secrets_of_millionaire_moms

Secrets of Millionaire Moms

Learn How They Turned Great Ideas Into Booming Businesses

On the road to $1M rating:

dollar2

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.

You can leave a comment here

.

Advertisements

double your income

Double Your Income Doing What You Love:

Raymond Aaron’s Guide to Power Mentoring

On the road to $1M rating:

dollar2

The title of Raymond Aaron’s book is misleading. I thought it would discuss strategies to turn your hobby or passion into a profitable business. Instead, it deals with how to set goals and strategies to achieve them -whether the goal is to double your income, give more to charity, or improve your relationship with your spouse, is up to you.

The book introduces a method to systematically analyze your life and set up goals related to different aspects of it -family, work, personal fulfillment. Then you have to work on those goals. Aaron suggests different strategies to help you put a stop to procrastination and start taking steps -however small- in the right direction.

If you’ve read Brian Tracy’s Goals! -or, for that matter, any other book on goal setting or beating procrastination- my summary of Double Your Income may sound familiar. Indeed, the two books share not only the overall theme -how to achieve your goals- but also many of the specific advices -goals should be written down to increase accountability, overwhelming tasks become doable when broken into small steps, etc.

So what’s the unique proposition behind Double Your Income? Unfortunately, the book’s selling point is what I liked least about it: according to Aaron, his method is inspired by the Law of Attraction.

If you’ve seen my post on the Law of Attraction and the ensuing discussion, you know that my main objection to it is the way it presents otherwise sensible ideas wrapped up in a mixture of pop-psychology and mysticism. I agree that clearly defining and thinking about our goals makes us more likely to take a first step and eventually achieve a better life. But I don’t agree this is because thinking about our goals sets the Universe in motion to deliver what we really desire and deserve.

Aaron, however, is a firm proponent of the Law. Every single paragraph of Double Your Income had me cringing with notions such as the following:

  • The Law of Attraction holds the secret to “achieve your goals effortlessly”.

  • It is essential to phrase statements in the positive for the Universe to “deliver [what we] really desire”. Conversely, by making negative statements -and therefore “invoking the Law of Attraction badly”- we become doomed to receive things we don’t want.

  • There is “spiritual proof that you have a life mission”.

I don’t understand the need to contaminate ideas that make perfect sense by themselves with simplistic pictures of a Universe that will deliver our dreams just by the power of positive thought -or, as Aaron puts it, automagically. Let’s be honest: success won’t come without effort. And “the Universe” won’t decide our fate based on our positive or negative attitude -we achieve things not by tweaking our life outlook but through simple hard work.

There’s one more thing I disliked about Double Your Income: every two pages you’re directed to Aaron’s website for complementary material. Once there, you’re asked to provide your email address before you can see the content. Soon afterwards you receive the first email asking you to sign up for Aaron’s expensive 17-month mentor program. This left me wondering whether the book was no more than an elaborate sales letter.

Because of my misgivings, I cannot strongly recommend the book despite all the useful, common-sense techniques it teaches to help define your goals and work on them. Nevertheless, if you’re a Law of Attraction devotee or can cut through all the mystical mumbo-jumbo, you may actually enjoy it. In either case, I’d love to hear your opinion of it -if you’ve read the book, you can leave a comment here.

Getting_loaded

Getting Loaded:

Make a Million While You’re Still Young Enough to Enjoy It

On the road to $1M rating:

dollar3

I’ve mentioned previously how valuable I think it would be for kids to get a basic financial education before they go to live away from home. And for those interested in the topic, this book is a fantastic place to start. Getting Loaded is specifically targeted to young people, and it’s a thorough introduction to the main financial issues they’re inevitably going to encounter in the following years: from credit cards to taxes, investing, insurance, pension plans, or buying a home.

As I said, the book is mainly targeted to people of around college age, but it works for older ones as well -I learnt a lot from it about such things as umbrella insurance policies and disability insurance. The quest to reach a young audience, however, sets its tone, which is funny, at times even annoyingly so: each single paragraph seems to contain at least one joke, which occassionally left me with the impression that the author -Peter Bielagus- was trying too hard. He nevertheless deserves praise for trying to make personal finance -not the most alluring topic- accesible to the young.

The book makes a remarkable effort to warn teenagers and 20-somethings against all those things we now wish we had avoided, like getting swamped in debt if you go to college or not taking the opportunity to contribute into your first job’s 401(k) -particularly if it came with matching contributions.

Of course Bielagus is aware that a typical 20-year-old will have a list of a thousand things on which to spend their first wage, which probably doesn’t include contributing to their pension. But instead of telling them to save because “it’s good for you” or “you’ll be happy you’ve done it when you retire” -who can imagine retirement when they’re 20?- he puts forward these hopefully more convincing -and less long-term- arguments:

  • Starting to save while young allows you to rip all the benefits of compound interest. (Granted, this sounds very much like “you’ll be happy you started young when you retire”, but maybe seeing the actual numbers can inspire some young readers to take action).

  • Keeping your finances in place can help you achieve your dreams. In other words, instead of longing for the day your parents will buy you a new car, why not make a specific plan, find out how much money you actually have, how much you could save if you gave up cable t.v. or started working part-time, and how long it would take to put the money together to buy the car yourself?

  • Your savings may even provide you with extra money to spend on the other things on your list. (Several chapters in the book cover the basics of investing, an activity that could yield good retuns to readers willing to be patient).

For added value, the book throws in extra tips that young boys and girls can use to reduce their -or their parents’- tax bill or get a discount when buying their first car. It even makes a convincing case for them to start their own business -a suggestion I liked so much that I dedicated a whole post to it.

I was very pleased with the book overall, but of course I don’t know what younger people think about it. If you’re a teenager and have read it -or if your teenage kids have given it a shot-, I’d be very interested in hearing your opinion.

In the press these days:

TALKBACK

  • Have you or your kids read this book?

  • Did you find it useful? Would you recommend it to a teenager interested in learning about personal finance?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION HERE

the_millionaire_maker_2

The Millionaire Maker:

Act, Think, and Make Money the Way the Wealthy Do

On the road to $1M rating:

dollar4

My first impression reading The Millionaire Maker is that all the key ingredients are in there: Loral Langemeier’s writing transmits energy and determination; the first chapters are motivating and encouraging; by the end of the third one I want to get up and take an active step to accelerate the process of building my wealth!

But when I do get up I cannot think of a single idea from the book I could apply straight away. I’m not able to translate the impressive-sounding concepts that surround me from page one -Lifestyle Cycle, Freedom Day, Wealth Cycle Process, Wealth Plan, Wealth Account, Wealth Team, Conditioning, Team-Made Millionaire- into concrete actions. Is it just me, or is there a problem with the book? In order to answer this question, let me go back to the beginning.

The premise in The Millionaire Maker is simple: the author introduces us to a series of fictional characters who have different financial backgrounds -too much debt, a job they’re about to lose, abundant but unproductive assets- but share one thing in common: they are not rich. Langemeier claims that she can transform all these people into millionaires. And, according to her, this is an easy task, as she and her colleagues have unveiled the secret to making wealth. The purpose of the book is, of course, to reveal this secret to us.

As I continue reading, I can’t help but notice that the wealth-building secret presents many troubling aspects. The profiled individuals are encouraged to take unrealistic steps. We come across middle-class families who are advised to set up a structure of S and C corporations; countless people with no previous experience in business quitting their full-time jobs to start one; couples encouraged to refinance their primary residence to invest the proceeds in rental properties. By chapter 6 I’m wondering what happened to all those who followed the author’s advise to invest in buy-to-let at the peak of the real-estate market after the 2008 collapse. Are they now part of the foreclosure epidemic?

Langemeier’s defense of her risky suggestions is that wannabe-rich people don’t invest in the meager opportunities available to you and me. Apparently, it’s usual for them to come across projects offering 50 percent yearly returns with “no money or credit down”. As for the risk involved, she goes as far as to claim that “risk can be measured, quantified, and often removed”. How curious that the promise of high profits with no risk was also used by Bernard Madoff to lure his clients.

And even if these investments existed, where does this selected group of people find them, anyway? The answer is that they have a team of professionals scouting the country for the best deals. The role of the team is emphasized over and over in the book. The key to wealth building appears to be to throw a team at it. This team must include mentors, professional advisers, bookkeepers, graphic designers, field partners, lawyers, accountants, business brokers, assistants, commercial and residential brokers, builders, contractors, and computer support personal, among others. Well, I bet you can make anybody rich with this type of support!

By the end of the book I’ve realized that this is not the place where I’m going to find resources to help me take my start-up business off the ground, or make decent returns on my investments. And I don’t think it will be the place for you either. Although if you’re into thinking big and decide to take the book’s advice, be warned: risk may be measured and even quantified, but it can never be removed while ensuring consistent profits. Whoever claims the opposite isn’t telling the truth.

TALKBACK

Have you read this book? Please leave your opinion about it HERE