So here is the gig: now more than ever, baby boomers are losing their jobs to those individuals who are younger, less expensive, and in some cases more relevant than they are. They are smart, experienced, and talented individuals who are finding themselves adrift after giving years of their professional life to a company or an organization with little (if any) loyalty for their service. Many are at a loss as to where to go, what to do, and how to move forward when they find themselves in this position. In fact, a few years ago, during the height of the economic bubble burst, many folks embraced the concept of a ‘portfolio career’. Amazingly, this approach has become more of a standard than an exception over the past several years. I compare this diversification of income streams to diversifying your investment strategy versus putting all your money into one stock. Of late, many of my colleagues and clients have shared with me their desire to integrate many interests into their professional pursuits. These desires are not attributed to their ‘losing their jobs’ or their unhappiness in their jobs or even their lack of success; it IS due to their realization of just how much money it takes to retire (in the manner they desire) – given the state of our Union, the aging population, the healthcare system – to name just a few extenuating factors.
Now, in the spirit of full transparency, I began my career (and revenue stream) diversification strategy over ten years ago; and most recently (3 years ago) many of you know I embraced another revenue stream through network marketing. At first, I was frankly very skeptical. Like many reading this article, I had outdated assumptions relative to this business model. Yet, very soon thereafter, I ‘got it’ and shifted my mindset and outdated assumption of this business model – to realize that this IS the new world order thanks to social media and the internet. Quite simply, I realized I was at the right place, at the right time, with the right company, the right product geared to the most rapidly growing demographic, and the perfect ‘go to market’ approach.
I meet people every day through my work with Alignment, Inc. and my other businesses, who are not thrilled with where they are (or where they are going) – yet, are unsure what to do. I wrote about this reality in my 2nd book in the “Is This Seat Taken?” book series; which highlights folks that invent (note: I did not say ‘re-invent’) themselves somewhat late in life. And yes, more than one person I wrote about, pursued the ‘portfolio approach’ and built the life they desired AND a healthy, sustainable residual income stream. I wanted to share a few perspectives AND dispel a few myths and objectives relative to becoming an entrepreneur…..at any stage in our lives.
- Being an entrepreneur puts YOU in the driver’s seat. My friend, first time boss, and amazingly successful business man, Ed McLaughlin, has written a best-selling book: “The Purpose is Profit” about the virtues of entrepreneurship and how to be successful. It is rich in content and a ‘must read’ for anyone in business. Go get this book today.
- Open your mind to a portfolio approach. I am a 100% convert. This concept has recently been written about in Forbes and in fact, a tremendously provocative book, “And What Do You Do?” offers 10 steps to actually build a life and business around many strands of expertise and revenue streams. I loved this book – as it encourages direct and passive revenue approaches. For example, a person can be an author, speaker, consultant, direct-sales business owner, and coach (aka: Me, Alignment, Inc. Is This Seat Taken? author, and successful CEO of my own multi-level business) – thus leveraging all areas of an individual’s expertise and experience. This concept of diversifying is not new to the corporate arena; and it makes perfect sense to apply it to our own lives and businesses, as well. Like the old adage offers – “don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket.”
- Resist the temptation to ‘cave’ to the many excuses for NOT embracing alternative revenue streams AND specifically casting aside a multi-level marketing approach due to ‘old assumptions’ and ‘bad data’. Let’s address a few of these objections:
I cannot afford it. Well, I understand that when we first start a new venture, it may cost something – in time and money. Yet, what I have observed many times, is folks who REALLY want to make this work – will. It is 100% mind over matter. In fact, most of my business partners paid for their business in the first 30 days…and the rest is virtually profit. Though it may sound like a cliché – if we truly need/want to create a healthy revenue stream and the retirement we desire – ‘we cannot afford NOT to afford it’.
I am SO busy, I can’t add one more thing to my plate. In a nutshell, two truisms: Folks make time for what they want to make time for AND if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person! Yes, time is one of our most valued assets – no question. Yet, what I know for sure is if you can give even as little as 3 hours a week – and FOCUS on revenue producing activities in those 3 hours – you can (and will) be successful. The days of working 80-100 hours a week for someone else are over for me….isn’t it time you took back your life and created the TIME FREEDOM (and $$$ FREEDOM) you want?
This can’t work. It sounds too good to be true. I have heard of SO MANY FOLKS that have failed with this approach. Well….frankly, the only person who owns that is that person. We all know this, in our heart of hearts. Let’s face it – if we want something badly enough, we will work hard until we get there. There is no free lunch. We have a ‘rule of thumb’ in my network marketing business, that CONSISTENCY and DISCIPLINE are everything. It is directly comparable to trying to lose weight and get into shape….working out 30 minutes a day is WAY more effective than working out 1 hour on Saturday and Sunday. It has been proven, time and time again, if we reach out to 3-5 folks every day – we will create a thriving business. Think about it – 5 folks every day is 35 folks a week or 140 a month or a whopping 1680 a year!! So yes, it is very doable, not complicated, and can be very easily integrated into our daily lives. This can be applied to pretty much any business model or opportunity.
- Resist the tendency to pre-judge alternative approaches.This can be hard for many who have years of learned behavior or preconceived ideas about jobs, vocations, and even companies. For example, I have friends who have taken their passion for fitness and become instructors at Beyond Pilates – which is a series of fitness studios which is on fire with growth. Whatever and however we choose to contribute in our professional lives, it helps to have our choices fully aligned to our core intentions. For me, my ‘why’ to coin Simon Sinek’s now famous phrase from his TED talk is: to help individuals and collections of individuals become aligned to reach their potential. Never before would I ever have thought this would manifest in this exciting, diverse portfolio career. Yet – it has – and what I can say passionately and unabashedly is this: we need to take our blinders off and explore those previously dismissed alternatives – and view them for what they can be: lucrative, fun, and another dimension to how we show up in life.
- So, here is the final observation. Everything we say to ourselves will manifest. Limiting beliefs and ‘self-talk’ does come true…..thus, if we use excuses and blame others…our life as we know it will continue. As the familiar phrase says: “Nothing ever changes until we change”. So LEAN IN….. (The short phrase that has become common nomenclature thanks to Sheryl Sandberg). I have been a believer of ‘leaning in’ for decades; and, by the way, this does not mean that being a CEO or high-ranking corporate executive must be the end game. Our application of ‘leaning in’ is 100% determined by the individual. Leaning in can actually mean ‘jumping off’. Our next act does not have to be the final act. It is just that: the NEXT act. Go for it. Diversify your revenue streams. Take the FIRST STEP. Life is so short – I am continually reminded of our mortality. Thus, there is NO time like right now…this very minute. There is more than one way to create the life you want…..AND the old-fashioned ‘stigmas’ of career paths have changed. The NEW MODELS are the future of our economy……what are you waiting for? In the past few years, I have created very successful businesses – for no other reasons than Faith, belief in my team and clients, being willing (and eager) to continue learning, AND listening to those I respect – not the ‘negative Nellies’ who have done all they can to ‘poo poo’ these choices. Reach out to me – I would love to show you how you can do the same!!