So let’s move on to question #2: In this new economy, is it better to become an entrepreneur, or is it really safer to work for someone else?
The average household income in the United States is approximately $50,000 a year. If you wanted to be part of the top 25% of income earners, you would need to earn at least $90,000.
To reach the top 10% would be a household income of $140,000, the top 5% $190,000, and to be in the top 1% you would need a combined household income of at least $380,000 a year.
So here’s the question–if you wanted to move up to the top 25% or 10% or even the top 5% of income earners (and who wouldn’t want to?), can you see yourself moving up to these levels with your current means of income?
Most of us have been taught to not even dream that high, but why? In today’s new economy, it is more and more feasible to be a top income earner if you are on the right path. What do you think would give you the best chance to move up to these top levels of income? In my opinion and in the opinion of many experts, the answer is to become an entrepreneur.
The concept of entrepreneurship has been around for millennia. The great explorers, the crusaders, the pilgrims, and the American west pioneers. The founding of this country was very entrepreneurial. Breaking away from Great Britain to be able to live as we choose, work as we choose, worship as we choose. It was the essence of being an entrepreneur.
Here is what a few entrepreneurs have to say about this life path:
Paul Zane Pilzer – “Why in America where anyone could have anything, would people want to give up their freedom and become effectively a modern day slave, show up every morning at 7:30am leave at 5:30pm, sit down, shut up and do what your told.”
Susan Sly – “Think about the great entrepreneurs, they are visionaries, they have heart. They are willing to do today what others won’t, so they can do tomorrow what others can’t.”
Kim Kiyosaki - “In the world of entrepreneurship, there are no limits. You can make as much as you want depending on how much you want to work and how smart you are and how great a team you put together.”
But there are reasons people shy away from entrepreneurship, for one, it’s not easy. When people decide to become entrepreneurs and work for themselves, they have to make lots of decisions, but they are riskier than you might think.
Kevin Harrington best known as an investor on “Shark Tank” shared this, “Any kind of a retail business with build outs, is extremely expensive. Even a small store such as the popular yogurt shops today can run $300,000 or $400,000 to setup.”
The typical business start-up story is the same, small or large, new or experienced, you are taking a risk and can win big or lose it all, and most entrepreneurs lose it all two or three times before they make it.
Richard Branson is a great example of this. As a very wealthy English Business owner and investor, he has lost at least 15 businesses over the years. 80% of all new U.S. businesses crash and burn within their first 5 years, many in the first 18 months.
Meanwhile, 72% of Americans would love to be their own boss, according to a current Gallup poll, but they don’t know how to get there. There are actually only four options for the average new Entrepreneur:
- You can buy an existing business – The first question to ask is why are the owners selling? What’s wrong with it? Commonly it’s because they are tired, it is hard, or maybe they are not making the money they had hoped for.
- You could buy a franchise. Here there is less risk and it is a proven system, but it is very expensive any where from $100,000 to $1 million.
- You could start something from scratch, a completely new business, but most people don’t have the confidence that their product or service idea would really go big, or they are afraid to borrow that much money, or they don’t feel they have the skill set to start a new venture, especially in our regulation ridden and litigious society.
- They could become an investor in other people’s ideas and start-ups, but that can prove to be very risky indeed. Harry Dent says, “Venture capitalists, who are the very best and the most sophisticated at investing in new break-through businesses make it on 1 out of 11. That means 10 out of 11 are mediocre or fail, with most of the 10 failing. And Angel investors are lucky to get 1 out of 15 or 20.”
Robert Kiyosaki relates, “A business is a team sport. Like I have to have accountants, I have to have engineers, I have to have system designers, I have to have office staff and management, I have to have maintenance and sales and marketing, I have to have mission statements, I have to have legal, and all that.
The average joe-smo, even me, I go out there, I don’t have the skills to put a business together on my own.”
The food and hospitality industry has even a greater risk of failure. Authorities say that 90% of all first year non-franchise restaurants fail.
Even though 72% of Americans say they want to be entrepreneurs and be their own boss, the bottom line for the four traditional options is that each takes money, sometimes a lot of it, they take expertise and they take time. All of that adds up to just too much risk for most people.
But what if there was a way that you could have all of the proven aspects of business ownership and still control your own life? What if you had the proven product, the proven systems already in place, proven training, and you were in charge. And you didn’t have to risk a ton of money.
What if you had all of these good aspects of business minus the employer? Do you think more people would be open to working for themselves in that environment?
Two years ago, Ted Siedle wrote a piece for Forbes Magazine entitled, “The Greatest Retirement Crisis In American History.” He wrote, “We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world.
‘In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans.”
He says, “That dire prediction, which I wrote two years ago, is already coming true. Our national demographics, coupled with indisputable glaringly insufficient retirement savings and human physiology, suggest that a catastrophic outcome for at least a significant percentage of our elderly population is inevitable.
With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year-olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts – $100,000 if you believe the retirement planning industry, the future decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement”—will be grim.”
And that’s the upside. We are already seeing more and more elderly going back into the workforce to sustain themselves. This is known as the “work until you die” approach to employment. They can envision no other options.
If you ask the government, they’ll tell you that the national debt is about $17 trillion, and it is. What they don’t tell you is that’s only federal debt. There is another almost $3 trillion in state and municipal debt.
Add that to the $40 trillion is private debt and another $67 trillion in unfunded obligations such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and you end up with a combined debt burden and debt impact of at least $127 trillion. That’s 8.2 times the GDP. It doesn’t take an economist to see the writing on the wall.
And speaking of economists, respected economist Harry Dent said, “debt is like a drug, when you take it to excess it momentarily makes you feel good, it enhances your performance but it eventually kills you. ‘And that is what is happening, we are taking on more and more debt with less and less results, and this will likely continue until the debt gets so high that it crushes the whole system.”
70% to 85% of Americans hate their jobs or are not engaged in their work. Studies show that this negative emotional response to our work environment stems from a lack of personal ownership, a lack of freedom of creativity, overbearing office policies, and the inability to do what they enjoy or what they do best.
So it seems that the answer to our first question is not very glamorous.
Let’s paint a picture of the current American Dream. The American Dream is the story of the person who dreads going to work. Who is sick to their stomach on Monday morning with a 35% higher chance of a stress induced heart attack. A person who hates their alarm clock, and only gets a little glimmer of hope on a Wednesday because it’s “Hump” day.
Then they say “Thank God it’s Friday,” and they live for those two days a week where they get to be themselves, and don’t have to be around people they don’t like, and don’t have to play the workplace games and office politics. They don’t have to live the half-life they live during the work week.
The American Dream is working 50 weeks a year struggling to keep our sanity, spending hours ad nauseam in traffic, just to be able to have two weeks for vacation, only to realize that we’ve traded a “vacation” for a “stay-cation” because we’re so over-extended with lifestyle debt we can’t afford to go anywhere.
The American Dream has morphed into the American Nightmare.
There has to be a better way.
As an educator, speaker and business owner, I have spent my entire career helping thousands around the U.S. and Canada to change their thinking and to become entrepreneurs. And I strongly believe that there is in fact a better way to succeed in making a living and making a life.
The career landscape has changed dramatically, and many are still working in a model that is completely out of date. What worked for previous generations just isn’t working very well for anyone in the workforce whether they are close to retirement or just entering the job market.
Today we will explore three important questions:
- What’s really going on in the workplace today?
- In this new economy, is it better to become an entrepreneur, or is it really safer to work for someone else?
- If a person decides to become an entrepreneur, and start their own business, how can they do it without taking on massive risk?
To answer these questions we have consulted some of the most knowledgeable experts and thought leaders in the field of entrepreneurship such as:
Les Brown (Entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author)
Paul Zane Pilzer (Economic advisor for both Reagan and Clinton)
Robert Kiyosaki (Author, Entrepreneur)
Susan Sly (Entrepreneur and Author)
Harry S. Dent (Economist, Author)
Dr. O.C. Ferrell (Prof. Economics University of New Mexico)
Chris Brogan (Journalist, Author, Marketing Consultant)
Ali Brown (Entrepreneur)
Brian Tracy (Entrepreneur and Author)
John Assaraf (Entrepreneur, Life Coach)
Richard Brooke (Entrepreneur, Author)
Sandra Yancey (CEO/Founder, EWomenNetwork)
Bob Proctor (Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker Author)
Kim Kiyosaki (Entrepreneur, Author)
Mark Victor Hansen (Entrepreneur and author)
Cody Bates (Entrepreneur)
Jack Canfield (Entrepreneur and author)
My intention is to give you new information to allow you to make better choices that are not limited by an outdated model, as we all navigate this thing called the New Economy.
So let’s start with question number one: What’s really going on in our working world today?
Let’s look at unemployment. 30-40% of Americans are not working. But if you’ve been unemployed for more than six months, the government removes you from the unemployed list and pretends that you’ve dropped out of the labor force, according to Paul Zane Pilzer in a 2014 interview.
Pilzer has served as economic adviser to two US presidents and is a well-regarded economist and author. Pilzer stated, “I’ve often said that unemployment particularly structural unemployment, that’s unemployment due to technological changes, is the first sign of economical growth.
‘Think of it this way…there are ten people living on an island. They go out every day and fish. One day new technology shows up, a missionary brings them a net. Now using the net, one pilots the boat one throws the net—two fishermen can do all of the work that ten used to. That’s a 500% increase in productivity in one day—two doing the work of ten.
‘Now the island has a big problem. 80% unemployment, but the island still has all the wealth of the fish because the two people produce as much fish as 10 did. Of course looking back through history, these changes use to take hundreds or thousands of years and during that time we went into farming, and transportation some of us became doctors and some teachers or lawyers and we developed all of these new professions and new manufacturing jobs.
Today these changes are occurring literally in one day, when a new technological advance occurs, and we don’t have the social structures to deal with it or the ability to retrain all the unemployed people.”
On a global basis, everything is being turned upside down because of the rapidly advancing technologies. These new technologies while improving some things, are leading to the elimination of many jobs and consequently large numbers of unemployed who are not prepared for the new advanced technology jobs that now exist. And any training of new jobs will not happen in a university or college—their just too slow.
Robert KIyosaki, Author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, stated, “The idea of job security in the information age has been obsolete for ten years, but it is still taught in our school system and that is where the problem starts. There is not real-time financial education in our schools and people are still trained to be employees and work for that paycheck.
‘Middle class income has been in steady decline since the 1980’s, and all the while, parents are still telling their kids to go to school and get a job—it literally makes no sense.
‘As middle class incomes continue to decline, what happens to those people who are dropping out of the middle class? They are now re-labeled the “working poor.”
‘We are told that poverty in on the decline. Be that as it may, at the same time the number of the working poor is rising, people who are working fulltime but still on food stamps, those numbers are going up.”
If you’re going to control your future, you won’t be using an old method such as the 40/40 plan. The idea of graduating from college, finding a career with one or two companies and working 40 hours a week over 40 years—that day is over.
Some people say that if they can’t find a job, they should just go back to school to get even more qualifications, another outmoded approach. These perpetual students simply end up going several more years unemployed with not work experience and expanding their already choking student debt. By the way, national student loan debt has now exceeds $1 trillion.
As I mentioned earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau data shows that in actual purchasing power, wages of college graduates have been decreasing for the past ten years.
The average person, who has been working a lifetime in America today, is ending their working career with an average of $41,000 in assets. We’ve literally created a system where people earn just enough to survive while they are working. So, what happens when they’re done working? What happens during retirement?
This is the transcript of a short video from Vishen Lakhiani founder of Mindvalley.
So the big problem of life in industrialized countries is that all too often, we wake up one day at the age of 40, dreading going to work because we were forced to pick a career before we could legally buy a beer.
Why does this happen? Because so many of us in our younger years thought that a “means goal” was really an “end goal.” We confused the two and these two types of goals are really, really different.
And this is one of the lessons that I wish more people could learn earlier in life. The difference between and end goal and a means goal.
End goals are beautiful. End goals are the end result of being human. End goals are about experiencing love, traveling around the world, being truly happy, contributing to the planet—learning a new skill.
Means goals are the things that society tells us we need to have in place to get to happiness. For example, getting a good GPA, getting into a good college, getting into a particular firm, being with one particular someone—getting a good review at work.
The problem is we get so obsessed over these means goals that we loose sight of the end goals. For example, when I was younger, in the early 1990’s, I had a goal, and that goal was to graduate from a good college and get a job at the leading software company at that time, Microsoft. And I accomplished that goal. After five years of slogging it out, senior year of high school and then university, I finally ended up at Microsoft.
And 11 weeks later, I realized I absolutely hated my job, and I actually got myself fired. Why? Because I confused a means goal with and end goal.
Now what did I really want? What I really wanted was to travel around the world, to have my own business, to have the freedom to do what I wanted to do. And I simply thought that the only way I could afford all these things was to become a software engineer and slog it out for 20 years doing something I really didn’t like.
I confused the means goal with the end goal. All of us make that mistake. It’s not about law school, it’s not about GPA, it’s not about doing good on a particular test, it’s about truly experiencing life. Now if you think about it, all of life boils down to three things. And I call these—the three most important questions.
How do we avoid the trap of one day waking up at the age of 40, miserable in life and our job because we made the wrong decision? Well I have found that all end goals fall into one of three categories—it’s really only about experiences, growth, and contribution.
I call these the three most important questions. The three most important questions you can ask yourself are:
What do I want to experience in life?
How do I want to grow?
How do I want to contribute to the planet?
Why are these important? Well if you think about the first one, experiences—right? Money for example, is a means goal. We don’t really measure ourselves by the size of our bank account, however, we do live our lives based on the experiences money can buy, so in that sense money is still important, but what we really want are the experiences.
And let’s think about the other two, growth and contribution. Tony Robbins who is an amazing speaker and trainer, said that deep down inside we have two great spiritual needs; the need to grow ourselves and the need to contribute, and everything else just creates happiness, but true fulfillment comes from growth and contribution.
Now if you put all of this together, you have those three sections of your life; What do you want to experience in life? How do you want to grow? How do you want to contribute?
Answer these three questions, FORGET THE MEANS—go straight for the end—and you’ve come up with the most powerful thing you can do in terms of setting goals for your life.
And you’ll find, especially at an early age, that you’ll open up yourself to opportunities to go outside the system and to drive at the heart of being happy way faster than ordinary people.
Now this is such an important exercise that when someone enters my life, and we’re about to go into a partnership or a close friendship, I ask them these questions over a drink or a meal—I want to know what drives them? What experiences do they seek in life? How do they want to grow? How do they want to contribute? I believe in these questions so much that I even made this a part of our company Mindvalley.
So every new person who joins Mindvalley, we take them through an exercise where they answer these questions.
We have them write the answers to these questions on a single sheet of paper, we collect all of these papers and we put their photo on each and then we put all of them on what is perhaps the biggest vision board on the planet. And this is such a beautiful practice because you know exactly what drives your co-worker, what drives your employee, if you are a manager, you know exactly what are the motivations of the people under you just by looking at the answers to the three most important questions.
It’s a blueprint into their soul.
So I totally recommend this for anyone running an organization.
I want to get everyone who works for me, everyone I know as a friend to by-pass the rules of the Industrial Age society—to forget about what society says you have to do step-by-step, but instead, to go straight towards that end goal, towards the very essence of being human. It really is all about three things – Experiences, Growth, and Contribution.
[This is the transcript of a lecture I am preparing to give around the country. If you are in Las Vegas, contact me and I would be happy to deliver this lecture to your group over the next 60 days.]
The world is changing faster than ever. What used to take decades, is now taking years or months. And indirectly as a result of these changes, we have two looming crises, the elderly retirement crisis and the college-grad employment crisis.
Rumor has it that corporate America is not a safe place to work anymore. We’ve seen our friends get laid off or maybe we’ve been laid off. Some of those who are still working have had their pay cut. So Americans are overworked and underpaid and they seem to have less time and less freedom.
And there’s something wrong with society when we can measure at a national level, a 35% increase in the chance of a heart attack every Monday morning as people rush off to their jobs.
As of April 3, 2015, the Economic Policy Institute reported that,
In a complex economy, conventional measurements fall short. At 14.5 percent, the unemployment rate of workers under age 25 was slightly over twice as high as the overall unemployment rate, 6.7 percent.
But in today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of a large pool of “missing workers”(3.3 million-adds at least 3 points)—potential workers who, because of weak job opportunities, are neither employed nor actively seeking a job.
In other words, these are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger. Because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate. http://www.epi.org/publication/missing-workers/
Technology is accelerating and job security is rapidly declining. It just doesn’t seem like the 20th century models of making a living are as reliable as they used to be. In nearly every aspect of our lives we are adopting newer and better way to do things, but when it comes to earning a living, we are still stuck in the old ways.
We live in the greatest country on the planet but there are a lot of people sitting around being cynical. I say get a clue, there is a huge difference between “3rd world problems” and “1st world problems.” People are complaining and whining about the upsets of the old model when the obvious conclusion is to leave it and embrace the new model, the new economy, and that is what we are here to talk about today.
Since so much of our lives revolve around our work and the way we make our living, many people are thinking, there just has to be a better way.
The biggest challenge facing our world today is not making money, but what to do with all of the displaced unemployed people. With all of this transformation around us, people are being forced to make changes in employment and lifestyle, but they are frozen by indecision, afraid of making the wrong new career choice or afraid they don’t have the right skill set.
It’s time to face the truth: the industrial age is dead.
And as a result, going to school to be educated for employment is fast becoming an obsolete idea. A steady paycheck and the security of a single employer is an anemic industrial age idea.
Watch for Part Two
15 years ago, I sat in the living room of a female student of mine. She was a mother of 5 and had an idea she wanted to share with me.
She was shy and nervous. She fumbled and struggled to share what was in her heart.
I praised her for the effort and thought little of it. To my surprise, a decade and 1/2 later, Ann Webb is the owner of 2 businesses earning a multiple seven figure income, has a happy and fulfilling family life, is having real impact with her LifeVision students in Africa, and is a founding mentor in the Conscious Creator Mentoring Network.
In a recent telephone conversation I asked about her mission and she said, “The best part of what I do is seeing hundreds and thousands of lives change and transform as they begin using Ideal LifeVision in their daily routine. You see, in my experience, most people that I meet are unhappy with the results in their lives and at some point they express this burning desire to re-invent themselves.
‘Why? It’s very simple, they don’t have the body they want, the money they want, or the relationships they want. And even though this is the reality for most people, that ability to change the status quo and create the life they have always dreamed of appears impossible.
‘Because the truth is, they have no idea how to get clear on what they want or even why the things they’ve tried in the past have failed to deliver the results they were seeking. So over the past seven years, I’ve had the chance to guide thousands of people from all over the world through the sometimes rocky journey of living their ideal life.”