At a certain point in your life, you realized that working for someone else did not bring in enough income. The cost of living exceeded how much you could bring in after taxes. Worse still, you quickly discovered that you had to work with people who bothered you all day long.
As a result, you finally decided to become a sole proprietor. Perhaps you launched a freelance business based on some skill sets you had acquired over the years, like writing, photography, or web design. Perhaps you joined an organization like LifeVantage that gave you all the tools you needed to promote personal health products while earning a handsome commission. Perhaps you invested in a franchise based on your interests. After a steep learning curve, you got good at your business and your efforts were rewarded.
However, despite your success at your chosen venture, you may now have come to the conclusion that earning a good living and being your own boss is nice—but it does not assure financial independence.
What habits, behaviors, or techniques do you have to adopt to work towards financial independence daily? What are the tools you need to do it? How can you make sure that you put money away?
Here are 5 ideas to ponder if this is your new financial goal.
- Set up your own space.
Regardless of the income model you chose to create your own business, sooner or later, you will need to make your office your perfect work space. This will allow you to set goals, make plans, and keep track of everything you’re doing. Without your own space to think things through, it is only too easy to be distracted by other people or a disharmonious environment.
- Decide what financial independence means for you.
Financial independence is actually an umbrella term. It could mean different things for different people.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- · Do I want enough income to pay all my living expenses without having to work all my life?
- · Do I want to make this money by saving and then investing the money I make?
- · Do I want to grow my business to a point where I can just hire others to run it for me?
- Reduce or avoid consumer debt.
The more money you spend, the less money you can tuck away for retirement. In fact, you can easily spend much more money than you make by borrowing through credit cards or payday loans.
Essentially, you are paying more than you borrow when you buy things that are nice to have but that you don’t really need. For instance, it’s nice to go on vacations, eat at the finest restaurants, and dress in the best clothes, but you have to draw the line between wants and needs.
Creditors are using you to generate money for themselves. If you aspire to have financial independence, you have to ween yourself off working to enrich your creditors. Free up your money to work for your future.
It’s easy enough to fall into consumer debt. You want to look good in front of your family, friends, and neighbors. You want to prove to the world that you are doing well. However, do you really need a bigger house, better furniture, and the latest luxury car? Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, lives in a modest house. He could afford a 5,000 square foot mansion, but one of the reasons he became a multi-billionaire is that he learned how to take care of his money early on in his career. Like Buffett, don’t worry about what other people think. By practicing good financial stewardship, you will eventually be doing much better than everyone you are trying to impress.
- Spend less than you earn.
Financial independence is based on building a reserve of surplus income, and you can only get that by spending less than you earn.
If you spend more than you earn, you are moving in the wrong direction; and if you are spending as much as you earn, you are not moving in any direction. By earning more than you spend, you are moving in the right direction because the extra money you now have can be used to reinvest or to bail yourself out in an emergency.
- Pay yourself first, then invest your surplus.
Who should you pay first? Pay yourself first before paying anyone else. As George Clason says in his classic book on financial wisdom, The Richest Man in Babylon, “A part of all you earn is yours to keep.” It’s a simple rule but it can make the difference between wealth and poverty.
Once you’ve developed this habit and also spend less than you earn, you will develop a surplus income. The next habit to adopt is to get your money to make money. When you have stocked up enough money, don’t just let it sit there in the bank. The low interest rates offered by the bank and inflation will work against you. Over time, the money will lose its value. Put it to work by creating cash generating assets, ranging from investing in your business education to investing in a small business venture.
Financial Independence is Achievable
If you consistently earn more than you spend and then convert your surplus income into investments, you will make daily steps toward financial independence.