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Eight Business Principles That Point to Your Greatest Opportunity

People seated in an auditorium looking spellbound by a presentation.

Best Opportunity Principle #1 – Guess what? It’s possible to live your desired lifestyle right now! There’s another approach than the traditional way to making a living. And it even has a name. It’s called a Lifestyle Business. To again quote Scott Fox in Click Millionaires:

“In contrast (to the traditional approach), a Lifestyle Business is one that is designed around your ideal lifestyle. You choose the lifestyle you want and then you build your business around it. 

“To design that ideal business, all you need to do is answer 5 simple questions: 

1) WHO do you want to spend your time with (during work time and personal time)? 

2) WHAT do you want to do for work (e.g., what role or activities do you prefer doing)? 

3) WHERE do you want to live and work? (in your current home?; in a different country every couple of years?)

4) WHEN do you want to work? (What time of day? Which days of the week?) 

5) HOW do you want to work? (Do you like in a certain way? Hate dressing up for work? Like working in spurts with long breaks?) 

“You simply answer these 5 questions and then build your business around these lifestyle choices.”

Best Opportunity Principle #2 – Passive Income: You may or may not have heard that term before. It’s one of those things that people think they understand, but really don’t. It took yours truly the better part of his life to come to really be aware of and remember the power of passive income.

You see, the educational system doesn’t teach you anything about business and financial principles, let alone the wonders of passive income. If they do, they gloss over it. An educator never tells you: “Whatever else you do in life, please create a source of passive income. Better yet, several of them. You’ll always be glad you did, and you will never regret it!”

So, what is passive income? In general, it’s any kind of activity where you do not directly trade your time for money. In other words, you don’t have to be personally present all the time to produce income.  Some examples:

    • Owning income-producing rental real estate – either to rent it out or make money on the depreciation write-offs against expenses and the appreciating value of it
    • Owning income or equity investments – where you get a piece of others’ businesses
    • Owning a mini-storage facility, managed by others
    • Owning car parking lots, managed by others
    • Owning a vending machine business, managed by others
    • And way-not last or least, building an online business – especially an information online business – in which you don’t have to produce/buy, inventory, and ship physical products
      Understanding passive income is the realization that if you are required to be personally present to make money, your income is limited by the number of hours in the day times the effective hourly rate you can command. But both of those things have a definite ceiling on them. The market will put a ceiling on the rate. The Creator put a limit on hours in the day. 

Do you realize that many attornies and doctors hate their lives? Because once they got out of school and into practice, at some point it dawned on them. If they didn’t show up every day, no income showed-up that day! So they come to resent having their lives “owned” by their practices

All personal services in the brick and mortar world – are, for the most part, – in the non-passive-income category because you (or somebody) has to be there to deliver the service.

Your time, as owner, is expensive. (You can hire expertise at less cost, but it’s rarely as good as the owners. That’s why it costs less.)

In a service business, if you aren’t working, you aren’t making money.

Investors would say that such a business doesn’t “scale.” Meaning that the cost to deliver more product or service rises in lock-step with the increase in income – a weak financial model.

Many products, on the other hand, have the potential for “passive income” because they have “economies of scale” and the products don’t require your personal presence.  Meaning that the more you sell, the lower the cost-per-unit to deliver the sales. Or to put it another way, the more you sell, the higher the potential profit margin.

That’s why investors are always looking for businesses that “scale.” Or that have the potential of scaling attractively with the benefit of the investor’s expertise.

Businesses that “scale” can generate income whether the owner is present or not. To the owner, that’s passive income.

The over-arching goal, then, for a service business is to “productize” the services, meaning you create the content once as “information products”, package them, and sell them many times without your presence being required.

There are many forms that the information products can take. (See my post “53 Types of Information Products/Services”.)

Obviously, doing this gives up some of the “personalization” that the services required. So part of the art of “productizing” services is

Figuring out how to make the product viable *enough* without personalized service at all, or

Complementing the new information product with *some acceptable* level of value-added, personalized service

If you personalize for clients on a one-on-one basis, you’re right back into the “doesn’t scale” problem, so you…

Provide semi-personalized services for groups of customers/clients at once; that is also a form of scaling, one of the best, in fact: for example, it takes the same amount of time, effort and money to do a Webinar for one person as it does for a thousand persons

One way to “simulate” personalization is ask participants to submit questions or issues on their minds, in advance of the event, which you then address for the entire group in the event; typically if one person raises the issue, there a many more that share the issue but won’t speak up

Actually, you can also do that even more personally and interactive -in a Webinar, for example – by opening the phone lines at some point and letting participants ask questions/contribute real time

Best Opportunity Principle #3 – Information as a Product or Service: 

You know far more about the information business than you realize. You’ve been funding it for other people all your life. Whenever you buy a book, read a magazine or newspaper, opt-in to a newsletter, attended a Webinar or seminar, read a blog, received life coaching – there are 52 possible formats, as you will see later – you’ve been a customer of the information business. And during the last ten years or so, you’ve been a customer of the online information business.

Best Opportunity Principle #4 – You are Worthy! Anyone Who Knows Anything Can Turn That Expertise into an Information Business

    • Own an unusually successful automated car wash? Teach other car wash owners your secrets for improving their bottom line.
    • Operate a profitable wood products mill? Teach other mill operators how to maximize safety while making more money.
    • Teach music to children? Create information systems that teach music to children online.
    • You an attorney? Educate people about how to get the best possible results from using an attorney.

      Everybody has valuable information to share about careers and life experiences. If you are further along the road to solving any problem or capitalizing on any opportunity, you are a *worthy* advisor to help those coming up behind you on that same path. Tell stories: stories of failure are more powerful than stories of success. Be vulnerable. Stand beside you clients, don’t preach at them or down to them.

  • Many people get hung up on that little voice in their heads that says “Who are you to advise others? The key is being authentic: you don’t present yourself as, “I’m an expert on this subject and I know it all. Gather around, poor urchins, and I will share my flawless wisdom with you.”

    No. Instead, you present yourself this way: “I don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I’ve experienced on this path so far, and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you to help you avoid some of the mistakes or missteps that I made. Position yourself in that forthright, authentic way, and you are worthy of helping others!

Best Opportunity Principle #5 – You Don’t Even Need to Be the Subject Matter Expert to Sell Information

  • You can even create quite a nice income by being an information aggregator as opposed to a creator. That is, you don’t hold yourself as the expert. You become the expert at aggregating subject matter experts and packaging it in an attractive way for those interested in that subject. The Chicken Soup folks don’t write books. They compile and publish experiences submitted by everyday people, which has led to the highest-selling branded book series in history.
  • Or, you could otherwise play the role of connecting subject matter experts with those interested. The director of TED Talks doesn’t *do* TED Talks. He provides the information delivery platform and puts quality TED Talkers in front of those who are interested in hearing them. Then hosts the events associated with same.

Best Opportunity Principle #6 – Forget Employees:

I’ve been on both sides of this fence: I’ve owned businesses with up to 27 full-time employees. And I’ve done tons of projects and businesses using only independent contractors. Believe me, the latter has many, many advantages that I intend to continue enjoying. With the latter you avoid:

    • The time-consuming processes of hiring and firing
    • Discrimination and harassment lawsuits
    • Wrongful termination claims
    • Dealing with tons of federal and state employment regulations
    • Unhappy employees poisoning the entire well
    • Under-performing employees
    • Compensation envy among employees making less than others
    • Promotions (and the envy/resentment of other employees that goes along with them)
    • Fixed payroll schedules/cost, regardless of how busy the company is at any given time, or its cash flow position
    • Payroll taxes and time-consuming record-keeping and reporting
    • Expensive benefits (health care insurance, association and other organization memberships, parking, bonuses, profit-sharing)
    • Performance reviews
    • The expectation of continuing employment
    • Conflict resolution between employees, or between employees and management

Smart Business Principle #7 – Everything You Might Require in Your Business Exists “Out There” Someplace. All you have to do is locate it and make it worthwhile to the owner to share it with you (and you’re about to see that doesn’t necessarily mean sell it to you or let you use it for free):

Let’s look at some of examples of things you might need:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Advice
  • Mentoring
  • Storage space
  • Administrative support
  • Accounting support
  • Pro-active promotion of your business to their customers and prospects
  • Their recommendation or testimonial for your product/service
  • Their “beta-testing” of your product/service
  • Customer lists
  • Any kind of know-how that you lack
  • Money
  • Introductions to people who can help you

Ok, fine. But what does “make it worth their while to share it with you” mean?” There are lots of ways to make it worth the owner’s while to share an asset with you:

  • Pay the owner for it
  • Publicly credit the owner for contributing it
  • Trade for something that you have that the owner wants
  • Share your revenue with the owner on some negotiated basis
  • Trade it for the solving of a problem that the owner needs solving
  • Improve the “thing” for the owner, then let him/her use the improved version

Smart Business Principle #8 – While It’s Attractive to Run Your Online Business from a Foreign Country, That Doesn’t Mean Running a “Foreign-Registered” Company, Which Can be a Nightmare!

While you can establish your own foreign-registered business, it can be frustrating and expensive. For example, in Ecuador where I’ve lived since December 2013, below are just a few examples of  how tricky it can be: 

        • If you fire someone, by law you have to pay them a $1,000 severance
        • By law, you have to pay people 13 months’ salary for 12 months of work
        • You have to pay into each employee’s Federal retirement program and health insurance – and you can’t skirt that by using “independent contractors” instead like so many in the USA do.  In Ecuador, if you have a housekeeper come to your home to work for a day every other week, Feds considered them an “employee
        • There is no copyright protection and trademark protection is “iffy”
        • If your employee gets hurt going to or from work, you, as employer, have to pay the medical bills.
        • In case you’re contemplating a business that requires an office or storefront and you want to build the same, it can take seven years to get a construction project approved . . . just to break ground.
        • If you move to a country where English isn’t the primary language expecting to get a job or start a business, it’s going to be very challenging if you don’t speak the local language quite well. 
        • If you start a business in a foreign country expecting to sell to people in that country, you sacrifice the advantage of selling information in countries with a higher standard of living, while your cost of living is less due to living in a lower standard of living location.
        • Obviously, that’s especially true if you expect to work for or sell to natives. Remember, there’s a whole world beyond customers that you will have to deal with in Spanish: vendors, employees, government officials, other business people, etc. Furthermore, it seems that what jobs are available that allow you to only speak English don’t pay much.

          News reports here say that more and more young parents with children are moving here expecting to support their families without knowing much Spanish. You hear lots of stories of those families moving back to the States after a year or so because they couldn’t make enough income, at least enough predictably-consistent income.

Related Resources:

If you are interested in adapting to the new realities of making a living, here are some great resources for making money online in the manner that appeals to you most:

  1. If you need help weighing the pros and cons of remote working, or creating an online business of your own, or if you just want to clarify you passions that point to your ideal jobyou would do well to get a little help from a life coach. One of the best places to link- up with coach that’s right for you is the free life coach matching service provided by Wainwright Global.
  2. If you’d like to learn about getting trained and certified as a life coach and make a living as an online coach, check out Wainwright Global’s Life Coach Training Online. 
  3. If you’re drawn to remote working but don’t know how to get started, the Laptop Lifestyle Academy is perfect program for learning the ropes. 
  4. If your preference is  starting an online business of your own, there’s no better place to start than the free course at My Online Startup.

Related Posts:

 “Shattered…Five Big Myths About Business

Key Questions You Must Have the Right Answers to in Order to Know If You Have a *Worthwhile* Online Business Idea

MBA Degree in a Blog Post


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