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It's time to wake up. You are in business for yourself
Fort Worth Business Press
Life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance and so on. • You need a balance sheet or net worth statement to ...


A very good article. I encourage you to read it.

It’s time to wake up. You are in business for yourself

April 12, 2010

Today’s environment demands that you take control of your life and livelihood instead leaving it to your company. Nobody knows you better than you.

What if the bottom was to fall out from under the company you work for, today? Could you make it on your own or are you more likely to be financially devastated?

Years ago you studied, trained, and work diligently to land a position in the right company that would not only provide a paycheck but an identity as well. Heads were held high and envy was sometimes palpable as others admired the status, prosperity, and security of these positions. Employees knew that by doing their jobs well, they had been accepted into a home that would care for them and even pay lifetime income at retirement.

Today, things are a little different as the workforce prepares for five to seven different employers, layoffs, corporate restructuring, high unemployment, upside down mortgages, dwindling retirement savings, and shrinking wages.

Peace of mind has dissipated to the point that the only way to assert control over your life is to realize that you need to be in business for yourself. Being in business for yourself doesn’t mean you are any less appreciative of employment opportunities. It does mean, however, that you will need to train yourself to evaluate the world a little differently. Below are things for you to consider:

• Financially speaking, employment means cash flow. A regularly scheduled paycheck gives you a predictable stream of income so that you can deal with expenses. This check represents the exchange of your time, effort, and energy, and so the expression “time is money” has very concrete meaning along with “don’t waste time”. This is not a home.

• One of the biggest risks you face is one source of income. We’ve all grown up hearing the expression “never put all of your eggs in one basket” and then…we do. Lives and lifestyles hang in the balance on a daily basis simply because so many fail to heed the warning. Look for additional opportunities to generate income along with your regular job. That way, if you are ever laid off, you have options. It could also ease the burden of being trapped in a job or occupation you no longer enjoy because you still need the money.

• Save voraciously. Americans lag behind even lesser developed nations with regard to savings. Consequently, you live on the brink of crisis. Six to twelve months of gross salary will help ease the pressure valve. Start saving immediately. If you are saving already, save more.

• There will be other individuals and services required to manage your business effectively. Select talent that is aligned with your needs and goals. Remain focused on decisions that aid your business. For example, minimize credit card debt, impulse spending, and have someone you can depend on to hold you accountable.

• Make a business plan. For individuals and families, they are commonly referred to as personal financial plans. The plan does not have to be elaborate or expensively drawn up by a third party but you do need something in writing to help you identify your goals, objectives, resources, and a strategy that helps you figure out where you want to go and how to get there.

• Be disciplined. Adopt a business attitude along with standard business practices. Refer to your personal business plan, often, and stick with it. When faced with hard choices, this will help you stay focused and committed. You are a CEO with the responsibility of building a strong, profitable business. You need to be a tough boss and take this job seriously, or else.

• Protecting your valuables is crucial. Poor risk management could set you back for life. Protection is typically accomplished through the transfer on to insurance companies. Life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance and so on.

• You need a balance sheet or net worth statement to keep tabs on your progress and to measure growth. This is also important for estate purposes. Use the net worth statement as an annual check-up tool to evaluate the overall health of your company and effectiveness of your plan. Your goal should be to see the value of your assets growing annually. In a growth oriented business, which you are, you would never tolerate poor performance. Hold yourself accountable for making this happen. No excuses.

Like it or not, you run a small business and just like any business, you can run it well or you can run it into the ground. The goal of a business is not only to survive but to thrive. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Rochelle Cummings is a producer as well as the COO of Lightning Bear Productions located in Denton Texas. She is the producer of A Hero’s Welcome which recently finished a two-month showing at the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin Texas.

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