Cash in a Flash: Fast Money in Slow Times - Mark Victor Hansen, Robert G. Allen (2009)
Part IV. Rapid Riches
Chapter 14. YOUR PERSONAL WHEEL OF FORTUNE: CONVERT YOUR IDEAS INTO CASH
Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
—MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Imagine yourself standing in the Wealth Kitchen. You are ready to cook yourself one of the recipes to riches. You have the three major ingredients in the proper amounts in front of you ready to be combined:
Generous portions of Wow Now. You have an image of the richer lifestyle you’re trying to create for yourself. You put a copy of that picture in front of you to remind you constantly of what you’re trying to cook. You remind yourself of your past successes. You know you can do this.
Ample quantities of Inner Winner. You just know that this recipe is the right one for you at this time in your life. You’re ready. More important, you are passionate about accomplishing it. You can hardly sleep at night. You want it. Nothing is going to distract you.
A well-selected Dream Team. You’ve brainstormed with your team a handful of business opportunities based upon your current knowledge, skills, talents, gifts, and passions. You’re ready to narrow this list down to the one high-profit, high-probability cash-generating idea.
You’re anxious to become a very, very profitable servant.
Profitable servant. That’s not an oxymoron. The words profit and servant go together magnificently. A motto for the Rotary International organization for the last hundred years says it all: “They profit most who serve best.”
We heartily agree. How do you profitably serve best?
There are two primary ways to profit: (1) find value, and (2) create value.
In the movie The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment said, “I see dead people.” Enlightened entrepreneurs can just “see opportunity.” Hidden. Everywhere. In this world, some people are good at sports. Some are good at music. Some are good at managing other people. And some people are good at spotting ways to profit.
They’re good at spotting value—how to improve existing products, services, and information. They find it easy to come up with ways to make things cheaper, faster, more exciting, or more interesting—more valuable. They make everything they touch better and carve out a slice of profit for themselves by improving things.
The billionaire Sir Richard Branson wouldn’t be a billionaire today if he hadn’t spotted some hidden value and exploited it. The genesis of Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic airlines, and now over two hundred other Virgin companies worldwide was a small student magazine, called Student, run by the cash-strapped young entrepreneur. As he describes it in his book Screw It, Let’s Do It:
I do keep my eyes and ears to the ground and saw how teenagers spent most of their disposable income on records. When the [British] government abolished the Retail Price Maintenance Agreement—the cartel that fixed prices—record shops didn’t cut prices. I instantly saw a gap and ran an ad for cut-price mail-order records in Student. The response was incredible. I didn’t know it, but that was the launch of Virgin. We handed out leaflets for mail-order records and almost overnight, we were getting sacks full of orders containing checks and even cash.
What Branson did is called “finding value.”
Other “profitable servants” are especially gifted at creating value. They think up unique, different, new ways to serve people. They invent products. The billionaire Steve Jobs created a whole new industry of personal computers that has blessed the lives of millions. Back in 1976 when he and Steve Wozniak were launching Apple in their garage, all they had was their passion for electronics and the dream of creating something “insanely great.” It’s that same passion that has created a new digital music industry with the iPod and iTunes. He made another fortune by finding value with the iPhone.
Have you ever had a profitable idea? Even a million-dollar idea? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to turn your ideas into cash? Have you ever had an urge to flip a piece of real estate (find value), or come up with a unique product (create value)? Whether you help make incremental improvements to the stuff around you, or whether you create brand-new stuff to bless the world, you’re a profitable servant.
WHAT DRIVES ENTREPRENEURS
TO FIND BETTER WAYS TO PROFIT?
You love to create products/services/ideas because it’s who you are. You don’t need to be motivated to do it. You can’t not do it! It’s why you breathe. It’s why you get up in the morning. It’s deeper than desire. It’s your essence. It’s your why.
If you want to be a profitable servant, find something you love to do—that is part of your ultimate why. That is the center of your business. That fuels your business.
For example, Allyson Ames has been making pastries since she was five. In her late teens she started Wonderland Bakery with her mother, Sondra. They’re passionate about it. If you have any doubt, just go to their website: www.wonderlandbakery.com. The treats look so delicious you want to order them immediately. In three short years they went from zero to selling millions of dollars’ worth of “wonderlicious” baked goods! They’ll be doing this for the rest of their lives—and make a fortune doing it. That is the heart of their business.
THREE DELICIOUS RECIPES FOR RICHES
As an entrepreneur, you have three major categories of things to create and sell: products, services, and information.
Products are physical objects such as cars, shoes, pencils, and so on. You get the idea. It’s all about buying and selling material things—or, as someone once said, the hard, lumpy objects such as the things that occupy a home, including the house itself. In other words, stuff. Comedian George Carlin used to have a monologue about stuff. He would say, “Your house is just a pile of your stuff with a cover on it…. Your house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” Fortunes are made by selling “stuff” to people.
A service is when someone does something for you. A service is when you rent someone else’s know-how, time, talent, or skill and your product gets improved. For example, you have a car—a product—but your car is dirty so you take it to the car wash. They wash your car and provide you with a shiny, clean car. They applied their know-how (skill) plus time (labor) and gave you a clean result.
If you were a service entrepreneur, you would use your skills to do things for other people that they can’t or don’t want to do for themselves. For example, in our homes, we hire lots of people to do services for us—from the maid, the landscaper, and the pool cleaner, to the pest control guy. When things break, we call up repair people of all varieties—AV technicians, appliance repairmen, handymen of all sorts, locksmiths, telephone answering services, electricians, carpet cleaners. Delivery people bring things to the door of our house—flowers, FedEx and UPS packages. When we need to be delivered to the airport we can call a limo driver. People do services for each other and get paid for it such as accountants and travel agents.
One form of service is entertainment. We watch skillful people perform—sports, music, humor. We pay for this service. The more skillful you are, the more money you make. Politicians are service providers. When you get paid to use your skill, you are providing a valuable service. What skills do you possess that someone might want to hire you for? One of the fastest ways to earn profit is to find someone who needs your skill and to sell your skill to them for immediate cash flow.
But this also creates a serious problem: you have to be there to provide the service. For example, an attorney or doctor can earn a large income, but if that person stops working, the income also stops. We like businesses where you can earn money when you aren’t there—residual businesses where you earn money while you sleep.
In addition, service businesses are also very employee-centric. A service business is a people business, and you can only scale up by hiring and managing more people. We prefer owning businesses where you can make multiple sales quickly and easily. I can sell ten thousand widgets with one telephone call. But it’s more difficult to sell ten thousand carpet cleanings.
Because of these restrictions, we won’t be spending much more time in this book about this form of entrepreneurship. Only seriously consider this option if it’s your purpose in life to render this type of hands-on service. If that’s where you get your buzz, then go for it. God is smiling on you. You’ve found your right livelihood. The two of us earn income from public speaking and training. It’s part of our purpose in life. Thus, we spend a lot of personal time on these activities—even if doesn’t create residual income.
You buy information when you pay for someone else’s knowledge. That person teaches you how to do something. You study knowledge that someone else has organized for you to learn.
Information products generally deal with packaged how-to information. How to start a business. How to keep a marriage together. How to lose weight. How to do anything. This information can be shared in books, seminars, special reports, websites, teleconferences, mentoring, one-on-one coaching… the list is endless. Everyone has an internal bank account of knowledge and skill. What do you know that others might be willing to pay you to teach them? By sharing this knowledge and skill with others, you can earn substantial profit—sometimes very quickly, as we’ll show you in the next chapter.
The first step is to take an inventory of your marketable products, services, and information. In other words, what products, services, and information do you possess right now that you can sell? These are your own PSIs… not someone else’s. In other words, if we were to send you out into the world either face-to-face or online, what do you have that you could sell? What skill do you possess that you could sell? What information do you possess that you could sell?
As an entrepreneur, problem solver, and creator, you’re looking for people who have problems that you were born to solve. You can hardly wait for one of your creations—your PSI solutions—to be of use to someone else. The profit you earn is nice… but the reason to create it wasn’t solely money. That’s just the side benefit. You’re an entrepreneur and you love to create solutions.
ROBERT ALLEN: I first bought real estate for myself as an investment. Real estate was the product product. I loved it. Couldn’t get enough. Then I became a Realtor and learned how to sell real estate to other people. Selling was my service product. I didn’t love it as much. So I created my own real estate investing seminars to teach other people how to do what I knew how to do. Teaching was my information product. I’m absolutely passionate about it. I’ve made money in all three areas. But teaching is my passion.
MARK VICTOR HANSEN: I started a company marketing geodesic domes (product product). I loved it and was doing well until the oil embargo of the late 1970s. The business went bust. I came up with an idea for a book (informationproduct) and sold twenty thousand copies as I spoke to audiences as a public speaker (service product). I still earn enjoyable profits speaking to audiences all around the world. Then, with Jack Canfield, I came up with Chicken Soup for the Soul (information product). Fantastic!
If you open up the Yellow Pages, you’ll find thousands of businesses. Most of them can be categorized as products, services, or information:
WHO WILL BE THE END USER
OF THE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND
INFORMATION THAT YOU CREATE?
Will your PSI be sold directly from you (as a businessperson) to customers? That’s called B to C, business to consumer.
Will you sell your PSI to other businesses? That’s called B to B, business to business.
Will you become part of the network marketing industry and market products directly to consumers with the opportunity to have your customers become business partners with you? That’s called B to B2, business-to-business marketers. (You’re not only selling nutritional products, you’re selling nutrition businesses.)
Perhaps your PSI will be sold to philanthropies to assist them in raising money—business to philanthropies. Our friend Wayne Dyer sells his information products through PBS and helps them raise money for their ongoing programming such as Sesame Street.
B to C
Business to consumer
B to B
Business to business
B to B2
Business to business marketers
B to P
Business to philanthropy
So your wheel of fortune looks like the illustration below. This is the why, who, what, how, when, and where of your business:
Your goal as an entrepreneur is to scan your own mind and heart and find opportunities to create profitable PSIs from the things you’re passionate about. However, one of the richest caches of profit from your own experience is often in the least likely area—problems.
Before you choose your PSI path, let’s make sure you realize how many millions are found in the problems that have been plaguing you for perhaps your whole life.
Here’s your wax on/wax off assignment before you turn to the next chapter. Make a list of the ten greatest challenges in your life at this time.