secrets_of_millionaire_moms

Secrets of Millionaire Moms

Learn How They Turned Great Ideas Into Booming Businesses

On the road to $1M rating:

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They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and the saying applies literally to Tamara Monosoff’s Secrets of Millionaire Moms: if you can look beyond the shabby cover and the flat, black-and-white inside layout -betraying that the book was originally published in ebook format- you will be pleasantly surprised.

Monosoff draws on her own experience as an entrepreneur and those of 17 other women -all of whom decided to turn their ideas into start-ups and eventually grew them into multimillion-dollar companies- to illustrate the steps needed to create, manage, and grow a business.

The first original aspect of the book is that all the profiled entrepreneurs are women, many of them in their 50’s and beyond -while I think it’s safe to say that the typical image of a self-made, millionaire entrepreneur would be that of a man. And there is a further catch: as the book title suggests, all these women have kids, and have had to work hard at achieving the elusive work-life balance, coming up with ingenious ideas to be able to enjoy their children while they worked hard on their businesses.

The fact that the book focuses on moms doesn’t make it any less of a business book. Apart from a chapter about juggling family and business, all the topics covered are of prime interest to anybody considering starting their own venture: how to turn your life-fantasy into a workable business plan, the importance of understanding the finances, how to raise capital, administer assets, or manage employees.

I think that most readers would define Secrets of Millionaire Moms as female-oriented. Being told from a female perspective, it often touches on issues that are typically considered of more interest to women. For instance, references abound to the internal critic that continuously reminds you of the reasons you can’t do something -it’s usually assumed that this nefarious inner voice is more commonly a problem for women, although I suspect that many men will be acquainted with it too. There’s also a discussion of the guilt factor from being away from your kids which, if the readership of blogs on the topic is anything to go by, is also of greater concern to women than men.

This is not to suggest that men won’t find the book useful and enjoyable. The times when a man could -and would want to- spend all his life working while leaving his wife to take care of the household and the family are long gone. Men entrepreneurs will at some point in their lives come across the difficulty of juggling work with family life, and the fact that a business book tackles this topic head on should be welcomed as a refreshing novelty, in step with modern times.

In the end, the book is extremely inspiring without lacking realism: while it continuously underlines the importance of believing in yourself, it doesn’t hide that being an entrepreneur can sometimes be difficult -you may have to spend birthdays away from your kids, have money troubles, feel anxious and stressed, or be obliged to fire employees. The ultimate message, however, is a positive one. All interviewees agree that the sacrifices they made were worthwhile, and more than compensated by the gains in terms of flexibility, outlets for their creativity, and financial independence.

I loved reading a business book written by a woman who was able to achieve her dreams through hard work. While I cannot stress enough that both male and female readers will enjoy the book, it’s still harder for us women to find entrepreneur role models. Thanks to Secrets of Millionaire Moms, I’ve found several to add to my list.

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10 Reasons to Start a Business (While You’re Still a Teenager)

bored_and_poorThe postcard in the picture describes in just two words how many of us used to feel all too frequently during our teenage years. In Getting Loaded: 50 Start Now Strategies for Making 1,000,000 While You’re Still Young Enough To Enjoy It, Peter Bielagus spells out his suggestion for young people who’re not happy about being bored and poor: Start a business!

This clashes with common wisdom, which favors waiting until you’re older and more experienced. But by waiting you risk leaving it until you’re surrounded by responsibilities -work, children, mortgage- and with no free time to speak of. While you’re a teenager you’ve got lots of time at your disposal, and those years are likely to be your most creative ones. Why not put them to good use?

Starting a business while young, whether it grows into a full-time occupation or remains a part-time endeavor that you abandon before you finish college or get a job, will provide you with a wealth of experience that’ll serve you well whatever you end up doing in later life. As Bielagus puts it in Getting Loaded, “It will teach you things no classroom can teach you, like how to deal with rejection, fear, failure, success, and, most important, people”. Consider it your very own practical MBA.

While there are good reasons to start a business at any point in life (no age is too young, none is too old), these are the main ones why it pays to start a business while you’re a teenager:

  1. You can afford to take more risks. You don’t have to worry about whether investing in the business puts your children’s financial wellbeing at risk. Plus, in the face of any setback, you’ve got many years in front of you to recover -or try again.

  2. You have drive. You’re in the age of thinking big. Your dreams have no ceiling and you’re passionate beyond reason. Tap into that energy -and apply it to an idea you believe in.

  3. You have energy -certainly more than most people 20 years older than you.

  4. You want to annoy your parents. Don’t they give you a hard time with their never-ending speeches about becoming a lawyer? Show them there’s more to life than Law School!

  5. You want to make your parents proud, too. They’ve told you a hundred times you should grow up. What a better way to show you’re able to take responsibility for your own life?

  6. The experience will serve you later in life, whether you continue with the business, start another one, go to college, or get a job.

  7. You hate feeling bored. Once you start working on your idea, you won’t have time for boredom. Actually, you won’t have much free time at all. But as long as you’re working in your passion, you won’t miss it, either.

  8. You have plenty of friends. I bet that many of them are also looking for something to do. They can become a source of cheap labor to tap into, they can help you brainstorm ideas, or even become your business partners.

  9. You want to be popular. How many people your age own their own company? Your friends will admire this, and you may even inspire some of them to start a businesses of their own -and they’ll queue to get your expert opinion.

  10. You want to find your purpose. A business will expose you to activities you’ve never performed before. Do you hate keeping business books? Do you enjoy developing ideas to help others? Do you love the contact with other people? Everything you discover about your likes and dislikes will help you find a direction for your adult life.

So if you’re young and have a passion, give a thought to the possibility of turning it into a business. Don’t let the hurdles -lack of money the most obvious one- deter you from trying: be creative and you’ll come up with ways around them. Ask yourself:

  • How could my passion be turned into a product or service that would benefit other people?

  • Is there a similar product or service in the market people are prepared to pay for? Can I improve on it?

  • Which creative strategies can I use to put my product or service in the market without a big initial investment? Could I start pitching it to neighbors, colleagues, friends, local associations?

Hopefully answering these questions will provide you with a whole new perspective on what until now you considered just a hobby. So now just get moving. Good luck!

To Quit or Not to Quit

Who hasn’t ever fantasized with quitting the day job to start their own business? I often imagine how wonderful it would be to have the freedom to work on what I want, when I feel like it, while making money in the process.

Unfortunately, the reality isn’t necessarily as rosy as the dream. When you start your own business, you will very rarely do what you enjoy most, and will certainly have very little free time.

If you start on your own, you will be responsible not only for performing your business’s main activity, but also for every other chore, no matter how dull -from bookkeeping to cleaning your home office.

You may hire employees, in which case you will add to your main task that of supervision, and you will be liable, among other things, for paying their wages, providing health insurance, or withholding employment taxes.

If you’ve read up to this point and, despite all the drawbacks, are able to see the appealing side of being your own boss, you will find some books out there that encourage you to take the plunge, such as Ian Sanders’ LEAP! Ditch Your Job, Start Your Own Business & Set Yourself Free

Chances are, however, that you’ll want some insurance before you trade a wage for uncertain profits. Ditching the 9-to-5 routine is tricky, and most of us will be too risk-averse to do it at once. The question, then, becomes whether it has to be a stark transition. Isn’t there a middle way?

Starting your business while you’re still employed seems like the perfect compromise. You can use your wage to finance the start-up phase and delay the crucial jump until you’re sure of the business’s viability.

But there’s a reason why I suspect this idea rarely works: who would have the time to juggle a job and a side business, let alone the rest of life’s responsibilities -shopping, exercising, taking care of the kids, spending quality time with your partner … The list is endless. This route would seem apt only for those with top notch management skills -and hopefully an understanding spouse!

Nevertheless, in the course of reading books about making money and, in the process, finding the freedom to follow your life vision, I’ve come across plenty of examples of people who started in this precise way and ended up not only quitting their job, but exceedingly succeeding at their new ventures.

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In her book Cash Machine for Life, Laurel Langemeir -the creator of the Wealth Cycle, whom you may know from the Dr. Phil show, talks about how she built her company Live Out Loud while working for a large corporation.

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Ewen Chia describes in How I Made My First Million on the Internet and How You Can Too! his own experience working at a large telecommunications company in Singapore while dedicating all his free time to learning the secrets of online money-making. He experimented with different strategies for 5 hours a day during 5 whole years, at the end of which not only had he not made any money, but was actually $50,000 in debt. His breakthrough came with an affiliate marketing site that would provide him with considerable earnings and kick-start his way to riches.

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My much admired Tim Ferriss, of The 4-Hour Workweek fame, reminisces in the book about starting his dietary supplement company while still employed –in his case, it wasn’t long before he got fired.

I imagine that for each successful story there may be several others of people who discovered that self-employment was not for them, who got tired of trying, or never managed to take their business idea off the ground. But I remain hopeful in view of the previous examples. If they teach us anything it’s that, if we have the courage and the determination to follow our dream, we may just manage to pull it through!

TALKBACK

  • Do you have an experience relating to this topic?

  • Are you running a small business on the side while working full time?

  • Did you start your business while employed but have now left your job and become self-employed?

  • What problems have you faced incubating your business idea while still working for somebody else?

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