Within 12 weeks you would have become accustomed to your lifestyle. It will be lifestyle of freedom. It will be a lifestyle that you wont want to let go of. So me telling you to persevere is kind of obvious. Hopefully you’ll want this lifestyle and you’re willing to do anything that preserves it. But its no good saying ‘I wont give up!’. You need to have a strategy to ensure that you DON’T give up.
I have come up with four methods to ensure that you never give up. Again use all the methods together to keep you motivated:
- Fear & Greed Method
- Negative Positive Method
- Competition Method
- Goal Setting
1.Fear & Greed Method
Now we all have drives. We are all driven to eat, sleep and have sex. These are all actions that require no motivation as our bodies desire it without the need for conscious thought. Anything else outside of these three drives require motivation, including setting up and persevering with your own business! So how do you stay motivated? Well I’m going to be blunt with you. We are all motivated to do things in two situations only:
- Out of FEAR and
- Out of GREED
Now I’m not saying to be fearful and/or greedy as neither of these attributes are particularly nice. What you have to do is create the fear and the greed in your mind to motivate yourself. Its these creations that will make you stop procrastinating, get up off your butt and do something! It’s the ability to picture the fearful situation or the abundance that comes with greed.
Now its up to you to create the fear and the greed. This is subjective as what you fear and what you’re greedy for will be based on your personal circumstances. Don’t hold back – let your mind be free to create the absolute worst and best scenarios that really motivate you to avoid or to strive for. Here are some general ones to get you going:
|Going back to the 9-5 grind
|This is my biggest fear. Its not having enough money or time its just going back to work! I think I would rather go on the dole than go back to work. Really remember what trap you’ve escaped from. Re-read step 1 – Wake Up, if you’ve forgotten. As I was writing step 1 it brought it all back. There is no way I’m going back to that.
|Missing out on key events as you’re not a master of your own time
|There are certain events that you will miss while you are at work. Simple things like the Football World Cup matches on TV to crucial things like hearing your child mutter its first words.Think of the pain that you’ve felt due to you being at work and missing out on things that you’ve found important.
|Going out of business
|Can you imagine the stress of going under? You will be a disappointment to your friends, family and most importantly to yourself. I know of businessmen that have or attempted to committed suicide over this fear alone.When you’re struggling to keep self-motivated then think of the shame and embarrassment you will experience if you become lazy and let your business go down.
|Working till you’re too old to enjoy life
|If you work you will work till at least age 55 more like 65. There is so much that I want to do before I hit 40! If I knew I would never have longer than 4 weeks holiday each year till 65 then I think I will commit suicide!Consider what you want to do and how working will prevent you from doing it. You would be surprised how many people work all their life and die within two years of retirement. It’s a strange phenomenon. It could be attributed to the dramatic change of working for 40 years and then doing nothing that makes the person feel worthless. Don’t let this be you!
|Never having to take orders from anyone for the rest of your life
|You can be the master of your own destiny. There are few people in this world that are in this privileged position. Whatever your situation is at any point in time is completely of your doing.You will have no overbearing boss, no unachievable deadlines set by someone else, no extremely early or late starts and no boring meetings to sit through and endure. This is because its your business and you call the shots.
|Having all the time in the world to do things that are really important
|What’s important depends on you. You decide. But whatever it is you can do it. If its going to the park for the day or travelling round the world for 6 months then do it. If you’ve set your business up correctly it should be able to run itself.
|Having enough money to buy anything you or your family want
|Just imagine being able to buy anything you want. Successful entrepreneurs can do this. In fact only successful entrepreneurs (and the royal family!) can buy anything that money can buy. You can only reach this position by setting up your own business.Picture you and your family having the houses, cars, clothes, holidays and whatever else you think you and your family desire. You will have it but it all depends on how much you want it.
|Having the piece of mind knowing that you are completely self-sufficient
|No one’s ever going to make you redundant. You have full job security as you are your employer! There is no threat of redundancy. The only threat of redundancy is from yourself. I am trying to make myself redunadant through delegation. If I can get reliable people to run my business then I can do something else. If I make myself redundant then I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is check my bank balance.If I find the people to run my business incompetent then its them that get made redundant – not me. I still have my business. I just have to find other suitable people.
|Having an abundance of respect, adoration and accolade from society
|If you want outside recognition then the only way to do this is by being the owner. Its the owners that get the praise, adoration and acolade from the outside world – and rightly so! Its your idea and you took it to the market – that deserves a lot of respect.Picture yourself on the front page of the business section in The Times, on TV telling people your story of success, on the radio promoting your product and at all the parties thrown in your honour due to record profits and bonus payments.
The best way to use this method is to use extremes. This may be easy for some people. If its easy for you to make a mountain out of a molehill then now’s your time to use this skill for fearful situations. If you’re a natural day dreamer then really let your mind run wild and picture an abundance of whatever you desire for greedy situations.
- Negative Positive Method
There will be setbacks – guaranteed. Its how you deal with these setbacks that will determine your success. So what are the likely setbacks and how do we deal with them? Well it’s a case of education. You simply learn from your mistakes.
The best way to learn is from other people’s mistakes but nothing hits home like your own mistakes. One thing a book cannot give you is experience. I’d like to think that you’ll follow all the rules in this book but you won’t. You ultimately will, I hope, but you’ll go through the process of making mistakes. The difference between failure and success is that you use the opportunity of a mistake to be a learning lesson. I know that I will make many more mistakes in the future but you can be sure that I’ll learn from them and hopefully I will tell you about them!
This is the ability to turn a negative situation in to a positive situation. If you see everything you do as a learning lesson then you can only get wiser as time goes on. This is what experience is all about. There are many mistakes and misfortunes ahead if you do go into business. Here are some that I’ve made or experienced and that I’ve turned around. Look at the following table below:
|Mistakes & Misfortunes
|Initial Reaction(Negative Outlook)
|Future Action (Positive Outlook)
|Run out of money
|Any self-respecting businessman would have faced this. Its known in the game as ‘short term cashflow problems’ i.e. you’ve run out of cash! When you run out of cash its called being bankrupt.I ran out of cash as I had over committed myself. I had assets but you can’t pay your bills with assets – you need cash. I was forced to approach a bridging finance company who could raise the cash I needed but were going to charge me 28% APR.Fortunately I was able to borrow £5,000 from my girlfriend which just about saved me. It was a stressful time for me as I had to stall certain creditors with lame excuses and I bounced a few cheques and direct debits.
|You will be sure, having experienced this, that you’ll never go back to it. As a result of this experience I always have a cash float equivalent to 6 months mortgage payments for all my properties.Fortunately I was able to live to tell the tale. I look back at that situation with a degree of humour. At the time I thought I knew everything about business and I couldn’t understand how people could mis-budget, especially a chartered accountant like me. Let me tell you – it was a humbling experience.
|Default by a debtor
|When I started out I had a letting agent for one of my properties. I went to collect some rent and the owner told me that his partner had done a runner with the money. I believed him. As it turned out there was no partner. He was a compulsive gambler and had blown the lot on 36 black!It can be very annoying and frustrating when someone takes your product or service and doesn’t pay you. Its easy to think ‘is it all worth it?’ especially if you’ve put a lot of hard work in to serving or trusting that customer.
|Question your choice of customer. Did you jump in to quickly because you were desperate for the business? Maybe you will reassess your choice of customer or re-adjust credit limits for customers so the same doesn’t happen again.Maybe its time to be a bit sceptical of everyone you do business. You’ve got a lot to lose if you don’t adopt this attitude and even more to gain.
|Hit by unforeseen bill
|I got hit for a £2,500 roof repair bill early on in my property investment days. Not everything can be budgeted for. Sometimes you will get hit for a bill that knocks you for six! This may be a repair, an oversight or an accident.
|With time you will be more susceptible to unforeseen expenditure. You will budget for the unbudgetable because you have the experience. You will also question whether the repair is necessary as I do now – do not believe so-called experts. They are only after your money.
|Court action against you
|I was threatened by a letting agent that they would take me to court unless I paid a £900 fee to come out of my contract. I had little knowledge of the law at that time and if I had had the money I would of paid it – but I didn’t have the money.I spoke to my solicitor friend, read a few books and wrote several letters to defend my situation. Eventually the letting agent gave up!
|I was forced to get educated! If it wasn’t for this threat I would never of found out how I stood and now stand with letting agents.Now I welcome court action in both directions. I recently took one of my tenants to court to evict her and I learn a hell of a lot.Once you do start enforcing the law you start to feel more confident in the deals you strike as you know that they can be enforced, if need be, in court.
|Computer crashed and lost important data
|I love computers when they work but absolutely detest them when they don’t! you only realise how dependent you are on them when they let you down.This happened recently. I needed to get certain letters out by a deadline and I simply missed that deadline. I think I looked amateur to the outside because my computer crashed and I had no back up. I may have lost some future business due to the computer crashing as my business seems too fragile.
|Now I have a back up computer. In fact I have two back up computers! I have learnt that the risk of being unable to print letters, access the web, check your email account or use my spreadsheet can have catastrophic consequences.
Here are some more mistakes and misfortunes that might occur and how to really turn them around to your advantage and learn from them.
|Mistakes & Misfortunes
|Initial Reaction(Negative Outlook)
|Future Action (Positive Outlook)
|Not enough business to cover your fixed costs
|Your initial reaction will be ‘I’m going to go under!’ You may start to look at ways of reducing your overheads but find that they’re quite inflexible.
|It forces you to look harder within your business to find out why you’re not getting enough sales. Having your mind really focusing on the most important side of the business, being sales, can only be a good thing.You may be surprised that, after careful thought, a few simple changes in your marketing strategy can have better returns than expected.
|Get too stressed to cope
|Running a business is a 24 hour occupation if you want it to be. The buck stops with you. So if you are facing stressful times within the business it doesn’t stop when it hits 5pm.Just being able to relax and think clearly through the challenges your business throws at you you find difficult.Your expectations are not being met due to others. Its these expectations that cause you the stress.
|Setting up a business is front loaded. That is to say you do most of the work at the start for a pay off in the future. Every new business owner goes through this – you are not alone!Overtime you learn to deal with the stress. I used to get very stressed when a tenant did a runner without paying the rent or vandalise my property. Now it takes a lot more to get me stressed. Recently a tenant burnt down my flat and I didn’t bat an eyelid. I have become accustomed to these set backs as I expect them.
|The market changes making your product or service obsolete
|This can be very worrying. It can happen to anyone. Knowing your market and their fickle tastes is important.Potentially all your stock is unsaleable and/or all your skills are redundant.
|The ability to be flexible and move with the market is key to success. This lesson really homes in on the fact that you can never stand still. You have to know what your customers want at all times.You also need to be looking out for other opportunities that your existing market require or in new markets. See Step 7 – Stay Out Of The Rat Race.
|Struck by an accident or a sickness making you unable to work
|This can happen to anyone. If you’re in a business that requires you to be there, sell the product or provide the service then having an accident or becoming ill is a major problem.
|If you can adjust the business to accommodate your set back then you’ve achieved a lot. Sometimes in life you are tested in situations which you think you cannot cope. When it actually happens you’ll be surprised how well you do cope thus making you stronger in the future.
We all have a competitive streak. If you don’t then get one! A great motivator is to set yourself against someone else. Schools use this method all the time. We’ve all sat exams with our class and a great way a teacher can motivate its pupils is to display the results in a table with the highest score first. If one of you’re friends have done better than you then you’ll be motivated to do better than them next time. If you’re not top but came in the top three then you know that if you work harder you could come top. Do not be ashamed or guilty of having a competitive streak. Its only natural. My personal opinion is that its extremely healthy. It forces us to get the best from ourselves.
Pick your competitors wisely however. Its no good pitching yourself against someone too low or too high. If your competitor is someone that you’ll beat easily then you will become complacent. If their too high you’ll become disheartened. Pick a competitor that’s slightly better or below you. Typical competitor subjects could be:
|A business competitor you know
|This is the most natural competitor to have. If you’re not competing against your competitors then I would be worried! They’re in the same line of business, their motivations will be similar and comparing your success relative to them will be easier to measure.Never be humble about your competitiveness to your competitors and never feel threatened by the competitiveness of your competitors. this is the real world we live in. you’re not in the business to be nice – you’re in the business of making money and every business should understand this. If they don’t then they won’t last long.
|A business competitor you don’t know
|Your natural competitor may be too big or too small for you to really feel that they are a competitor. It may make more sense to pitch yourself against a business that has been in business for the same period of time as you. So if you know of anyone that has just set up in business the same time as you then use them to chart your success. You may want to compete with a business that is in the same general industry but is not a competitor – i.e. the internet. You could have a website business that wants to pitch themselves against another website even though you have different customers.
|A friend or family member
|If you’ve always had a competitive relationship with a certain friend or family member then use it to your advantage. I had a father that always put me down and in a way I thank him for that. This pushed me to prove myself at an early age.If you have someone like this then don’t let it get to you. Channel this energy in a positive way. Let it push you to do better than even them!
|Someone you know
|You may have come across people that you secretly admire. You may not know them that well but you know what they do and what they’ve achieved. They’re kind of role models yet you want to do better than them. Remember that imitation is the best form of flattery. So copying, competing and surpassing someone can only be admired – even by the person you did this too!
4.Goal Setting Method
I know you’ve heard this one before but it really does work. Its one tool that helps people achieve success – including me. I have had many goals in my life and I continue to keep setting them. Some I achieved, some not, some I have revised and some I have discarded. Here are some of the goals I’ve set, what’s happened to them and why:
|To obtain my final salary when at work through self-employment in 3 years.
|I had a realistic goal that was achievable in the time frame that I had set. I was earning £1,700 per month when I left work. I wanted to earn £1,000 in year 1 and £1,700 in year 3 through self-employment. Because I had a set figure in mind I was able to plan my expansion of my business so that it could meet these targets.I used to study my excel spreadsheets and play around with them so I would get my desired result - £1,700 per month! In fact I surpassed my goal, which you will find happen sometimes, and earned a lot more than my final salary.
|To be a millionaire by the age of 30
|I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was 30. It was a goal that wasn’t thought out through that much it was just a goal that I had. A millionaire is someone that owns assets greater than £1m. As I owned property worth more than £1m then I was technically a millionaire.Having a goal that is positive, even though its not thought out that much, is not a bad thing. If its making you strive forward towards a theoretical goal its okay! The outside world likes to create these ill-thought out goals such as the richest person in the world or the largest company in the world so having your own ill-thought targets are completely fine as long as they’re positive.
|To have 50 properties by 2002
|Again this was another goal that didn’t have much thought behind it. All I knew was that I wanted to own a significant amount of property and 50 seemed a decent round number. The key thing is that it was pushing me forward.
|To earn £50,000 per month by 2007
|I want £50,000 per month as I do not think I could spend more than £50,000 per month. This target ensures that I never have to go without when it comes to material goods.
|To have a Top 40 music hit by June 2005
|This goal always haunts me. I want it but I just cant seem to knuckle down to achieve it. One of my passions is music but I always seem to get distracted. I often question whether I want it but ultimately deep down I know I want to achieve this. I think it will be well after 2005 before I achieve it but I have promised myself I will do it.
|To own a Bentley Coupe before age 32
|I have adjusted this to age 35. Its my ultimate car and I will get one but currently I simply cant afford it.You are not a failure if you do not achieve your goal in the specified time. Its okay to revise goals. If they’re still things you want then obtaining them further down the line is still an achievement.
|To be a billionaire by age 40.
|I wanted to be a millionaire by age 30 and I achieved this. To be a billionaire is really a notional figure that has no real meaning as mentioned above. To be comfortable is an even better goal which I’ve equated to £50,000 per month, hence it’s a goal. Its no good busting a gut achieving a goal that you really have no understanding why you want it.You need to decide when you are pushing yourself too much. You need to decide whether the goals you are setting are helping you or destroying you.
I hope you’ve noticed that all of the goals had common characteristics:
- There was a timescale – By when?
- There was a quantity – And how much?
So I wasn’t saying I wanted more money or more time for myself. I was saying I wanted this amount of time or money by a certain date or age. So when you set your goals then be specific. Put a date and a specified outcome to your goals. Only this way can you monitor if you’re on track to success. Its this monitoring that builds confidence and we all know that having a confident attitude can take you a long way. Other characteristics that could form part of your goals could be:
- With whom – having a goal to be supplying a certain customer or partnering up with a certain competitor
- Where – having a goal to be in a certain geographical region conducting business
When setting your goals ensure that they push you. Do not set easily achievable goals. Use society to help you determine these goals like I did with the terms ‘millionaire’ and ‘billionaire’. So it could be the biggest, the richest, most ethical, the champion or the toughest. Whatever it is be sure that you’re heading to be at the top of your game.