Are You Thinking Ahead To Your Exit Strategy?
- William Cowie
How’s your audience based business coming along? Are you beginning to build engagement? Are you beginning to see a plan coming together like the A Team?
These are exciting times indeed on the newest frontier of business (society, even) and you’re on the cutting edge.
Does that ever make you take a breath, step back and think a little? Did you imagine ten years ago what you’d be doing today? When I took this picture six years ago I had no idea I’d be doing this.
Turn it around: have you ever wondered where you’ll be ten years from now? Things change so rapidly, in ways we don’t anticipate. Forks in the road, dead ends and new opportunities appear out of nowhere all the time.
Now, imagine yourself twenty years from now. Odds are you will succeed at what you do. But how will that success look? New customers, new offerings?
There will be more. It’s funny how it works, but it’s true universally: the more successful you are, the more the excitement morphs into a grind. The thrill of the chase gives way to hassles with personnel, taxes, cash flow, competition and, well, you get the picture. Even if you enjoy what you do, there are days when it might feel a little old.
What will you do then? Are you thinking ahead towards your exit strategy?
The Next Step
You should be. No matter how much you enjoy what you’re doing, there comes a time in everyone’s life when you want to do something different. That could be brought on by success, failure, circumstances or simply “I’m ready for something different.”
Whatever you do, you’ll always be faced with one question: what do I do to make ends meet? Be they big ends or little ends; they always will have to be made to meet.
Big picture: there are only two sources of income available to anyone:
- income from a job or business
- income from investments
Yes, it really is that simple. Someone suggested that can’t be all: what about, say an inheritance? Well, can you make a living off of an inheritance? Answer: only if you invest it. And there you are: back to that little list.
When you look at successful people all around you, almost everyone progresses from #1 on that list to #2. There are exceptions like Steven Jobs who worked till he died, but that was because he died young. If you’re into success stories from Northern California, John Madden and Joe Montana are more likely your role model… and they’re living, yep, you guessed it, off their investments.
What Does This Have To Do With Me?
Right now you’re probably going “Whoa! Slow down, big fella!. I ain’t dead or retired yet!” And you’re right.
But here’s the thing: investing is not an overnight affair. If you’re thinking, “Well, I won’t worry about that now. I’ll just have ‘someone’ do it for me,” think again. Do you want to be one of those victims who trusted “someone” and they, not you, ended up living in the Bahamas off your money? You want to plan your own business exit strategy – and the sooner you prepare for it – the smoother and more lucrative it will be.
When you think of the term “successful people,” what’s the unspoken key attribute of that success?
The end game.
Consider Javon Kearse. He was a defensive player in the NFL. His nickname was The Freak, because of his unusual combination of speed, size and skill. He achieved every form of success in his profession. Yet Mr. Kearse recently filed for bankruptcy, less than five years after earning $45 million in the preceding decade. Would you consider that a success story? Probably not.
Like it or not, it’s the end game that either seals or wipes out our success. And, no matter what you do, whether you’re a football player or audience based entrepreneur, your career will not be a true success unless you are at least moderately successful at your end game.
And your end game is… investing. It is for everybody, from movie stars and athletes to business executives like Bill Gates. The truly successful ones are the ones that don’t mess up the end game, investing.
Should you think that investing is something you’ll only need to think of when you get the money, evidence is not on your side. By far the majority of lottery winners are broke within five years. The lottery doesn’t select poor planners as its winners; those winners are people like you and me. The unfortunate reality is anybody unprepared for investing when they get money lose it. It’s human nature. You or I are no different, and we ignore that caution at our own peril.
If you’re like most people, you probably cringed at the first thought of “I have to become an investor.” Don’t worry, that’s normal. We all shy away from the unknown, that’s just human nature. That’s normal. What’s smart is crossing that barrier of unfamiliarity and getting comfortable with a guaranteed part of your destiny.
Good news: investing is (a) not all that hard, and (b) doesn’t take that much time if you do it right. Millions do it successfully every day.
However, it’s not an overnight thing. It takes time to get comfortable with the concepts and disciplines of successful investing. It’s like when you first started with WordPress. At first everything was strange, but now you know what plugins and themes are and you move right along without spending too much time on them. Same with investing. All it takes is a good guide and some exposure.
Whether you’ve ever articulated it or not, your financial goal is probably something like “being comfortable.” However, what you may never have considered is that “comfortable” usually implies living off income from investments.
Danny’s website attracts only people who want to succeed. While you’re at it, take a little time to consider your end game.
This is your opportunity to start learning about investing in a low key way. This isn’t a high-powered endeavor; you can easily do it in the background while you work your butt off getting your main business to where it needs to be.
At some point you will transition to your end game. Getting ready for that will take some time. Fortunately you have the time, and fortunately it’s low-key, so it won’t distract you from your main agenda.
In this new world of which you are a pioneer, success may hit you sooner than you think. (Danny’s been at it not much more than two years.) The smart thing is to start getting ready for your next step now.
That way, when you’re able to invest, the notion won’t scare you, and you can transfer the success of what you’re doing now to investing and get comfortable, really comfortable.
Doesn’t that sound good?