The Worst Thing I Ever Said to Laura

For years, Laura came to our seminars, sitting in the front row, taking notes and looking earnest. And at least once during each of those seminars, she’d pigeonhole me to tell me something she didn’tlike about my presentation. A great consumer of self-help and get-rich literature, Laura always had some shiny new idea about wealth building that she believed I should be talking about instead of the “same-old, same-old” axioms I was then and still am espousing. One year I remember her excitement as she explained “the law of attraction” to me.  Another year her big idea was networking. Still another she was all about multilevel marketing. I always listened and thanked her for her thoughts. Then I redirected the …

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The Virtue of Laziness


Speed Up Your Career by Indulging Your Lazy Gene

The unpaid bills are stacked next to the unwashed dishes. You’ve been short about $1,200 per month since the divorce.

You need something to fill that now-a-memory, two-income cash flow gap. Something that’s not a pipedream. Something that’s feasible, flexible, and powerful. Something capable of producing more dollars per hour than you’ve ever made in your life.

It can’t be a financial investment, because you’ve don’t have enough in the market to make a big difference. So what can you do?

Before shutting down your computer for the night, you check your email. You see an advertisement. But before you delete it, you notice something in the message about extra income. “What the hell,” you think.

You click on the link and it takes you to a landing page titled “The Extra Income Project.” It’s a promotion for a collection of two dozen lessons, each one a different way to make extra money by working part-time from home. The author is someone named Mark Ford, said to be a best-selling author and a self-made multimillionaire. You’ve never heard of him. Still…

You order the EIP program. It arrives immediately, and you spend the rest of the evening looking through the lessons. One of them – “Service Businesses” – is particularly interesting. “Compared to other side businesses, a service business has the lowest barrier of entry,” this Mark Ford character writes. “It can be started with the simplest marketing methods, requires little to no start-up capital, and is likely to put you into business faster than any other sort of enterprise. The one requirement: You must be capable of doing high quality work.”

“I can do that,” you think.

Ford then lists several dozen service businesses, each with a short but helpful description of its benefits and drawbacks and income potential. Under “Landscaping Business,” you read: “This is a great business for people that don’t mind waking up early, enjoy working outdoors, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty… at least for a while. The income potential begins at about $25 an hour and can increase to $100 or more once you have a customer list of a few dozen people. If you are good at managing schedules and workers and do great work, this can easily become a business that makes you six figures.”

“I can definitely do that!” you think.

The next day, you spend $23 to print 500 colorful flyers advertising your new business. You use a variation of one of the pitches suggested by Ford:

Landscaping With Love

I’ll Make Your Lawn the Best

In Your Neighborhood, Guaranteed

First Service Only $10!

The $10 offer is an advertising trick – a “loss leader,” to prove what you can do.

It works. You get six responses in week one and land two Saturday gigs. By week four, you have $380 worth of weekly contracts. Your Saturday is now a workday, but you’re making an extra $1,520 per month.

You do good work, so you start getting referrals. You can, if you want, make even more money by working Sundays. That’s money you could use to lease a new car and maybe buy some new clothes. You’d have some left over for saving.

But do you want to work seven days per week? Hell no. You’re 52, not 22. You want the money but not the work.

There is a “Recommended Reading” section of the EIP program that lists several books that promise to “take you to the next level.” One is called Ready, Fire, Aim. It’s by the same author. Mark Ford. You order the book.

 To Hire or Not to Hire, That Is the Question

After reading the book, you think about your situation. You’re making an extra $1,520 per month by running your own part-time landscaping business on Saturdays. You’re tempted to expand it, but you aren’t willing to work seven days per week. The book has given you the obvious solution: Hire help.

But is it worth the cost and hassle?

Following the book’s guidelines on “analyzing growth opportunities,” you sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper and make two lists, one marked “plus” and one marked “minus.”

On the minus side, you include things like “the trouble of finding someone” and “managing people” and “figuring out the right compensation,” and so on.

The more you think about it, the longer the “minus” list grows. And yet you can’t think of anything to add to the “plus” list aside from “do less work” and “maybe make more money.”

You think, “This is exactly why I never wanted to have my own business. It’s just one long list of worries and concerns. Maybe this Ford guy is more smoke than fire.”

So you decide against hiring help. Instead, you accept a few jobs to do on Sunday mornings. You’ll make another couple hundred per week, and still have Sunday afternoon to relax.

A month later, you realize that you didn’t take into account rainy days and the occasional “Can you come back tomorrow?” You are making more money but working every sunlit hour of every weekend. It is wearing you down. It’s even affecting your performance at your weekday job.

You do the math. Doing everything yourself, you’re making about $50 per hour. You can hire someone to do the grunt work and pay him/her maybe $15 per hour. The difference, $35, would be your gross profit.

There would be some additional costs involved in growing your business, too. Taxes, for example. And you’d probably have to hire an accountant. But on an hourly basis, that couldn’t be more than, say, $5. That leaves you with a gross profit of $30 for each hour’s work.

That’s $20 less than you are making now. But overall, you’d be making about $1,800 per month instead of $1,500 while personally working the same number of hours.

It makes sense. But how do you make it happen? Where can you find a good worker?

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Wealth Building for Beginners (Even if You Are Not Young Anymore)*

4.- “The Most Powerful Force in the Universe”

Legend has it that Albert Einstein was once asked what he considered the most powerful force in the universe. He answered, “Compound interest!”

It’s commonly thought that Einstein was joking when he made that famous pronouncement. I’d like to think he was serious. Compound interest is indeed one of the most powerful forces in the universe of making money. But it’s also one of the most profoundly powerful forces in every area of human enterprise.

Whether your goal is to create a new vaccine, build a faster computer, design a better building, or eliminate poverty, the time and effort you invest in your goals will compound over time, providing you with increasingly greater rewards.

When it comes to wealth building, the more time you have to invest, the easier it is to become wealthy. So starting when you’re young gives you a major advantage. However, the advice I’m going to give you here will work for you no matter how old you are or where you are right now in your wealth-building goals.

A simple example of the power of compound interest

If you took a penny and doubled it every day for a month, how much would you come up with? A hundred dollars? A thousand dollars? How about a million dollars?

Not even close. If you start with just a single penny and double it every day for 31 days, you’ll end up with… $21,474,836.48. More than twenty-one million dollars in a single month!

Your original penny will have turned into two. But then those two will have turned into four, those four turned into eight, and so on. The growth of your money will have accelerated, or sped up, not only because your original penny was collecting interest but also because all the pennies your received as interest also began to earn interest. And so the growth built up – or compounded.

That’s how we get the term compound interest.

There are three components to compound interest:

  1. How much you invest
  2. What return you get on your investment
  3. How much time you stay invested

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Recommended Reading

 When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing By Daniel H. Pink 2018, 272 pages  Timing Your Day for Mental and Physical Peaks It’s taken me decades to work out a daily routine that takes full advantage of my body’s natural chemistry. It took so long partly because I’m stubborn and partly because I believed that working non-stop for 18 hours was in and of itself a good. Had I known what behavior scientists know today, I might have figured things out sooner. It turns out that my personal biochemistry is typical of most people. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink looked at the results of about 700 scientific and academic studies and came to some …

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One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Claque (KLAK) – a group hired to applaud; a group of sycophants. Example as used by Charles P. Pierce in an Esquire article titled “Nobody Knows How to Play This Game Anymore”: “The bill passed the House because the Freedom Caucus, that claque of unreconstructed extremists who hold the balance of power there, gave in a little.”  Did You Know…? Cats spend 66% of their lives sleeping. Principles of Wealth: #10 of 61 Wealth is neither absolute nor objective. This is so because those things that we value are by nature relative and subjective. Your Richard Mille watch cost you $35,000 when you bought it 10 years ago, when the company first came into the public …

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  You wake up in yet another crappy hotel room. The walls are covered with dark, flowered wallpaper. There are cigarette burns on the bathroom vanity. A section of the carpet is stained by something purple – maybe wine, maybe something else. In the hotel restaurant, your table is greasy and your eggs are cold. Taxis are few and far between. You arrive at your business meeting twenty minutes late. You do your best to be on top of your game, but your sentences come out fragmented. You wonder if your younger colleagues see this as the beginning of senescence. You decide to keep quiet for the rest of the meeting. On the way back to the hotel, you think …

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A Simple Little Trick to Avoid a Lifetime of Unnecessary Arguments

 It began with a good question, moved quickly to disagreement, and then resolved itself with a little trick that has never failed me… “It’s an important discussion,” she said. “Should we invite only one person from each division or two or even three?” “One,” I said. “Too many people will make conversation difficult. Plus it will be more expensive.” “But with heads in the room we get more knowledge and experience.” “More is not always better. It could become a content- rather than a truth-seeking mission, good ideas being negated for egoistic reasons.” “Not if we select the right people.” I could have pushed on and leveraged my weight and won the point. But the truth was I wasn’t 100% …

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Wealth Building for Beginners (Even if You Are Not Young Anymore)*


3.-Your Invitation to the “$150,000 Club”

In the last installment https://www.markford.net/wealth-building-for-beginners-even-if-you-are-not-young-anymore-2 of this series, I told you how I got started on my own wealth-building journey. I hope it amused you. Looking back at it now, I can see that the ratio I kept between foolish and sound habits was about 2 to 1. But that was enough. I hope it comforts you to know that you can do most things wrong (as perhaps your parents and teachers always reminded you was your habit) and still become as wealthy as you need to be!

The second thing I did was to introduce you to a very simple and crazily powerful wealth secret that most high earners never follow: As your income increases (and it will!), you must resist the urge to ratchet up your spending accordingly.

And thirdly, I shared with you one of the most important insights about wealth that I ever learned. Luckily for me, I learned it when I was still relatively young. (In my early thirties.)

That insight was this: You need a lot less than you probably think to live a rich life: A lot less wealth. And also a lot less yearly income to acquire that wealth.

As for income… If you can get your income above $150,000 a year and simultaneously curb your enthusiasm for expensive toys, your chances of one day retiring wealthy are about 99.9 percent.

As for how much “money” you’ll need to sock away… A very rough number would be about 12 to 15 times the amount of money you’d need right now to lead a rich life.

If you can get your income up to $150,000 or beyond (and as I will show you that is quite easy to do if you are willing to put in the right sort of time) and if you can save 20 percent to 30 percent of that (which is very possible if you manage your finances as I’ll suggest), you will arrive one day at a net worth of between $3 million and $30 million.

And that – if you know how to spend your money – will be enough to provide a great, rich life for you and your family.

Before we move forward on that, you have to answer one question…

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Arturo Pacheco Altamirano

oil on masonite, 1966 By Arturo Pacheco Altamirano (Chile, 1903-1978) Arturo Pacheco Altamirano was one of the most recognized Chilean artists of the 20th century. His paintings of ports and marinas illustrated the universal appeal of life in coastal environments. Early in his career, Altamirano had exhibitions in Chile, Argentina, Peru, and the United States (Washington, D.C., and New York). He made the leap to Europe in 1952 when he was appointed cultural attaché at the Chilean Embassy in Paris. While in France, he met other artists and was introduced to the European avant garde scene. What he saw – everything from Impressionism to Cubism and Surrealism – was reflected in his later work.