| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth
Your Game Plan to Financial Independence

Your Game Plan to Financial Independence

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Pauline of InvestmentZen.com. The point Pauline makes here is simple: to achieve financial independence you need to master three things: spending less, earning more and investing wisely the rest.

Financial independence is the stage of your financial journey where your passive income from investments covers all your living expenses. That means you never have to work another day in your life if you don’t want to. Pretty sweet, right? But that sweet reward comes after a few years of saving and dedication that not everyone is able to accomplish.

Know where you stand

When you embark on a journey towards financial independence and early retirement, you need to review your entire finances to know where you stand.

  • If you have high interest debt, paying it off is your number one priority. Try to get a 0% balance transfer or at least refinance for a cheaper rate, so it doesn’t take forever.
  • Then look for a refinance of your student loans and mortgage, that can also save you thousands
  • Send every extra cent you have to pay off your debt.

Once your high interest debt is wiped off, time to plan for financial independence.

Your financial independence number

How much do you need to live comfortably for the rest of your life? Right now, there are expenses that are related to work, like buying suits, commuting or having lunch with your colleagues, that will be eliminated once you are financially independent. If your income is lower once you stop working, you might also be paying less taxes. And if you are living off your nest egg, you will not be making retirement contributions anymore.

On the other hand, as you get older, you might need a bigger house for your growing family, money to send your kids to college, and medical care in old age. The last thing you want is having to go back to work at age 65 because you didn’t plan properly!

So, determine your financial independence annual budget, and multiply that by 25. Using a safe withdrawal rate of 4%, your nest egg should outlive you if you have 25 years of expenses saved.

Get started

Financial independence is achieved by a combination of

  • Spending less
  • Earning more
  • Investing and compounding

Spending less

Spending less is easy when you know the reward that is expecting you: independence from a cubicle and freedom to do what you please with your days, decades before your peers. But if it becomes a frustration, you might give up and go back to your old spending ways. Try to determine what is really important to you, so that doesn’t happen. If you want to buy something, wonder how long you would have to pay for it, and whether it is worth delaying financial independence by that much.

Earning more

Earning more is the real key to financial independence. While you can certainly cut your expenses here and there, you still need to eat and put a roof over your head. You can’t achieve a 100% saving rate. In order to become financially independent earlier, you need to make more.

You can start by asking for a raise at your current job, if you haven’t had one in a while. A one time $10,000 raise means $200,000 more over the next 20 years! If you were already able to live off your current salary, invest 100% of your raise for a year or two. Living on last year’s salary is a great way to boost your saving rate. If your boss won’t give you a raise, look for a better paying job elsewhere. Or a job that pays the same but would give you more free time, less commuting expenses, etc. Try to find an hour or two in the evening to work on a side project. It could be something that pays you right now, like teaching a yoga class or dog walking, or a side business you enjoy, so it doesn’t feel like work and might provide an additional source of income in retirement.

Investing

Finally, investing is the secret that will take your financial independence plan to the next level. It will take much, much longer to save 25 years of expenses if you are getting 1% interest from your saving account, compared to getting 8% from the markets. 8% is a realistic rate of return over a long period of time (30+ years) for index funds like the S&P500. Open a brokerage account and start sending every amount you can spare, taking first advantage of tax free accounts and your company match for an extra boost. No need to be an expert in investing or spend hours researching a company, just select a few low fee index funds and keep going. Ignore the market crashes, the craze about this or that stock, do your boring little thing and watch your nest egg grow. Invest only money you can afford to leave untouched until financial independence. Reinvest the dividends and watch compound interest work its magic.

You can also look for other types of investments, like real estate, but remember that managing a rental property is not exactly what you call passive income, so take that into account when you picture your retirement. Will you be active, and willing to do that? Will you even be around, or traveling the world? Will a manager still make the investment worth your while?

Financial independence does not happen overnight. But following these steps, even on an average salary, you can get there in just a few years. If you save 50% of your income, which is easy with a partner since many households make it work on one income, financial independence is just 17 years away.

What is your game plan?

photo credit: Lapse of the Shutter Tree Avenue via photopin (license)

This is How You Know Without Doubt That You Are Ready to Retire: introducing F*ck That Index

This is How You Know Without Doubt That You Are Ready to Retire: introducing F*ck That Index

ready to retire

Over the last several months my mind has been drifting towards thinking about whether I’m ready to retire.

Okay. Not really pondering whether I’m ready to retire; more like trying to decide when I’m going to be ready.

For me the matter of retirement – be it early or not – is not mixed with longing for twisty, ribbed stockings, bubbly cardigans and watching daytime TV. I can’t stand daytime TV.

For me, the matter of retirement is tangled with the lust for independence, the desire to create without restrictions and contribute to people’s lives with no limitations. While I’m employed this is not possible.

‘Oh, but you are a university professor.’ – I hear you say. ‘If you are not able to create and contribute value to people’s life, who can.’

You’d be surprised. In the past, I have made some positive contributions through my research; like contributing to a very substantial increase of the science budget in the UK in mid-1990s. I have touched the destinies of generations of Doctoral, Masters and undergraduate students…reputedly. Still the changes in Higher Education and the universities over the last decade or so, have been consistently robbing my life of meaning.

I want the meaning back.  After all, we are all mortal and we are not born to make money, spend money and die with regrets.

So I’ve been trying to decide whether I’m ready to retire – and when I’ll be ready if I’m not there yet – and have had a big problem.

This problem is called ‘enough money to last me for life’. I am not looking to stop being employed so that I could put my feet up and do b*gger all, that’s true. Still, leaving the security of a full professorship and having to make a living is scary. I’d like to know that I have enough at a very basic level so I don’t need to obsess and panic about earning.

So, I played around a bit with our retirement calculator. It is fun but…I had to make too many assumptions that are highly problematic. Like my annual spending in ten years’ time.

While looking for something else, I came across an easy formula that helps you decide whether you are ready to retire; it was introduced by Quora reader Doug Massey and is known as F*ck That Index (or FTI).

Are you ready to retire: what is FTI?

FTI, or your readiness to retire, is calculated using the following:

 

Your Age * Your Net worth/Annual spending

 

The index should be greater than 1,000 for you to be ready to retire.

I love this one! I love it not only because it is the kind of thing that tells you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but also because it allows you to play with the conditions for readiness. For instance, you may be closer if you reduce your annual spending; or you need to wait several more years.

Where do I stand in all this retirement lark?

Remember when I was telling you how important it is to know your net worth and that you should follow it religiously. Hope you did! I do know my net worth exactly and update it every month so calculating my FTI is easy.

And…

…my index is 1,705.

(Had to correct this one up after carefully calculating my net worth. What am I waiting for, I wonder.)

Which is over 1,000 anyway and this means that I can jack my job tomorrow is I want to. And this makes me feel all warm and glowing inside. This is without changing our current level of spending at all.

(Just for the record, John’s FTI is well over 1,000 as well. I haven’t factored keeping a teenage son through university but this may be why I have to make a lot of money some other way.)

What is your FTI value? Are you ready to retire?

 

Your Freedom Fund is the One Thing to Stop Life Happening to You

Your Freedom Fund is the One Thing to Stop Life Happening to You

freedom fund

Let me ask you a question:

Do you live your life or life keeps happening to you?

Life happens to you at least some of the time? I thought so.

This is the case with most of us; we inhabit a personal space – mental or physical – where our control over the events shaping our lives is fairly limited.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Moving away from ‘life just happens to me’ to ‘I live my life’ is a matter, I’d say, of maturity, confidence, self-esteem and a substantial freedom fund.

Life happened to my sister. I’ll never forget the hot summer day when she broke down in tears and told me what her married life is really like. It was a life of early passion, followed by drink, infidelity and psychological and physical abuse.

‘How long has this been going on?’ – I asked.

‘Over a decade.’ – she mumbled.

‘Why don’t you get out?’

‘I don’t have money to get divorced and how am I going to raise my daughter as a single mother?’

We helped her get out. We paid for her divorce, my parents supported her emotionally and psychologically and we pledged to pay for my niece’s university education (incidentally, one of the best investments we ever made including buying the apartment in Sofia for her to live in).

And if you think that finding yourself in the tight corners of life is exclusively for women, think again.

One of my friends – a man and a very high achiever at that – found himself with nothing but the clothes on his back and the cash in his wallet when he left his wife. He sorted it all out later, as it happens, but living his life was touch and go for some time.

Life used to happen to me as well.

Debt happened to me.

Worrying about how we’ll pay for our modest but fun wedding happened to me.

Heck, life still, occasionally, happens to me. Most of the time though I live my life.

What made the difference?

Many things. I’m older, have more experience, feel more secure and confident and have got to grips with my mortality. Even more importantly, I have choices in life sustained by having a rather generous freedom fund.

Guys, most people will tell you that to ‘take life by the horns’ you need to find yourself, to figure out who you are and what you stand for. This is true. Still, your ability to act on what you find depends on whether you are able to meet the money obligations that come with standing by your principles; in other words it comes down to you having a freedom fund.

Much has been written in personal finance about having an emergency fund; this is money that you keep to be able to pay for life events that may happen to you. A bit has been written about having a ‘f*ck you’ fund.

In my book, positivity rates very highly. So, I won’t be talking to you about starting and emergency fund or building up a f*ck you fund.

Today I’ll ask you to start a freedom fun; this is money that will give you the option to do what you want to do.

You know what the difference is? A freedom fund is about you and your level of control over your life; it is not about what may happen to you or getting your own back.

#1. What is a freedom fund?

A freedom fund is a fund that allows you to do what you want in your life; it allows you to plan and finance life events you value and welcome in your life. Incidentally, a freedom fund would afford you control over the emergencies, the do-dads, in your life as well.

Generally, a freedom fund does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’: it gives you the freedom to live your life on your own terms.

#2. Why do you need a freedom fund

Each and every one of us needs a freedom fund. It doesn’t matter whether you are a woman or a man, whether you have safe job that you enjoy or not. Your freedom fund is the one thing that stands between you and the unpleasantness of life that could happen. Having a freedom fund means that you have a level of control over your life; over what you keep and bring into it.

More specifically, you need a freedom fund because:

Things may change at work

Even if you love your job today employers have a way with changing conditions and doing away with the parts of the job you enjoy.

Employers change their goals, they can change the way in which they go about achieving these goals and this can have a large negative effect on your job and working conditions.

Now, the thing is that whenever your employer, their demands and your job description change you have three possible ways to react.

  • One, you may be completely attuned with the change and fit into the new job description like a hand in a well cut glove. If this were the case you are very lucky.
  • Another way to react, would be to decide that there are other things that matter. In other words, you are not attuned with the change, you have a problem with the new demands of the job but you think that you can still do it because there things on the fringes that still feel right.
  • And last, you can refuse to comply and adjust. In this case you have to leave immediately.

In my experience, when employers change their demands the latter two options are the more likely outcome. If you don’t have a freedom fund this can cause a lot of personal unhappiness and life disturbance.

If you have freedom fund, on the other hand, this can be the best opportunity that life threw you as a curveball.

Things may change at home

Okay, I get it!

You really, really love this guy/girl next to you and you have made public promises to stick by them for the rest of your life. You trust him/her. Until one day he/she gets so mad at you that they hit you.

He/she is apologetic; what’s more you shouldn’t have got him/her so mad, right?

Wrong. Abuse is abuse and you don’t have to put up with it for any length of time.

You don’t have to put up with it particularly and specifically because you don’t have the money to leave the relationship. Now here is where having a personal freedom fund can come very handy.

Oh, and abusers can be men or women.

Life will happen to you anyway

Do know what I mean?

There are life events that are difficult to avoid.

People get born.

People die.

People get married.

Are these emergencies? Not really. These are life events we know will happen (well most of them anyway) but we have no way of predicting when they will happen.

A freedom fund gives you peace of mind; when such events occur it is your choice to decide how to tackle them.

#3. How large should your freedom fund be

A good question but why do you ask me?

The size of your freedom fund is a very personal matter; a matter that only you can settle. How large or small your freedom fund needs to be, among other things, depends on:

  • how expensive is your lifestyle;
  • how long do you take to sort your sh*t out; and
  • your freedom purpose (what is the freedom you want, freedom from what and for what).

I intend to write more about the freedoms we crave and how to calculate how much these cost you. For now, I can only tell you how large is my freedom fund.

I have a personal freedom fund that would allow me to sort out my life were everything to go wrong (e.g. leave job, leave family). This fund is roughly 8 months of my personal living expenses (allowing for accommodation of course).

We also have a family freedom fund. This assumes that I stop working and we stay in the house we live in. We keep approximately a year worth of expenses above our monthly passive income (this is not yet large enough to cover all our expenses).

#4. How do you build a freedom fund

You do it just like you build up any other fund: with patience and persistence. You have to persist with the persistence of a drug addict.

Only caveat is that if you try to save this fund from what you normally bring home every month can be a stretch; and despite all dedication and persistence you may claim other savings and spending will easily take priority.

I’m a great believer in making more money. Build your freedom fund by thinking of side hustle, building it up and keeping at it.

I built my personal freedom fund from my site hustle – all money earned from activities other than my job were directed to build this fund. Our family freedom fund was built by our positive cash flow minus what we keep for investments.

There are novel and imaginative ways to build a freedom fund fast. Some have used GoFundMe.com to garner support and raise funds for their freedom.

While this can, and indeed does, work remember that there are severe limitation. To begin with, you will still depend on the benevolence of others for your freedom and this can be granted or withdrawn. Further, your success would depend greatly on your ability to ‘sell’ your story and not everyone has that. And lastly, you need considerable media savvy because crowd funding is a very noisy space.

In balance, it is better and easier to build your own freedom fund.

Finally…

We all need a freedom fund. You need a freedom fund and you need it now.

So, stop surfing the net and go get yourself a side hustle; save the money from this side hustle; and very soon you’d have your freedom fund.

Start now. Trust me: it feels better than smooth chocolate melting on your tongue; better than running silk velvet through your fingers.

Do you have a freedom fund? How long did it take to build?

(Please don’t be shy and share.)

11 Reasons Why You’ll Never be Rich: poverty is not skin deep

11 Reasons Why You’ll Never be Rich: poverty is not skin deep

never be rich

One of the most asked questions on Quora is how to become rich. Which is fair enough if we keep thing in perspective: it is highly likely that the people who ask it will never be rich.

Let’s face it: poverty is very persistent. For instance, Britain and the US are two of the wealthiest countries in the world. Still, at this very moment 23% of the population of Britain and a similar proportion of the population of California live in relative poverty.

No, I don’t wish to get into the ins and outs of the measures of poverty or arguments that poverty is relative: of course it is. I don’t wish to discuss the possibilities for people who live below the poverty line to have satisfactory lives. What I’d like you to note is that a considerable proportion of the population in two wealthy countries still live in poverty.

Governments talk about ‘war on poverty’ but so far policies have failed. Bloggers, and others in the personal finance industry, make a living by teaching people, well or not so well, how to be rich. People dream about leaving poverty behind and becoming rich.

Still poverty persists.

Most people who were born poor will die poor. In fact, it is much worse than that: the children and grandchildren of most of the people who were born poor will be poor as well.

Now, the question I’d like to ask is why poverty is so persistent?

Searching for an answer, I’ve read many books and articles. I’ve read about the personal habits that limit our success; about the thought patterns that are in the way of becoming wealthy; about the social structures that impede the opportunities we find; and about the social barriers that prevent poor people from accessing opportunities.

I expected all this; I had actually figured it out – after all I’m a social scientist. These ‘reasons’ are also attuned with my egalitarian, leftist leaning.

What I didn’t expect was to find a book by Ruby Payne entitled ‘A Framework for Understanding Poverty’ in which she argues – rather convincingly – that the key differences between ‘poverty’, ‘middle class’ and ‘wealth’ are hidden in a set of socio-cultural beliefs, values and attitudes. These are transferred from generation to generation and very difficult to break.

Now, let me ask you, what do you think informs your actions?

Yep. It is your beliefs, values and attitudes.

I’ve become convinced that the core reason for poverty to persist – at individual level – are these beliefs, values and attitudes which limit your aspirations and frame your actions and choices.

Building on Ruby Payne’s research, I’ve come up with 11 beliefs and attitudes that, were you to share them, would ensure you’ll never be rich. People who are serious about escaping poverty have to work on changing these beliefs and attitudes rather than fall for ‘think like a rich person’ traps.

Let’s do this! Do you believe that:

#1. People are your main possession

Do you believe that you are ‘rich with your children’? Or your family? Or your friends?

Well, this is what this is about. It is not about possessing people but the fact that the people in your life are seen as your main possession.

When it comes to possessions, research shows that the middle class values things and wealthy people value one of a kind objects, legacies, and pedigrees.

This is why, the middle class will continue struggling with clutter and wealthy people will continue asking you whether you come from the New Orleans Jones’s.

#2. Money is to be spent

Some time ago I published a little piece on the one key difference between poor people and rich people. In brief, it is that poor people don’t spend money because they don’t have it; rich people don’t spend because they don’t want to.

Now turn this one over and you will get the meaning of this belief. When they have money, poor people spend it because they view it as a means to meet long ignored ‘wants’ today.

According the research, for middle class people money is something to be managed. Wealthy people view money as something to be invested.

In brief, when it comes to money, poor people spend it, middle class manage it and wealthy people invest it. Here you have it.

#3. Food is to satisfy hunger

How do you view food? If you see food as something that satisfies your hunger you are likely to be poor (and to stay so). This made me realise why I feel so dubious about the whole ‘feed yourself on £1 per day’ movement. Yes it is possible, but the food will keep you full while your body may be screaming for nutrients.

Middle class focuses on the quality of food and whether you liked it. Wealthy people mind the way in which food is presented.

#4. Your clothes express your personality

Poor people dress to express their personality. Middle class dress to fit the norm and label is important. For wealthy people clothes have artistic quality and designers are important.

#5. Your present is most important

Recently I saw a movie called American Honey. When asked ‘What is your dream?’ the main character replied: ‘Do you mean in the future?’.

This is what this one is about. Poor people act to survive in the moment and their decisions are grounded in the present.

Interestingly, for middle class people most important is the future and their decisions always take into account longer term ramifications. For wealthy people, past is important and decisions are made accounting for tradition.

#6. Education is great but it’s not for you

Do you remember in Pretty Woman when Julia Robert’s character was really impressed when Richard Geer’s character told her he’d ‘gone all the way’ at school.

You see, poor people value education; they just think that it is not for them. So they are less likely to aim high at school.

The middle classes, on the other hand, see education as absolutely critical for success and for making money. Wealthy people, view education as a way to maintain and build connections and get included in the elite networks of the time.

#7. Things happen to you and it is fate

Poor people believe in chance, destiny and fate.

Middle class people believe in choice and control; they believe that it is within their power to determine, and change, their future. Wealthy people believe that a bright future is their right anyway.

#8. Your little corner of the world is your world

Poor people generally inhabit a rather small universe; it is the neighbourhood that is important and all else is secondary. Middle class people see the world in terms of national setting. For wealthy people the world is a global notion.

#9. You love and accept people for who they are

According to Ruby Payne’s research, poor people love and accept people because of their individual characteristics; so it is very important to be liked. For the middle classes acceptance and love are also conditional on achievement; for wealthy people, love and acceptance are related to social standing and connections.

#10. Life is about relationships and entertainment

Another interesting difference in values and attitudes is that the lives of poor people are generally driven by relationships and entertainment. Middles class people are generally driven by work and achievement and wealthy people live for financial, political and social connections.

#11. Jokes are about people and s*x

Last but not least, poor people have very different sense of humour. This research shows that generally, poor people laugh at jokes about other people and s*x. Middle class people appreciate situational comedy and wealthy people laugh about social faux pas.

Where do you fit?

Now, you can check where your beliefs, values and attitudes place you across the divide between poverty, middle class and wealth.

 

Poverty

Middle class Wealth
Possessions People Things Collectibles, legacy
Money To be spent To be managed To be invested
Food Quantity Quality Presentation
Clothing Expression of self Way to fit in (labels) Difference (designer)
Time Present Future Past and tradition
Education Admiration Means to success Means to connections
Destiny Fate Choices Noblesse oblige
World view Local National Global
Love Personal characteristics Achievement Social standing
Driving forces Survival, relationships, entertainment Work, achievement Financial, political and social connections
Humour About people and s*x About situations About social faux pas

 

I’m very firmly middle class it seems with the occasional venture in poverty and wealth. For example, my world view is global (wealth) and I like the people I like (poverty).

In which column do you find most of your beliefs? Have you managed to move from one to another?

 

photo credit: Jayson Edward Carter Variation on a Theme, XII via photopin (license)

10 Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet from Chris Ducker, Michael O’Neil, Noah Kagan and Kim Garst

10 Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet from Chris Ducker, Michael O’Neil, Noah Kagan and Kim Garst

ideas for success on the Internet

I don’t have to work hard to convince you that in today’s world and economy, success on the Internet is as important for your wellbeing and business as water is for your health: you may do okay without it for a short while but ultimately you need it for survival.

It is sufficient to mention that, according to a recent study, over 80% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses; and that e-commerce, only in Europe, is expected to reach 510 billion euro in 2016.

Still not convinced?

Well, maybe you need to trust me on this one or just get off and read something else.

Because today I’ll share with you 12 mind blowing ideas for success on the internet I learned from five of the most prominent and successful people who operate on it.

#1. Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet: Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker is one of the most interesting entrepreneurs around. He owns companies in the Philippines and is well versed in the art and craft of outsourcing. He even wrote a best selling book about that called ‘Virtual Freedom’ (which incidentally, I’ll have to find, dust off and use to figure out how to reduce my current workload).

Chris also has enviable internet presence. His personal website – ChrisDucker.com – is where you can learn much of what you need to know about building a personal brand for growth and profit. Chris’s latest adventure is Youpreneur.com: an internet entrepreneurial community.

I met Chris Ducker at a conference recently and these are the four mind blowing ideas for success on the internet I came away with:

  • Relationships should be treasured, not used. This is rather straight forward and the secret to successful networking. It is about giving praise where it’s due without cloying flattery, about growing relationships on shared passion and interest, on willingness to help and support and on mutual respect.
  • Don’t build your house on rented land! You know how many Internet entrepreneurs pride themselves on their large Facebook groups and following on other Social Media sites. If you are one of them remember that these sites can spring unpleasant surprises on you, including closing your account. So, build on your own turf (or site).
  • Market like a magnet to attract the people you want. Your marketing strategy should be very specific and targeted. You really don’t need many followers; what you need a dedicated followers.
  • Sustainable success on the internet comes from long-game mind-set. The Internet is often seen as the place where fortunes are made overnight. In fact, the Internet fortunes are overnight successes that can take many years work behind-the-scenes. This also means that for long term success on the Internet you need to keep the long game in mind.

#2. Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet: Michael O’Neil

Michael is the guy behind the SoloPreneurHour.com: a podcast helping ‘the proudly unemployable’ achieve job security. Sounds weird, I know. Still, the podcast is doing its job well in a world of ‘work nomads’.

Michael really knows what he is talking about; existentially so. After all, he is proudly unemployable himself. He also works hard and smart and is a successful solopreneur.

Here is what I took away from his talk.

  • Say yes to opportunities, not gigs. This is also about thinking about the long-term when considering current offers. Would you rather be paid £100 now or do for free something that will bring you thousands in the future?
  • Success recognises hustle! Don’t know about you but I’m always apprehensive about approaching the top people in the field I work. More often than not successful people will appreciate being approached and being approached persistently. For them this will signal that you’re so dedicated that you are ready to hustle without a break; and they’ll help you.
  • Pissing off 50% of the people who are paying attention to you means you are getting it right. Do remember the saying that you can’t please everybody all of the time? This idea is about that and also about standing for what you believe in.

#3. Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet: Noah Kagan

Noah Kagan is, as he puts it himself, the chief sumo at AppSumo.com: a site promoting tools for internet entrepreneurs. Chances are that if you already have a website – and you are using it for more than entertaining the world with cute pictures of your cats – you already know about AppSumo.com.

What is less known is that Noah:

  • Worked for Intel;
  • Became employee #30 at Facebook; and
  • Was employee #4 at Mint.

He also prides himself on a string of Internet business failures; before he started and stuck with AppSumo.com, that is.

These are the ideas I took away from his talk:

  • Don’t start the next thing; make the thing you have work better. I’ve seen this so many times. I’ve seen it in bloggers who start a new blog before they’ve developed the one they have to its full capacity and I’ve seen it in my doctoral students who change their thesis all the time instead of working on the argument they already have. Stick with the thing you have until you’ve really tested its limitations and the possibility for success it offers.
  • Have you ever tried to pay for something with effort? I like this because somehow our civilisation has made a virtue out of effort and hard work. In fact, what we need is results.

#4. Mind Blowing Ideas for Success on the Internet:  Kim Garst

Kim Garst is a social media maverick. She is the co-founder and CEO of Boom! Social: a corporate branding and social media consulting firm. Kim has been recently named by Forbes as one of the top 50 social media influences and lays claim to a large number of other accolades in the social media and business world.

Kim Garst is also an engaging, wise and highly motivating speaker. It was a great pleasure to listen to her keynote. There were many pieces of wisdom to take away; here are the two that I’d like to share with you:

  • I don’t want to be everybody’s cup of tea; I’d rather be someone’s tequila shot. Don’t the afraid to be authentic, exclusive and special on the Internet.
  • Figure out who you are and what you stand for; this way you’d live life instead of life happening to you. Figure out what your core values are and don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in. Once you’ve done that use it as a compass that guides your life.

Finally…

You’ll find much advice and many ideas on how to start, run and succeed with your Internet business. Some of this advice is outstanding, some is sound and some is plainly mainstream, unimaginative, obsolete or wrong.

Requires knowledge and sound judgement to be able to distinguish between these.

All ideas about success on the Internet that I shared here have two things in common: a) these are not your average run-of-the-mill ideas but suggestions that will make you think and consider your own situation; and b) these ideas come from Internet entrepreneurs who have a wealth of experience and are highly successful.

I intend to account for all these ideas in the future. Were you to ask me which are the three ideas for success on the Internet that I consider most important, these would be:

ideas for success on the Internet

ideas for success on the Internet

ideas for success on the Internet

Which three of these ideas you’d consider most important for success on the Internet? Please share.

7 Tested Tips To Love Your Holiday Unconditionally

7 Tested Tips To Love Your Holiday Unconditionally

love your holiday

Yesterday I almost took the best photograph in my life.

I was finishing my run on the beach when I saw a bride and groom literally walking hand in hand into the sunset. If you were very ungenerous, you’d have thought of the bride as rather overweight; I saw her as ripe with new life. Their backs were towards me but I could feel the promise of happiness in their bodies.

Their official photograph was covered in the sand doing his thing.

I almost pressed the camera button; I didn’t.

Do you know why?

Because, in a flash I realised that I’d rather keep the feeling of the memory (yep, the Greeks have a word for this and I know it) than commit it to the screen.

I tried to hold to the perfect moment when the Universe is in complete harmony and you experience profound sense of calm and wellbeing.

It lasted couple of minutes.

Still, my experience last night made me think.

Think about all holidays that I didn’t allow myself to enjoy.

Remember all breaks when I ended up more stressed than I started.

Reminisce about all the beautiful moments that I’ve spoiled.

I also reflected on happy and restful we’ve been this holiday. I thought that this is the one holiday we love unconditionally.

Do you know what is the secret to love your holiday unconditionally?

I reckon these seven tips will help you make memories, love your holiday and get back to your everyday life rested and contented.

#1. Don’t worry about spending money

This one is very hard for me. What I realised is that I failed to enjoy previous holidays because I was too preoccupied worrying about money and trying not to spend it.

So, I always ended up away, not spending much on fun and living basic life in difficult conditions (yes, have you tried to prepare a meal in a self catering apartment on a Greek island?).

This time, we are spending on fun and I am not feeling guilty about it.

This doesn’t mean that you should live completely without regard for money. You can change the worry for planning though.

#2. Don’t get in debt

I remember many holidays when all spend went on credit cards. No wonder, I was so worried all the time that there was no space for joy and play.

This time, the use of credit cards is a matter of banking connections rather than cash flow issues (for some reason, Greek ATMs don’t connect to our current account well).

This is why I managed to take a ‘chill pill’ (this is what my son calls it).

If you want to love your holiday unconditionally, make sure you are not building debt.

#3. Make memories

I’m a big believer in making memories because memories are what connects you to the people in your life and keeps you warm and smiling on a dark, rainy day.

Some experiences that build memories will cost you. For example, this year our son took to water skiing – it costs a bit but the smile on his face I’ll remember forever.

Most experiences are priceless but not costly.

Do you think I’ll easily forget running on the beach and crashing a wedding in my dishevelled state?

Not likely.

#4. Don’t accumulate things

Minimalist I probably would never be. I’m leaning towards ‘essentialism’ though.

This means that I have limited buying ‘things’ to the absolutely essential and this can be one of two things – either ‘absolutely necessary’ or irresistibly beautiful.

I can safely say that this year we’ve bought very few essential items.

#5. Live for the moment

I usually have a great problem leaving my problems – or even simply preoccupations – behind.

Even on this holiday I spent couple of days get it wound up about selling the apartment in Sofia (yes, this is still going on).

Generally, one of the reasons that I love this holiday unconditionally is that I’ve managed to stay away from work and worry.

I’ve tried to learn to live for the moment.

There is a lot of joy to be had from playing a beach game with my son (even if I suck at it); or playing cards (even when losing).

#6. Let go and listen to your body

Do you live according to a strict schedule?

I usually do. I get up at 6.06 am; read, write, work…

I have breakfast, lunch and dinner and hardly ever drink.

When you are on holiday you can let go a bit. I’ve done.

I wake up when I wake up; no alarms. I sunbathe, swim, train and run. I written a, bit but my writing schedule has been all over the place.

And you know what?

If I fancy a beer in the morning, I have one (okay, the earliest for me has been lunch time but this is decadent for me).

#7. Challenge your comfort zone

Challenging your comfort zone is good for you in many ways. And makes for a very enjoyable and refreshing holiday.

You don’t even have to go big on this one. I, for instance, have been checking how many items of clothing I really need on holiday. During this break, I’ve been washing the items I wear every evening and…

…it looks like that next year I’ll be coming here carrying only a small backpack.

(John, doesn’t know yet and he’ll be rather upset. He has brought something like 10 t-shirts and five shirts – didn’t wear most of them but then he was not up for challenging his comfort zone so he is not learning.)

Finally…

Going on holiday is not always – and doesn’t have to be – cheap. What is important is whether it is ‘good value for money’.

Now that I mentioned ‘value for money’ you are thinking about the things you get for your money, right?

What I mean is probably different from what you are thinking about.

Because for me, the value of a holiday is measured by how rested and relaxed you end up; value is measured by the experiences you collect and the memories you create.

It is about whether you love your holiday unconditionally.