As the dust settled from the crash of 2008, global citizens were still dazed after witnessing the unthinkable, the collapse of institutions where trust and security had been placed for generations. This ushered in a new reality that people could hardly understand. The paper statements that came in the mail and the online reports showing 401k balances, portfolio assets, net worth assessments, and real-estate values had all been revalued almost overnight. The fortunate few talked about losses of 25%. Many spoke of retirement plans being cut in half while others spoke of total loss which either meant the loss of a job, of an entire lifetime of savings, or both.
Many of us watched from afar years earlier as companies like Enron, WorldCom, and Global Crossings failed. We saw images of stunned and crying employees walking into the streets carrying boxes of mementos from their offices in total disbelief that their company, job, and sometimes lifesavings tied up in company stock were gone overnight. As we watched on the evening news or read in the newspapers we convinced ourselves these catastrophes could not happen to us. We rationalized these rare events were due to the mismanagement of greedy corporate officials and misdeeds of a few and that our companies would never suffer this fate. We numbed ourselves with the fact that government intervention and regulation would protect us from this kind of disaster. Then one morning we woke up and Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, and Lehman Brothers were gone with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and others fighting for their lives. Once iconic companies of the American economy like GM were on life support. What happened? The world changed overnight and our future with it.
We have been convinced that we can live in a world without risk. There is insurance for everything and we are educated about safe careers, guaranteed retirements, and risk free lives but it is all a false sense of security at best and some times an outright lie. The Bible says this is a temporal world and that nothing accumulated here will last. With these recent events many people are seeing how quickly fleeting success and material things really are. Material success never brings true contentment or happiness.
I am not an advocate of building up material possessions and achieving success for self gratification. This article is not about that. I believe our purpose is much greater…to make a difference in the world and in the lives of those around us. As a student and follower of Christ I firmly believe the greatest success we can have is a true relationship with Him and understanding that our time on this earth is but a blink of an eye. My goal with this series is to help people navigate this new economy, make a difference in the world, and to be able to provide for their families and help others in times of need. To do this we need to be prepared. One of the most important things to do as we look to build a full-time life in this new part-time world is to diversify our income streams just as we would diversify our investments and retirement plans. This is step five in my seven step plan to building a successful life in this new world. Having multiple sources of income is the best insurance you can buy. The way to achieve this goal is to dust off your entrepreneurial skills and start building a side business today.
Entrepreneurial pursuits are rapidly growing with women leading the way. Three times as many women are starting new businesses as men. Over 550 women start a business each day! Studies show that professional women who quit the workforce to start a family are not going back to the corporate world but instead becoming entrepreneurs at a faster rate than ever as they build second income streams for their families. They have a financial and family drive to be successful and they are setting the bar high.
Global organizations working to solve the job crisis developing over the next decade are looking to increase entrepreneurial programs in schools around the world to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. They know that governments cannot create the jobs that will be needed over the next ten years and that a new generation of entrepreneurs must be taught and empowered to create the jobs of the future. This was a topic of discussion by World Bank officials at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business may sound challenging and can be scary for those with no experience. Much has been written on the subject and I have even offered my advice in a recent Fox article about the three mistakes to avoid when starting a new business. One thing I would add to the list is of things to avoid is taking on enormous debt to start a business. There are many cost effective ways to start this process to build a truly sustainable and rewarding income stream for your family. I would highly encourage looking at second income streams that will not cause you to go into debt.
For those looking to start a business one popular option has been to buy a national franchise that comes with a proven system but this can be costly. The investment can be anywhere from $40,000 to $3.5M depending on the business. Generally these are proven systems that can generate great income over time if you execute properly. If you have money to invest AND have industry knowledge this might be an option for you. These sites will provide more information. (2014 Top Franchisees, How to Buy a Franchise) A great deal of due diligence is required to ensure you are investing in the right business with a proven track record and support system. Once again, I never recommend people to go into massive debt to finance a start-up.
Another popular and growing option globally are low cost home-based business in the direct sales industry. Women are entering this space faster than ever to build a second income for their family. The benefits include low cost of entry, flexible work schedules, and the ability to work out of their home. Again, a lot of due diligence is required to choose the right opportunity and make sure you are signing up with a reputable company. I recommend starting your search at the Direct Selling Association (DSA) website. When presented with an opportunity it is always good to check with the Better Business Bureau and even the State Attorney Generals office to see if there are any issues with the business.
Recently, I was able to hear a presentation where a gentlemen told a story of his friend who had worked as a consultant for a well know convenience store chain for many years and decided he wanted to open his own store. The two started to investigate what it would cost to buy a franchise store. Here is what they discovered.
- The franchise fee to start was $300k
- To build a store in a great location would cost $2 million
- An average store earns on average $500k a year
- Half of the profit ($250K goes back to the franchise) the owner keeps $250k
- The owner after tax might clear $150k
It did not take long to see that this was not an opportunity that was right for them. His friend would be starting with $2.3million in debt, 50% of their profits going to the franchise and with meager profits and a massive debt payment it would take years to get back to even.
There are many options for you to consider and you need to take time to do your own research. Most important, you don’t have to borrow millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to start your own business. I always encourage families start small local businesses using “bootstrap” methods to prove a concept and bring in extra income for their family. Some people leverage their specific skills they have obtained in their career and start a consulting business. I have known others have started lawn care or home care businesses they do in the evenings and weekends that have grown to be very lucrative. The key is to start doing something extra on the side outside of your normal job.
It is important to note that in all industries there are leaders who are the benchmark for excellence and then there might be a few that are not reputable and give the industry a bad name. Those who I have seen have the greatest success in building a part-time business take their time to do their due diligence and find great opportunities that are in alignment with their values. If you are looking to buy a franchise start your research with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who regulates that industry. If you are looking for a direct sales opportunity I would encourage you to visit the Direct Selling Association (DSA) website. These are just starting points for your research as you look to find the company and product you are passionate about. I have worked as a consultant to many companies in these industries over the years on technology integrations and product development and I would be happy to answer questions you may have and offer advice as needed.
The old adage of digging your well before you are thirsty is more applicable now than ever. If you lost your job you will be glad to have a second source of income. If you never have to go through the pain of losing a job but over time build a second income stream that eventually produces a solid income for you family this could fund your retirement and savings accounts 100%. This is a great rainy day fund and it gives you many options, which are always nice to have.
Starting a business is always hard. It will take enormous amounts of work and many time up front investments in “sweat equity” and capital. The best advice I can give is to make sure you are PASSIONATE about what you are doing. If you are, you will enjoy the journey more and you will be able to get through the rough spots.
We are entering the most insecure job market in the last century. Global unemployment is rising with the demand for jobs increasing daily. In Asia alone, one million people enter the job market each month! In America, we have unfunded retirement plans and corporations are facing increasing pressure with decreasing margins and thus they continue to look at ways to decrease overhead, cut jobs, pensions, and health care responsibilities. The best thing any one can do in this economy is to take matters into their own hands. Reduce your debt, save, and build a passive income stream that will be there for you in retirement. You don’t want to start thinking about this when you are 65.