Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Hope

If you're political, you may read that one way... if you're a sci-fi geek, quite another. With the coming of the new year, the possibilities before us always seem fresh and new, too bad we squander them year-after-year.

Not this year!

Why don't we actually get what we want this year? Are you with me? OK, it's not that 2009 was that bad (OK, for some it was)... but it wasn't all that it could have been. My plans for 2009 fell short. I suspect yours did, too.


Maybe we didn't really have a plan at all. Just a "hope". I remember reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" years ago. It's filled with the stuff that helps motivate you to think differently about your situation; to take responsibility for it and to use positive thinking to overcome the obstacles that fall in our way. But the thing that a book like this often misses, is the specific actionable plan that would mean the difference between hoping for success and actually achieving it. For some of you, the issue may be weight loss (maybe just a few pounds) or improving your love life (who wouldn't?), but for my purpose today, it's about making more money — so that you can gain more freedom to save it or spend it on the things that are important to you.

3 New steps to take:

1. Jot down what you're making right now and how you obtain it.
(i.e - $50,000 managing a department in 45 hours a week). Now think about how that number could rise. Does more time at the job mean more money? Is that worth the effort? Is there a smarter way to gain more? Who else in your group has increased their pay and how did they achieve it? Maybe it's as simple as asking for a raise.

...or maybe you, like me, have no one to get a raise from.

If you're self-employed, you know your paycheck only comes from the clients you can "catch and keep". How can you increase the amount the current ones are willing to spend with you? Each and every one? Do that... actually write out what you're making from each one and come up with an idea of how you might earn more business. Of course, you can go after new business, but the lowest "hanging fruit" is found right in your own backyard. Don't forget about this. Often, it can be VERY easy to pick.

2. Set aside a time (an hour or two) every week to increase your pay. Go into your calendar and set it up (right after reading this) so that you'll do it. It's a meeting you can't miss. During that time, you'll think, strategize, write, call, mail, market or schmooze whomever or however you can to earn more business. It might be the hobby you had hoped would turn into a career. Now you have the makings of getting it off the ground. Maybe it's pursuing "whales" in your business with the intent of landing just one. Think what your payday will be like on the day that it comes to fruition. Will this extra time each week be worth the effort? By doing so, what do you honestly think the payday will be - ADD THAT NUMBER TO YOUR CURRENT INCOME. Now you have a number that's meaningful to shoot for - and honest, instead of simply wishful thinking. Wishes have a hard time of coming true... but even if you miss on your stated target now, you're likely to hit "A" target and your pay will be more than before!

3. Last thing... what's the one "crazy-ass" scheme you've had in your head all of these years? This is the year to give it a chance. So set aside a block of three hours that you can give to it this month. Then, another three next month. All in the same span. For a wild idea, you're going to need to stay at it a bit to work it out. Letting this find the light of day is one one big chance to really upset the apple cart. Far too many of us, never give it a go because it's easier to simply sit back and complain. Once you've figured out the basics, seek out support from friends in your network (maybe even a group I support called, The Big Ideas Group). The more tangible your big idea is, the more likely you'll have the opportunity to capitalize upon it.

Does any of this guarantee your success for 2010? Nope. But following these first three steps will give your rebel-self a fighting chance of seeing a marketable change in attitude (and hopefully your pocketbook) come this time next year!

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