I recently had a friend email me with a question about her budget and the value of continuing her membership to a business network. She was wanting to get clarity around the value the group offered from a monetary perspective.
I know when you are doing a budget sometimes even the smallest amount of money wasted can make big difference to your bottom line. Especially if you have lots of small amounts going out on low-value items every month. So, I wanted to make sure I gave good advice.
Taking part in networking groups means different things for us all. We all have our own reasons for being involved in a particular group. I am heavily involved in two, and two others that I am on the fringe of. I am in each one for different reasons, and I pay varying amounts to be a member of each of them.
It is interesting to see how different people use the communities they are part of, but essentially if you are going to invest in networking communities, you need to be either earning, learning or building relationships. If you are not doing this, then you are wasting your time.
What makes a good networking community?
Like I said earlier there are many reasons to be involved in different groups. But, how I judge the groups I am involved in is like this. If I was not a member what would I be missing out on? Most people have a need to be included, it makes them feel special. I fall away from a group once I lose the feeling of being special and don’t I feel like I am missing anything. This always comes back to the relationships I have built amongst the people in the group.
My business mentor Roger Hamilton says, 'Your wealth is what you have left when you have lost everything.' What he means by this is, if you lost all your assets today, your true level of wealth is how quickly you can recover and regain that which you lost.
My interpretation of this is, our ability to recover from losing everything comes from the people we know and the quality of those relationships. If you were to find yourself in this position which network or community of people could you go to get help to recover.
Crystal Circle Conference 2016 Bali - Roger Hamilton's Community of Entrepreneurs
I believe, to recover and to keep all bases covered, you need to be keenly involved in building relationships in 3 communities. But this will only work if you are active and prepared to build those relationships.
The value of the communities that I am in is in its members, not for what they offer in monetary value because those members may never be my clients, but they know and trust me as a person. Therefore they will refer potential business to me.
I know if I was ever in a position where I had lost everything I could go to my community, and they would help me to recover.
The advice I gave my friend was to ‘decide if you are in the right community to get that help. If not find another one that will give you the relationships that will help build you up when you are down.
Now is the time to start designing your business and profits to counterbalance your lifestyle. Your profit will determine this.
How do you know how much money you will need to sustain your lifestyle through to retirement and beyond?
To build wealth to sustain the lifestyle you are now living or wish to live in the future, you will need to start with the end in mind and then work back.
By doing this, you will know exactly where you are heading, and you can start to live your life with purpose. Knowing how much money you need to sustain your life to the end, and to leave a legacy for the next generation will empower you to make a commitment to being profitable in your business.
Starting with the end in mind helps you evaluate your future needs, giving you the opportunity to design your business and profits to make that happen. Being mindful of how much money you need to live helps you to make better life choices and prevents you from wasting your time on unnecessary purchases and poor business decisions.
This leaves nothing to chance and will protect you from poverty and bad luck later. Having a goal and endeavouring to reach it helps to cover you financially.
We all want to have a comfortable retirement. If you are young and have not thought about this, now is the time to start. The years slip by quickly, and once you reach your forties panic may set in. Having money ensures you have the freedom to live your life how you want, and the way to do that is by planning now.
By planning for the future, you will have peace of mind that you will be financially secure, and will have the means to leave a legacy for the next generation.
Having a purpose and a goal for your money will give you a sense of freedom, it makes you stop and think about the things you want. Once I started this process, I began to question the things I bought, did I really need them? I started to make better choices.
Having money and living with purpose allows you to 'play a bigger game' and sets you up as a role model to the next generation.
Let's face it, you go into business so you can have a great life and the freedom to do as you please. The reality is most people become slaves to their business and do not live the life they hoped they would.
Designing your business to reach the profit that will sustain your lifestyle is where it all begins.
It flows to those who appreciate it and understand the responsibility of managing it wisely. If you feel you are always struggling to get ahead then your thinking needs to change. Not only that, you need to do something different from what you have always done.
When I talk about budgeting for wealth, I am talking about how you want to live your life. When we hear the word wealth we conjure ideas of big business people like Richard Branson, James Packer or Gina Rhineheart.
What I see for you is not this; I see a business person wanting to get ahead and have a good quality of life with freedom and not having to struggle to get by.
I have learned that wealth is not what money you have, but what you have left when you have lost all your money. It’s the ability to get up in the morning and be of value to other people. It is about your contribution to a service and what you offer to a business that they feel is worth paying you for. Chasing big bucks is never going to work. I know, I have been there and every time I go for the big idea it seems to always elude me and I find myself back where I started.
I have spent a great deal of time studying wealth, reading business books, finance books and attended a barrage of seminars on the subject. From this, I have learned a few things I think will help you understand where you are at.
Knowing that you are growing your wealth even by the smallest amount gives much confidence and encourages you to continue saving.
When I say this I mean bad debt, such as credit cards, car loans, Harvey Norman cards that type of debt. This is consumer debt, the type that pays for items that do not increase in value but deplete your money. Think about the purchases you make. Are they necessary and do they add value to your life?
There is a lot to be said about the minimalist lifestyle and how it affects our wealth. Steve Jobs (Apple) was known for his minimalist lifestyle. I read that in his lounge room he had a desk for a computer and a rug on the floor with a large cushion to sit on, that was it.
Living below your means does not mean being miserly, it means not being wasteful and buying things you really don’t need. Take time and think before you spend your money on unnecessary items.
If you live in an expensive area you will pay accordingly. Think about this before you decide you want to live in the most affluent area of town. This kind of thing drains your money and your energy. Living to impress others is one sure way to lose your money. So many people spend time buying things to impress other people and really all it does is cost them, because one thing I have learned is that most people are so busy worrying about impressing someone else, they are not even looking at me.
I want to live my life in a way that I can support others in their endeavours to improve their lives. To be in a place where we share in each other’s value, to create an environment to learn and grow together through training and learning. To run highly successful businesses that build wealth and have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and nothing is left to chance.
Very early on in our marriage, we realised travel was important to both of us, we identified that we needed to have the money and time to travel whenever and wherever we wanted. I am pleased that we have not let our passion for travel be overtaken by life and living and have managed to go somewhere most years, with or without our children. We have always had travel in our budget, but more important we have budgeted time to travel as well.
One thing I have learned is whenever I am not focused on a purpose for my money it seemed to fall through my fingers and disappear. I quickly realised that if I didn’t plan and budget the money we earned, somehow a purpose from outside me was always found and not necessarily what I had imagined.
As a young mother, I remember feeling guilty if I spent money on myself. I would always put my children first. I don't know why women do this, but one thing I do know is that I have many friends who do the same. When I discussed this with my husband he said I was being silly, but I couldn’t remove the guilt I felt if I put myself first. Then it dawned on me, he did not seem to suffer the same guilt and had no problem with spending money on himself. Please don’t get me wrong, my husband is not an extravagant man and in no way has he ever thrown money around. I’m talking about simple purchases. Lucky for me he is very understanding too and after discussing my problem in detail with him we decided to open separate bank accounts and paid each other an allowance for personal spending.
From that day forward I thrived as a mother, wife and as a business woman knowing that I always had money to buy the things that I wanted. Having a purpose for my money proved to me that I deserved to have it in my life.
Now, I don’t tend to waste money on unimportant things. It gives me a great sense of clarity and personal confidence knowing that I have the money to provide myself with all that I want and need.
I know this may be starting to sound a little selfish.
However, the minute I started to put myself first everything fell into place. My kids were happier, my husband and I started to go out on dates together. Because we had our own money we would pool it to go out for dinner or spend at a bar. It became fun to shout each other a drink or dinner all because we had allocated money to spend on ourselves.
Even if you don’t have a partner I still believe it is important to put aside your own spending money. The reason is because our children or bills or other things that are not ‘me’ focused will take over. Putting aside your own spending money says you are important and worth having that money to spend on yourself and it not for any other purpose - it’s for you. So, make sure you spend it on yourself.
This experience has shown me many things and I have implemented a budget and allocated money for all aspects of my personal and business life.
The greatest thing I have learned is that being clear on your financial goals creates results. I spend a great deal of time going over my business financials to make sure I can cover all my bills, and I allocate money to all areas using several bank accounts.
One of the first initiatives Lindsey and I did was to make sure we paid ourselves from our business first, which we have now been doing for years. We have also given ourselves pay raises regularly and have now reached the level of paying ourselves a very decent amount which comes on top of the profit we make from our business.
I remember when I first started out it was scary. Putting myself first was hard and yes, I made some mistakes. But I dusted myself off and kept my resolve to keep budgeting and making sure every cent had a purpose.
In my business, I see many people who do not have clear financial goals and do not manage their money well, they always seem to be scrambling to get ahead. Having a plan beats aimlessly going through life not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from and how you are going to pay the bills. A clear outcome will help you control your spending instead of your spending controlling you. Being clear on your wants and needs provides the lifestyle you desire for your family, instead of just accepting what you are given.
By showing you can manage what you’ve got there is much more likelihood of being given more to manage. Planning with purpose has helped me move myself to the next level of wealth. I have proved to myself that I deserve more money because my purpose for it has been clearly measured and managed. Over the years, I have been able to increase the amount of money I give to worthy causes, which is how I manifest my spirituality. I believe in helping others where I can and sharing my knowledge is important to me.
A favourite saying of mine is ‘that which gets measured gets managed’. It gives me confidence in my ability to control my life when I plan properly for the things I want and when I am on purpose they always come to fruition. When I am wishy washy with my thoughts and planning processes my goals never seem to eventuate.
When I have a goal, I am focused and stable. It makes me happy when I achieve it and I am a better person for it. I can build and grow my business and it enables me to give back to society. I can see that my future is provided for and I can thrive not just survive.
Think about what you want in your life and write it down. Put yourself first and know that there is plenty left over for everyone else. Don’t think too small or too grand, this will hold you back from really going for it. Where there is the inspiration the money will come, where there is desperation the money will go. Have confidence that there will always be money to cover the bills because you have allocated money for that purpose.
Always measure and control your money.
Why do I need a purpose for my money?
So, I don’t waste it.
So, I am clear on my financial goals.
So, I can control my spending, not my spending control me.
So, I am clear on my outcomes.
To prevent others from having a purpose for my money.
To show the universe that I can manage what I have got.
To prove to myself that I deserve more money.
To move me to the next level of wealth.
To prevent financial institutions from controlling me.
To ensure I have enough to cover my wants and needs.
To be clear that I am planning for the things I want and not just accepting what I am given.
Because when I plan properly for the things I want they come to fruition.
Because I know when I plan wisely I always get what I want.
That what gets measured get managed.
When I plan for all the things I need they are always looked after.
I see those who do not manage their money always seem to be scrambling to get ahead.
It gives me confidence that I will always have money to cover my bills.
It gives me confidence in my ability to control my life.
To build and grow my business.
To enable me to give back to society.
Because having a plan beats aimlessly going through life not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from and how I am going to pay my bills.
It gives me a great sense of clarity and personal confidence knowing that I have the money to provide myself with all that I want and need.
To provide the lifestyle I want for both myself and my family.
To stop myself from feeling guilty when I buy myself something.
I am confident to put myself first.
Because I deserve to have what I want and have my needs met.
Because as a mother I have always been last, but if I plan my money and budget I can put myself first, knowing there is plenty left over for everyone else.
When I have a goal, I am focused and stable, it makes me happy when I achieve it and I am a better person for it.
Because I can plan and allocate money for the things that are important to me.
To thrive not just survive.
To ensure my money is safe and that I have enough to cover any unexpected bills.
To give me confidence that everything is covered.
So, I can see that my future is provided for.
Because when I don’t manage my money someone else must and I don’t want others spending it on things I don’t want.
To show the universe I deserve more.
One of the hardest parts of being in business is trying to judge how much tax you will pay and make sure that you don’t spend the GST money.
Compliance companies must pay all wage earners tax and super benefits.