The Greatest Gift You Can Give

You. No – the genuine you…

The you that at some point in your past you parked in a corner so you could do the “responsible thing” and take that “secure” corporate job that was on the path to high income, great benefits and which might let you enjoy life sometime after your 65th birthday.

Give your family you.

That is the greatest gift that you can give your family.

How can that be, though? You have always had their best interest in mind. You always wanted to be their provider, their rock, their stability.

Does your family find true enjoyment in you working long hours, being a road warrior, coming home stressed and answering emails on your smart phone when you are with them? Is there even the slightest chance that your grown kids will someday look at you and say “Dad/Mom, I wish you had worked more”?

The rules changed. Not just some of them, pretty much all of them.

Today the corporate job that was supposed to be the safe secure path to a happy retirement is often just a momentary stopover until the next gig. Employees tend to be pawns on a chessboard that are disposed of to hit earnings expectations or maintain stock price. Many employers don’t worry about employee satisfaction because there is a robust pool of people eager to work and often employees leave seeking something better.

December is one of the most likely months for corporate downsizings.

That’s the bad news. But there is good news. While the good faith contract between employee and employer that we knew 20 years ago has largely evaporated, the perceived wall between being an employee and being a business owner has disappeared completely.

Takeaway number one:

• All income is now grouped as portfolio revenue, even your paycheck
• There is no philosophical difference between a paycheck and a disbursement

In your portfolio you leverage four things:

1. Skills,
2. Experience,
3. Time, and
4. Money

A job requires you to apply high skills, low money and high time. You tend to have only one job in your portfolio at a time, if you have one at all. Physically you can’t take on two 60-hour per week jobs, so this is the monetary limitation here.

You don’t get hired for a job then subcontract it out to another executive for less money in order to free up your time and generate profit. While jobs provide a perceived sense of a secure revenue stream they also have a healthy dose of income limitations for really skilled operators.

A business requires you to apply high skills, a range of money (low to high) and a range of time (low to high). This is where you get to find out if you are as good as you think you are. For reasonably skilled operators the best returns may be in business ownership.

If you would be a good hire for a corporate job, how could you possibly be a bad investment for yourself?

A stock or real estate investment requires you to apply low to mid skills, low to high money and often low time – a good portion of a portfolio, but not one where your skills influence the outcome by much.

The financial benefits of these approaches will also cover a wide range. The key is diversification, not a new idea but when you broaden your view to consider all revenue as coming from your portfolio, and a portfolio having anything from a job to a business (or both) or more traditional investments, then it becomes interesting.

Those four items you can leverage to build your portfolio can determine how big the outcome. If you are short in any of the four areas, your first goal may be to figure out how to overcome that deficit.

Business owners leverage everything: Money, time, experience, resources, etc. They seek to make more while working less so that they can enjoy life before they get to 65 years old.

Business owners don’t get downsized. The key to the whole equation is to make sure you know yourself (I will mention your model again here – contact me if you need help putting one together). Your specific skills, strengths, experience and how you like to work will play a role in what you try to connect to your portfolio whether a job, business or other endeavors.

So, now that we have removed the separation between jobs and business ownership how does it feel? Different world?

Corporate America has given us all a gift, they removed the biggest reason that most people would want to be there for their entire careers. Without job security, benefits and quality of life we see jobs losing their hold on professionals. The best and brightest in corporate America are among our clients every single day.

At this point the best thing corporate America offers is the ability for a young worker to build the skills and experience they can then leverage into business ownership mid-career. Will we see corporate careers more likely to end at 40 than at 65-70? We already are! You set off on a rewarding career where you could go do big things and live a life you envisioned as you were leaving school.

You wanted to enjoy life, have a family and pursue your hobbies and interests. It was a clear and simple goal. Along the way things maybe turned out a little different than you expected. You work a little harder, travel a little more and feel like the goals you had are still out on the horizon.

But, you have built the resources needed to pursue your goals. The happiness you sought is still available to you. One thing is certain: There are people less capable than you accomplishing greater things than you have yet to imagine for yourself.

If you would hire yourself, this may be your time. We have seen folks just like you thrive after going through our process.

Mr. Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.

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