Approach 293

I’ve almost reached 300… Woo hoo!  Some of you might be thinking that’s an accomplishment.

And you’d be right.  I’ve FAILED at almost 300 different business ideas, ventures, websites, you name it.

Am I proud of that fact, not exactly.  I’m not proud that I’ve failed to make different business ideas successful, rather a little distraught at times.  It’s kept me awake a nights.  Caused me stress and anxiety – and even depression at one point in my life.

So, what do I celebrate from all of this?  The truth is that the commitment to keep at it in the face of failure is the victory.  To pick yourself up and try again, and learning from your mistakes.

One of the things I try to remember is:

“You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it.  …and everything is in the past.”

Think about it this way – that argument you had 15 minutes ago is in the past.  You can’t fix what was said, but you can learn from it.  You can decide that if that relationship is really important you can apologize.  Or you can decide that you’ll never take that same approach again.  Or you might come to some other conclusion.

It’s not set in stone the direction you take, but you need to know that you’re making a decision based on what’s best for the future and not because of a reaction to the past.  You have to be proactive and not reactive.

One of the activities I love to do is to sit in an empty room for 60 minutes with an excellent pen and a pad of paper.  I pray, I write, I think and I write.  You should try it sometime.  Whatever you want to do, I promise that spending time thinking clearly and praying about it will help.  Then write down your thoughts.  Write down what you hear from the Lord.  It’s invaluable to do this.

When I do this one thing, I can come up with dozens if not hundreds of new business ideas and strategies.

It’s a really amazing process.  Don’t take my word on it.  Try it yourself.

Moving forward, I’m starting a new business idea yet again.  This time, it is very narrow and concise.  I’ll be having a very targeted niche blog and it’ll be used to direct folks to my amazon affiliate account.  It’ll be very, very specific.

I’m not going to reveal much more than that today.  I’m going to test out my idea, but it does have to do with food, so needless to say I’m excited about it.

And if you haven’t heard about my other latest adventure, I’ve started dabbling in the world of adult coloring.  It’s a phenomenally interesting niche which I love because I’m an artist at heart.

Take care and God Bless!

Case Study: Oribi Increased Traction 14% Using oDesk

We’ve talked about the strategies around outsourcing, but what about outsourcing in practice?  Well, today I found a perfect case study that I think you’ll enjoy.

This post comes from Iris Shoor on her blog at Oribi.  (Oribi – You know the little African animal with the horns?)

I was confused, too.  It’s OK.

Here’s a picture of one from their site:

Anyways… Iris is a Marketing pro and her site focuses on Facebook Insight & Analytics.

She discovered that through outsourcing some of the more mundane parts of the work her team did, they were able to see a 14% increase in their traction all for $300/mo using oDesk and a handful of other outsourcing sites.

That’s amazing.

OK, so here are some of the strategy she and her team used to make it happen.

Increase Your Site’s Traction By Using these Strategies:

Since her teams strengths lie in writing, managing blogs and planning campaigns, Iris knew she didn’t want to outsource those tasks.  Instead, she focused on the time consuming generic tasks that would help her team be more productive.

Use oDesk for Researching Tasks

During her planning, she realized that researched posts were among the most successful posts.  Therefore, she set out to create and conquer.

They built their first research post in-house to get a the analytics part down pat.  But once when they had the system built, they sent it over to oDesk for $50-150 a job to conduct the research for them.

The primary criteria for successfully outsourcing a task like this is to be very specific and detailed in your instruction.  Know what you’re looking for and how to explain it.

Use Fiverr to Upgrade Your Content

Fiverr is one of my favorite outsourcing sites.  I use it to completely outsource my logo and graphics design business using a simple two-step process.

Here are some of the gig types Iris uses:

  • Voiceovers – For $5 per minute / 100 words, you can get some great quality voiceovers for your video, podcast intro and slideshow decks.
  • Custom Graphics or Illustrations – Need some art to go with your post, get designs for $5 a piece.  (Sometime I go with a higher price designer for the unlimited revisions option, but most are interchangeable these days.  — I know I’ll get butchered for that comments.)
  • WordPress Edits, Customization, and Quick Fixes – whether its setting up your theme to look like the demo or installing some security patches ($30 to clean up malware and install security plugins; in-town guy was going to charge me $250!!!) your can get most for $10-30 on Fiverr.
  • Logos Concepts – Same as above with the custom graphics, there’s tons of logo designers on Fiverr. Depending on your flavor, you can get vintage logos or modern styles.  Only $5.

Creating Lists / Web Scrapping

Another top performing web article type is the mega-list.  These are the “Top 50…” or “106 Ways to…”  articles.  People love them and they’re great for traction.

You can hire-out these types of researching jobs the same way as above on oDesk or Freelancer.  Just remember to be very specific and detailed about what you want.

Iris and her team created the java2014.org site of Java related events by hiring the job out.  Only cost them $100.  Learn from this one trick and you can build amazing directories and resource websites in a flash.  Just be sure to spend some time editing and filtering the results.

Mini-Projects

A task that I’ve never taken on, but seems to work well for Oribi was to build an external project.  Some external tool that is self-contained and may complement your product.  The cost for something like this should be between $100-300.  Easy-pea-cy

Landing Pages

Need a quick validation for your next million dollar idea?  Slap up a landing page and send traffic that way.  Or save your self the hassle and just outsource the whole thing.

Sure you need to have concept and maybe some copy, but you can get the whole thing implemented for you about $50.

Summary

All in all, very solid outsourcing strategies.  I’ve used many of the graphics design strategies and content upgrades with Fiverr and I’ve also used Freelancer to do research instead of oDesk.

I highly suggest that you try out a few of these tips and see what works out best for you.  Just remember these few tips:

  • Don’t outsource your core competency – what you need to stay competitive.
  • Be very specific – have a detailed outline of what you want accomplished and clearly communicate it.
  • Chunk it out – break up your tasks into smaller component pieces that have tangible results on their own.  This way, you can outsource each part to different freelancers to test the waters.

Good luck with outsourcing and I hope you enjoyed learning from what Iris Shoor is doing over at Oribi as much as I did.  You can read her original post here.

As always, if you need help with outsourcing, delegating or automating your business, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.

Cheers!
-Alex

 

Learn to Delegate by Empowering Managers and Teams

Problem:

Delegating was a tough skill to learn.  I had to get over some personal baggage and deal with all the psychological barriers of handing off work to another person, let alone a team of people who were – I dare say – better than me.  Gasp!

But delegating, outsourcing – whatever you want to call it – was only the first step.  I grow my business further and to really create that time freedom that I’ve always wanted, I have to take it one step further.  I’ll have to bring in a manager to handle the business.

Learn to Delegate

Just remember, I have a lot of baggage…

It isn’t easy to just let go of that decision making authority, but to really grow your business, you have to empower managers.  You have to take on a higher purpose role of being the leader and visionary in your business.

Objective:

  1. Discover how to make use of managers.
  2. Getting the most out of your teams.

Time frame:

As with most personal development skills, this won’t happen overnight.  One way to grow your skill and gain by-in from your team is to share your objective of being a better leader and empowering them with more authority and responsibility.

Action Plan:

Step 1: Vision Casting

Just as the steps to delegating to your team, we begin with the organization’s goals.

Notice, this is the ‘organization’s goals’ and not your own personal goals.  When you begin to build a business, there will be a point when you have to stop equating your business goals with your own goals.  While your personal goals might be to meet the business goals, your business goals should not be to help you mean your personal goals.

Does this sound counter-intuitive?  Let’s think this through for a moment.

The true purpose of your business is not to make you happy.  The true purpose of a business is to make its customers happy.

Happy customers = happy business.

And as a business owner, happy business = profits.

With that in mind, you have to set a vision for your team to follow.  This is the ‘true North’ your company follows and positions your team towards a positive, idealistic goal.

One way to think about this vision is a measuring stick your employees can use to evaluate their decision making.  By asking the question does this action align with our company’s vision, they should be able to determine whether the action is beneficial to the company long-term.

Still stuck on what your vision statement should be?  Check out these 20 Sample Vision Statements from lifehack.org.

Which brings us to the second step…

Step 2: Creating Alignment

You have a vision statement and you’ve rallied the troops behind it.  Now what.

What you have to determine has a manager of managers and as a leader is does it resonate with your team?  Does your vision appeal to and inspire them to take action?

If not, you might to do a little more soul searching.  But assuming that your vision statement takes hold, you should consider the ways in which you wish to see this vision played out day-to-day.

Now is the time to have your managers and team members chime in on what they believe they can do to achieve that vision.  While the vision will be so idealistic that it’ll never be reached, each team member should be able to do something actionable to work towards that goal.

As they contribute ideas and strategies on what they’d like to see in the workplace and in their work, you are creating ownership and by-in to accomplishing the vision you’ve set forth.  This stage is often called the “Agreement Stage” as you are getting your organization to come up with what they’ll agree to do to help the company be successful.

You’re building consensus and the only way to do this is by getting folks to take ownership of these goals.  Take their contributions and draft up your “Corporate (or ‘Company’) Culture Agreements” document with the different thoughts folks have shared.  This document can then be presented to every employee for them to sign and acknowledge that they are willing to abide by these conditions to make the company successful and work towards it’s vision.

If you’ve done a good job of developing consensus, getting folks to sign off on this document should be the next logical step.

Step 3: Delegating Decision Making

As you continue to grow your business, you cannot be the decision maker on everything.  In fact, the only way for your business to grow is to be less of a decision maker.

What you’ll find is that the decisions you’ll be making now impact the entire organization.  You teams should be autonomous.  Managers should be able to make decisions for their area of responsibility.

And you’ll notice that there a several “should’s” in there.   If it were that easy, we would all be successful at delegating responsibilities.

But if you’ve gotten this far, you’re on the right track.

Your manager(s) should have a clear vision of what it takes to make the company successful now.  Your role now, as a leader, is to help them develop as managers.

This means clearly communicating to them the responsibilities and expectations you have for them and setting a clear goal for them and their team to achieve.  And it is their team now.  He or she should be taking ownership over this team and it’s responsibilities.

With this responsibility comes the ability to make certain decisions.  There must be some freedom within the role.  Start off by being very specific and deliberate in the decisions that can be made within the team and what you want to travel up to you.  As you see success, you can continue to transfer decision making to your manager so long as it is within the scope of his/her responsibilities.

Remember that you have to be clear about the responsibilities you want your manager to oversee and not overload a single person.  When the need arises, look at building more teams and bringing on more managers.

Within my own business, I look at my role and responsibility as the person to help my managers get the resources they need to be successful.  When necessary, I will work to remove any obstacles in their path.  If they’re the ditch diggers, I’m the person clearing out people and traffic ahead of them so they can keep making progress.

Today that’s my job, but one day there will be a team for even that.  And ultimately, my role will be solely ensuring that each manager on my team is meeting their goals and expectations.

Summary:

Whether you’re hiring your first manager or your 50th manager, vision casting and building alignment is a crucial component of any successful company.  As you continue your entrepreneurial journey, remember that one of the ways successful people grow is learning to let go.

You can build a multi-million dollar corporation when you start to realize that you can’t do it all on your own.  In the end, you need a team and you need to delegate.

And if you’re looking for more insight on how to delegate, outsource or automate your business, contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.

Cheers!
-Alex

Inspired by: https://www.teresdevelopment.com/blog/empowering-managers-and-teams-to-make-decisions-to-achieve-your-vision

Why We Don’t Delegate Enough And How To Get Better At Delegating

Problem:

There’s loads of psychological reasons for not delegating and if you’re like me the main one is that you’re a perfectionist.

As we dig deeper in to delegating and outsourcing, we’ll see why you have to let go of all your notions of perfection if you want to truly grow your business. I’ve faced this issue at many stages of with my own company and each time I have to let go of another piece of my business, I feel more and more expendable.

But the other side of the equation is that we have the opportunity to grow our business exponentially when I get out of my own way.

Working-through-getting

Don’t be your own worst enemy. Get out of the way.

Today, we’ll be deep diving into the psychology of Pride and why its holding you back in your business.

Objectives:

  • Understanding the psychological barriers that Pride creates.
  • Learn how to overcome them to get better at delegating.

Timeline:

These concepts can take a lifetime to master, but most will take consistent practice over the next 4-6 weeks to make stick. That’s about how long a habit takes to stick in most cases.

Action Steps:

Step 1: Recognizing Your Personal Ego

While’s its a hard pill to swallow, many of us have an ego. As a business owner myself, I can relate to want to do everything on my own.

At the beginning, I thought it was fear talking. People won’t do it as well as I do it. My customers won’t be happy with the quality of work. This job just won’t be done right.

But what I realized over time is that it wasn’t fear, it was my own ego. I didn’t think there could be anyone as capable as me or as qualified as me to run this business. I needed to do everything because, clearly, I was the best.

This is the trait that takes over when we micro-manage, don’t let go of tasks, and don’t empower our teams. It’s lack of trust in the ability of others, but more than that. It’s an inflated sense of our own abilities and expertise.

If you really want to see your business grow, recognize that you have a personal ego and learn to let go of your pride.

Step 2: Stop Overcompensating

Are you overcompensating?

A more subtle way that pride sneaks in is as overcompensation for fear and insecurity. There are times when we begin to worry about our own abilities and whether we’re replaceable.

When our ego (self) get’s threaten it tends to lash out and react in a way to protect itself. In this scenario, if you believe that you’re replaceable, you won’t get credit for the job well done and have a need for attention your business will suffer.

Realize that these thoughts come from a deeper place of insecurity and that the most important thing that you can do is to be aware of your invisible scripts. As you uncover these self-destructive thought patterns, begin to question how you can shift your mindset and perspective on each of these issues.

Instead of being afraid of being replaced, I began to think about being replaced in my business as a key to having more time freedom. I changed my thought pattern from fear of being unimportant which made me cling to my work and tasks at hand to excitement for having more personal freedom.

Does this sound funny at first? Sure. But these are deep issues that take time and introspection to sort out. You won’t find everything over night nor will you be able to change everything all at once. But over time, you’ll see that you can be a better leader in your business by learning to let go of your fears and insecurities.

In fact, you can do even more than letting go. You can transform these thought patterns into positive reinforcement for success in your business.

Step 3: Trust Your Team

The last part of the formula is relying on your team.

We all want to be great leaders, right? If your answer is no, just click the ‘X’ button in the corner right now.

What happens when you let your ego run the show? I believe that it turns us into a de-motivator. Instead of being excited to be at work, our employees or partners get frustrated with us and don’t feel like we value their contributions.

When we don’t trust our team to get the job done, we’re just adding overhead without maximizing our benefit. Employees and contractors should be guided by your vision and the goals you set for them. But they should be allowed creative oversight over how to reach that goal. This is how you empower your team.

Depending on the job, you may have more or less structure over the process. But at the end of the day, you should be able to hand over a task with a deadline and get good results.

When you begin to realize that your team is the true lifeblood of your organization, you must also realize that your role is to encourage and motivate them to be top performers. When you try to hoard all the credit and exalt yourself, your team’s morale will suffer. And when their morale suffers, so will performance.

Be lavish with your praise and minimal with your criticism. Yes, you have to offer correction and guidance, but if you’re only seen as a critic and a micro-manager, how do you expect your team to do their best work?

Summary:

Many times we let our need recognition and control to drive our decision making. When we let our team take the helm and entrust them to run your business, some great things start to happen.

When I stopped believing that I was the only one who could manage the invoicing and bookkeeping of the business, I was able to contract a part-time bookkeeper to help us with record-keeping. I now have more time to manage our consultants and relationships with clients. And I soon realized how bad at record-keeping I really was.

Finding the right team members is one of the toughest jobs that a entrepreneur can take on, but without understanding your own psychological hang-ups even an all-star team will fail.

Ultimately, you are the boss and if you don’t lead your team no one else will. The more self-aware you become, the better you can lead.

And if you’re looking for more insight on how to delegate, outsource or automate your business, contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.

Cheers!
-Alex

Inspired by: https://medium.com/the-art-of-delegation/what-keeps-us-from-delegating-93dd8270dd23

3 Skills You Need to Stop Being an Employee in Your Own Company

Problem:

One the the big problems that I have in running my own business is feeling like an employee.  This often means working long hours in my business.  If you’ve felt this way before, you know how burnt this can leave you.

Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited is an excellent book which talks about the three mindsets that all entrepreneurs have and how to start working on your business instead of in it.

Delegate Your Business

I read this book for the first time 2 years ago and it has been a tremendous asset to my business thinking.  And it covers an issue I think many of us face.

The biggest problem is that I’m a perfectionist.  I have to have things done my way or no way at all.  It’s a personality flaw that I think many of us have.  It keeps us from success, though.  The same trait that makes us top performers is holding us back from the ultimate success in life.

Don’t let your perfectionism hold you back.  You need to learn how to delegate and manage a team.  You’ll start to get your life back and your time which is better than the alternative – working yourself to death.

Trust Me.  Been there – done that.  Not Fun.

Objective:

  1. Develop a strategy for delegating responsibilities to your employees.
  2. Implement the strategy for successful delegation.

Time frame:

Drafting your delegation plan can take up to 2 weeks, but gets quicker the more you do it.  Implementation depends on your relationship with your current employees and the systems you already have in place.

Action Plan:

Step 1: Planning

This stage is spent identifying your goals and objectives.  What are you trying to achieve within your company?

Are you trying to sell more Jimmy John subs?  Are you trying to be the Tropical Smoothie king?

For me, its cranking out quality content every single day and currently its a team of one.  But after my 30 day challenge, I plan to take my experience and turn it into a job that can be outsourced.

Sometimes, this phase is just you creating a specific result or accomplishing a single task.  The more you can create a routine around the task and build a system, the easier it will be to delegate.

At the end of the day, though, you must have a clear objective of what your end result should look like.  There must be a clear guidance on how to accomplish the task as well.  This is all part of creating a system.

As you develop your system and conduct your planning, consider timelines and dates that you need tasks done by.  These will be important to communicate to your team and will ultimately become one of your measures of success.

And finally, don’t forget to consider the resources needed to make your team successful.  This may take the form of tools, money, time and/or expertise.  Make sure folks have the right skill set for the job, or you’re just setting them up to fail.

Planning should make up roughly 50% of your time as a leader, visionary and Master Delegator.

Step 2: Organizing

At this stage, we’re taking the plan and allocating resources to meet each one of the goals.  Sometimes, you’ll have to work around constraints and you’ll realize that not all goals can be met on day one.

And that’s OK.

When you decide that you’re going to delegate, you’ve made the decision to entrust your team with the responsibility to execute on your behalf.

You have to also expect that some task might take longer than expected or they might require more resources than you to do the same job.  Part of organizing is monitoring and aligning resources for your employees to get the job done right.

It’ll be important to track their progress and give them clear metrics to measure success by.  These are all things that should have been considered in the planning phase, and you’ll be glad that you did it ahead of time.

As you continue to grow your business, you’ll find 30% of your time spent organizing your systems and helping to align resources with goals.  A very crucial part of running your business.

Step 3: Leading

The final piece of the puzzle will be leading.  Every business needs a leader at the helm of the ship guiding and giving direction.  You are that leader.

You have to be strong.  Not necessarily ruling with an iron fist, but you must be able to take charge.  Remember that its your business.

The flip side of this is that you must be able to be honest and have clear lines of communication with your employees.  Focus on building a culture of trust and understanding motivations.

As an entrepreneur your focus should be not just goal setting, but vision casting.  Employees and contractors alike should be inspired by the work that you want to accomplish.  Give people something to reach for and then let them go after it.

There’s a lot that can be said about leadership and how to inspire others, but today recognize that you’ll be spending time regularly communicating your vision to your employees and will be responsible for the culture of your company.

This is the final 20% of the equation and often the most overlooked portion.  You can only get so far with the first two pieces.  This step will take you the rest of the way.

Summary:

50% Planning; 30% Organizing; and 20% Leading is the equation of delegation and management success in my opinion.  Having observed it first hand at a large corporation and implementing it in my own businesses, I have to encourage folks to spend time thinking about these things.

Not everything you do will be a success and delegating is one of those activities that you cannot learn through a text book or a blog.  You have to work at it and actually practice it.

If you’re ready to start delegating a task, start now.  Don’t wait.  The experience you’ll gain will lead to a lifetime of success.

If you’re looking for more insight on how to delegate, outsource or automate your business, contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.

Cheers!
-Alex

Inspired by: http://delegatedtodone.com/isnt-it-time-to-stop-being-an-employee-of-your-own-company/

 

Financial Independence -Learning from the Rich

Problem:

If you’re like most of us, you’re looking for the road to financial independence.  I’ve been searching for the perfect system for allocating my assets.  Instead of trying to just figure it out, I decided to learn from the people already successful.

Why Reinvent the wheel right?  So, what is you’re financial goal?

Do you want to be in the top 20%, top 10% or top 1%?

Why not study how the rich invest and copy what they’re doing?

 

Simply put, the middle class keeps most of their assets tied up in their house or home.  That “American Dream” is actually holding you back on your financial freedom.

Now I’m not knocking home ownership, I’ve got a house myself.  And many folks look at it as a huge personal achievement.  It’s a self-esteem booster.  So, I’m not discounting the impact home ownership does for your life.  But if most of your net worth is tied up in a house, you might be doing this investing thing wrong.

What are some options for the budding entrepreneur who wants to reach for the top 1%?

Objectives:

  1. Build an asset allocation strategy to match the richest 1%.

Time Frame:

A Lifetime.  Keep working at this strategy.  The earlier you start the further ahead you’ll be, but remember it’s never too late to start.

Action Plan:

Here’s a few tips –

  • Rent and not buy when you’re starting out.  
    • Stay cheap.  Unless the housing market in your area makes the mortgage payments combined with taxes, insurance, utilities, HOA, and on-going maintenance make sense for you.  You’re probably better off renting when you’re trying to build up your assets.Don’t forget that you’ll have to mow that lawn, do landscaping, furnish all the space you now have and do repairs when things break.

      And disconnect your hoses during the winter – frozen pipes are no fun.  Learn from my first year of home ownership…

  • If you decide to purchase real estate, make it a duplex or small apartment which you can rent out to others.  
    • You want assets.  And an asset makes you money.  This is where you want to spend your money and credit (e.g. first mortgage) on to build up cash flow / income sources.

      Take a look at that 47% allocation in Business Equity and other real estate.  This is that ‘Other real estate’ part.  You can become a multi-millionaire by just doing this one thing, over and over.

      Money in real estate is a proven path to success, but it takes time.

  • Business Equity is the other big chunk of the pie.
    • If you’re in a corporate gig and still a desk jockey, that’s OK.  You’re building up experience and that’s personal equity and intellectual capital.  But if you get the chance to advise on some projects on the outside and take a piece of equity, now you’re on the road to millions my friend.

      While I still work a 9-to-5 to keep the lights on, I participate in a tons of entrepreneurship activities around town.  And every so often, I get invited to help advise on a project.  I normally help folks pro-bono and truly want to see folks succeed.

      But there’s some projects where they see the value of having me advise long-term and I normally receive some ownership of the company in the form of 5-10% equity, or milestone bonuses if I can make a significant contribution through my network.  This is one way to get business equity…

  • The other way is to start your own business.  
    • I’ve started a few companies in my few years of business experience and each one has different challenges.  The lessons I’ve learned is that you don’t need everything to be perfect to get started.  You need an idea, some validation (get paid) and then a lot of execution.

      Normally, things don’t go according to plan anyways.  Projects fail, but life goes on.  You’re best bet at succeed at your own business is to start one up and give it a try.  If you fail, who cares, dust yourself off and try again.

      Do: Keep track of the lessons learned from each attempt and every experience.

      Don’t:
      Take out a ton of debt or borrow money from family and friends to try to start your first business.  If you can’t make money on day one by selling your product or service, or if you can’t pre-sell the concept to enough people to get started, try something else.

      If you can find partners to invest in your idea though, that’s good enough in my book.

  • Financial Securities is the other key investment.  
    • Everyone’s starting position is different, but if you can allocate even 5% of your income each month into stocks and bonds, you’re going to be sitting pretty in a few years.

      The key to financial investments is to keep it simple and to keep investing.

      People have all sorts of crazy ideas when it comes to investing money and everyone’s got an opinion.  But the truth is no one can predict where the market is going to go and what an individual stock is going to do.  They can only make educated guesses.

      Having started my career in derivative trading and later private equity, I’ve seen how most of the analysis is done in the pit and by the ‘big boys’.  My advice to the common investor is to use a site like Betterment or Motif Investing to manage your portfolio.  80% S&P 500 Market-Cap Weighted Index ETF and 20% in a Diversified Bond ETF.

      If you use Betterment, set up your account to automate your deposits and automatically re-balance each time there’s a new deposit.

      If you use Motif Investing, you’ll have to manually re-balance your account through their system, but you’ll be able to offset costs by depositing cash each time you do it.

      I personally started with Motif Investing, but now looking at moving over to Betterment because of the automatic system.  Remember, this is how you want your systems – automated.

Summary:

That’s all I have to say about portfolio allocations today.  I think there’s a lot of good that can be gained by looking at what the rich are doing.  If you can focus on these two types of investments, you’re on your way to making millions.

Two key points to remember:

  • Assets create Income / Liabilities create Expenses
  • Set Aside a portion of Your Income Each Month for Assets

Keep bettering yourself each day and if you like this article, you can receive more like it each week from our weekly newsletter.  More details to come.

Cheers!
-Alex

Inspired by: https://www.motifinvesting.com/blog/acquire-assets-like-rich

Consolidating Online Accounts Using LastPass

Problem:

If you’ve been around the internet for any length of time, you could have hundreds if not thousands of accounts.  Each site takes a login and passwords and hints and tips and blah, blah, blah… Lots of time and information.

I hate having to remember all my login details and so I do what a lot people do – use a common password for accounts that don’t really matter and then more complex ones for the ones that do.  OK, so what’s wrong with this picture?

Well, I don’t remember all my accounts and passwords and after a while, I forget that I even have an account on certain sites much less how to login to those accounts.

In this entry, I’m revisiting using LastPass as my online profile management system and basically the keys to the kingdom.  Am I afraid that someone might get access to this site and steal everything else?  YES!  But its seems like there’s always going to be risks no matter how you navigate the internet, so this system is a better way of managing all my online accounts and passwords.

Objectives:

  1. Primary – Use LastPass to organize all my current sites that I manage and online accounts.
  2. Primary – Set-up Groups / Folder to organize my accounts into an easy to navigate system.
  3. Secondary – Review all old accounts still saved to LastPass and begin purging old unused accounts.
  4. Secondary – Update all passwords with LastPass to maintain strong passwords.

Action Steps:

  1. Create / Login LastPass Account – Figure out how to login to LastPass… I lost my old login and the hint was some code that I created way back when to figure out passwords.  I’m hoping that after using LastPass I won’t have this issue.
  2. Add new Accounts – Take all the accounts I identified in my “Identify and Organize all Online Accounts” entry and add any that I use into LastPass.  The items that I’m purging don’t need to be included. 😛
  3. Create Categories for Organization – I like to use categories based on purpose/function.  For example, all my personal social media and entertainment sites are in ‘Personal – Social’ and all my personal finance, bank accounts, taxes, and anything else that contributes to my net worth calculation is stored in ‘Personal – Finance.’  Some of the other categories include each of my companies and their websites; ‘Enterprise Toolbox’; ‘E-mail Accounts’; ‘Non-Profit Resources’; etc… Each person will probably have different categories, but I like to organize everything by purpose to make it easy to figure out where I need to go and not get distracted by other sites.
  4. Bonus: I’ll be adding a post for Optimizing Password Management with LastPass which will cover updating all passwords with LastPass and some of the other tricks you and do with LastPass that will make your life easier.

Results:

I love LastPass.  I used to use the site for managing all my passwords, but between updating to a new computer and getting distracted by other shiny objects, I completely forgot about this tool.  Recently, they upgraded to version 4.0 and the improvements are tremendous.  The tools is much more responsive and user-friendly.  I highly recommend check out LastPass and using it to manage your online accounts and passwords.

Make sure your Master Password is a strong one though and one that you won’t easily forget.  If you lose that one, you might be in big trouble after leaving the task of remembering passwords to LastPass.  There’s no password recovery other than the hint you leave yourself, so be warned – don’t lose your master password!

If you’re following my COO Guide, this step is crucial for better managing your time and conserve all that brain power for better things than remembering passwords.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the COO Guide – shoot me an e-mail via the contact page.  Cheers!