Before I say a word, a disclaimer: You should not take investment advice from me. I am not an investment advisor or investment professional. In fact, I’ve learned lately that most people offering investment advice (even the so-called licensed professionals) don’t know what they are talking about and can be costing you and me money.
NOTE: This article contains a lot of information, if you would rather download a PDF so you can print it and read it,
Question: What does freedom mean to you?
To me, freedom is about having the ability to live life on my terms. It’s about having the freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, with whom I want to do it. This is no easy feat in today’s crazy world, and it takes a nice chunk of money. For the longest time, I just thought about having this big old pile of money and that would somehow create financial freedom for me and make me a wealthy contractor.
However, the more I dive into the subject (and the more I amass that pile), the truth is, the pile of money is good, but what’s better is guaranteed INCOME. Month after month. Year after year. Imagine how much different life would be if you had enough money coming in automatically every single month to cover every expense you have to live the life you want to live - life on your terms?
For me that is true financial freedom... and a goal I am actively pursuing. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why I pursued a life of entrepreneurship over 20 years because as entrepreneurs we definitely have some advantages that others don’t.
So, here are 3 ideas about financial freedom for you to consider.
1) Use your business to create financial freedom. To maximize your company’s profits and your personal wealth you have to understand the real business you are in. Too many business owners mistakenly believe that their business is the product or service they happen to sell. For example, the roofing company owner thinks he/she is in the roofing business, the restaurant owner thinks he/she is in the food business, the dentist thinks he/she is in the tooth fixing business.
The truth is if you want to use your business as a tool for creating wealth and financial freedom you have to be in the customer business.
Your job as the owner is not to install a roof, cook a meal or drill a tooth. Your job is to CREATE customers, KEEP customers and MULTIPLY customers. I could write a book about this (I almost forgot, I have - get a copy here!).
Generate More Referrals for Your Contracting Business
For our purposes here I want to suggest that right now while business is good, there is no better time for you to develop a program that builds a strong relationship with every customer you have. The better your relationship with your customers. the longer and more consistently your customers will fuel your business. And this will help generate more referrals for your contracting business.
If you are going from transaction-to-transaction without a concern about relationship, you can make money today, however, chances are very good when things turn again (and you know they will), your fortunes will turn as well. Regardless or how things are today, a system for creating (new), keeping (repeat) and multiplying (referrals) customers, is your golden ticket to financial freedom as a home improvement entrepreneur.
ACTION STEP: Creating customers today is easier than it’s been since 2008, however, don’t make the mistake that many companies made in the keeping and multiplying part.
So get serious about putting together a Relationship Marketing Program. Your program should include customer experience strategies, customer appreciation strategies, customer feedback strategies and customer communication strategies. If you want help go here: http://www.HowReferableAreYou.com
2) Become a student of successful investing. This year one of my big goals is to become an educated investor. I’ve always been a good entrepreneur... I know how to make (create) money, I haven’t always been good at keeping it and multiplying (sounds like #1 above doesn’t it?). To help make sense of investing or for those that are more sophisticated – get some different perspective, I have a couple resources to recommend to you.
At the beginning of the year, my local mastermind group of multi-million dollar company owners all read 2 books,
1) MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins. If you haven’t got your hands on a copy and you are serious about setting up yourself and your family so you will never have to worry about money get one now and study it. I haven’t always been a big fan of Tony Robbins but you can’t deny the guys success, track record and the quality of his relationships. 2) Safe Money Millionaire. This is another interesting book that essentially talks about life insurance strategies. It’s interesting and will give you some things to talk to your financial advisor about.
Again, I am not here to offer you financial advice - only ideas. Both of these books talk about the means to financial freedom - income for life. Obviously, these aren’t the only two books on this topic. The point here is regardless of your business’ level of success, there is no better time than right now to become aware and to get started.
- Get MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
- Get Safe Money Millionaire
Have a Plan to Grow Your Contracting Business
3) Do you have a plan? I work with and know a lot of wealthy contractors (entrepreneurs). I have clients that not only make high 6 and 7 figure incomes a year, but are worth many millions of dollars, with successful businesses, outside investments, real estate, wealth portfolios, private lending (to their own customers), and many more real assets. In fact, I have many clients that could quit today and never have to work another day in their lives.
I have other clients that are taking advantage of the increase in business over the last couple of years and are very wisely paying down debt and socking away as much money as possible towards their “retirement.” (I put retirement in quotes - you’ll see why in a second.)
The key here is to have a plan. Here are some very interesting stats about retirement - according to the Social Security Administration. Out of 100 people who starts working at the age of 25, by the age 65:
Only 1% - Will be considered wealthy (and financially free)
4% - Will have adequate capital stowed away for retirement (and able to live with certainty)
3% - Will still be working (because they have to)
63% - Will be dependent on Social Security, friends, relatives or charity
The rest are dead.
Now, most of us will fall into the first 2 groups. However, we can’t take that for granted. There is always the risk of falling into group 3 or group 4. Many people in the mid-2000’s were on the fast-track to retirement, then lost it all when business went sideways. Like I said above, there is no better time than right now to start taking action. Retirement is something I think about a lot… especially lately. You see, I don’t have the traditional idea of retirement. No house in the middle of Florida and golf everyday for me. For me, being able to retire means having enough money (income really) to never HAVE TO work again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but, there are other things I’d like to pursue. And having enough money coming in every month without having to worry about paying a bill or eating opens up a new world of possibilities.
ACTION STEP: If you knew that you had the right amount of money coming in every month to cover all of your lifestyle expenses, what would you do different with your life? Really give it some thought. You might even get inspired to write it down. That might inspire you to start doing some of those things now. How about making a list of all the expenses that would need to get covered every month and come up with a number, for some it might be $3,000/month, for others $30,000/month and for others maybe $300,000/month. Regardless of the number, you could start putting a plan together to get to that number sooner rather than later.
If you’ve made it this far, I will assume this is important for you. I hope I’ve inspired you to take action and begin putting a plan together that will get you to freedom - to living life on your terms as a wealthy contractor.