy was I disappointed. There was some good stuff in there, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the course was very generic and designed to up sell me on his “elite” program. I took what I could come from the program and was stuck at step three.

For the rest of that year, I was a little bitter and decided to figure this out on my own. I worked hard and guest posted on 50 different blogs. I was a guest on 80 podcasts and took every “strategy call” I could when anyone who hinted at hiring me. By the end of 2012, I was making enough money to quit my day job.

Despite the progress, I found myself stuck at step six at the beginning part of 2013. I knew I was missing opportunities, so I caved and hired a business coach. Do you want to talk about investments? I paid $5,500 a month for my business coach and did it for three months. It hurt to spend that kind of money, but it wasn’t long before I started having five-figure months.

When Should You Spend? (more…)