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A Darling Little House

July 15, 2017 by  
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Many years ago, I wrote a book called The Courage to be Rich. This week, I re-read some of that book and, in particular, a chapter entitled “How Yuks Can Create Big Bucks”. It reminded me again that making money by acquiring beat up, old, dirt bag properties and adding your own sweat equity can make a person rich today in the exact same way it did 30 and 40 years ago. In fact, right now, with many properties selling for top dollar, it makes even more sense to lower your financial risk by investing in these kinds of properties. Here is an excerpt from that section of the book.

Changing a Tacky Dump into a Swiss Chalet

I really couldn’t believe what I saw. A few years ago, while driving down a street in Salt Lake City, I glanced over at a little white house, maybe a thousand square feet at the most, and I just about drove off the road. The formerly grungy house had been completely transformed. Instead of a tacky little house complete with cluttered yard, worn grass, and garbage cans by the porch, I saw a cute, Swiss chalet cottage. The change was so stunning that I pulled over to stop and stare.

At first glance, it seemed that someone had spent a ton of dough making the property shine. Upon closer inspection, I found that the changes made on the outside of the property were quite inexpensive. The dirty sides of the house had been covered up by a fresh coat of paint, and Swiss style shutters with decorative patterns had been placed on either side of the windows. The garbage cans had been moved from the front yard to the back. For extra frosting, a white picket fence had been put along the front of the yard. One other conspicuous difference was a FOR SALE sign prominently displayed.

I was totally amazed at the change, but even more amazed at my reaction to the changes! I had, for years, been in the business of buying properties that needed fixing up and, after some work, would resell or refinance them at substantial profits.

Prior to stopping at this house, I considered myself very smart and successful at what I did. But here is the huge shocking part of this experience. My first reaction was: “What a cute little house! It’s absolutely darling. I should buy it!”

Talk about dumb–really dumb. Here I am in the business of buying dirt bag properties, fixing them up and making big money selling them and this little house almost fooled me into buying it. But now as I think about it, that experience is teaching me a big lesson.

Almost everybody would rather buy a property that looks nice and new and pretty. That’s just normal in us human beings. That’s why people are making money by fixing and fancying up beat up houses and apartments. And now in today’s market where a lot of properties are at top prices, these types of properties are the safer investment. You can greatly increase your chance of making money by doing the simple fixes that stand out and grab people’s attention!

That darling Swiss looking house certainly did it for me and needs to be duplicated. Or should I say, “Hey, here is another way showing how you can make big bucks from yuks.”

More Ways to Make Big Bucks with Existing Ideas

June 30, 2017 by  
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There’s no question that fortunes are made every year by people who come up with new products and services. Whereas many of these new products are totally new and different than anything we’ve seen before, there are just as many or even more products that are copies of existing products with some changes, a recombination, or additions that make it virtually brand new.

Take for example, the common product—the suitcase. They have been around for many, many years. It used to be such a tiresome thing to lug our heavy suitcases or trunks through the airport or into a hotel. Of course, there was the ever-present bell boy to help and get a tip for doing so but it was still difficult to get around with those bulky cases.

Another product that most of us, since we were little kids, have seen or had a bit of fun on ourselves are roller skates and skate boards. These had nothing to do with suitcases, not until someone said to themselves, “Hey, wait a minute, why don’t I put some small wheels on my travel bags, suitcases, and heavy trunks? It can’t be that hard to do.” Even if you didn’t have any skill to put those two things together, you certainly could find a mechanical type person to do it for you. And now I can only imagine how much money was made from that simple change.

That was a pretty simple little invention made by putting two known products together in a new way. If we take the time to observe and study familiar inventions and products and then thinks through how to put a couple products together we could, no doubt, come up with a brand new idea.

To help facilitate this, you could gather together 5 or 6 people you know that are creative thinkers. Put them together in a room and give the group a big list of products then ask everyone to brainstorm and throw out ideas on which products might be put together in a new way. Surprising things can come out of such a brainstorming session.

Or if you are a creative thinker, use that same long list of products and brainstorm on your own and see what you come up with. You can do the same thing to come up with a new service, as Uber did, though the taxi industry certainly didn’t like it. However, I don’t think the owners of Uber, a multibillion dollar company, were very bothered by that.

My first venture into mass marketing was done by copying someone else’s formula and it lead to millions of dollars of profits. As a stock broker manager, I discovered that several of my employees had purchased a book from an ad in the newspaper with the headline “The Lazy Mans Way to Riches”.

That got my attention to the point that I called the author, Joe Karbo, repeatedly until he agreed to meet with me in his California office. When I discovered how many thousands of books he’d sold from that simple ad, I burned the midnight oil each night to write my own book and when I finished I sat down and studied the style, sentence length and tone of Joe’s ad and made my ad as much like his as I could without copying his exact words. So yes, in a way I copied, but did it legally and the big money rolled in beyond my expectations!

There are many, many more fortunes to be made by observing what is happening in the markets and what products, ideas and services exist and then by coming up with something different enough to be seen as brand new. And if you do it right, soon enough, you’ll see the money flowing your way.

 

Copying Success Without Cheating

June 24, 2017 by  
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You probably know that if you copy somebody’s writings, product, or a special new and unique service you might get sued. But copy something with your personal touch and a few changes and you could make millions of dollars.

Most people copy to some extent, but few people admit it. We all want the world to think that we can, and do, generate good and even great original ideas. Only a secure person is totally at ease with learning from others, however. The smart people who value learning from the past and from contemporaries purposely set out to study and to observe others and their successes and then they go about duplicating them with some changes and in their own style so that their contribution becomes unique.

An exact copy usually doesn’t work and could be the cause of a lawsuit. Fortunes are made weekly by people who merely take a concept, a product, or a service they saw in one market and move it to a new market with very little changes made. If you try to copy somebody exactly in the same market, people will often regard it as a rip-off and will not pay the price that they would to the originator of the idea or product and, again, you probably will get sued.

However, you can reap huge rewards by taking the time to discern the particular aspects of a product, service, or idea that is working and making someone a ton of money. Think long and hard about how to change it for the market you want to implement it in. Even slight changes can be made to that money maker that are different enough that it really is your unique product or service.

Just take a look at the success that the taxicab companies were having and then with a few changes, here comes Uber, grabbing up a big share of the market. When others saw the huge success of Uber they jumped right in and copied it with a few very small changes to create like Lyft and Curb. These companies dipped quickly into Uber’s profits making these attentive duplicators very rich.

I strongly encourage you to take a hard look around and notice what is working and making big money for others. See what small changes and improvements can be made so it is uniquely yours and figure out if it has the potential to make you a fortune.

Next week I will give you some more ideas to how to see how this can be done with a little effort.

Staying Excited about Your Goals

June 19, 2017 by  
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Read carefully these great words to “The Impossible Dream”, a song sung by the fictional Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha. Here the hero sets out to right all the world’s wrongs. Think about yourself and what you want to do with your life so maybe these words will help motivate you as they have with me.

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go,
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star–

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right, without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause!
And I know, if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest!

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star!

When Don Quixote set out on his quest he was an old man. But he pursued his goal with the energy of a man less than half his age. What kept him going? How was he able to stay so excited about his goal?

One thing that made a great difference was his commitment to the goal. He believed with all his heart that he was seeking to do the right thing. Do you believe in your goals? Do you really feel that they are best for you? Do those goals represent what you really want in life?

If you answered “No” to any of those questions, you’d better be in search of a new goal. Without a strong and positive belief that we are seeking what is best, we simply won’t have the power or the energy we need to take us through every action that is necessary to take us step by step to the goal.

And it always helps a ton to visualize what rewards await you when you achieve your goals. For me one of the great rewards that I always place firmly in my mind is the ability, both financially and time-wise, to travel to most of the countries of the world. What is your motivating force that pushes you to reach your goals? Think about what they are and then take time to do some big-time visualization of what it’s going to be like when you reach your goals. Seeing it clearly in your mind will help you keep focused and lead you there.

Gems of Wisdom

June 9, 2017 by  
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Last week I shared bits of wisdom with you from the great Paul J. Meyer. Many of these were principles that ensure long term success in handling your money.  Let me share some more gems with you. And remember these gems come from a man who started with nothing but accumulated a half a billion dollar net worth by successfully helping and motivating other people.

These quotes are from a great 30 page booklet that Paul gave me years ago, entitled “Being Smart with Your Money” with my thoughts in parentheses.

  1. Set goals.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Get on a budget and stay there.
  4. Pay yourself first. Just remember that a part of everything you earn is for you to keep.
  5. Put your money to work. (Invest it wisely–so it works for you 24 hours a day.)
  6. Get out of debt. (As in credit card debt. I would add that mortgage debt on income property is okay and can be a good thing.)
  7. Have realistic expectations. (Building a financial fortune takes time)
  8. Get wise counsel. (Find a good mentor that’s been successful with their money)
  9. Never spend what you have saved.

Alright, now let me give you a few thoughts of mine that have helped me in my financial life and life in general.

  1. Pay careful attention to your self-talk or your chatterbox inside your brain. When you catch yourself with negative chatter going on inside your head, push it out and replace it with positive self-talk.
  2. Don’t beat up on yourself when you stumble, fall or make mistakes, or fall short of your goals.
  3. Set big goals then be sure to write them down with a deadline. Just remember it’s okay, even very good, to take baby steps toward those big goals.
  4. Physically keep moving no matter what age you are. Walk, run, or otherwise workout. Using a Fit Bit can help you with this one.

Here’s some other wonderful little tidbits from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now that can help a life to be better:

  1. Make the living in the now the primary focus of your life.
  2. Stop judging self and partner.
  3. The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is.
  4. See if you can catch yourself complaining in speech or thought– if so, you are playing the victim.
  5. Let go of the past-only refer to it when it has relevance to the present.

 

 

Re-Motivating Words

June 3, 2017 by  
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The truly wonderful motivational guru Paul J. Meyer was one of my very greatest mentors. A couple of days ago, I was organizing a bunch of the books in my home library when I came across a book that Paul had given me back in 1977. I re-read the wonderful comments that he made about our relationship in the front of the book and consequently I just had to write about him and how he motivated me.

One of the great things he preached to me and others was to identify the books that help us the most and re-read them many times because all of us humans do tend to forget what we’ve learned in the past. Rather than read 1,000 books, he said find the best books that speak to you. That might be just a few dozen or even 100 books, but keep going back to them to refresh your memory and re-motivate yourself.

I began to glance through Paul’s book, The Story Of Paul J.Meyer … The Million Dollar Personal Success Plan, and yes, it refreshed my memory and I realized just how much I had forgotten. Now, just a couple days later, I am finding myself re-motivated and re-inspired. Here are a few choice quotes from Paul’s book:

“A self-confident attitude is the most important asset you can possess.”

“Self-motivation is the power that raises you to any level you seek.”

“Goal setting is the strongest human force for self-motivation.”

“Real confidence in yourself is always demonstrated by Action.”

“Decide what you want and write your goals. Then convert your goals into positive, present tense statement called affirmations. Affirm your goals each day until they become part of your subconscious mechanism.”

“A common reason for human failure is total disregard for the power of self-motivation.”

Great stuff! I do sincerely hope that Paul’s brilliant words, written years ago by this great man and friend who passed away in 2009, will reignite your passion for living and doing great things for your life as it has done for so many people on this earth.

Paul’s motivational records, books, tapes and speeches were, and are still, followed by millions of people around the globe. Even though he started with nothing he was able to get half way to a billion-dollar net worth in his lifetime. This was just part of the great reward he got from the many people he helped. Next week I want to share a few more of his great statements and motivational words plus a few others from great sources.

 

Transform Your Energy

May 28, 2017 by  
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Few people would argue against the proposition that Thomas Alva Edison, even though he only had three months of formal schooling, changed the lives of literally millions of people by bringing inventions such as the phonograph, electric light, typewriter, motions pictures, and the electric generator into the lives of people everywhere. Although Edison didn’t invent anything significant himself, he improved and promoted many things we still used today, patenting 1,093 inventions in his lifetime.

Edison worked from sun up to sun down, and beyond–in fact, sometimes from twenty-one to twenty-three hours a day! How did he generate so much energy to do such fantastic things? And how can you and I generate more energy so we can do much more than we are doing right now?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed into something else. That transformation is itself a kind of creation. How do people like Thomas Edison transform energy so they can keep going so long and hard? Perhaps the following illustration will help to answer that.

It’s early morning and you have to get up for work. You were up late the night before; you don’t want to get up. But you struggle into a sitting position and think about what’s ahead of you. It promises to be typically humdrum. You sigh and lie back down. “I can’t stand to go into that office one more day,” you think, and close your eyes. Ugh, you don’t seem to have any energy.

Contrast that feeling with this: It’s early morning and you have to get up to catch a plane to Paris or Hawaii. You were up late the night before but even though you’re tired you’re filled with excitement and feel a rush of energy. So, you jump out of bed and quickly get dressed and pack since you know that in just a few minutes a chauffeur driven limousine is going to pull up in front of your house. This will take you and a few of your closest friends on a trip to your favorite vacation spot where you will do exactly what pleases you and turns you and your friends on! So now you are all ready and up pulls the big beautiful limo. You feel great and have a ton of energy.

Why are these two situations so different? The answer is obvious. In the second example, your thoughts are transformed into energy! Isn’t it amazing that the simple act of thinking certain things can generate great physical and mental energy? I certainly think it’s amazing!

We all need to remember that so we can control and direct out thoughts to generate more and more energy. Great thoughts transform into great energy, while mediocre thoughts transform into only mediocre energy and may even be a big drain on our energy.

P.S. I must admit I copied the above from a great 1983 book, Goals, Guts and Greatness, but it’s just as true now as it was back then. And yes, I did get permission from the author … since it was my book.

 

Smart as a Turtle

May 12, 2017 by  
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Good ole sex therapist Dr. Ruth is still at it at age 88 … Wow! Her latest advice is a good one too. I just heard her on the radio talking about how important it is to take some risks if you want to have a better more fulfilling and financially more profitable life.

Dr. Ruth collects little turtle figurines and presently has 40 of them. Why? Because these turtles hold a great meaning for her and her life. Namely, as she says, “If a turtle wants to move, it has to take risks. It has to stick it’s neck out. It could get hurt. But if it does not stick it’s neck out, it doesn’t move.”

She goes on to say that the turtle is like herself, saying that she too sticks her neck out and takes risks; risks that put her on top in the broadcasting world. She is also probably the most famous sex therapist in the country. Not bad for a lady that is an orphan survivor of the holocaust.

The last couple weeks I’ve talked a lot about fears that we all have and ways to face those fears and overcome some of them. We all need to heed the advice captured in the title of Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. That title can and should apply to so many parts of our lives. It could be investing some of our money into a run-down property that we can see could be worth so much more when fixed up. Or perhaps it’s changing jobs or our profession and getting into something totally new, knowing it could be a much better position or career, one that fits our talents and our passion in life. Or maybe you want to write a book or start giving public speeches but your great fears kick in and stop you in your tracks.

If so, you are just like that turtle that doesn’t stick it’s neck out and therefore doesn’t move. In the case of the turtle, that lack of movement could even be a death sentence and for us humans who want to lead a wonderful and more fulfilling life it probably will kill that kind life or at least do some major damage.

So, I think all of us need to remember and take to heart that advice from Dr. Ruth’s turtle. We should stick our neck out when we want to move ahead and take some risks. Even when we feel the fear, let’s do it anyway!

Crossing Out Our Fears

April 28, 2017 by  
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Last week I promised to give you some directions on how to get rid of your fears and, yes, I think we all have some fears that should be dealt with. Elle Luna in her great book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, gives such excellent advice and direction on how to eliminate fears.

The first thing you need to do is be totally honest with yourself and write down your fears, some of which you’ve probably not told anyone about. Those of you who follow my books and blog know that I am a huge believer in the power of writing things down.  When I write down a goal, for example, especially if I include a time line and date for reaching that goal, those written words have huge power over me and push me to deliver on the promise and the goals that I set for myself.  Those written words on the page drive me and won’t let me go until I achieve the goal.

Elle’s advice on writing things down begins with a list. “Grab a piece of paper and write the numbers one through ten on the left side of the page. At the top, title it “What are you so afraid of?” This is your worst-case scenario list. This is your list of fears, ultimate doomsday concerns, and everyone-is-going-to laugh-at-me-and-run-the-other-way scenarios. These are your largest, scariest fears, and you’ve got ten minutes to write them down.”

I really loved the following advice she says right after that–“Now let’s get realistic about these fears. Because often, fears in our mind can be like say–sticky and way difficult to remove. But fears on paper? Tangible, visible.”  This is followed up by a new term for me and one I really love. She asks us to identify and go to work on the fears that are “cross out-able.”

“After you’ve gone through all of your fears,” Elle says, “write a short note or tip next to each line listing one thing–just one–that you can do to loosen that fear’s grip on your life. Get to know these fears intimately because they are the invisible walls that surround you daily. Decide which ones stay and which ones gotta go.  If you are going to live that better, more satisfying life you must follow your ‘musts’ not those ‘shoulds’.”

You see, as you make even a little bit of progress in eliminating a fear you will gain a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and power and writing it down will help you push yourself to eliminate that fear. And never forget that it’s totally ok to approach this by taking baby steps, as Lao-Tzu was quoted as saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

 

 

Eliminating the Shoulds

April 14, 2017 by  
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If each of us is to live a much better and more fulfilling life, it’s very important that we move from living a life of things we ‘should’ do and move to a life of things we ‘must’ do. The ‘shoulds’ are the things that other people and institutions have told us we should and should not do while the ‘musts’ are those things we think and decide for ourselves.

So, the big question is, how does a person dump those ‘shoulds’ that were put on us by others? Many, if not most of the ‘shoulds’ of our lives were put on us when we were young and easily persuaded to do or not do certain things. Of course, as kids, we did need to be told what to do, what not to do, and how to act.  But if we want to live a total and satisfying life, one that is our life by our own design, then we need to move from the ‘should’ mindset that came from others to our own life of what we feel we ‘must’ do.  If we do that, then we can really follow our own dreams, ambitions, passions, and natural talents.

But how do we really get there?  How do we discover what we really want, who we really are, and what we want our lives to be?  First of all, according to the book we looked at last week, Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must, it’s not easy to get rid of our ‘shoulds’ and move to our own designed ‘must’ list and life.

Elle says that “we need to know each ‘should’s’ origins, how it got there, and when we first began to integrate it into our decision-making … look for recurring patterns and choices both little and big that are affected.”

Luna further suggest that you “grab a piece of paper, and make a list of the ‘shoulds’ you hold on to by completing the sentences that I listed in last week’s blog. She adds that you should “listen to what comes up first and write it down … where did you come from? Are you true for me? Do I want to keep holding on to you?”

Think about how many ‘shoulds’ that have been put on you in so many parts of your life–religious beliefs, education and what you specifically studied, the job or occupation that your ended up in, your political leanings, and what you think you want to do for fun and for pleasure.  The list of these affected areas could go on and on. Of course, some of your list would be things that you personally chose for yourself and were not pushed on you but those that were not your choice need to be examined and eliminated if it’s not what you really want and not who you really are at your core.

Next week I will give Elle Luna’s suggested ways of how one goes about discovering who they really are and what you really want your life to be like. It’s not an easy process but it is so very worth the effort and the results that will make your life so very much better and more fulfilled.

 

 

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