“The most important thing for a young man is to establish credit – a reputation and character.”

-John D. Rockefeller

You are now at that point when you should be asking yourself, “What’s next?”  Two very simple words that may in reality change your entire future.  In all my years of working with people to help them solve their money problems I’ve come to the conclusion that there is really only two ways to get out of debt,  spend less and make more.

I’ve devoted the majority of this book to the discussion of how to spend less, but the simple fact remains that most people will not get totally debt free on spending less alone.  You see there is a limit to how much progress you can make by just changing your spending habits.  No matter what your current financial situation, there are probably a number of expenses that simply can’t be cut to zero.  You still need to fill the car with gas to get to work.  You still need to buy food to feed your family and you still have to pay for the roof over your head.  Once you reach the limits of what’s possible in the way of spending less, the only way to go faster is to make more money that can be used to pay down your debt faster and eventually build wealth faster.

To realistically eliminate all their debts and remain debt free forever, most people need to make more money and they need to start making it fast to reduce the “money stress” in their life.   The final secret I want to share with you is how to make more money now.   This is the one universal way to accelerate the process of eliminating your debt and building lasting wealth for you and your family.

HOW TO GENERATE MORE INCOME QUICKLY

Let’s start off with some simple ways you can earn extra money really fast.  Often the extra money you need to balance your budget and start paying down debt is right at your fingertips, but you need to know where to look and how to get it.  Here’s a few suggestions that can help you start making more money starting as soon as tomorrow.

Ask for a raise or a promotion  – Over the years my companies have employed literally thousands of people.  As a business owner I can tell you there is nothing more valuable than a good hard-working employee.  Unfortunately they are hard to come by, but when you get one, you’ll do anything you can to hang on to them.

I’ve lost several valuable employees over the years who took another job solely to make more money.  Anytime I had the opportunity to keep a valuable employee by raising their compensation, I would always do it, as long as it was within reason.  You see giving someone a raise to keep them is almost always a better investment of precious company resources than hiring and training a new person to take their place.

I always admired those employees that would simply ask for a raise before taking another job.  It gave me a chance to match their salary and keep them on our payroll.  The problem is that very few employees ever ask for a raise and not too many employers are going out of their way to pay their employees more to keep them.  But when faced with the choice of paying a little more or losing a valuable member of their team, most employers will chose more.

So the first thing you need to do is approach your boss at work and ask if it would be possible to get a raise.  Don’t do it as a demand unless you’re willing to be potentially disappointed if they tell you no.  Do it in a constructive way.

Remind them of how much you enjoy and appreciate your job.  Let them know  of your loyalty to the company over the time you’ve been employed.   Assure them you want to be there for the long term.  Once you’ve hit on all these points, ask them if it would be possible to get an increase in your salary or wage in recognition of your commitment to your job and the company.

I always admired employees who asked for a raise or a promotion.  It showed they had ambition and that they were driven to succeed.  If they asked me for a raise or promotion, I would always be honest and tell them if I felt they deserved it and if not, why not.  It’s always great to know exactly where you stand with your boss and you shouldn’t be worried about discussing this topic if you know you’ve worked hard and demonstrated your value to the company.  So make it a point to ask the next day you go to work.

Ask for more hours – You can increase your income by working more hours at your present job.  Ask your supervisor if it would be possible to work more hours to increase your income.

Work overtime – Overtime is often optional and not every employee wants the extra work.  If you’re willing to work overtime, be sure to let your boss know and remind them frequently of your willingness to work overtime.  Often overtime opportunities are created by emergencies or unplanned events, like natural disasters, other employees getting sick or injured, or simply by someone not showing up for a shift.  If you’re the one always asking, you’re likely the first name that will pop into the bosses head when they need to fill an overtime slot.  Another benefit of working overtime is that it often generates and increase in the hourly pay or some additional financial benefit over your base salary or wage.

Work Weekends and Holidays – Just like working overtime, weekends and holiday’s are often shifts that are hard to fill.  While these shifts may take time away from family or other activities, they are a great way to increase your income immediately.  When I was in high school I worked in a shoe store and was paid mostly on commission.  I always loved to work the weekend shifts because that is when there was more traffic in the store so I could generate more income for the hours I worked.  I was always amazed at how many of the other employees would never volunteer for a weekend shift.  I was happy they turned them down because I gave me a chance to earn more money.

Get a part-time or second job – If you can’t get any more hour or income from your current employer, you may have to seek an additional job to increase your income.  There are many jobs that can be done in addition to a regular day job.  Delivery jobs are one great example.  While you may have to put your pride in your pocket to take a pizza delivery job, they are almost always looking for drivers and you get paid pretty well for the time you put in.  I’ve spoken with several college students that worked in food delivery jobs who said they got paid a flat rate for each delivery, a gas allowance and all the tips they could get.  When they added it all up, it was far more than the hourly wage they could earn working in a fast-food store or in another retail job.

Other examples of part-time or second jobs would be things like retail clerks, waiters and security guards.  While the pay may not always be the best, every extra dollar will help you accelerate your progress towards getting out of your financial hole.

Become a “secret-shopper” – You can earn extra money and get products and services for free as a secret shopper.  Many companies hire people to come and shop in their stores or visit their business to provide an independent report on their business, their employees or their products.  It’s become a whole industry in itself.  The legitimate secret shopper opportunities are typically offered through companies who hire and manage the shoppers and provide businesses with a ready workforce to deploy on a moments notice.

Secret shoppers are typically given very specific instructions on what to do on their “shop” assignment.  It may be something as simple as going to a store and buying a specific product and then taking it back for a return.  I’ve seen assignments ranging from going to a barber to get a haircut to eating out at a fancy restaurant, to taking a vehicle in for a repair at a body shop or mechanic.

In most cases the service or product you get is either paid for or given to you for free as part of your compensation.  The compensation is always listed upfront for every legitimate shopping assignment.  After you complete the shopping assignment, you are required to write a report and turn it into the person that hired you.  This report is how the business is able to get valuable feedback to help them better manage their business.  The quality of the report and the detail that you provide is the key element of this job.  Shoppers who fulfill their assignments faithfully and provide excellent reports are the ones that are often given the plumb assignments, like the free meals or trips to nice hotels.  Here’s a great resource to learn more about this industry if this sounds appealing to you:  secretshopper.com

Have other family members go to work – If you have other able bodied people in your family, it may be time that they start working to support the finances of the household.  Obviously every situation is unique, but in today’s economy it may require both spouses to work to support a family.  I know several families where the teenage children work outside of the home and help support the household along with the parents.  Nothing teaches responsibility more than having a job and contributing to your own welfare.

One of my best friends began working full-time at the age of 15 to support his single mom after his parents divorced.  The work ethic he learned as a teen carried over to his adult years and helped him become a very successful financial advisor.

Upgrade your employment – While this may not a be a quick fix unless you get that promotion or salary increase from your present job, you need to make sure you’re earning to your maximum potential.  Always keep an eye out for jobs in your field with other companies.  Keep a current resume and don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that fit your qualifications that offer more generous compensation.  While the job market has been tough the past few years, there are no shortages of jobs for those with good skills and a solid work ethic.  But you’ll never find those jobs if you’re not constantly looking.

Start your own business  –  There’s one final way to increase your ability to earn that I want to talk to you about.   The greatest financial windfalls I’ve experienced in my career came as a result of starting and building a successful business.  As a successful entrepreneur, part of giving back is helping you become a successful entrepreneur yourself.  I’d like to help you experience that same windfall in some small way with a business of your own.

If you’re planning on solving your financial problems by winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune from a relative you may never get there.  When you’re debt free all the money you’re currently spending to pay your debts will now be free cash flow that you can save and invest or spend on living the lifestyle of your dreams.  That’s a goal worth working and sacrificing for.

Ask yourself, “What would an extra $500-600 per month in extra cash mean to you and your family?”  For most people we meet, that amount is enough to make the difference between just getting by and getting ahead.  At a minimum, that extra cash could help you eliminate your debts years faster than you would otherwise.

Getting out of debt is not the ultimate goal; it’s really just the halfway point.  Financial Freedom is the ultimate goal.  Getting out of debt is like passing the 50-yard line in football.  There’s still another 50 yards to go to score a touchdown.

When I made the commitment to help thousands of people eliminate their personal debt by writing this book and starting The Debt Freedom Challenge (debtfreedomchalleng.com), I determined I would be doing each of you a disservice if I didn’t discuss the opportunity I had participated in several times in my career.

 

It all starts with having your own business.  When you start the right business you can begin earning a second paycheck every single month in no time at all.  But what business should you start?  In my opinion you have 4 basic choices

  • Buy a franchise
  • Purchase an existing business
  • Start a traditional business
  • Start a home-based business

 

Each of these options has their own unique challenges and benefits.  Let’s look at a few.

 

BUYING A FRANCHISE

Some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time were able to replicate their success through Franchising.  Probably the best example is Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds.  Ray created a successful hamburger stand and was able to teach his proven system to others who paid a fee for learning his secrets and gaining access to his significant resources.

There are now literally thousands of successful McDonalds franchisees in countries all around the world.  It’s a proven system, but it requires a significant investment upfront and ongoing royalty on all sales forever.  A good friend of mine worked for McDonalds for over 30 years and shared some insights with me one day while we were travelling together.

According to him it requires a minimum of $250,000 to purchase a single McDonalds store and the company is now requiring franchisees to purchase multiple stores in order to qualify as new franchisees.  Each franchisee pays the parent company 17% of their gross revenue in royalties right off the top each month.  That may not sound like much, but when you consider they collect that royalty off the gross sales and not the net profit, there is no guarantee the franchisee will even earn a profit.

There are many franchises that can be bought or started for less than McDonalds, but in every case there will typically be a cash investment upfront and an ongoing royalty on all sales.  Unless you have the money to pay the franchisee fee upfront, this option is not going to work.

PURCHASE AN EXISTING BUSINESS

There are lots of great businesses you could buy and instantly be in business for yourself.  The biggest challenges with this approach is the cost of buying the business and knowing what you’re buying.  I’ve invested in and purchased several existing businesses over my career.  Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned from those experiences.  If you’re buying or investing in a successful business, you can expect to pay a premium, often 5-10 times the pretax profit of the business, which is a hefty price to pay.  If the business is profitable, you’re basically buying a paycheck, so the price is going to be higher the bigger the paycheck the business is generating for the owner.

It’s also very tough to get all the details of the business before you buy, so be ready for a few surprises after you plunk down your money and hope those surprises are not fatal.  If you don’t have experience in the business you’re buying, you’re either going to have to pay someone to help you manage the business or hire an advisor.  Once again, the upfront money is probably going to eliminate this option for most people.

START A TRADITIONAL BUSINESS

This is the old-fashioned way to start a business.  This approach too will require a massive investment of money and time with no promise of immediate income.  In many of the businesses I started from scratch it was many years before I was able to earn a decent living from the operations of the business.  So if you’re thinking of starting a new business from scratch, be ready to wait a long time and spend a lot of money and time before you start earning a paycheck.  Most people I meet just can’t wait that long.  They need money now, so this isn’t a viable option.

START A HOMEBASED BUSINESS

Like each of the other types of business you could start, this option also has no guarantees of success, but in my opinion, the benefits outnumber the risks.  First off, you can typically start a home-based business for very little money upfront.  For most people this is their only option because they simply don’t have much extra money to invest at a new business.

Secondly, you can be earning money quickly if you choose the right business.  It’s possible to start earning a check in days or weeks rather than months or even years with the other options.  Many home-based business opportunities can be started for as little as a few hundred dollars, or less, and have unlimited income potential.

I believe a home-based business is the best alternative for a majority of people who are looking to earn extra money fast.  The next question you need to ask is what home-based business should you start?  Once gain, let me share with you what I’ve learned from my years of experience as entrepreneurs.

SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL HOME-BASED BUSINESS

I’ve had the fortunate experience of starting and investing in a new business that became a multimillion-dollar success.  It’s a great feeling when a business really takes off and starts to throw off a bunch of money to its owners.

When I look back on the numerous successful businesses I’ve started and invested in they tended to have 7 key elements.  So here’s my 7 keys you should look for in any home-based business you’re considering starting or investing in.

  1. Low barriers to entry – It shouldn’t take a fortune to start a new home-based business.  In fact each dollar you spend to start is one more dollar you need to earn back before you can actually say you’re earning extra money.
  1. A proven track record – If you’re trying to create income fast, you don’t want to start from scratch.  You need a proven winner with a proven track record of success.  If others have created success already, so can you.
  1. Unlimited upside potential – If you’re starting a business, why limit your potential?  The only limitation in the successful businesses I’ve started is my desire to work hard and smart.  Don’t limit your potential.  Shoot for the stars.
  1. The perfect product – The product you market will be one of the biggest factors in your success, so choose wisely.  In my opinion you should only consider products that have the following characteristics:
  • Fills an existing need
  • Has a massive potential market
  • Is Consumable or renewable
  • Sells itself – Has clear value

 

  1. Flexible schedule – It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll quit your current job before your home-based business is able to replace the income.  So you need a business that allows you to work it around your existing commitments to work and family.

 

  1. Fast results – Most businesses fail in their first few years.  If you’re going to beat the odds, you need a business that starts to produce income quickly, preferably in the first 30-60 days or you’ll lose interest or run out of time or both.

 

  1. Residual income – The best businesses are the ones that allow you to do the work once and keep getting paid over and over again.  That’s why I love customer-based businesses.  If you have a consumable or reusable product you can make money on each customer multiple times.

So the next question you should be asking yourself is where can I find such a business?

THE PERFECT HOME-BASED BUSINESS

As I look back at all the business experiences I’ve had or witnessed, a couple opportunities stand out as ones that fit all of these criteria.  I’m sure there are many more, but these two are opportunities that I believe are within reach of the vast majority of those that will read this book so I’m only going to mention them.

Affiliate Marketing – When I taught people how to invest in the stock market, I was basically teaching them how to find existing successful businesses and just put their money into that business to benefit from their continued success.  Few people will ever be the next Bill Gates or Michael Dell, but anyone who recognized their success in business could participate in it by owning shares of their company’s stock.

On a much smaller scale there are many companies who have perfect products that are willing to pay you to help them sell or distribute them.  It’s a relatively new industry that’s blossomed with the growth of the Internet.  Since there are very few barriers to entry for an Internet based business, this is a very easy and low-risk business to start.

There are literally thousands of products and services that you can become an affiliate for.  These products range from financial services, to travel and household products.  But easily the most popular and easiest to get started with is information products.  These products can be delivered instantly via a computer or other electronic device and since they are “virtual,” meaning no physical component, they have high profit margins and therefore pay the highest commissions.

Some information marketers are willing to pay 50-100% of the price of their product to you if you help them find a new customer.  If you’re interested in becoming an information marketer, you can check out all the top-selling affiliate programs on websites like clickbank.com and (enter other affiliate database sites)

I’LL PAY YOU TO HELP ME

If you’re reading this book, you obviously have an interest in personal finance, so I’ve got a suggestion for you.  Help me share this powerful book and my inexpensive training programs and tools with others you know who struggle with money problems and I’ll pay you for the referral.  You see I believe debt is the biggest financial challenge most families and individuals face on their path to financial security.  I’d like to help as many of them as possible, but I can’t do it alone.

That’s why I need your help and I’m willing to pay you for it.  If you use the process I’ve shared in this book to improve your finances, you’re a walking testimonial of it’s effectiveness.  Trust me, people will know you’re doing better financially and they will want to know your secret.  Just tell them you followed my 60-Day Money Miracle plan and then tell them where they can get a copy of my book.  You’re not selling, you’re simply “sharing” your experience.  As you saw in your own experience with my book, there is nothing to buy to get started, but if they decide to participate in one of my paid training courses, you’ll earn a commission.

Best of all you don’t have to take any orders, buy any product or collect any money.  Just point them to the website I’ve created to do the selling and let me and my team do the rest.  You can learn more about my affiliate program by visiting rossjardine.com.  It’s free for anyone who registers to get my free book and you can start earning money immediately.

Now this opportunity my not make you rich, but it meets all the criteria of a great home-based business and you can start today for free, so be sure to check it out at rossjardine.com.

Network marketing – I live in an area where there are a large number of very large network marketing companies.  Several of my friends and neighbors have become wealthy by starting or participating in network marketing companies.  While I’ve never personally made a ton of money in a network marketing business, I’ve seen enough success first-hand to know that it works.  This is one of the few home-based businesses you can start that meet all the criteria of the best home-based businesses.

I’m reluctant to recommend any one specific company, but I’ll share with you some of the key elements that I believe you must look for before you choose a company to join.

  • Products with Integrity – They must have products that work and are fairly priced.  I’m not willing to overpay for something I can buy at Costco for a fraction of the price simply to earn a commission.
  • Track record of success – It’s tough to start a network marketing company.  It takes a tremendous amount of money, time and expertise to succeed in any new business and this is no different.  Look for a company that has a history of success over several years.  Avoid new startups.  Ground floor isn’t always the best position to be in.  It’s usually better to let others take the risk of a start-up and join when the company is on the rise.
  • Proven leadership – This is a unique industry and trying to navigate all the unique aspects is like trying to pass through a minefield.  Look for proven leaders at the head of the company with a proven track record.
  • Stick with what you know and are passionate about – I can’t stress this enough.  You’re far more likely to find success in this, or any business for that matter, if you are passionate about the products.  People can tell if you are a genuine fan of the product or if you’re just telling a story.
  • Be a product of the product – the single best thing you can do to build a successful network marketing business is become a product of the product you sell.  If the product is weight loss or nutrition oriented, make sure you’re a reflection of what the products can do.  Anything less is disingenuous.
  • Be prepared to work – There is no free lunch in this industry.  There is a reason they call it net-“work” marketing.  It takes work to be successful.  Don’t expect others to build your business.  It takes a great amount of personal dedication to be successful in this industry.  That is one of the traits I admire most about those that I’ve met who are successful.  They are committed and they work hard.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people – great success often comes from building a strong team.  Surround yourself with like-minded people who share your passion and compliment your unique skills.

Don’t overspend – There is no shortcut to success and certainly not one you can pay for.  Avoid the temptation to buy more product than you need or can sell just to “qualify” or get an increase in compensation.  The added pressure of spending too much to get started will likely result in a faster burnout.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Most of the very successful network marketers I know have been working with the same company for many years and they built their business steadily over that time frame.

There is no better way to live the “American Dream” than to start and build a successful business.  When you own your own business, you control your own destiny.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, there are only two ways to get out of debt and build wealth, spend less and make more.  Once you reach the point where you can’t cut anymore spending from your budge, the only way to go faster is to make more money.

Use the ideas I’ve shared in this chapter to determine how you can bring in some extra money in your own personal circumstances.   If you’re about in increase your income a bit using these ideas, be sure to apply all those extra earnings to your debt payoff plan so you can experience a long-lasting benefit from your extra work.

Just making more money so that you can spend more, defeats the whole purpose.  Using that extra income to eliminate your debt even faster will eventually free up a ton of cash flow in your personal budget that you can ultimately use to save for the future or enjoy on a little lifestyle upgrade once your debts have been completely eliminated and you’re in total control of your personal finances.

A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS

I feel compelled to issue one warning as it relates to starting a new business.  I once had a wise mentor tell me there was no faster way to lose a fortune than to start a new business.  There’s some wisdom in that warning.

I’ve specifically focused this chapter on ways you can create extra income without a lot of financial risk.  Most of the ideas I’ve shared cost nothing to implement and most can generate positive results in the form of increased income and cash flow very quickly.

Don’t spend a bunch of money that you don’t have trying to start a business.  Some businesses are very capital intensive and can wipe you out before you even get them to the point where they are generating any profits.  Businesses that require you to go into debt or make big long-term financial commitments before you even know if the business will be successful are very risky.

Businesses that fall into this category would be any business that has employees that have to be paid before you get paid.  I’ve had several businesses where I worked my guts out only to earn enough to pay my employees.  By the time everyone else was paid, there was no money left to pay me, the one who took all the risk to create the business that provided those jobs.

Businesses that require you to buy a big inventory of product before you’ve even sold a thing are businesses you want to avoid.  Once you’re more established, you’ll be in a better position to buy in quantity to get better pricing, but don’t be tempted when you’re just starting out.  Keep things lean and control ever cost so you can be profitable even if your profit margins are tight.

Another big risk is signing a lease for an office.  All of the business ideas I’ve shared in this chapter can be done at home, even if they are very successful.  When you commit to a lease, you’re obligated to pay for the space even if the business fails.  I’ve seen many people’s lives turned upside down trying to pay for office space they don’t need.

Another downside of making long-term financial commitments when you’re just starting out is the emotion stress they take.  There is a principle in athletics that a muscle free of tension is more capable of reaching it’s maximum than a muscle full of tension.  It’s the same with business.

If you’re under stress to meet financial obligations, you’re very unlikely to perform at your best.  Most people who are under stress get paralyzed and accomplish very little.  Focus your energy on working the business and don’t get burdened down with debt and obligations that will create unnecessary stress.

An extra $100 that you can apply to your debt payoff plan can create as much as $5000 in saved interest payments over the time you follow you’re plan.  There are not too many places you could put that extra money that would create that kind of return, so avoid the temptation to spend and stick to you plan.