Practical Tips for How to Use Surplus Money

Guest post by Grace Frenson

Most people tend to be irresponsible when they have surplus money by buying things they don’t really need, believing that the money is never-ending. While some people are born into fortune, a lot of people are not.

Proper money management is one of the surest ways to secure one’s future and save for rainy days or anything unexpected. There are several things to do with extra cash–the list is unlimited.

Though you may feel the need to spend your money on whatever you want, it is important to have your priorities sorted out. If you consider some essential things you need in life, you can determine the best plan of action to take. Here is how you can use extra money:

Invest in a Business

Businessmen are often preoccupied with the best way to use surplus money to make more money. Investing in one or more business could be the best way to achieve this.

People who are fainthearted in taking business risks would prefer to leave the money in their savings account, but the money would seldom grow when left there.

Investments do not always ensure the safety of the money, but if it succeeds it will bring a greater return than when left in a savings account. If it is really surplus money, it may be worthwhile to take a risk on it.

Use a 10 Year Saving Strategy

You have been working to secure your future, and now you have extra money. it is time to put some mechanisms into place to keep you from overspending.

One way to keep tabs on future events is by creating a 10 year saving strategy. This allows you to save for predictable expenses for the next 10 years.

Such expenses could include predictable costs such as a house, a wedding, kids, and so forth. If you have enough surplus money, you could even set up separate accounts for each of the items.

Stash the Money in an Emergency Fund

Money is not an inexhaustible commodity–unless you are a multibillionaire, you may exhaust the “excess” money in just a few months. If you haven’t already, you need to consider stashing the money in an emergency fund to take care of emergency situations only.

The amount of money you chose to put in it is up to you. However, emergency funds may come in handy in situations such as unexpected and costly health care bills, home repairs, auto repairs, unanticipated travel, and so forth, so you want to save wisely. Besides helping you to deal with an emergency situation, emergency funds could help protect your credit record.

Job loss is one of the common reasons people end up needing an emergency fund. Say you get injured or sick and have to go on disability, you want to have those supplemental savings in place in case your career or livelihood is threatened.

Increase Your Health Insurance

This may seem obvious, you need to invest in as much insurance coverage as you can afford. If you really have a surplus cash, health insurance is paramount. Health is wealth, and wealth becomes irrelevant and meaningless if the health cannot be secured.

Opting for health insurance is one of the wisest investment decisions you can ever make. This is even much more critical with how high medical bills are today. Medical debt is the single biggest reason people end up bankrupt or in a huge amount of debt.

Putting the money toward health insurance is synonymous to saving it for rainy days.

Obviously, nobody plans on having a critical health condition, but it does happen and you don’t want to be unprepared when it does. Thankfully, you have the cash, and you could make a difference to be prepared for the unexpected.

Create a Budget

You may really be misconstruing the cash as being excess if you have not created a budget and mapped out all of your upcoming payments. A budget will help you keep tabs on your income and expenditures.

It helps you to manage the financial flows and see where your money goes or would potentially go. Creating a budget will help you to make a detailed plan on important necessities like insurance, utilities, food, and housing, as well as miscellaneous activities.

Even extremely frugal people would be tempted to spend money on unnecessary stuff when they have excess money. By making a list of preference and value would help you to know what to spend money on and what to avoid.

A list of preference and value simply shows you items that are worth spending your money on. Of course, the preference and value may differ from person to person but the bottom-line is that it details your highest level of priority and utility.

The highest scale of your value and preferences is the right place to begin spending your surplus money. However, if some items don’t really make it to your list but they are simply critical for life–you need to reconsider your budget and adjust it accordingly.

Be Careful When Spending

When having an abundance of money, it is easy to spend it all quickly. Be careful to not go down this path, and spend your money on what is prevalent in your life.

If you are in a bit of credit card debt, consider paying that off, or paying off your child’s student loans. You want to be sure you don’t spend the money and then not even know what you spent it on once it’s all gone.

Think long and hard about how you want to spend–or not spend the extra cash. You don’t want to regret the decision you make in the long run.

Losing Motivation And 3 Ways To Recharge

Everyone plateaus.

No matter how motivated of a person you are, there are days where you find yourself in a funk.

It’s easy to brush it off, take a break and do what feels good, but that can also be laziness masking itself.

Regardless if you work for someone or you’re the boss it happens.

Here are 3 ways to combat it:

1. Look for inspiration

It’s easy to work hard when you’re inspired, but what about when you’re not? Since we’re in the information age there’s no shortage of stories, videos and articles to inspire you. Make personal development a habit and ideas will come flying at you. In fact, they don’t need to be original. The most successful businesses make their money by bettering an existing idea.

2. Don’t let your feelings drive your decisions

If you’re more of a “feeling” or emotional-based person you experience highs and lows often. If you’re more logic-based and a “thinker” this may not be an issue for you. Data proves that most of our purchasing decisions are based on emotions. Think back to when you made your last purchase. Assuming it wasn’t a bill, it probably falls into the “want,” not need category. This translates over to work. The reason why people aren’t more successful in general is that they don’t do the little things daily because it’s not fun. Ask anyone who’s climbed the corporate ladder or monetized a business and they can tell you how the continual, monotonous tasks are what really moves the needle.

3. Focus on the end goal

Have you lost sight of what you’re pursuing? As much as #2 is about doing the little things, don’t forget the big picture. Simon Sinek says it best when he challenges you to identify your why. Once you lose sight of that you’re lost. Inspiration comes from knowing where you want to go. The journey may be long and difficult, but nothing worth pursuing is easy. What you’re doing and how you do it may lack excitement at times, but if the end goal is aspirational you can always go back to that for motivation.

Ultimately it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” you lose motivation. Hopefully the above suggestions will help you get out of your funk sooner than later!

The Learning Curve Of Acquiring A New Skill

We are all creatures of habit.

No matter how adventurous or a risk taker you are, it’s natural to hover around what’s comfortable.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn and change. In fact in today’s society, you either: adapt or die.

Growth isn’t handed to you, nor should you expect it to be. Instead you are solely responsible for your personal and professional advancement. That doesn’t mean with a new skill set comes a new job or promotion, but you’re either growing forward or going backwards in life.

Throughout my adolescent years I feared public speaking. The climax of my horror was a speech class I took at a community college where we had to video ourselves speaking in front of the class 3 times during the semester then watch and critique it together. That experience still haunts me and for years it made me want to quit.

But in the past several years something changed. My goal isn’t to be Tony Robbins or my good friend Joshua Fredenburg. Yet as an entrepreneur I know it’s crucial to my success to be an effective communicator orally and in written form.

The lightbulb moment for me was to shift my mindset.

If I think I’m a terrible public speaker then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore the self-talk in my head changed to: I want to be a better public speaker (note: I didn’t say great or best).

That was the first domino to fall…

Next, I needed to put in the practice. In fitness terms: more reps. One habit I started 10 years ago was blogging. At the time I didn’t have a desire to do it, but felt it was necessary for my business so I just started writing. Over time I really began to enjoy it and it’s had a huge influence on how I prepare, deliver and evaluate my public speaking today.

I hosted a monthly network event geared towards professionals for 2 years. I did workshops and training sessions at companies. I volunteered to speak at church every month. What happened over time is I got better. My style, structure and storytelling has improved immensely.

There are areas I can still improve upon, but like acquiring any new skill it takes time to master.

But let me emphasize the most important piece to learning any new skill is your attitude towards it.

With most skills there is a huge learning curve and there will be points where you hit a wall. It’s during those times that you have to step back and evaluate the big picture/purpose. The journey to get better is rough, but if you stick to why you’re doing it and see the value in your effort you’ll eventually get there.

New skills are great tools to accomplish your dreams, but the pre-requisite to starting is your mindset/attitude before you begin.

The Curse Of The Entrepreneur

People who dream about one day owning a business tend to latch on to the potential, nothing else.

There’s nothing wrong with chasing your dreams, but it’s a lot more glamorous than it looks.

Imagine if I told you entrepreneurship includes working longer hours and getting paid less. Sure you can control when you don’t work, but you can’t control when you get paid. Freedom has it’s price tag and for some until you experience it, it’s too much.

But for those who have dipped a toe into the entrepreneur’s pool, there’s one area that’s extremely hard to go back to: having a boss.

I can’t tell you how exhilarating having complete flexibility is. Recently someone told me working a 9 – 6 with benefits isn’t desirable anymore. To each their own, but the tradeoff between time and money is a crucial decision everyone is faced with.

Coming off a 9-month stint at a company makes me appreciate my workdays much more now. It didn’t help I had a micromanager of a boss on top, but I learned a lot about myself during the process.

Things like my optimal working hours are 9 AM – 3 PM, when deciding whether or not to pursue a business idea identifying the market matters most and running a company solo is plain stupid.

Being an entrepreneur is a blessing and a curse. It affords you more control and flexibility, yet loss of structure and a steady paycheck. All the books and articles published that highlight successful ventures represent less than 1% of reality.

There’s no formula to the madness, but valuing your lifestyle over income will push you over the edge.

The funny thing about entrepreneurship is the “what” will change frequently, but as long as your “why” and “how” stay the same you’re fine. If you’re bored at your current job you can do two things: stick it out or look elsewhere. Most choose the former because it’s comfortable, but you’ll know it’s time to move on when it lowers the quality of your life.

Call me crazy, but part of the intrigue of entrepreneurship is the chase. It’s going after something you’re not sure you’ll catch, but willing to take the risk because failure is more acceptable than regret.

The New Marketing Paradigm: Wants, Needs & Expectations

Marketing to customer’s needs is dead. Wants are the new needs.

Wherever lies a successful industry the perceived “need” is really a want.

Take for instance Uber. The average person does own and can afford a car (need), but some prefer not to pay for insurance, repairs, gas, etc. because ride sharing provides convenience (want).

I’ve applied this concept to my new venture, online tutoring. There is a huge market for this due to competitive parents/students. Colleges do take into account SAT/ACT scores and any advantage a parent can give their child is welcomed. Tutors aren’t necessary to get high school students into college, but they do have the inside track on test taking skills. Parents/students want to attend their dream school so hiring a tutor is a leg up on the competition.

Expectations, on the other hand, are determined by experience. Yelp is known as a food review site, but what it actually reveals is the customer experience (CX). Read any Yelp Elite member’s reviews and you’ll learn how the business made them feel. This is key to selling any product/service.

Nike, Apple and Disney all market experiences, a.k.a. how you feel interacting with their brand.

The hospitality industry lives and dies by customer reviews.

Marketing today depends on identifying what your target audience wants, then meeting or surpassing their expectations with a phenomenal experience. That means no matter how technologically savvy your company is, what matters is how “soft” your touch points are.

That doesn’t mean you need a customer service hotline for your mobile app you create, but it does mean when something goes wrong you’ll be judged on the response time and solution offered.

Artificial intelligence, robots and technology make our lives easier, but the need for human connection is at an all-time high.

For your current or future business idea make sure you are meeting a want and exceeding expectations from your customers. Do that and you’ll be converting your marketing investment into sales.

Benefits of Remote Work

The Millennial workforce is working from home more and more. It is a trend that has been growing for years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. A recent study from Polycom shows that almost a full third of employees around the globe are regularly working remotely, and almost two-thirds have some sort of flexible work schedule. Clearly the concept of the workplace is changing both rapidly and dramatically. The new challenge then becomes: how do you keep your employees connected and engaged as part of a cohesive team? Check out the graphic below for some great solutions on staying connected in a work from home world.


Smart Office Solutions graphic

Smart Office Solutions from Nucleus

With almost 80% of employees working on a team with someone based in a different office, developing inclusive communication strategies and workflows is essential to ensuring your team is up-to-date. Chat apps like Slack or Skype have become essential office tools regardless of whether your employees work remotely or not. Many companies are now using online collaboration apps like Google’s G Suite to increase productivity and coordinate document organization. Hardware can be a great route as well. Installing something like a Nucleus home intercom system in conference rooms can keep workers at home connected and maintain face to face communication.

Millennials Are Lazy, Entitled & High Maintenance

Millennials

If you’re managing Millennials, you might just share these sentiments.

These are the areas I will discuss in the first two workshops at How to Effectively Manage Millennials.

I’ve worked with Millennials for almost 20 years in different capacities so I’ll share my knowledge and experience in understanding the largest generation in the workplace.

Sign up now for individual workshops or the entire series & use promo code “manage” for 25% off!

Hope to see you there!

How Working Remotely Benefits Your Health

Remote-working

Employing remote workers increases the pool of talent for your company. Telecommuting, once thought of as a perk, now levels the playing field.

Theoretically it can pose challenges to management but if done right, supervision shouldn’t vary much. At the heart of managing remote workers is trust. It is literally impossible to micromanage remotely, yet there’s the temptation to in person.

There are several books and online articles that cover managing a remote staff, but few address the benefits health-wise. Here are three ways:

1. Lack of germs – Experiencing the flu can make you a germaphobe, but in a shared workspace it’s almost impossible to avoid the common cold. Working remotely means you’re communicating virtually, but working independently. Not only does the lack of commute save time, but eliminating travel and interaction equates to less trips to the doctor annually.

2. Increased efficiency – Meetings are a waste of time, especially when they’re run poorly. Two brains are better than one, but distractions decrease performance rapidly. No matter how social of a person you are, working alone produces a much higher rate (and usually with less mistakes). With less scheduled interactions, more quality work gets done.

3. Self-leadership – Strip management from the room and there’s a fear of completed tasks. But shouldn’t you be motivated to get stuff done without someone breathing down your neck? As an entrepreneur, the first thing to go is structure when free from the corporate world. Your responsibility is to create order or risk wasting time. A hard lesson to learn initially, self-accountability means you can be trusted.

More and more companies choose to hire remote workers meaning new leadership practices must be implemented. Quality of lifestyle is becoming the most important factor professionally. The more you are informed about the benefits of working remotely, the easier the transition will be to make. Your body, mind and emotions will thank you for it later.

The Introverted Networker

Shy

There’s a belief out there that you have to be an extrovert in order to be an effective networker.

That’s a myth.

While it’s true that extroverts can be great at networking, introverts have their advantages too. Take for instance: listening skills. You and I love to connect with others, but the only way that’s possible is if there’s a discussion. That means someone is talking, while the other one is listening. If you’re talking all the time, you’ll notice people avoid you like the plague. Listen well and people will be drawn to talk to you.

Quality over quantity is a huge factor too. As an introvert, you may not be able to shake 50 hands during an hour meeting, but the 5 or less people you do meet you’ll probably remember how to follow-up with them. Consider using network events as a way to meet people, then grab coffee or schedule a phone call with them afterwards. Networking is a numbers game. Extroverts are better at meeting a lot of people at once. Introverts are better at getting to know a small amount of people at a time.

Only 7% of communication is done through words. The other 93% is shared between tone and body language. Introverts tend to be more intuitive so they pick up on non-verbal cues and intonation. Since interpreting communication requires observation and reading beneath what’s said, people feel valued when they are “heard” correctly. Knowing this, if you’re an introvert and have avoided networking up to this point because you didn’t feel like you’re “talkative” enough, stop making excuses.

It’s about who you know, not what you know, so if you’re not meeting new and maintaining old relationships, you’re getting behind!

How to S.C.A.L.E. your Business

Coming up with a business idea is easy, executing it is hard.

There’s a big difference between “doing what you love” and creating a business that makes money.

Sure, you should choose something you have a vested interest in, but you need a sales/marketing strategy to go along with it before you launch.

built to sell, scale your business, automate systems, delegate tasks, lifestyle entrepreneur, shark tank, investor, angel fund

For example, I love coaching, but that alone is NOT going to pay the bills. I evaluate different opportunities now based on the income potential. Is my motivation to be filthy rich? No. But I want to provide for my family and have my business ventures support my lifestyle. So here is an acronym to help you judge your next idea against:

Sell your strengths – Do what you know and are great at. Don’t try to do everything well. That only disrupts your focus and dilutes your efforts. Figure out what you’re best at and stick there.

Collaborate – Nothing great is accomplished alone. The bigger the dream, the more help you’ll need. Network like your life depends on it. Offer value to others, but don’t keep “score.” Say yes to most partnerships at first. Learn from others who have done it before.

Automate – Figure out how to get yourself out of your business. That means aim to put it on auto-pilot and let it run itself. Most people’e egos won’t let them NOT micromanage, but if you truly want something to grow, you have to give up full control. It doesn’t mean you won’t be involved, but it does mean you won’t be involved in every little detail anymore. Trust good people and systems to do what you can’t.

Lifestyle – Your business doesn’t need to be your life, unless you want it to be. Have your business support your lifestyle, not the other way around. If you plan that way, you’ll have a life and the time to spend it the way you want. That’s the best part about being a lifestyle entrepreneur: the freedom and flexibility of schedule.

Efficiency – Time is the currency that is given equally to all. Use it wisely. Along with selling your strengths, collaborating and automating you want to spend your time and effort on what gives you the best ROI. Being busy for busy’s sake is just plain dumb. A rocking chair makes a lot of movement, but doesn’t go anywhere. As someone who is obsessed with efficiency, work smarter, not harder.

If you measure your business effort against S.C.A.L.E., you should be able to select a project that is both worthwhile and profitable. I hope this is helpful and I’d love to hear what you’re working on. Please comment below!