Two specific comments seem to come up over and over again:
1. "I need an investing 101 course.”
So, we’ll do this. In fact, my client, Baton Investing, has agreed to put together a webinar to help you understand the basics of investing. More to come on that.
2. "I'd love to start investing, but I don’t have any money to do so right now.”
Let’s address this.
In my view, outside of counterfeiting, there are basically four ways to acquire money:
1. Make it
2. Find it
3. Inherit it
4. Marry it
For this post, we’ll concentrate on #1 – Make it. Next post we’ll concentrate on #2 – “Find money you didn’t know you had.” Options #1 and #2 – Make it and Find it – are the only options that will give you the most independence, freedom and control over your own life and future.
For #3 – Inherit it, I’m not going to address that -- mostly because I don’t like to think about people dying. Besides, it’s certainly not something one should count on.
For #4 - Marry It, anyone who has read my blog knows I think this is the worst possible option as a way to acquire money. As I’ve said before, “If you marry for money, don’t think for a second you’re not going to have to earn it.” And truthfully, a 24/7, 365-day a year sale of yourself is a terrible investment.
So, option #1 – Make It - here we go.
There are a lot of ways to make money – a lot. Let’s assume that you want to make money:
1. On a regular, ongoing basis; and
If that is the case, generally speaking, you can either be hired by a company or become an entrepreneur. My personal preference – and granted it may be biased since I am an entrepreneur – is to become an entrepreneur. I think -- especially for women -- it makes more sense and cents.
Because as writer, Jeff Hayden, points out in his recent article, working for a company isn’t actually a great investment of your time. “If you work for someone else and invest all your time and money, year after year, on the upside, you might earn 3% more each year. The downside? Any day you could lose it all, for reasons usually outside your control and that you will almost never see coming,” states Hayden.
That is of course assuming you’re lucky enough to get that 3% annual raise - a number that barely keeps pace with inflation. The point is: your upside when working for a company is usually capped.
Entrepreneurship far outweighs the 9-to-5 grind - which has now evolved into the 8-6 grind, is much more compatible with raising a family and ultimately, a much better return on your time – if you can make it work.
Also, women are fantastic entrepreneurs. I could hit you with a lot of fast numbers here like the fact that some studies note women entrepreneurs achieve 35% higher return on investment and bring in 12% higher revenues than their male counterparts. Recently, a new study published by The Center for Entrepreneurs, concluded that women are great entrepreneurs – for a number of reasons. You can read the study here.
I’m not saying women should quit their day job (now), or start the next Apple tomorrow in your “free” time. Nor is it my intention to spark the stay-at-home work-out-of-home mom debate.
But, we’re talking about money and how to make it, so you need to do something - something that you're not doing now - to earn some money. I say, become an entrepreneur.
Now you’re wondering if you have the time, can you do it, and would it be worth it? Yes. Yes. And yes. Of course, you can. Yes, I know how busy you are. I’m telling you, it’s still possible. And for many, many reasons - that far outweigh the money, it's worth it. But, if you don’t believe me, ask the mom of 3 who makes nearly $1million a year selling headbands and legwarmers on Etsy. Yes, you read that right – headbands and legwarmers. Who knew that many heads needed banding and legs warmed? Kudos to her. Her story is here.
Now you’re asking yourself, what can I do? (As a side note, I’ve had a lot of women ask me how to start a business or monetize a business idea, so if you’re also interested, let me know and we’ll do a seminar). But, for now you’ll first have to ask yourself: What are you good at? What’s your passion? What do you enjoy reading about? Doing?
If you’re still stuck for ideas, pick up a copy of Entrepreneur magazine – which always has great ideas and inspiration, talk to your friends, or other entrepreneurs. Do a little reading and start noting what lights a spark in you.
While you go through this process, I would ask that you remember the most basic of all principles: To be an entrepreneur, someone(s) has to pay you for a product or service. Capiche? Otherwise, it’s called a hobby. I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but I’ve met so many women who want to start a business, want to make money, are doing a thousand things, and have a thousand talents – many of which could make them money, but few of whom are actually doing so. So in addition to asking yourself, “What can I do?” Don’t forget the second part of that question …. “that I'd be willing to ask someone to pay me for." The second part of the question can be a tough, since many of us have become accustomed to giving away our talents for free.
You may decide to launch and monetize your own idea, or you may want to buy into an existing opportunity, such as a multi-level marketing (MLM) opportunity where people earn money by selling cosmetics, pots and pans or jewelry, etc. (Full disclosure: I know these programs are perfect for some people. They’re personally not my thing). But, to each her own.
However, when considering any entrepreneurial opportunity, I would also advise – regardless of whether you start your own idea or buy into an existing opportunity -- to fully understand the upfront costs, as well as any ongoing investment. (Second full disclosure: this is the other reason I’m more pro launching your own idea. Generally speaking, it is easier to control costs, especially in the beginning).
But, I usually don’t find people lack for ideas, the ability to do basic market research or develop a basic business plan. These things can be worked out. Rather, what they - and women in particular - usually lack is the confidence to get started. And that’s all you need is to get started. So put the Queen of Self-Sabotage away, because that’s what you need most: the confidence to get started.
Besides, whatever money you make – assuming your idea doesn’t require some ridiculous upfront investment, and you can turn a profit in 1-3 months time, will presumably be more than you’re making now.
And what may not seem like a lot to you now, matters. Even the extra $250 a month you make now, makes a difference later. A big difference. Big - particularly if you invest that money well. Like anywhere from a $200,000-$400,000 difference in 20 years.
So get going. Seriously. If that Internet grumpy cat can make money, you can too. I guarantee it.
PS: If you are interested in a “How to start a business or monetize a business idea” webinar, do let me know.
Patty McDonough Kennedy is CEO of Kennedy Spencer (www.kennedyspencer.net) a marketing communication company. She splits her time between New York and Vienna, Austria, and works with companies and individuals across the world to develop effective programs that measurably improve results. In her blog ((Laugh Lines)), she writes about the funny, fabulous and messy mix of business, parenting, money & life.
Note: Patty doesn't write about or promote products or services that she hasn't personally used - and likes. She does accept contributions, if she thinks they will help inspire or empower women.