Creating Financial Freedom: Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs

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Financial freedom.

What does it mean to you?

Is it not having the burden of a loan and credit-card debt? Not trading your time for money? Or simply not having to worry about your finances in general?

To me, it’s all those things and much more. Financial freedom gives you options in your life. It buys you something more precious than money.

Time.

Time to spend on whatever you want to do. Whether it’s taking up that hobby, building your dream business, or giving back to the world in some way, money gives us the freedom to become masters of our own reality.

It also provides the perfect opportunity for you to launch and grow your own startup. A study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that 73 percent of entrepreneurs fund their ventures through their own savings, an average of $15,000.

For some online businesses, the startup capital is actually a lot lower. Achieving a degree of financial freedom is an ideal springboard to launching and growing your startup.   

So how do people achieve financial freedom?

It’s often achieved through creating passive income streams. This is when there is regular cash flow coming into your bank account without having to trade your time for it. Working a day job would be an example of an active income stream, on the other side, because you’re spending your time in exchange for cash.

A couple examples of passive income ideas include:

A niche affiliate website

This is a website that focuses on a specific topic and generates an income from referring visitors to related products and services. For example, Lucie’s List is an affiliate site that helps moms survive pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood in general.

The site offers personalized newsletters based on the mother’s stage of pregnancy by asking for the baby’s due date. They have a large blog where they provide insight and helpful tips for mothers bringing up their babies. Some of these posts are product reviews that link directly to Amazon where people can make a purchase.

This website generates passive income by referring mothers to relevant products and services that they will be buying anyway—things like strollers, diapers, and high chairs. Any time someone makes a purchase through a link on the Lucie’s List website or newsletter, they make a commission for the referral.

The site produces passive income because it ranks organically in Google for many popular buyer keywords. These are keywords like “best high chair” and “best double stroller” which have what is called “buyer intent.” People searching these terms are thinking about making a purchase. The site owners need to maintain it skillfully enough to make sure that it ranks for the right search terms, create new blog content, and generate newsletters, but beyond that, there isn’t much other effort going into making sales.

Real estate investment

Investing in real estate is another type of a passive income stream that people can build. A classic example would be an investor that buys property to rent it out to tenants. The investor usually mortgages the property then either renovates it or rents it out straight away.

The investor makes passive income from the cash left over after all expenses have been paid. Typically this includes the mortgage, property taxes, and management costs (if the investor decides to hire a property management company).

Many real estate investors enjoy have complete financial freedom as they earn a tremendous amount of passive income from their properties. This approach does require enough capital to mortgage a property, so it’s a long game, as you’ll probably use the income the rental property generates to pay the mortgage for the length of your loan.

Getting realistic on passive income and financial freedom

While passive income and financial freedom offer a hands-off approach to generating income, it’s nothing like this at the start.

Any passive income stream requires a lot of work (and potentially an up front investment) to grow into something that makes money. But the beauty of it is that you can put the work in once and reap the benefits over the long-term. Tell me that doesn’t sound better than trading your time for money!

Maybe you are at the stage where you’re looking to start your first business that will eventually provide passive income, freedom, and flexibility. In this case, the fastest route to achieving your goals is to grow your startup capital fund and do plenty of research.

Thanks to the internet, we have access to dozens of passive income ideas. You must do your research to find something that suits you. And once you start something, stick with it until you’re generating an income from it.

It’s all too tempting to jump between different ideas when things get tough, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.

Lessons from successful entrepreneurs

When it comes to achievement, my philosophy is to look to the people who’ve already landed what I want and reverse-engineer what they’ve done.

Your goals, ambitions, and dreams have probably already been achieved by someone else. And even if nobody has achieved your specific goal, the fundamental mindsets of success remain the same.

By listening, learning, and implementing advice from successful people, we put ourselves in the best position to achieve what we want.

There’s no big secret to financial freedom. It’s the result of self-education, consistency, and execution. If someone’s already done it there’s no reason why you can’t!

So, let’s get right into it.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is an international speaker, author, and investor who has helped millions of people make a positive change in their life. Robbins is a well-recognized authority in the space of psychology, leadership, and business organization.

He’s the author of five international best-selling books and has empowered over 50 million people globally through his training programs.

Some of his best tips on financial freedom include:

  • Invest early. Robbins started investing in real estate when he was just 18 years old. If you don’t invest early, you lose because most traditional investments take a number of years before you start seeing positive returns.
  • Money won’t make you wealthy. Gratitude trumps any amount of money. How? Because it makes you realize you already have the resources you need to transform your financial freedom dream into reality. It makes you look at the world differently, make different decisions and generally put you on the path toward the wealth you desire.
  • It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep. Tax efficiency is key to being financially free. Educating yourself on how the tax system works can have a tremendous ROI.
  • Invest like the few, not the many. The biggest winners in investing aren’t doing what everybody else is doing. They take “buy low and sell high” to a whole new level by investing in companies that most people wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

The bottom line

Combining solid psychology with diligent thinking and powerful execution will put you on the path to success. Solid psychology involves a solid mental approach to the obstacles you will face in business. Diligent thinking involves applying conscious attention and persistence to what you’re doing, and powerful execution comes down to taking action consistently.

Overall, investing your money in a smart way as well as working on your financial education is crucial to achieving financial freedom.

Warren Buffett

This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most successful investors of our time. Warren Buffett is an inspiration to investors; he’s the second wealthiest person in the United states and fourth in the entire world.

Buffett made his first stock purchase when he was just 11 years old. Interestingly enough, he gained over 99 percent of his current wealth when he was over 50.

Some of his best tips on financial freedom include:

  • Read, read, read. Buffett says he spends up to six hours a day reading books, magazines, and newspapers. He has read many books on investing, personal finance, and business. Some of his favorites include “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham, and “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks. He strongly encourages people to pick up books on investing.
  • Complacency kills. Capitalism is competitive in nature. Many people get complacent after they get some results. Maintaining a consistent level of hunger, with whatever you do, is key to long-term success.
  • You are your biggest asset. Where you choose to invest your energy will determine where you end up. Education is key to unlocking potential. Habits are key to executing on that potential.

The bottom line

Reading has the power to dramatically change your life. For example, if you’re looking to launch a small business, a great book would be “The Small Business Start-Up Workbook” By Cheryl D. Rickman. Overall, forming positive habits and staying on top of your game will help you master consistency and growth.

Robert Kiyosaki

Known as the father of financial freedom, Robert Kiyosaki has educated, informed, and inspired millions of people around the world by empowering them with financial knowledge.

Kiyosaki is best known for his famous book, “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” which is one of the most popular personal finance books of all time. His perspectives on money often go against conventional wisdom and he’s known for being a passionate, straight-talking advocate for financial education.

Some of his best tips on financial freedom include:

  • Pay yourself. Paying yourself 10 percent of your income as soon as it comes in is a powerful strategy to save money that you can later invest into a passive income stream.
  • Understand good debt and bad debt. Not all debt is bad. Good debt is the type that results in cash flow assets. For example, taking out a mortgage to pay for a home that you’d rent out for monthly recurring revenue. Good debt can make you wealthy.
  • Don’t be afraid to lose. Most successful entrepreneurs have weathered huge losses. Henry Ford went bust five times, Steve Jobs was fired by his own board, and Robert Kiyosaki himself lost one million dollars. The average person is so afraid to make mistakes that they’re unable to get ahead financially.

The bottom line

Proper financial education is essential to making and managing your money effectively. Understanding how and where to invest your money will save you from the perils of inflation. Don’t be afraid to fall down. The most successful of us have gone through huge losses and made it through just fine.

Elon Musk

One of my all-time favorite entrepreneurs, and a man who has had such a profound impact on our world, Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur who has created fortunes in a variety of industries and verticals.

Musk kick-started his rise to entrepreneurial fame when he sold his digital media company, Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million back in 1999. He was only 27 at this point!

Shortly after this, he founded Paypal which ended up being sold to eBay for $1.5 billion dollars. He has now set his sights on the stars with his Space X program as well as co-founding the Tesla car company.

Some of his best tips on financial freedom include:

  • Work like hell. Get ahead by outworking your competition. By putting in 100 hour weeks, in just four months you can achieve what your competition will achieve in a year.
  • Create a superior product. Tesla spends no money on marketing; instead, they put all their funds into building the best product possible, and the car sells itself.
  • Be ready to master new skills. Before Musk started Tesla, he had zero experience with owning car companies. It was the same story for Space X. The internet makes information so easily accessible, we can learn anything we want now.

The bottom line

Hustle, hustle, hustle. If you want to get ahead, you need to outwork your competition. Create something so awesome, that people will celebrate it and don’t be afraid to jump into unfamiliar territory. The best of us knew nothing about our existing expertise at one time.

Jeff Bezos

Bezos is the founding father of the almighty ecommerce giant that is Amazon. He has a net worth of over $82 billion and briefly topped the Forbes world’s richest list in July of 2017. Interestingly Bezos now only owns 17 percent of his Amazon company.

Some people may not know this, but Amazon actually started as a bookstore, operating on a business model similar to dropshipping. How? Amazon would only buy the book after the sale was made so they didn’t store any products at the beginning. Sales of these books reached $20,000 a week in just two months after launch, without any press coverage.

Some of his best tips on financial freedom include:

  • Obsess over your customers. No matter what business you’re in, your customers come first. Bezos starts with the customer then works backward, starting with the customer’s problems, needs, and desires.
  • Think long-term. When Bezos was raising start-up funding for Amazon, most of his investors had no idea what the internet was, but Bezos knew people would be buying products through it in the future. Focusing on the long-term will drive innovation and help you stay ahead of the curve.
  • Combine stubbornness with flexibility. Be stubborn on your vision, but flexible on the details. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon, but if you aren’t flexible, you’ll struggle to find solutions to problems you’re trying to solve.

The bottom line

Jeff Bezos is an innovator—and his company, Amazon, is a fantastic example of a business that has remained ahead of the pack. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Always put the customer first, and think about the long-term opportunities for your business.

Rounding things off

Some of the most valuable insights from looking to these successful entrepreneurs are:

  • Cultivate a fierce work ethic. You don’t have to be the best at what you do—you can outwork your competition instead. But beyond that, a powerful work ethic is a habit you must cultivate if you want to succeed financially.
  • Success is about psychology. Building a successful business isn’t about all the techniques, tricks, and hacks. It’s more to do with your mentality and psychology—your mindset, if you will. Starting a business will test your resolve in a way that nothing else can. So ensuring you’re emotionally ready and willing to take risks will have a huge impact on your ability to succeed.
  • Start small to achieve big. Focusing on the bigger picture can be extremely daunting. Set realistic baby steps and focus on completing those milestones, one by one.
  • Avoid spending money. When you’re starting a business, you want it to be as lean as possible. Do everything you can to minimize spending until your business is fully established and earning a respectable income.
  • Just start. Too many people wait for the perfect time that never comes, or we assume we need to know everything before we can take the first step. These are just excuses—and excuses don’t create financial freedom.

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned about success is how most of it is psychological. A strong entrepreneurial mindset is priceless. Most people end up sabotaging their businesses because they aren’t emotionally ready for the roller-coaster ride.

The bad news is that there’s no secret sauce to success, but the good news is that you can achieve almost anything if you’re willing to the work.

Ahmad Ben is a digital marketer, growth hacker, and personal development junkie. He is the owner of Bengu
Marketing, a website that is dedicated to showing people how they can build and grow their first online business from scratch. He regularly posts content relating to online business, entrepreneurship, and personal development on his blog.

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