Mindset

The Surprising Similarity between Entrepreneurs and Alcoholics

What do successful entrepreneurs and alcoholics have in common? This isn’t a riddle, friendo.
The surprising answer is what allows the best entrepreneurs in the world to continue building success after success. Watch the short video below to find out:
 

When I first learned about this step it really made me think. The similarities are surprising (and ironic), but it also makes a lot of sense.
It’s so critical that we utilize this idea and believe in its effectiveness. From my experience, the results tend to show pretty quickly as well.

What are you doing in your career to use this principle? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

24 Eye-Opening Life Lessons Learned from a Year of Intentional Solitude

Total Reading Time: 9 minutes.
The theme of my year was intentional solitude. During this time the goal was to focus on personal growth and learning how to flex my creative muscles. Ironically, I also learned a major lesson: the fastest and most effective way to learn a new skill or concept is from other expert people.
So yes, this does mean I’ll be leaving the dungeon more often now. But before I do that, I took some time to put together a list of the most eye-opening lessons I learned during this year of discovery and intentional solitude.
One of the main reasons this blog exists is to share these personal lessons and stories with you.
My hope is that it will enhance your journey and enable the freedom lifestyle you deserve.

Below are my top lessons from a year of solitude.

1. Your life is a miracle—maximize your experience.

Live in a state of awe. Shift from judgement to being fascinated by other human beings. Open your eyes in the morning and be surprised you even have eyes to begin with. Living in this perpetual state of awe has incredibly positive effects on daily life.
The enthusiasm you live with will push you to maximize your experience, and is also quite infectious to others.

2. Meditation is the pillar to fulfillment, happiness, and success.

Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not a way to escape, nor is it only for hippies or yogi’s. It is a simple, personal practice that teaches how to maintain laser concentration, and exposes a natural state of life.
If you study meditation you’ll find that most of what you’ve seen or heard is false, and it is due to stereotypes and stigmas that have spread through popular culture. It’s easy to learn, you can start with my short video.

3. Every destination and experience is what you make of it.

Most places are neither as dangerous or amazing as they sound. When you travel, everyone wants to offer opinions on what’s good, what’s not, and what to do.
Even the ugliest places on the planet can turn out to be amazing experiences—it’s all about what you make of it and the words you use (see #23 below).
My suggestion: Let go. Plan less, and go with the flow more.

4. Solitude is food for creativity.

The major theme of my year was intentional solitude. After studying so many of the great artists, writers, and thinkers of our time this is the common thread I found.
I had to experience it for myself, and I’m incredibly glad I did. I never thought of myself as a creative person, but solitude can be inspiring.
Also, learning how to be alone and enjoy your own company is important. You’ll learn a lot about who you really are and want to become.

5. Relationships with like-minded people are priceless.

I could write an entire book on this topic, and maybe I will one day. We’ve all heard it before, “we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with”.
This year I proactively spent time with different people, and the results were:

  • A feedback loop that enabled a better version of myself
  • A stronger sense of belonging
  • A grand ol’ adventurous time

But the most powerful result will trickle into your life for years afterward, and you won’t even realize it. These relationships with fulfilled rockstars are priceless.

6. There is nothing more valuable than giving to others.

Whatever you know, share it. Rather than holding onto all those million dollar ideas you’ll never do anything with, give them to someone who will.
If you have a skill, teach it to others. Whatever you have, give it. It will “pay off” for the rest of your life, and you’ll feel a true sense of fulfillment when you start receiving the appreciation.
This blog is an example of that. I share stories and lessons that give readers the skills and knowledge to create their own freedom lifestyle. The emails and thanks I receive are priceless.

7. Your plan may not be the best one—be open to “off-the-radar” possibilities.

This was a key lesson. Once you know what you want, why you want it, and how you’re going to get there, you may forget to pick your head up and look around sometimes.
It’s very important to be accepting of alternative (better) plans and opportunities that come your way. Do you still get to a similar destination? Good, go with it.
Off-the-radar plans may come to you when you least expect them. Don’t let your fate be like the parable of the drowning man who declared “God will save me” to every helping hand.

8. Solopreneurship doesn’t have to be lonely, nor does it have to be hard.

This is a common misconception. Yes, the word solo does mean “one”, but in reality solopreneurship is just a unique long-term strategy to self-employment. I define it as a form of entrepreneurship which allows the lifestyle to takes precedence, not the business.
Build a network of solopreneur friends. Go to events in your industry. Create a mastermind group. Get out of the dungeon.

9. You’re either a victim of the world or the creator of your experience.

Life isn’t black and white, most things are nuanced. But generally you’ll notice people fall into one of these two archetypes. Either life happens to them, or for them.
Be the creator. If that word makes you uncomfortable, pick another one, but realize this truth…
You are the director, not the actor.

10. Relaxation is as important to your success as hard work.

Most of us over-achieving freedom lifestyle types feel guilty for taking breaks. You can divide your work-life into two time buckets or categories:
a) Focus on high-revenue, high-lifetime value activities.
b) Focus on complete rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation.
Once you realize that your effectiveness and output will actually increase by giving yourself deep rest, you’ll become addicted. I learned this directly from Eben Pagan (someone I deeply admire as a mentor and person) and I intend to incorporate this for the rest of my life.

11. Time constraints will massively boost your productivity.

Along with some good rest and relaxation, limiting your work time with constraints will also increase your work quality and output. Give yourself pre-determined chunks of time to work on projects, and you’ll be more focused and effective.
Open-ended doesn’t work well. This is a proven, counter-intuitive concept used by many great leaders.

12. A morning and evening ritual is the foundation to an effective workday and grounded life.

The way you start and end your day is critical. If you haven’t yet created your own morning ritual, do it now. Mine is always changing, but it gets done every day.
Identify what the highest leverage thing is in your life, the domino that makes everything else fall into place. Structure your ritual around making sure this one thing absolutely happens.
For me it’s waking up at a certain time every day and meditating before I start working. For some it’s exercise, and for others it’s journaling—you get the idea.

13. Focus on your growth to stop living for others.

It can be difficult to completely let go of what others think is best for you. From a young age we’re conditioned and rewarded to follow instructions and quietly mold into the herd.
But we’re non-conformists, and we’re not here to perpetuate status quo. Through personal growth and mastery you’ll eventually let go of these concerns, and the journey becomes so much easier.

14. A financial goal without a proper plan for getting there will get you nowhere.

I don’t believe in just manifesting money through thought, this is a big fallacy.
What if the brilliant idea never hits? What if all you’re doing is dreaming and visualizing?
A financial goal needs a proper plan, backed by massive action. This plan needs to be incredibly detailed. You should be able to back into the numbers. Start somewhere, even if the plan isn’t great, and be open to off-the-radar-ideas (see #7 above).

15. If you treat yourself like a King or Queen others will automatically do the same.

How you carry yourself changes the way people see you. How do you talk to yourself? How do you see yourself? I guarantee that this is how others see and talk to you too.
Learn to “love yourself like your life depends on it”.

16. Your nutrition, sleep, and movement directly affect the way you feel and operate.

I underestimated how important these were for a long time, but this is the year I truly learned how directly it affects mood, performance, and vitality.
a) Eat healthy, whole foods. Don’t make it hard. Listen to your body. I drink insane amounts of water, juice vegetables daily, and eat many small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
b) Wake up at the same time every day, after a week or two this will automatically regulate your sleeping pattern to what’s best for you. That’s it. Read this to learn how to become an early riser.
c) Remember to move. Get a standing desk, or work in chunks by setting a timer and taking breaks. Stretch, exercise, play a sport, take the stairs—just move!
If you’re feeling off, you can almost always attribute it to a lack of hydration, nutrition, sleep, or exercise.

17. It is easy to experience everything you’ve ever wanted—don’t be your own obstacle.

We tend to overcomplicate things. We also tend to be our own worst enemy. You may have mental blocks around what’s easy, or what you can and can’t do.
You’ll notice that the most adventurous, fulfilled people don’t have these BS rules, they just go for it. I’ve learned to let life flow more easily, and found that it only leads to more of what I already want.

18. A blog is not a business, it is a media property or platform.

Most blogs die because:
a) The owner gets frustrated or tired and stops publishing.
b) They were created with the wrong intention.
A blog is either a media property for your business, or a central platform for your brand. Look at it this way and approach it as a business, not a hobby, and it will change everything.

19. Don’t fall into the trap of perpetual over-complication.

We’re surrounded by abundant amounts of information, and everyone and their mother has an opinion. Know your outcome clearly, define your bigger vision, and use that as a filter for what you’ll spend time on.
I shifted from wanting to know everything in a topic, to focusing on the best material. Consume information from the best resources and take baby steps every day, you’ll get there.

20. Be careful not to fall too far down the wormhole.

There is a dark side to everything, even positive environments like personal development, religion, or spirituality. The slippery slope can get quite greasy if you lose self-awareness.
It’s okay to be a big fan of something, but it’s more valuable to maintain a true sense of self while also experiencing new and unique subjects and communities.
I’ve found that, ironically, most people fall into the same “herding” trap they were trying to escape, just on a smaller scale.

21. It is possible to be in total control of your emotions.

Your environment doesn’t have to predict your mood or conditions. What a person says or how they act does not have to affect you, nor should it even cause a reaction.
I learned that we are truly in charge of our emotions, and it’s a victim mentality to give that control up to someone or something else. The same applies for difficult situations, like traffic or airports during the holidays.
You can choose to slow down, take a deep breath, and react differently. Change the pattern and you change your experience.

22. It is never too late or too hard to change a relationship or situation. Never.

I experienced miracles in this department. I believe it has something to do with #21 above, but the key lesson was this: it’s never too late.
Whether it be a dream you’ve given up on, or a family member you’ve lost touch with, it’s never too late. Trust me.

23. The words you use create your experience.

We all have a story. The words we use give a lot of meaning to this story, and it’s the meaning that creates our experience.
Here’s an example: Relationships get more exciting as time goes by. They are easy and fun. They continuously grow and get better with each passing day.
This is what I tell myself daily, and that is the reality I experience. Imagine if I believed or said that relationships get old and boring after a few years, or that they’re hard work.
Be mindful of the words you use to describe your experience, you may be surprised to find out what an impact they have.

24. Wealthy people don’t focus on cash.

After years of studying this topic I’ve only recently discovered the secret: having a big bank account of cash is not the path to wealth. And surprisingly, it is actually more difficult to keep wealth than it is to accumulate it.
Wealth is the accumulation of assets, ones that ideally trickle off cash flow (interest) which you can then live off.
Once you know the wealth formula, you can begin focusing your efforts in the right direction and achieve financial freedom for your freedom lifestyle.

I hope these lessons were as eye-opening for you as they were for me. Which of these did you enjoy most? What lessons have you learned lately?
Photo credit: IsolationCC license

How to Instantly Upgrade Yourself with a Secret Mastermind Group

Total Reading Time: 6 minutes.
In 1936 a man by the name of Napoleon Hill published a book that would go on to become the bestselling non-fiction book of all time. Within this book, Think and Grow Richare 13 steps for achieving anything (even riches), and living a fulfilled life.
One of the most important steps in this book is forming a mastermindI’m going to tell you exactly how to form your own, how I formed mine, and what I’ve learned from the process.
When I first read the book years ago, it didn’t quite click. But since becoming a solopreneur, the principles have become a complete guidebook for my life and business. It’s opened the door to more eye-opening material and personal growth.
More than anything, my mastermind group has created huge shifts and tangible changes in my life.

Benefits of Having a Mastermind Group

There are too many benefits to list when it comes to being in or having a mastermind group. Nonetheless, to give you an idea, here’s a short list:

  1. You are tapping into the collective knowledge and experience of the entire group.
  2. You will begin to take on the habits, attitude, and nature of your group. This will happen automatically because you are the average of the five people you interact with most — so choose carefully.
  3. A harmonious, inviting, and safe place to truly be yourself.
  4. A place strategize your biggest opportunities and celebrate your wins.
  5. A place to process your thoughts, challenges, and get outside your own head.
  6. True accountability partners.
  7. A way to finally break through into your full potential and get honest feedback and criticism from trusted people.
  8. A group of trusted advisors and an entirely new level of friendship.
  9. It may open your eyes to a new way of living and a different set of priorities.
  10. Probably a more productive way to spend your time vs. trying to have intelligent conversations at a bar.

Steps to Creating Your Own Mastermind

Don’t overthink this part. The most important thing is that you identify people who are looking to elevate themselves, and naturally create value for others. When initially starting you only need a handful of people.
In fact, having more than five people may cause issues since you’re in the early stages of the process. These may be people you already know, but it’s not necessary that you know them well.
Also, they don’t all have to be within your network. People you approach may already have others in mind and will want to bring them in (as was the case when I approached a friend).

  1. Make a list of 10 people you know that would create a positive, harmonious environment and could all work toward one definite purpose.
  2. Ensure that each person can work with the other (harmony is the key here), and eliminate anyone who’s lifestyle or goals may be too different. e.g. diversity of thought and style is good, but if the majority of the group wants to retire working a corporate job, while one outlier wants a freedom lifestyle, there won’t be harmony.
  3. Approach these people and ask if they’d be interested in the idea of a mastermind group. Explain what it is, the benefits, and your expectations. [Arman’s tip: I approached these people through email and evaluated responses]
  4. Evaluate the responses. You should know right away who is most interested and will bring the most value to the group.
  5. Pick the best ones and make them your initial founding members. Introduce everyone, and begin to lay out the ground rules and expectations.
  6. It is important that as a leader you empower everyone in the group and remember to get out of the way. Each member should feel equally important and comfortable with bringing their thoughts and expertise to the group.

How to Run Your Mastermind

No one mastermind is like the other. The group’s nature, environment, age, gender, lifestyle, etc. will determine its style, and it will continually evolve.
What’s important is that there are ground rules and expectations in place. Above all, the group should be harmonious and must work toward one definite purpose — even if that purpose is to individually grow your wealth, health, relationships, and happiness.
Below I’ll share a recommended and proven structure for running a mastermind, as well as details on my own. Again, if you decide to change things that’s fine. Remember that you can always adapt as you move forward. Keep it simple at first.

1. Determine the foundation of your mastermind.
Will you meet in person? Conference calls or video chat? How long are the meetings (set a max time)?

2. Determine the structure.
How often and when will you meet? [Arman’s note: My group does conference calls once every two weeks, at the same time every time. We also do two in-person mastermind retreats per year, with the main one being in December to do an annual review and planning.]

3. Break the ice.
If the group doesn’t all know one another well, you’ll want to give each person time to speak during the meetings in the beginning. This will help everyone become familiar with each other’s style, goals, and personality. You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and knows that this is a place they can be honest.

4. Determine the meeting structure.
Go around the group and have each person bring up one recent challenge/issue they’re facing, and one opportunity. As a group, comment on both pieces and give them the insight they need to solve the issue and take advantage of the opportunity.
Make sure everyone is stepping up to offer their knowledge and resources to help that person take maximum advantage of the opportunity.

5. Create alternative meeting structures.
Here’s another way: Pick one person for the call and do a deep dive on a challenge and opportunity. This is essentially the same structure as before, but with more time to really dig into the topics and help that mastermind member. [Arman’s tip: You’ll get a lot more out of this style and the real “magic” of the mastermind shines here]

6. Do a recap at the end of each meeting. 
Finish each meeting with a summary of each person’s next steps and how you’ll hold each other accountable. Make sure to begin the next meeting by reviewing the previous meeting’s action items.

7. Set up rules for attendance.
Create an incentive (positive reinforcement) for attending the call and being on time. Come up with this as a group. Alternative, you could create a “punishment” for missing a call, and this may work better depending on the group.
People will miss meetings and you want to prevent this as much as possible. In small groups, it can affect the meeting. [Arman’s tip: If someone misses the meeting, they should add a certain amount of money to a group fund. Use the funds for your mastermind retreat at the end of the year].

Conclusion

As you can see, this doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little work you’ll have your own mastermind, and I promise that you’ll be elevating your life and playing at an entirely new level.
As I write this, I’m preparing to fly for my mastermind group’s end-of-year retreat. We’ll be spending two full days in a beautiful cabin where we’ll review the previous year, celebrate our wins, and strategize for the coming year.
This is one of the key secrets to success. The more I’ve surrounded myself with winners, the more clearly I can see that it’s not your knowledge or skills, but the people you surround yourself with that make the difference.

Are you going to create your own mastermind group now? Do you already belong to one? If so, I’d love to hear about it and learn about some of the benefits you’ve experienced.
Photo credit: Upgrading — CC license

Why the Most Successful People Burn Their Bridges and You Should Too

Total Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Do you have a backup plan?

When I left Google in June of 2012, I didn’t. I only knew one thing: it was my destiny to become an entrepreneur and the time had come. It’s quite a frightening exhilaration. If you’re an entrepreneur now, you remember the raw emotions that stir inside you the day it becomes official.

Focus on a Single Outcome

In 1519, Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, famously ordered burning the boats as his troops prepared for the impossible conquest of the Aztec Empire. Well, this may be false. Some sources, like Matthew Restall’s Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest indicate he scuttled (sunk) the ships to prevent a mutiny. Nevertheless, it’s still a story that makes for a great analogy in this article.
As actor Will Smith explained in an inspiring interview, having a Plan B only distracts from pursuing Plan A. In my case, I “burned the boats” by creating a mission and brand around my number one value: a Freedom Lifestyle. Many would say this is foolish, which is okay because I’m not speaking to them.
You, the entrepreneur, solopreneur or wantrepreneur, may feel a similar drive in your life. Having a mission and creating that leverage is critical.

The Repercussions of Your Lifelines

Although unconventional, burning your bridges provides laser focus. Your outcome becomes more clear, and you’ll have less distractions. Giving yourself options may seem like an effective risk mitigation strategy, but it will only hurt you. A person with a backup plan is likely to use it, which results in settling for far less than what they desire.

A backup plan is the sum of all your worries, fears, and disaster scenarios muddled together into one half-hearted outcome. If you don’t burn the bridges, your focus will habitually (and unconsciously) shift toward the obstacles.

The Proof All Around

Who are your role models? What success stories do you identify with most? A simple examination will likely result in a few common characteristics:

High standards and an insatiable thirst for growth and knowledge.
Unwavering confidence in achieving their desires – to the point that it becomes part of the identity.
Commitment to creating value for others and contributing beyond themselves.

How to Burn Your Bridges without Burning Yourself

The idea here is not a careless abandonment of your connections and past. Burning bridges is a form of “inevitability thinking.” By creating intentional shifts in your mindset and choices, taking action toward your goal becomes inevitable. And so does success itself.

1. Identify Your Ultimate Outcome or Desire

Define this goal in a crystal-clear fashion and be sure there’s a strong underlying “why” behind the desired outcome. My ultimate outcome is to give people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to become successful online solopreneurs and live a Freedom Lifestyle.

2. List All Your Worries

Write down all the various disaster scenarios, fears, worries, and backup plans you can think of. Spend time on this. When you’re finished toss the paper or trash the document. Better yet, burn the paper (carefully, please).

3. Define the First Action Step

Specify the initial step to take toward the goal. Imagine a line of dominoes all leading toward the result. If there were one massive domino at the front that could set the whole process in motion, what would it look like?
For me, the first powerful step was starting a blog and publishing the first post. That led to consulting, mentoring, creating products, building this community, speaking and now writing pieces like this for you.

4. Prepare for the Struggle

Entrepreneurship is not always glamorous and there will be dark days. It is one step beyond these dark days that you’ll find the lesson and success. Persistence is everything.

5. Celebrate Small Wins and Get Around Winners

You must learn to celebrate small wins and find other winners to be influenced by. As Tony Robbins says, “proximity is power”. The fastest way to grow is by spending time with people that are already where you want to be.

Do you agree with this approach? What’s your ultimate outcome?

Photo credit: Bridges Burning — CC license

How to Automate Your Personal Finances and Stop Worrying about Money

Total Reading Time: 8 minutes.

“We’re heading to Belize with some friends to go diving at the Great Blue Hole near Belize — you should come! Can you make it?”
“Umm…I’m not sure if I have the funds for that. Let me think about it and get back to you.”
Or…
“This is a really great investment opportunity. They are multi-family apartment complexes, and you’ll receive a check in the mail every month.”
“Hmm…I don’t have enough in my checking right now, and I don’t want to touch my savings for this.”
Face palm. Sound familiar? What if there was a way to know exactly how much money you had available in each category of your life? What if you could have your finances completely automated?
Ah, well there is a way, friendo. Use the strategies and tools in this post to do just that. Get rid of most (if not all) of your worries about money, and know exactly where you stand financially. It’ll also become a lot easier to say yes or no to Belize trips (and there’s nothing wrong with saying no — here’s how to do that the nice way).

Real freedom is the ability to do what you want, when you want, how you want. — Tweet this!

Understanding how the rich think about money is a great start, but it’s only part of the puzzle.  The other piece is having your finances on lock down and being able to make decisions confidently.
This is about shifting from a reactive mode to a proactive one. This will result in much less time spent on finances and feeling way more in control. I’ve been using the strategies in this guide successfully for almost ten years. The key is to take action and implement each step right now.
Personal finances are also an important part of becoming a full-time solopreneur. Knowing when to make the change and having your finances in order is key.
A common roadblock to becoming a solopreneur is the fear of not having enough money. Handling this is critical to your long-term success.
After all, you want freedom, but who wants to live like a college student again and eat Cup Noodles again?
 

Get Organized the Easy Way

This is pretty much Step 0. It is important that you get organized and immediately begin tracking a high-level view of your finances.
The fastest and easiest way to do this is with a Mint.com account. I don’t see any reason to use another service, as this one is already a proven, popular solution and has all the features you’ll need. Let’s not complicate this, it’s about getting started.
Mint gives you the detailed, transactional level information you need. You’ll also get a high level overview of your finances, i.e., you’ll see your cash flow and balances across all accounts. This service is customizable and comes with a ton of features to take your finance game to the next level.
Once you’re set up and comfortable with the interface, I’d recommend setting up a few budgets and goals to make the most of it.
 

Set up Your Banking

If you’re still hanging out at a brick-and-mortar bank, you must have been around when people took a horse and carriage to Wells Fargo. If that’s you, I’ll make this as painless as possible.
Instead of asking you to switch and let go of your beloved bank and favorite teller, I kindly suggest that you open a free account with the online bank I mention below. Once you start using them, I virtually (hehe) guarantee you’ll go all in and will forget all about J.P. Morgan and the others in the ol’ boys club.

Capital One 360

Formerly known as ING Direct, Capital One 360 is the foundation and secret to automating your personal finances. It’s free, there are no fees for anything (in fact, you even earn interest on your checking), no minimums, and it’s simple to use. You can also have up to 25 free savings accounts, but it’s the Automated Savings Plan feature that makes this all so appealing.
This is modern banking at its finest, which means there are no physical banks for you to visit — everything happens online. Don’t panic, just give it a shot and you’ll see.
This is the key to automation, and is a necessary piece of this system click here to sign up for a free account now and you’ll also get $50 through my link
 

Automation of Your Savings and Spending

First of all, let’s correct one  important piece: I want you to never pay another ATM fee again. I know, “that’s easier said that done”. But that’s why you have me in your life.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to do that: Get Rid of ATM Fees Once and For All.
Now, the next step is to set up your Automated Savings Plan. As we both know, it’s difficult to budget your money and try to save some cash. By the end of the month,  little remains.
That’s why it’s important to do this automatically, before the money ever goes into your pocket. It also prevents you from feeling a sense of loss, since you never had the money anyway.
With Capital One 360, you’ll want to create a handful of free savings accounts that match up to your different lifestyle needs — get creative with this.
 

Examples of Automated Savings Accounts

capital one 360 - checking savings automated
Screenshot of my personal 360 savings accounts – get creative!

You can change these whenever as needed, and can add up to 25 different accounts.

Some More Great Examples

  1. Gifts – I love this for budgeting in birthday and holiday presents.
  2. Wedding – You know…
  3. Real Estate – Save for your first home or an investment property.
  4. Short-term savings – You never know!
  5. Going out (fancy dinners, drinks, etc.) – I love this, no guilt for spending frivolously on indulging.

The idea here is to use the Automated Savings Plan and begin building up the balance in each of these accounts. For example, on the 1st of each month $50 gets transferred from your checking to your Shopping account. $100 gets transferred to your Long-term Savings account, and so on.
Now, when your friend asks if you want to go to Belize, you look at your Travel fund and decide whether you can afford it (and see how big you can go). You’ll also know what your exact budget is for the trip, and you’ll never need to spend a dime for your checking account — boom! It’s a beautiful thing, right?
 

Pay Your Bills Without Thinking

If you’re still paying your bills by sending in checks with cute little envelopes and holiday-themed stamps, there’s no hope for you. But if you’re ready to automate the process and have some idea of how to do this online, I may be able to help.
 

How to Properly Pay Your Bills

  1. Call every company you pay a bill to each month (or have your personal Fancy Hands assistant do it) and make sure all your payments are due around the same time each month. This is doable with most companies, but some old school ones may be a little less flexible. Arman’s tip: Adjust the due date to right after you are usually paid or paying yourself.
  2. Sign up for paperless billing. You don’t need the papers. There’s nothing fun about getting bills in the mail, and it’s better for the environment. If you ever need a copy of an old bill it’s available online.
  3. Sign up for automated payments. Make sure all your bills get paid automatically, without you ever thinking about it. Whatever excuse you have for wanting to pay your bills yourself, lose it. You will save hours per month and feel a massive sense of relief. Go focus on making more money, not managing it.
  4. Check your transaction history once a month through Mint.com. You don’t need to check your finances more than this, and it should only take 30 minutes. Every once in a while there may be a fraudulent charge or something that looks funny, and this should take care of that.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but: never carry a balance on your credit cards, pay off your debts in full each month, and try not to owe anything to anyone. If you’re in any kind of debt, make it your number one priority to pay it all off as soon as possible. Sacrifice and do whatever it takes, this is so important. 
 

Long-Term Savings

A long-term savings plan is crucial, although not nearly as important as creating wealth (see below). There will be times when you need to be ready for a financial drought, especially if you work for yourself or plan to at any point.
Make sure you are using the Automated Savings Plan feature and put as much as possible into that account at the beginning of each month. Have a goal to hit a certain number by a certain time, e.g. $50,000 within X months.
Once you hit that number, begin taking any excess and invest in assets. Choose things like real estate, stocks, gold/silver, or any asset class you have interest in. You should also be doing this with your Investment savings account.
 

Investing and Creating Wealth

As I explain in this post, money (cash) does not equal wealth. This is a misconception and lie that our environment has instilled in us over many generations. The rich are not on a hunt to accumulate as much cash as possible, they measure their wealth through their net worth.
The idea is not to get cash, but to accumulate assets that trickle off cash over time. You want to achieve a point of living off the interest of your assets. Allow the principle to stay put, or rollover into other investment vehicles.
Become interested in one specific asset class at first, (e.g. real estate) and achieve a level of mastery in your knowledge. From there, you should also remember to diversify how you allocate your investments.
Don’t try to do this alone, especially if it isn’t something you’re already passionate about.  The same way you need a consultant to help grow your business, you need a wealth advisor to help grow your investments.

Photo credit: Lendingmemo — CC license
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I Discovered What the Rich Know about Wealth and I Can’t Keep It to Myself

Total Reading Time: 4 minutes.
Over the past few months I’ve discovered a big secret, and experienced a massive paradigm shift…AKA a holy sh*t moment.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been studying money, wealth, and business — yet it took me this long to figure out the secret. If you look at my bookshelf, the word “money” or “rich” appears on many of the books.
The main motivation (the big why) for wanting to be rich, is probably the same as yours: complete financial freedom.
The ability to do what you want, when you want, how you want…even with who you want — and never worry about paying for any of it.
Now I’ve always thought that to become financially free and wealthy you had to accumulate as much money as possible. This could be through your work, business, investments, or side-gigs. This is 100% wrong.
After years of studying this topic I’ve only recently discovered the secret: cash is not the path to wealth.
Cash, in and of itself, is an awful way to accumulate wealth. Having a massive piggy bank of cash doesn’t help (for many reasons that I won’t dig into on this post). Net worth has very little to do with cash.
Through the centuries and since the invention of money backed by nothing (fiat currency), we’ve been led to believe that it’s all about the cash.
Most will never know how wealth works. Most people don’t understand the fractional reserve system, fiat currency, or even debt.
Is this an intentional conspiracy by the 1% rich against the rest of us? Not if you ask me. I believe if you want to live in that reality you can. You’ll find the answers you’re looking for.
What I do believe is that understanding how money works is where you start. That understanding will instantly help you change the way you think and feel about money.
I also believe that most of the modern rich are good people who have worked hard for their success and wealth. Success leaves clues.

So What Is Wealth?

Wealth is the accumulation of assets, not cash. Most of us have heard this before, but what is a real asset?
Your assets should trickle off cash/interest, which you can then spend and live off. e.g., real estate investments that earn you a monthly check, or stocks that pay dividends.
Most people think assets are cars or new TV’s, so they end up in the same place they started. To become financially free and wealthy we need to redefine money and our habits around it.
In a capitalist, consumer society that relies on world-class marketing to influence your purchasing habits, you’re screwed if you don’t wake up.
Companies make money by making you feel like you’re not good enough (in many ways). They want you to make a purchase to solve your problems. Yes this is a bit gloomy, but it’s not a conspiracy — just a truth of marketing (which can be used for good and bad).

Testing the Theory

Wealthy people are not the ones you think. In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley shows us that the millionaires in this world aren’t driving Ferrari’s and living in yachts. They’re driving dependable, used cars (or maybe a classic car that appreciates in value over time), and only investing in what they need.
We’re getting our ideas of what it means to be rich from Instagram and reality TV, which are just marketable one-off BS examples of wealth. The real rich don’t even want you to know they’re wealthy. They don’t care about appearances, or what we think about their spending habits.
They’ve figured out the secret to accumulating and keeping wealth (the latter being the harder part). They don’t play by the same rules the rest of society does. If you study these people you’ll learn this for yourself.
Here’s the biggest thing you’ll find: they all have a bulletproof growth mindset. Thought you could get away from the internal game/mindset stuff for a bit? You can’t. Wealth is only limited by your own mental limits.

The Wealth Formula

As always, it all comes down to freedom. The point of money is to provide the experiences we desire most in life. The only way to do that is to master it.

Create Value through Your Confluence —> Turn Value into Income —> Invest Money in Assets = Wealth 

The Next Step

To make the shift now, move your income into assets. Decide on one reliable method to accumulate the income: your job, your own solopreneur business, a side business, etc.
Then decide on one asset class that you want to learn and master. Your focus going forward will be to invest all your cash into assets within that category e.g. a business, real estate, stocks, or any investments that trickle off cash flow.
Have fun. Use it for good.

Links to Resources

  1. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley
  2. Self Made Wealth – This online course by Eben Pagan is the most fantastic resource on wealth and money I’ve ever discovered. Unfortunately the class is now closed, but may re-open again in the future, so I’d recommend signing up for the waiting list.
  3. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – I first read this book years ago, but it was instrumental in building the foundation of my personal finance habits. This book is all about automating your finances and making it as easy as possible.

What are your thoughts on money and wealth? What resources have been helpful for you personally? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
Photo credit: WealthCC license