Last week I wrote about the mafia guy Sam “Mooney” Giancana and how he used systems to build and manage a huge, albeit illegal and vicious, financial empire. I’m not encouraging you to use his particular systems but it is a wild example of just what can be done when you have good systems in place. So the question now is, what kind of systems will work for you to allow you to dramatically increase your income and at the same time give you more free time to do whatever you like and enhances your life?
Before we can go over what a system is and how you develop it, you must understand this:
Grand Strategies Pay Huge Dollars and Details Drain Your Time.
Look at most people’s lives and you’ll find that they spend the majority of time wrapped up in the details. No, that’s not the way they planned it, but it’s so easy to get sucked into that habit. One big footnote here is you must realize that some people thrive on detail. And that’s okay, it’s just that if you really like the detail then you probably need to accept the fact that your road to huge automatic streams of income will be much harder for you. On the other hand, it’s these kinds of super detail loving people you need to hire to do the details for you.
If you’re a big ideas person, the struggle may be keeping focused. Ever notice how, when you’re away from home and business, usually on vacation, you can come up with some darn good strategies and systems for success? But then, when you get home, the details of your life and business pull you away and you lose focus of those great ideas you came up with when you were away from it all. So the number one strategy needs to be a plan to back away from it all, to get a clear mountaintop view of your business and your investments or potential investments. You must be able to see your own financial big picture.
Once you have that mountain top view and you figured out what your grand strategy is going to be then you need to start getting systems into place. When I started out to dramatically increase my income and net worth, my grand strategy was to build my fortune with income producing properties. To speed up the process I decided to find “dirt bag” properties that I could fix up and sell for a good profit. I found out very quickly how the details can just suck up your time so my first “grand system” was to start delegating these details to other people. Everything from using dozens of real estate agents to look for properties that fit my criteria to very inexpensive workers to do the hard labor required for the face lifts the properties needed.
I clearly remember the first apartment building I bought. It was twelve super dumpy, dirty, rundown units. That’s where I learned my big lesson about systems, especially about details and delegation. In the beginning I thought it would be smart to save a few bucks since I was way short of cash and take over as the resident manager even though I didn’t live on the property. Wow, was that ever stupid! Fortunately, within a few months I realized that the details were not only driving me crazy but, more importantly, they were sucking my time and energy which was destroying my outlook on buying more properties.
So you see, right here is the biggest rub. If you’re handling all the details and you hate it, why would you ever want to buy more properties which will only bring you more frustration and problems? Of course the answer is that you wouldn’t. Always remember, if you want to double or triple or even gather 5 times your income, you will always need to delegate the details!!
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge believer in setting goals. Of course that’s the major them of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Goal setting grabbed my attention in a very big way even back when I was in high school.
As a pole vaulter then and in college my goals were in feet and inches. As soon as I reached a certain height, I would set a new goal a few inches higher–from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 9 inches then 11 feet. After a ton or work, trying over and over again, I finally was consistently clearing 12 feet and eventually I peaked out at 14 feet 1 inch. Back then, in 1962, the world record was just over 16 feet, so I wasn’t doing too badly. But, no, I didn’t set the world record. Still setting those goals kept me completely engaged and excited about life. Such physical, self-competitive goals aren’t the only goals that can do that for you. Just about any goal will do that for you if it’s something you really want.
To get that jazzed feeling every day, be sure to constantly set goals for yourself. It will keep you passionate about your life and living and of course there is a Big Bonus in that you end up accomplishing so many things. So my message this week is push yourself to set more goals, and tough goals, in all parts of your life –physical, mental, family, charitable and, yes, don’t forget financial goals. I promise you as you do this you will enjoy each hour and each day more.
By the way, as you may already know, it helps to tell people that are close to you (as long as they are positive people) what goals you have set for yourself because when you know they are watching, you are more likely to stick with them and they also can act as a cheer leader for you. I myself have been sharing with you my goal of working out every day until I turned 70 and just knowing I told you about that makes even more dedicated. I just can’t let you down.
So you know. I am still on track with that goal which is 46 weeks from now. I was sick one day last week and hurt my back on another day but I still got a work out in. Yes it hurt physically but, wow, I sure got a huge mental boost from sticking with my goal! That’s 83 out of 84 days that I have kept up my work outs. Pretty good! Now, what goal do you have?
Last week I told you about my goal to work out every single day and do that at least until my 70th birthday which is now 347 days. (I’m pretty sure when I hit 70 I won’t stop then either!) So far so good–I haven’t missed a day in the last 45 days! I sure could have used the fact that I hurt my back one day as an excuse to skip a day but I didn’t. I was in a lot of pain then but I sure felt terrific when I finished. I mean, physically I was totally beat and in a world of hurt but mentally, I felt like a champion. And, wow … that felt great!
One big discovery I made with my “every single day” workout goal was that we are more likely to succeed at it because unlike a goal to work out 4 or 5 days a week, an “every single day” goal doesn’t tempt you to skip today’s workout. You can’t say “Oh, I’ll feel better tomorrow and I can still get in my 4 or 5 days this week.” The thing is, if you do procrastinate you may well find yourself skipping and pushing your work out until you run out of days in the week and miss your target. With an “every single day” goal you know procrastination or skipping days is simply not an option.
If this simple goal hasn’t motivated you to start your own health and work out program by now, then I think I need to tempt you by giving you a list of huge benefits or as I call these lists in my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”, B-RAM. B-RAM stands for Benefits, Reasons, and Motivations. These are the things that will keep you chasing your goal if your keep them in the forefront of your mind. (See Chapter 7 entitled “The Sure Fire Way to Stick with Every Goal” on page 71 for more on how to benefit from B-RAM.)
Here are 7 huge benefits of setting unshakable fitness goals as given by Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. Print out this B-RAM (adding more reasons to it if you like) and post it somewhere to keep reminding yourself how wonderful this goal will be for you:
1. Those with pep in their step stay younger.
2. Aerobics will help you keep more brain tissue.
3. Balance exercises help you age gracefully.
4. Active seniors look years younger than their couch potato friends.
5. Resistance exercises keep you stronger to live longer.
6. The greater your muscle strength, the less risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. Those who exercise slow down their biological clock.
By the way Dr. Amen documents the evidence behind each of these 7 benefits starting on page 123 under the heading of “Exercise and Longevity”. He introduces this section by saying “New research seems to be popping up every day proving that exercise will not only increase how long you live but also the quality of life in those years.”
What else do you need to get you up and working on fitness? If you haven’t started, why not start RIGHT NOW! Take five minutes and briskly walk, dance, stretch, lift a few weights … and think about how you’ll do this every day so you can get all these great benefits, starting right now!
On Feb 21st of this year my son David, sent me an email with a link (see below) to a YouTube lecture by a Dr. Robert Lustig. Without a doubt this video has dramatically changed my physical and mental being! It honestly has lifted my life 2 or 3 levels … and my life was pretty damn good already. Watch it as soon as you can and see if you agree that his words have such tremendous value.
By now if you’ve read even a few of my blogs you know I am big on setting goals and strongly believe that goal setting and your journey toward those goals is a huge key to a happy, fulfilling and super productive life. Dr. Lustig’s video lecture gives you a pretty straight-forward goal that, initially, you might think is just a health goal but it’s more than that. I’m tempted to summarize what he says but then you won’t really get the impact of the presentation or you might think “I’ve heard all that before.” Trust me, you haven’t heard all this. I’ll just say it’s well worth every minute of your time to watch and learn and follow.
By following, I mean for you to set some health goals based on what he is saying. I certainly have done that and WOW what a superb and uplifting change it has made in both my physical and mental life—if you don’t believe me just ask my wife! So get yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to listen. Then change your life. Now!
Not too long ago I was in Costco buying an elliptical machine. (These machines are a great way to stay in shape without hard impact on your knees, hips and back.) This 26 year old guy helped us load the machine into the back of our car. I couldn’t help but notice he had a certain sparkle in his eyes and was full of energy. He was so very helpful and friendly I just had to give him a little extra reward so I gave him my financial book The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You.
A couple days later he’d tracked me down via the internet thanking me profusely in an email. He wanted to tell me what a huge impact the book had already made even though he’d only read a few chapters. The very day I gave him the book he went to his bank and took care of some financial things he’d been putting off and he said because of the book he had reignited his life goals and was super inspired to really accomplish what he’d set out to do before but had let things slip.
Well, I couldn’t let his enthusiastic response end there, so I wrote back and invited him up to the house to talk. That day, before he got to the house, I couldn’t help but think of how a couple books I’d read had also hit me like a ton of bricks and changed my life forever. Now my book was making a difference in this young man’s life! Not that this was the only email and success story I’ve heard from those who’ve read my books but I don’t often get to meet them.
We had a great chat. This young man talked about how he has set news goals and renewed old goals and was already acting on them. Not just financial goals either but some very wonderful life and living goals. I could tell that he really got the message that money should be a means to a greater end not the end itself. As I have said many times “with the right formula, combined with drive and determination most anyone can make millions of dollars, especially if you are motivated by a higher and greater cause.”
As he left I just had to give him a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. The “passion book” gives you specifics about the best way to set goals with a specific formula that helps you stick to those goals until they are fulfilled.
My great reward–and it truly is a great reward–is seeing people light up and take the necessary action to go out and do what they need to reach their dreams! Whether it’s the huge success story of guys like Dell Loy Hansen–who read my book in college and made a half a billion dollar fortune (his story is in the beginning of the Financial Genius book) or if it’s the beginning success of a young struggling couple that were able to buy their first home along with two small rental duplexes, all these stories warm my heart and help me feel fulfilled, motivating me to keep on “paying if forward”.
Someone once said if you want to change your life, you need to change your thinking. Yes, most people have heard that and agree but changing your thinking is not an easy task. There are, however, some subtle but very powerful forces inside your brain that can work for you or against you. Sadly too many people don’t recognize it or at least if they do they don’t know how to direct those forces for their own huge benefit. This powerful force has various names and it can be the best thing in your life but it also can be very sneaky in sabotaging you.
This force is often called your “inner voice”. It also has been called self-talk or even your inner chatterbox. Some would say it’s just your sub-conscious. Others would say it’s God talking to you. The good news–or should I say even great news–is that regardless of the source, many super successful people have learned how to use and direct that inner voice and it has enhanced their life almost beyond words. Using and directing your inner voice to improve your life doesn’t happen overnight and even after you become very good at self-talk directing, you need to stay ever aware of that chatterbox inside your head and continue to step in and keep the self-talk positive so you continue to move toward your life goals.
We talked about this a bit last year but I thought this was about the time of year we could all use a reminder of this. We set goals at the beginning of the year. We’ve taken the first steps, perhaps made some progress but it is about now that the hard parts are coming up or we’ve hit a few snags and are starting to get discouraged. Remember, that negative talk is just your inner voice trying to talk you down because it’s getting difficult. But hey, the most fulfilling accomplishments are those you come to after overcoming the hard stuff, right?
So turn any negative talk into positive, supportive self-talk. Think of that inner voice as your cheerleader, the voice that will keep you going, remind you of why you are doing what you are doing and will help you get through the more challenging tasks. It’s always easier to move forward when you have good, positive friends along. Why not make your inner voice one of those friends?
The last few weeks we’ve been focused on creating your fortune through real estate, leverage and compounding. You’ve seen the numbers. You know it could work. But have you taken your first steps?
I know the steps you have to take sound daunting at first but they aren’t that difficult at all. Things we’ve never tried before tend to seem huge and perhaps impossible but it’s only because they are unfamiliar. So try this … go ahead and go through the 2nd and 3rd step–start building capital and making low ball offers on property. Remember, during these steps, you aren’t committed to buying just yet. Putting away money is easy and it’s a great idea no matter what you do in the end. And making low ball offers … well that’s just chatting with someone. The thing is, once you’ve starting talking to property owners and realtors, you’ll realize it’s actually pretty easy. Then when someone does accept your offer, you have only one more step to take.
Just starting the process by putting money aside and making offers will do so much to boost your confidence. By the time you are ready to jump into step four–which is just an inspection and crunching numbers to find out if the property will get you the return you want–you’ll be feeling pretty good because of your successes with the previous steps.
And don’t worry if you go through Step 4 and don’t end up with a property. Just go back and repeat Steps 2 through 4 and do it over and over and over again—don’t stop. Each time you do this, you’ll have learned a lot just by going through the process. Pretty soon, the process will not seem daunting at all. It will be exciting and motivating! So go out there now and knock yourself out!!
Okay, so we’ve gone over the first 3 big steps you need to take towards creating your fortune. I did want to reset the order a bit so if you are just starting, start with writing out your goals. These will keep you energized and motivated. Step #2 will be building and acquiring your beginning capital; Step #3, start making low ball offers on ‘dirt bag’ properties and get one legally tied down.
So now we come to Big Step No. 4 …
Let’s say that after you’ve made about 2 dozen very low offers, you get one back that is accepted. So now what do you do? Well, there are three things …
1. Conduct a very thorough inspection
2. Do your calculations as to the cost of the fix up or face lift.
3. Calculate your overall investment and potential profit to see if it will give you the return that you need.
Let’s say there’s a small house that was listed at $187,500. You offered $144,000 but received a counter offer of $160,000 which you are happy to conditionally accept. (Hey … they were motivated sellers since the house had been on the market for over a year.) After inspection you’ve been able to determine that $16,000 plus your hard labor over about 6 months will complete the face lift and the bank has agreed to finance it with 20% down ($32,000). You check for comparable properties in the vicinity that are in really good shape (go to Zillow.com to do this) and estimate you can sell it for, say, a net of $204,000 dollars.
Now you crunch the numbers to see if going through with this deal meets your “rate of return” goal.
$204k less your purchase price of $160k and less the money you put in to fix it would give you a profit of $28,000 dollars. Here’s where the magic of leverage comes in—you used $32k as a down payment and the $16k to improve it for an out of pocket investment of $48k. Even though you improved the property value by 27.5%, the return on your money, the money you used to invest in this, would actually be 58.3%. And if you borrowed the $16k your return on your money would be even higher.
So does a 58.3% rate of return in 6 months or so give you enough compounding? Go check a compounding table and see what would happen to that 58.3% in a few years if you keep doing this! Are you getting excited? If so, read my book “The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You” to really get you on track. In fact, I will give the first 10 motivated readers the book for free! I’ll even pay the shipping. Just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address so I can help get you moving towards creating your fortune.
Since we’ve just started a new year I must say something about renewing and re-dedicating ourselves to our life goals. And there is one super strong and time proven aid I would strongly suggest you use to increase your odds of hitting your goals. It’s something I talk about in my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” but I have another source to show you just how powerful it can be.
For Christmas my son David gave me a book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and WOW what a great book. Duhigg relies on scientific studies to dissect what it takes to form a new habit or dump a habit that you don’t like. In future blogs I want to talk more about “The Power of Habit” but for now I want to address one simple but profound Scottish study that is Duhigg addresses.
In this study a psychologist recruited 60 patients that just had hip or knee replacement surgery. Having personally experienced double hip replacement in the same surgery I know just how painful this kind of surgery can be. Most people don’t want to even move afterward, let alone start walking even though their rehabilitation requires it. This psychologist gave each patient a booklet after their surgeries that detailed their rehab schedule, and in the back were 13 additional pages –one for each week–with blank spaces and instructions:
“My goals for this week are ________________? Write down exactly what you are going to do. For example, if you are going to go for a walk this week, write down where and when you are going to walk.”
Patients were asked to fill in each of those pages with specific plans. After their rehabilitation period the psychologist compared the recovery results of those that filled out the pages and those that did not. Duhigg notes that “It seems absurd to think that giving people a few pieces of blank paper might make a difference in how quickly they recover from surgery.” But it did. Those patients that wrote down their goals recovered much faster than those who didn’t write down a thing.
The great lesson and a lesson that I’ve preached to myself and others for years is we greatly improve our chance of success many times over if we simply write our goals down! Financial goals, physical goals, family and social goals … it works on all of them. I would also add that you shouldn’t forget to put down the date by which you want to accomplish those goals.
You can read more about goal setting and how written goals can help you in my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” which is on sale right now on my website.
Last week I promised that I would show you an almost fool proof path to your own financial fortune. I said that I would lay out a step by step formula that you could follow, so that’s what I am going to do now.
First a few comments about timing as it is very important that you understand how your timing can impact your success. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he talks about research done on young hockey players and how the timing of their birth dates made all the difference as to who went on to play at a professional level. This might sound a bit odd but if you read the book you’ll see why their birth dates were so important to their success. The timing issue is about being at the right place at the right time but it’s not just about luck. Right now the timing for someone who wants to make a fortune in the USA is near perfect but it won’t matter one bit if you don’t take advantage of it.
So let’s talk about step number 1, that first step you need to take on your way to building a fortune.
Step 1: Work on accumulating some beginning capital.
Okay, you may rightfully be thinking “Easier said than done!” But it’s not about easy; it’s about what is possible. Just about anyone can do this and there is more than one way to get the job done.
The slow but sure way is to consistently set aside at least 10% of your income. 20% is even better if you can do it. That’s the way I started and yes it took years before I had enough capital to begin to get started on amassing my fortune. However, if you want to jump start you growth of capital there is a way to dramatically speed up the process. It’s called “Partners Capital”.
In my book How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You I tell the story of a guy that now has over a half a billion dollars of income producing property and he did it quickly because he did it primarily with “Partners Capital”. When he was in college he came across my book, followed the formulas I had outlined in it but also added the “Partners Capital” thing to the mix. With this combination he passed my success level by a huge margin, which of course makes me very proud.
If you choose to go the “partner” path there is a way to do it that can bring in not just one or two partners but multiple partners to join you. This is really is part of step number two which we will get to next week. But as part of your first step, I suggest you read my updated book now called The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You. I very much want you to succeed so I am giving the first 50 people who email me a free copy of the book. Just cover the $5 cost of shipping to show you are serious about amassing your fortune and I’ll get the book right out to you. Email me at email@example.com to get started.