Calculate your net worth but pretend you have absolutely no debt and any debt payments you make are merely financial investments. Factor out all of your liabilities and calculate what your assets are right now.
A.$0.01 to $0.09
B. $.10 to $.99
C. $1 to $9.99
D. $10 to $99
E. $100 to $999
F. $1000 to $9999
G. $10,000 to $99,999
H. $100,000 to $999,999
I. $1,000,000 to $9,999,999
J. $10,000,000 to $99,999,999
K. $100 million to $999 million
L. $1 billion to $ 9.9 billion
M. $10 billion to $99 billion
Now this blog post is an experiment so post your asset class in the comments (right now I am a E).
A paradigm shift occurs at certain points in wealth that enable people to get richer. It is amazingly hard and stupid to acquire wealth using the same mindset of someone in a lower asset class.
This thought process started with a google search. I googled 1 cent, 2 cents…. 10 cents… and with multiples of ten I went up to the quintillions of dollars. Our world revolves around money and I wanted to read what people were writing about when they were talking about a certain amount of money. I also did the same thing on amazon.com on what books people were reading and writing about. What I found out is that the majority of excuses for not reaching the next level in assets fall into these 12 reasons.
I don’t have enough money to get started
I have a family
I am comfortable
I don’t want to risk what I have
I am not smart enough
I do not have the skills
You need luck to succeed
It’s all about who you know
It will take too much time
You don’t need money to be happy
The work is too hard
The work is too stressful
What is your excuse that is keeping you from the next asset class above (post that in the comments as well). More than likely it is one of the above. I don’t necessarily see money as a means to an end, I see it as a scorecard to show how you are doing in following your passion. The reason why the rich get richer is the simple mindset of ignoring excuses like the ones you see above. The more you work at ignoring those excuses the more likely you will get richer.
I want to explain a few of the more controversial excuses and why I listed them as excuses.
I have a family: Family will be always be your harshest critic and most people won’t take radical steps in their life without the support of family and that is what is stopping so many people who want to improve their lifestyle. Family is the most emotional part of your life and to risk that is the hardest thing you will ever have to do to get to the next level. I don’t want anybody to abandon their family but I want people to realize you need to adapt your passion to a level where your family can not be treated as an excuse to stop you from going forward.
You don’t need money to be happy: I think this is the greatest lie ever told. With money comes freedom, and with freedom comes happiness. If you spend your money on material things you will probably will not be happy for a sustainable period, but if you spend your money on experiences such as travel and education and on other people’s happiness you will be happy.
It’s all about who you know: People think successful people only come from the old boy networks of Harvard. This is not the case. You meet people through your friends and the institutions you are involved with and from there you meet more people. One sociologist calculated there are no more than six degrees of separation from anybody on earth. That means in your network of people there are no more than six people that separate you from anybody on earth. Use that fact to your advantage and start meeting people that share your interests. I’m telling you amazing things will happen if you focus your energy on meeting other people just for the sake of your genuine interests.
The poor stay poor because they make excuses, the rich get richer because they ignore excuses and that is the simple reality of why the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.
I decided a year ago that I would never be happy unless I lived a nomadic life. I want to create things and start businesses on a routine basis but to do that I need some seed money and I also want to be nomadic at the same time. Traveling is my true passion and I would be happy doing it as a complete bum if I had to. But I am not quite at the bum level yet since I still have resources. One resource I have is a Commercial Drivers Licence (CDL) which I earned after quitting from a four year stint in the airline industry. So after a phone call I quickly get a job offer and for the summer and until the first snow hits I plan to be trucking and then I will go back overseas to spend time on my entrepreneur stints. If I can’t get a business going overseas again I will just go back to trucking and try again until I get a sustainable business going that can be managed remotely. There are a number of reasons why I love trucking as an interim job and here are 6.
1) First of all you get to travel and change your scenery on a daily basis. If traveling is truly in your blood than you will love truck driving. If traveling is not in your blood then go back to your 9 to 5 gig for a mediocre life.
2) The pay is performance based. The one thing I hated about my previous jobs is that your earnings did not reflect how hard you worked, they reflected the time you spent working. The better driver you are the more you will get paid.
3) There is a plateau obviously in trucking but the plateau in pay is around six figures. Most six figure jobs require grad school or many years of experience before you hit six figures. With trucking you can get a CDL for around $3000 and be at the top of the pay scale in five years.
4) The cost of living goes way down as a trucker. Get rid of your house and car since you don’t need that to be a trucker or a nomad. Live in the truck, shower for free at truck stops, and buy groceries as needed . Only traveling job in America where your cost of living can be $10 a day or lower.
5) The earnings can be nearly tax free if you do it right. Almost all your expenses out on the road can be counted as per diem under tax rules. Per diem is not taxed. All of your living expenses should be under per diem and the rest should be put into tax-free investments and business expenses if you’re smart. There is a technicality in the tax code that makes this illegal if you don’t maintain a residence but that is okay for me as long as I am small fish and the IRS does not read this blog.
6) The job market is great for truckers. You can be trucking half the year and traveling for pleasure the other half of the year if you wanted. As long as you are a safe driver, all it takes is a phone call for a job offer. You can quit , travel, and be back at work quick if you wanted to.
My first business was travel websites based on affiliate marketing. They were relatively easy to set up but the margins are just not there. I love the aspect of selling travel since it is a product that is popular on the internet and it requires no inventory. The ultimate problem with selling travel is that you achieve very little margin for what you are selling. If you can scale up a travel website than all the power to you. The biggest wall to setting up any business at the start is the topic of inventory. If you’re in tech the inventory comes out of the bandwidth you buy and the development costs. In almost any other sort of business you buy inventory and you sell it. Manufacturers buy raw materials or parts and make products that are rather risky and that line of work is not for beginner entrepreneurs. Distributing is the easiest business to get into if you have little to invest and are still suffering from the learning curve of business. But in this modern world you don’t necessarily need to buy inventory prior to the finalization of the sale. Business 2 Customer is the worst idea for an intro business and I think that is why so many people try and fail at getting a business to appeal to customers.
Instead create a custom brand that could be used in many product categories and arrange with the manufacturer to send the produc to a distributer overseas as wholesale. Target small to medium manufacturers that are willing to produce their product with a private label. The majority of small to medium manufacturers would not object to this for two reasons. 1. They get increased sales. 2. They can get a bigger market without having to risk the investment of expansion as you are taking that marketing risk for them. Manufacturers may be excellent at making their product but sometimes a void exists in marketing their product to other geographical areas. That is where you come in.
The business is branded import-export management. Inventory is the biggest risk involved with a business, all other obstacles will be become more clear with experience. That is why you should not buy inventory until you know it can sell as the distributors are making money off your branded import-exports. If a product can sell enough on a wholesale market than take it to the next step and find a distribution channel that can sell directly to the customer. If a product can sell through a distribution channel that you partner with such as Amazon then start your own distribution system by the means of a website. Once you have your own website that can sell products on a sustainable predictable basis than grow your business in the traditional sense. Hire employees, lease warehouse space, and then make the final arrangements to sell the distribution business, ideally to a competitor and more ideally an IPO where you retain a stake, than you can either go on to your next project or possibly retire depending on your motives. If you love your business find private investors who are willing to give you money to scale up the business in exchange for a stake.
I believe people understand a process of setting up a business better when it is explained on a step by step process and here is the process for this branded import-export idea.
1) Set up an mail-forwarding service
Either get a mailbox at a UPS store or subscribe to a mail-forwarding service such as Traveling Mailbox as you need a physical presence that is not a house to look legitimate.
2) Set up an LLC
You have to appear legitimate to all stakeholders and more importantly you want to set up a business so you can later sell it for a profit.
3) Register a domain name, get hosting with email
Go to godaddy to get a domain name, hostgator for hosting which will also provide email. Also set up pages in social media channels such as facebook, and twitter. I don’t think you need to be active in these social media accounts in the initial stages of a B2B. Just put information on the social media sites and save them for when you transition to a B2C business.
4) Get logo design work done
You can get a simple logo for $5 at fiverrr.com.
5) Install WordPress
You have your logo and your hosting so install wordpress onto your hosting account as I believe wordpress is the most versatile platform for beginners at web development. Choose a theme and just put up information about the business. You audience is just B2B so the site does not need to appear fancy and that is what wordpress is good for.
6) Order Letterhead, Business cards, and Envelopes
Another aspect of legitimacy and marketing that any business needs.
7). Set up a business bank account
Set up an account with a major bank that can provide international services from an online platform.
8) Set up a Paypal and Moneygram merchant account
Paypal and Moneygram are the best payment processors for international transactions
9) Set up accounting
You need to set up an accounting system to manage expenses and revenue. I recommend Outright since it is free.
10) Create 50 products
This is the most complicated part of the process of setting up a branded import-export business. Contact manufacturers of various products who are willing to put your label on their product. Arrange pricing and shipping arrangements that cover the entire world.
11) Set up an Alibaba account
Set up a premium Alibaba account as that is the channel that will link you to distributors across the world.
12) Sale and alter your products as the market sees fit.
After those 11 steps all you have to do initially is alter your products as needed and more importantly SALE SALE SALE. The world is your oyster, go out and SALE and see the rewards grow.
I’ve been on this earth for 24 years and here are 24 habits I live by in no particular order.
1) Recognize hard work: When someone especially in the service industry goes above and beyond for what they are paid for never forget to leave a good tip.
2) Don’t be a picky eater: We all have preferences in what we eat but I believe to live by this saying because you never know you might like something you have never tried.
3) Have a creative outlet: Writing is my outlet, but I believe everybody should express themselves in a creative outlet whether it be art, music, or film. It is a liberating feeling to get your creative side out to the world even if it is just your friends that pay attention.
4) Don’t hold grudges: The most powerful thing a human can ever do is forgive somebody for their shortcomings. Never be afraid to talk to your enemies to find a common ground.
5) Learn on your own: Formal education has one purpose and that is teach you how to learn not what to learn. You should learn what you are truly interested in.
6) Listen to everyone: Never be offended, seek out all of the information you can hear, whether it be from someone completely different from you or not. But most important listen more than you speak.
7) Travel Often: By traveling you find yourself and much more you can ever dream of.
8) Be a minimalist: The more you have the more you need to maintain.
9) Worried? Have another beer: When you don’t know what to do next in your life alcohol seems to do the trick.
10) Enjoy everything in moderation, and that includes moderation: Self explanatory but don’t be afraid to indulge once in while on things you love.
11) When in Rome…: Try local customs whether it be football in Spain, Vodka in East Europe, or Spicy food in Thailand
12) Live in the moment: Learn from the past but don’t obsess about it, have a rough plan for the future but spend most of your energy on what is happening right now in your life.
13) Embrace and recognize your weaknesses: By recognizing your weaknesses you can learn what your strengths are. Weaknesses are what set us apart
14) Be an expert at your trade: Even if you hate your current job there is no reason not to have a strong work ethic. Learn everything you possibly can when you spend your time at work.
15) Be adaptable: There will be a million forks in the road of life, some paths may look better from a distance but as you get closer the unexpected path might be better for you. Nobody can really predict where they will be in five years. In fact I can’t even predict where I will be in five months. I suggest just go with the flow and be willing to make changes on the fly. From my experience amazing things have always happened.
16) Laughter is the best medicine: bahahahaha works best in any situation.
17) Don’t carry a watch: In fact don’t carry anything that gives you information such as a cell phone or a watch. If you are addicted to machines, make no mistake you will be a slave to that machine.
18) Be on time: Even if your acquaintances are the ones that are always late, be the one that is always on time and you will have the advantage at the most unexpected times.
19) Give favors: If somebody asks you for something always comply, as most often that favor will be returned at the most unexpected time.
20) Remember the people who believe in you before you believe in yourself: Don’t forget the people who gave you encouragement before you decided what to do with your life as they are the inspiration behind your successes in life.
21) Surround yourself with more talented people: You can’t be good at everything so why not learn from people that are better at particular domains than you. I like finding people that are really good at communicating or have a flair for desgin as I consider those to be my primary weaknesses.
22) Surround yourself with positive thinking people: Negative energy flows to negative consequences. Choose your friends wisely, the pessimistic ones are the ones that will kill you over time.
23) Life is simple, have fun: Go thru life doing the things you love and spending your time with like minded people. It does not need to be any more complicated than that.
24) Smile: At the end of the day you just have to laugh at the things you have done and say wow what a ride
I hate paper because it creates trash, and naturally being a lazy person I hate taking out the trash. I also hate going home for the menial task of picking up mail. Over the past year I have completely transitioned to a paperless lifestyle. With tech the way it is today it is a very easy thing to do
1) Unsubscribe from everything
Gather around all of your junk mail and find the company that sends them. Call them or find their website and ask them to stop delivery of all of there mail. As it turns out most junk mail is sent by a few marketing associations and GEICO Auto Insurance, contact them and see your useless mail disappear. I moved out of my apartment nearly a year ago, so not having a permanent address also helps in the elimination of junk mail.
2) Electronic billing
Make a list of all of your utilities and bank accounts. Get electronic billing set up with them and request to send all bills and statements to your email address.
3) Mail Forwarding
There are services that scan what mail you do have and send the images to your mailbox. I am a member of Traveling Mailbox and it only costs me $25 per month. If you need to have the peice of mail the serivce will foward the mail to an address of your choosing. I find the majority of mail just needs to be scanned. If you are expecting a package and are not sure where you are going to be when it arrives the service will also hold the package for you and deliver to the address of your choosing.
4) Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is important if you want to run a business remotely in the modern age. Cloud computing is a new term but in essence it is the remote hosting of critical software applications related to your business. This saves paper particularly when it comes to financial transactions. I use Outright for all of my accounting, Turbotax for tax filing, and Paypal for payment processing. Pretty much I hate depositing paper checks and printing tax forms since there are services online that eliminate the need to do so. Cloud computing also saves money since there is less overhead when most of the applications have a common license instead of individual or enterprise licensing. I use google docs for most of my office software. I still prefer Excel for spreadsheet software so I am waiting for Microsoft to catch up with the times and provide cloud access to it.
5) Mobile phones and tablets
Need directions, a calendar, a means to take a note, have a book to read?. Right now I think mobile phones and tablets are a waste of my money but the potential for their development makes me believe they will replace all paper at some point in time and I find that awesome.
Now of course I live a nomadic lifestyle mostly because I can never stay in one place for too long so I have to be paperless to the ability technology will allow me. I am not an environmentalist, I am simply a lazy cheapskate minimalist who happens to travel endlessly and getting rid of paper in my life is a certain must.
Have a great idea awesome. But an idea will always be an idea unless there is a leader involved behind the idea. Every great movement and invention throughout history has always started with an idea with a lone promoter. Everything, every single word, every single business, every single state, started with a founding leader. But a single person can only do so much so he or she needs to create a team. A worthwhile team is a team that can provide distinct but valuable roles in the starting stages of any movement or organization. In a team it’s takes every single member doing their part to make things happen or else the idea will never achieve enough leverage to make a movement. Here are four roles that nearly every successful venture has had. Some ventures have combined two roles with one person but my point is that no great thing ever involved one person.
The visionary, the no 1 in the organization. This is the person who sees the ultimate end to the product and if it is a good product concept there is a future that will never be complete in the founders lifetime. This is the content manager, the person that researches what the business is going to be about in the future. This founder is also the face of the organization and in charge of PR.
The business guru. This is the person who sees the vision and the financial opportunity of the vision. This is the person who sets up the nitty grity rather boring parts of a business such as financing, and company organization.
The techie. This is the person who sees the vision and the technical limitations of any idea. This is the person who sets up the foundation technical architecture of any business.
The mentor, this is the person who gives advice in exchange for a low equity stake. The ideal mentor is someone who has failed more than once and can show the other three founders the best steps to take their idea to the next level.
That’s it, it only takes four people to start a great business. There have been some business that combine a role with the same person but I think these four roles have a greater chance of success because it is four people working for a common goal. With the power of four people instead of three or two much more work can get done in a short amount of time.
My ideal uniform of shorts, t-shirt and sandals are not practical in my current climate….. I must move back to Thailand or somewhere else tropical and modern. The trip over to Asia was fun and productive, and I will be back. I flew to Denver the other day because I got a job offer that involved traveling but I turned it down because when I researched the company I found the job merely involved scamming other people and a google search of the owner resulted in mugshots of him. I thought boy how I miserably failed at my endeavor of trying to make money as a nomad. I am back in Denver sleeping on a couch until I jump back again at my next attempt at nomadic entrepreneurship
Maybe I should just get an airline job again. Southwest, US, and Frontier are all hiring right now. Or maybe I should go back to trucking, than I realize how much I hate driving on the east coast. Or maybe I should try a completely new industry. Nope, well I may get an airline job again at least temporarily but I have no intention of settling down after a minor setback. In Asia I learned how to be productive again. I found an environment that spurred my creative side and created happiness. I could have lasted another three months in Asia with my finances. But instead I moved back to my home of Denver to pursue this idea for the next few months. I have discovered that nobody generally cares about an idea until you are making money out of it. I have been keeping this under wraps for the past couple of months because I think this could be big, but unless other people can see my vision I don’t think this could evolve so I might as well share this with the rest of the world.
My idea is to create an inter-modal ticketing system. That is basically a door-to-door ticket you can buy that can get you from point a to point b anywhere in the world with just one service. Most public transit systems across the world require exact change to make use of their service. Now imagine you could pay for a ticket on a public bus with your cell phone. Not only in your hometown but anywhere you go in the world you go to one service to get directions and the ability to obtain a ticket from point a to point b anywhere in the world. Picture this you want to go to Rome from New Orleans on a certain date. This service will calculate the most economical way to do that and sell and provide the means for the ticket. You use your phone to board the bus to the airport, than you use the same service to board your flight, and then you use the same service to pay for your train ticket to your hotel in Rome. This service provides enormous value to people by making shopping for transit options easy, fast, and a one-stop-shop for all of your transit needs anywhere in the world.
How do you get from Point A to B?
The task of getting from point A to point B seems simple enough but it is a rather complicated solution that has it origins in science. Say you wanted to travel from the Eiffel tower to the St. Louis Arch. There is a quickest way and a cheapest way and a magnitude of options in between. The quickest way would be to hire a taxi to Charles De Gaulle airport then charter a plane to fly directly to Lambert field in St. Louis where you have a pre-arranged taxi waiting for you at the plane to bring you to the Arch. I would say that would bring your costs to around a quarter of a million dollars if you wanted the quickest way. The cheapest way is complicated to figure out as there are literally thousands of ways to get from point A to point B and the cheapest way may change at any given time. I would say to find the cheapest way would be first go to http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ and figure out the cheapest fare from Paris to St. Louis and start with that. The cheapest fare I found was $812 leaving in a month. I could do better. I then search Chicago $702, than New York $642, than Montreal $433. From Montreal I search the airfare to St Louis and I get $225. Book tickets separately than that turns into a cost savings of $144 from the $812 fare. I also look at fares from Montreal to Chicago than ground transportation options from Chicago to St. Louis, it turns out it is cheaper to fly. From the St . Louis Airport you take public transportation and whala you just traveled from the Eiffel tower to the St. Louis Arch in the cheapest way possible. You had to buy the fare a month in advance to get the cheapest fare. ITA Software does not sell tickets but searches the fare databases for the cheapest possible publicly published fares. There remains a possibility that private fares may be cheaper but you would have to call consolidators for that. ITA Software also does not include most low cost airlines and they may be a possibility to find a lower fare.
That’s cool, but what is the problem we are solving when you search for the cheapest possible way to get from point A to point B?
The problem is making a limited amount of energy more productive for the dollar. Saving energy is the root of solving the problem on how to get from point A to point B. When you pay for a flight the raw material you are basically buying is crude oil. You can make the crude oil needed to get from the Eiffel tower to the St. Louis Arch cheaper buy simply thinking smart on how airline fares are calculated.
How does finding the cheapest fare relate to science?
If you could say in 1492 to Christopher Columbus that one day it would be possible to cross the Atlantic in 7 hours, he would have thought you were an idiot and that it was impossible. It was certainly not possible in Columbus’s time to travel across an ocean in less than a day for one reason. There was no vision to make it possible. The vision needed was aerodynamics and it had it’s roots in the study of the four forces of flight. The Wright Brothers developed a machine based on the work of Otto Lilienthal and George Cayley on aerodynamics. The Wright Brothers started an industry that revolutionized the world as we knew it. They made it easier and eventually cheaper to travel from point A to point B. Although flight originally only had military applications, the first generation of military pilots founded the airline industry. World trade as we know it today would not be possible without the airline industry and it all started with studying the forces of aerodynamics in physics.
Science can’t solve everything
Bullshit, everything even impossibility has a start. In the realms of philosophy anything that could ever be expressed in any sort of communication is possible. Philosophy is the root of logic. Logic is the root of math. Math is the language that can prove if any physical theory is possible or not. From the generally accepted theories in physics today almost anything is possible. Time travel, teleportation, and even biological immortality are all possible in the realms of physics. When you get down to chemistry possible applications start to dwindle. Further down the chain is engineering which makes abstract concepts into tools and ideas we can practicality use. When economics reaches engineering the possibility of starting a business based on new technology is established. From entrepreneurs, new technology reaches the masses and from there humanity is pushed forward in the quality of everyday life for all. Geographical Information Systems (Maps), route algorithms, transportation technology, communication technology, all have their origins in this simple question; How do you get from point A to point B? I find that amazing.
When a 24 hour commute from SE Asia to America seems as normal as a bus trip across town you’re going places in life, quite literally. I have been on more long haul flights in the past few years than I can remember, I have been lucky enough to experience long haul first and business class via my airline employment but when you are paying there is no greater value than a long flight in economy. I have been on a 17 hour flight before and it did not even phase me. Here are some tips I have learned.
1) Pick a good airline
There is a world of difference between a good airline and a bad airline on a long flight. Generally American Carriers are the worst, European Carriers are mid-range, and Asian Carriers are generally the best. I just flew Asiana Airlines on a 10 hour flight from Seoul to LA and the hours seemed to just flow by, unlike taking United across the pacific where every hour seems longer than the previous.
2) Pick a good seat
First of all pick the best aircraft. I find the A330 and 767 the best for long-haul flights followed by the 777 and A380 and I would put the A340 and 747 last in my rankings for aircraft. Pick your seat in advance and change it again at the 24 hour and 1 hour mark if it results in a better seat. Many people prefer the aisle seat but I prefer a window seat towards the back of the aircraft. Why? I like window seats because I have a wall to sleep against, and the back of the aircraft is usually the least crowded on most airlines freeing up the possibility of a row to yourself.
3) Walk around the airport before the flight
If you are going to be sitting for at least 10 hours it always good just to walk around for a bit before the flight. I find that international airports are generally the best places to hang out as you see people from all over the world connecting to places all over the world.
4) Drink a beer
If I should land myself in a long-haul economy seat I always pick beer as the drink of choice, mostly because on any airline you will get the entire can of beer, most airlines these days give a small cup of whatever you order but with a beer you will be sure to get 12 ounces. I always try to see how many cans of beer I can get on a flight in Economy. On Asiana I managed to down 5 beers, one time on United I was only able to get a single beer on the flight in Economy and I also had to pay for it.
5) Relax and sleep
Read, eat your meal, watch a movie, and fall asleep. One thing I like about airline travel is the ability to just forget about the world for 10 hours as you are not connected to any computer or phone. Take advantage of that 10 hour break and just relax.
When I headed to India in February I honestly did not think I would last more than a month traveling. I changed course and spent a good two months in Bangkok learning a great deal about the city. After a week in Cambodia I decided it was time to change course again. So here I am at Seoul’s Incheon Airport updating my blog. I’m not staying in Korea, I’m headed to of all places Southern California. I’m not about to sign a lease or even get a normal job. These past couple of months have changed me forever. There are now two things I will never do again. 1. Sign a lease or a mortgage, 2. Get a normal job (Anything that requires a fixed residence). These past two months have been the most liberating of my life and have planted the seed that will set the course for the rest of my life. I plan to continue along the nomadic entrepreneur route and I will be out of America as fast as I can. I have some errands to run in the U.S. before I run away again. I left too quickly last time and I did not realize how much money it costs to set up the foundation for a business while overseas. In America things can get done a lot easier along the lines of incorporation and banking than overseas. Plus a US IP address is golden in the realms of e-commerce. I tried proxies but they were inadequate for the tasks I needed to do. Plus the most important thing you need to do if you want to make money remotely is establish legitimacy. If nobody trusts you nobody will buy anything from you. So while exploring Southern California I will be working on a mobile travel app and getting some headway on my distribution business. Life is a fun ride, especially when you never know where you will end up next.