15 Habits of Mentally Tough People

mentally touchWe all reach critical points in our lives where our mental toughness is tested. It might be a toxic friend or colleague, a dead-end job, or a struggling relationship.

Whatever the challenge, you have to be strong, see things through a new lens, and take decisive action if you want to move through it successfully.

It sounds easy. We all want good friends, good jobs, and good relationships.

But it isn’t.

It’s hard to be mentally tough, especially when you feel stuck. The ability to break the mold and take a bold new direction requires that extra grit, daring, and spunk that only the mentally toughest people have.

It’s fascinating how mentally tough people set themselves apart from the crowd. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to overcome.

When Thomas Edison’s factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison’s response was simple:

“Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.”

Edison’s reaction is the epitome of mental toughness—seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.

There are habits you can develop to improve your mental toughness. In fact, the hallmarks of mentally tough people are actually strategies that you can begin using today.

They’re Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. You cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them. Moments that test your mental toughness are ultimately testing your emotional intelligence (EQ).

Unlike your IQ, which is fixed, your EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with understanding and effort. It’s no wonder that 90% of top performers have high EQs and people with high EQs earn $28,000 more annually (on average) than their low-EQ counterparts.

Unfortunately EQ skills are in short supply. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people, and we’ve found that just 36% of these are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

They’re Confident

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right. –Henry Ford”

Mentally tough people subscribe to Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. This notion isn’t just a motivational tool—it’s a fact. A recent study at the University of Melbourne showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did.

True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own. Mentally tough people have an upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because their confidence inspires others and helps them to make things happen.

They Neutralize Toxic People

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems. Even when things completely derail, mentally tough people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

They Embrace Change

Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.

You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

They Say No

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Mentally tough people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem and foresight to make their nos clear.

When it’s time to say no, mentally tough people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

The mentally tough also know how to exert self-control by saying no to themselves. They delay gratification and avoid impulsive action that causes harm.

They Know That Fear Is the #1 Source of Regret

Mentally tough people know that, when all is said and done, they will lament the chances they didn’t take far more than they will their failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

They Embrace Failure…

Mentally tough people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure.

By revealing when you’re on the wrong path, your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed. The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box, and to see the solution that you’ve been missing.

…Yet, They Don’t Dwell on Mistakes

Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance.

Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy…

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When mentally tough people feel good about something they do, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Mentally tough people know that regardless of what people think of them at any particular moment, one thing is certain—they’re never as good or bad as people say they are.

…And They Don’t Limit the Joy of Others

Mentally tough people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves.

Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Jealousy and resentment suck the life right out of you; they’re massive energy-stealers. Mentally tough people don’t waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up.

Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.

They Exercise

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental toughness, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

They Get Enough Sleep

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental toughness. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Mentally tough people know that their self-control, focus, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep, so they make quality sleep a top priority.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you but not so great when life throws you a curve.

When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. Mentally tough people know that too much caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

They Don’t Wait for an Apology to Forgive

Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life.

The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating consequences (both physically and mentally). When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.

They’re Relentlessly Positive

Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you’ll see that it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.

And who knows? Maybe it is. But mentally tough people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power—their attention and their effort.

Bringing It All Together

Mental toughness is not an innate quality bestowed upon a select few. It can be achieved and enjoyed.

Source: talentsmart.com ~ By Dr. Travis Bradberry

You Deserve to Be a Millionaire. Follow These 12 Tips to Get There.

I started with nothing and have been blessed with enough focus, commitment, follow through and the ability to not make excuses that I have done extremely well in my life.

I recently did a show on GrantCardoneTV.com on How to Make Your First Million, which was streamed on Periscope and Meerkat and viewed live by over 10,000 people.

Here are the takeaways from the show:

1. It’s never been easier.

It has never been easier, so don’t make it so difficult. There is so much money in the world today and so many ways to get yourself known. The first thing you have to know is that it’s out there and it’s not that hard. In fact, everyone will be a millionaire in their lifetime: $50,000 per year times 20 years equals $1 million.

2. Saving won’t do.

The old ideas of saving every penny is not the way today. You can’t simply save your way to the first million without becoming old, at which point the money probably won’t matter to you.

3. Live below your means.

Live below the money you are making. Not because you are depriving yourself, but because you are seeking to bank millions. No one has ever done business with me because of the suit I wear, the watch I have on my wrist or the car I drove. Live below your means until you don’t have to anymore.

4. Push every tax angle you can.

Learn the tax code and use it to your advantage. Quit bitching about taxes and learn how it can benefit you. The code was put together to give preference to earners. I have joined multiple multi-level marketing companies while still being an employee so I could take advantage of write-offs like the home and car. These were, and are, legitimate ways for me to reduce my tax bill and possibly make some more money — plus I have a chance to surround myself with great people.

5. Mature from income to investor.

The way to get rich is to make investments, but you can’t do that if your income doesn’t allow for you to set aside money to invest. The only reason to make and save money is so that you can invest it. Only invest money in projects you know will score and never give up your income.

6. Start acting like a boss.

Quit acting poor and quit acting like you are a spectator. Boss up in everything. When the bill comes for dinner, boss up. When you have to invest money to get information, buy a list, grow your brand or learn to sell you need to write the check like a boss, not like a little whiner.

7. Automate a pay-yourself-first program.

Set up with your employer to pay yourself to a savings account so that you have money deposited each month before you get a check to pay your bills and live your life. This is one thing I started doing when I was 26 years old that kept me “broke” without money to lose or waste and forced me to continue to hustle. This is the step that will make number five possible.

8. Be in a hurry.

Be the hare, the turtle and the millionaire! The only thing that comes to those that are patient are the crumbs left behind by those in a hurry.

9. Do the millionaire math.

Do the math on what it takes to hit a million. If you make $50,000 a year and can figure out how to put away 40 percent of it (that is my saving target) it will take you 50 years times $20,000 per year to get there. If you don’t do your math you won’t get there because you won’t have the right mindset. Math is a universal language.

10. Do not diversify.

I know the diversification concept is popular, but it’s wrong. If you are going to bank a million before you are old and tired you need to pick something you believe in and know it’s going to work and go all in.

11. Seek multiple flows.

If you don’t get multiple flows happening you will never create financial freedom. Don’t confuse number 10 with multiple flows. These are not conflicts — have parallel flows going. Don’t make your first flow disconnected, make it similar so that it takes less energy and less resources.

12. Avoid spending money or tying up your money in homes, IRAs or colleges.

I know it’s not popular, but these are traps. Show me someone that became a millionaire from buying homes, other than me. Flipping homes, by the way, is not buying homes — that is a real estate play. Wall Street has convinced you to do these things to trap and immobilize you.

You deserve financial freedom. You should have your financial targets to be a millionaire up until the point that you become one. Then your target should be to hit 100 million!

Source: entrepreneur.com

The Power of Passive Income: How to Free Yourself From Your 9 to 5

From the desk of Michele C. Foster: Just wanted to share this article I found on passive income. While this article is by someone who set out to buy rental properties, you will note that he had to turn to other passive income businesses to fund the rest of his live. I have chosen Isagenix as my main stream of passive income. If you have any interest in learning about the income potential with Isagenix, and the freedom it provides, feel free to contact me at askmicheletoday@gmail.com

Do you realize how powerful passive income really is? Do you?

I bet you know generally what passive income is, but have you really weighed out how passive income could change your entire life — in ways you likely never thought possible?

What would you do with your time if you didn’t have to work a full-time job?

The Definition of Passive Income

According to Wikipedia (one of my favorite go-tos!), Passive Income is defined as:

Income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.

What does this really mean? This means you don’t have to work (or put effort in) for your income. I know you probably could decipher this on your own, but I want to elaborate more on this because I doubt most of you have really taken the time to think about the reality of how big this really is.

How Can You Get Passive Income?

There are two main ways you can earn passive income:

  1. Invest
  2. Start a business

Easy enough, huh? Well, you can’t just invest in anything or start any kind of business and get passive income from it. Well, maybe you can, but you have to know how to do it right in order to make sure you are actually getting passive income and you aren’t working for the income.

Invest. If you make an investment, you have to make sure the income from it really is going to be passive. This would be in contrast to active income. What’s the difference, exactly? The question to ask yourself is: Do you have to work to get the income? The biggest example of active income investing and passive income investing in real estate is flipping versus rental properties, respectively. With flipping, you are required to do active work in order for the income to appear. With rental properties, in theory you don’t have to do any work for that income to come in (also assuming correct setup). The IRS agrees with these assumptions about both types of investing because they label the income from each as either active or passive, and each type of income has a completely different taxation.

There is room to make active income investing passive, however. For instance, flipping properties can be extremely lucrative. Why pass up that kind of income, if you have an interest and skill in flipping, if what you really want is passive income? In this case, there are two ways to make flipping, which is active income, passive:

  1. Invest whatever income you earn from flipping directly into passive income investments.
  2. Outsource as much of your flipping business as you can, until eventually all of the work required to earn the income is being covered by people other than yourself.

Once you do either of those with your active income investments, you have learned to master the art of passive income! The latter option, outsourcing, leads to the second option for getting passive income:

Start a business. This won’t happen initially in whatever business you start, but you eventually have to get to where the majority of your business is outsourced. Therefore, the income you receive from the business is money you didn’t specifically have to work for. That doesn’t mean, nor does it with outsourcing your flipping business, that you can’t be involved at all in order for the income to be passive, but you should be at a point with it that you’ve outsourced enough so that if you disappear for a month or two, or a year, business will remain just as profitable as it did when you were around.

Once You Have Passive Income, Then What?

Okay, now here is the fun part. And I want all of you involved in this part, as well, in the comments.

Not having to rely on a full-time job means you have enough passive income, whether through real estate investing or running an outsourced business (can be an outsourced real estate investing business, too!) to pay all of your bills by doing… not a lot!

I’m going to start a list of things you can do once you don’t have to rely on a full-time job. Once I’ve started it, I want you to jump in and add either things you do now because you have passive income that allows you freedom from a real job, OR add things you would do if you didn’t have to have a real job!

Ready? Here we go.

  • Sleep in! Omg, you can sleep in all you want — which may not appeal to everyone, but for those of us night owls — you hear me!
  • Unlimited travel. No more asking for vacation time, no schedules to work around, no limitation on how long you can be gone, and you don’t have to report to anyone where you are going and for how long. In fact, you can change your mind as much as you want on how long you will be gone, even after you are there!
  • Say yes to lunch dates. You have a friend who wants to do lunch, you can say yes! You don’t have to be anywhere else.
  • Say yes to out-of-towners. Someone wants to come visit you? You can say yes now! Even if it’s during the weekdays and not just the weekend! Woohoo.
  • Hobbies and activities. Now you have time to do whatever hobbies and activities you have always wanted to do but didn’t have the time to do or the energy leftover after your real job. This may even be as simple as going to the gym — now you don’t have to only hit the gym during the really crowded times when you can’t get a machine! You can go at noon, if you want. Or you can go at noon one day, 3pm another day, morning another day… it doesn’t matter! You pick.
  • Learn. Learn what? Learn anything! Go back to school for some random topic that you never went to school for before because you were worried about it not looking good enough on your resume. Or go to classes for something totally off the wall and learn a new skill! Learn a new language, learn to dance, learn history, psychology… learn anything!
  • Volunteer. Ever wanted to help out with a good cause but didn’t have time? Ever wanted to volunteer your time doing things locally, like coaching a kids’ sports team or teaching after-school classes or being a local dog walker? Now you can do any of those.
  • Commuting. Or lack thereof! No more worries about traffic, you can drive whenever you want!
  • Primary house. It can be absolutely anywhere you want it to be. You no longer have to live where is accessible to your job. This may be one of the most powerful things on this list!
  • Wardrobe. You can officially dress however you want. You can even be covered in tattoos and piercings if you want because you don’t have a boss to yell at you. You never have to match an expected look in terms of your wardrobe again!

This is only a start to the list of what freedoms you can have when you build passive income. There are so many out there. This list is just things that really click with me. You may have completely different freedoms (and tell us what they are in the comments)!

I know what you are thinking. It will take so long to have that much passive income, though! Yes, it is going to take a lot of hard work and it will take some time, but it’s not unrealistic either. Plus, you can start building it in pieces. For instance, I started my real estate career by investing in rental properties (which is passive), but then I ended up starting a business, which is my main income driver.

My rental properties give me great income, but I don’t have enough of them to fund my entire life (which will take a while since I live in LA where the cost of living is atrocious, and I have an expensive outdoor and travel bug embedded in me). My business, though, is 100% online so all I need to work is an internet connection. That ability alone gives me all of the above options in terms of taking advantage of a passive income life.

See how that works? A piece of passive income here, a piece of passive income there, and with mobility? I’m free! I even started back to school this past year just for the heck of it. Why? Because I can!

I will tell you, though, had I not quit my 9-5 job so fast to start my business, I could have kept buying properties and had I done that, I could have easily had most of my bills covered with just those! I chose the “starting a business” route instead, but you don’t have to do that. You can just keep buying passive income real estate investments. As long as you are buying good cash-flowing properties, you don’t have to buy as many or invest as much money as you think. Still think you’d have to buy too many for it to be feasible? No way.

This article is obviously not a how-to on the specifics of passive real estate investing, but an overview of how powerful passive income can really be is worth taking a look at. I don’t think most people really comprehend how crazy-powerful this really is. If everyone did, there’d be more of us out there!

Source: BiggerPockets.com ~ Author: Ali Boone

Replace These Two Limiting Words From Your Vocabulary

“Don’t stare at the sun too long.” “Eat your dinner before dessert.” “If you keep making that face, it’ll stick.”

We’ve all heard them — those cliché pieces of advice that parents give their kids. And for the most part, we follow their advice. I eat my dinner first. I don’t stare at the sun. And now it’s my wife who tells me to stop making funny faces in public (sorry, hun!).

But there is one piece of advice perhaps told more often than anything else:

You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.

But that’s BS, right?

There are limitations. There are conditions. There are rules. There are impossibilities.

Or are there?

What if the simple answer to achieving massive success in your business was staring at you in the face all along. What if you really could do anything you put your mind to?

What if your mom was right?

The truth is, everything is possible, and if you want to achieve success in your business and in your life, you need to believe that.

Let me teach you a simple exercise. I want you to eliminate two simple words from your vocabulary and see how your business grows.

What are those words?

I can’t.

We all say it all the time: I can’t.

“It won’t work.” “It doesn’t happen like that.” “I can’t afford it.” “I can’t find it.” “I can’t build that.” “We can’t finance that!”

I’m tired of hearing it!

For one week, stop being a negative Nancy and try this:

Instead of saying “I can’t,” train your brain instead to turn this negative statement into a positive question.

Instead of “I can’t,” ask “How can I?”

It’s a subtle change, but a powerful one. If you can eliminate this one simple phrase from your life and replace it with this question, your whole life, both business and personal, can change.

I first encountered this mindset shift when reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. In this book, Kiyosaki tells the story of his two “fathers,” one rich and one poor. His poor dad always said, “I can’t afford it.” His rich dad always asked, “How can I afford it?”

As Kiyosaki explains, changing your words from a statement to a question allows your brain to start working. Suddenly, you begin thinking and planning. You strategize. You learn. You grow.

And before you know it, the thing you said couldn’t be done is done.

Related: 2 Phrases You Must Eliminate From Your Vocabulary Immediately

Replacing two words helped me grow my business.
I recently bragged to a friend how much one of my small entrepreneurial projects had made in one month, but due to bad cell phone reception, he misunderstood me.

I told him $1,000 but he heard “$10,000.” After several minutes of us chatting, I finally realized he misunderstood me, so I corrected him. I think my exact words were, “Hah, $10,000 in one month? I can’t do that!”

“Why not?” he answered.

Like a ton of bricks, I suddenly came face to face with what I was doing. I was limiting myself. I was applying negativity to the situation, when I should have been asking a question. I was forcing my brain to stop working. I was giving in to failure.

That day I changed my mindset and began to ask, “How can I?”

My wife and I, who were on vacation at the time, sat down with a pencil and paper and brainstormed ways to actually achieve that $10,000 number. No matter how wild and crazy the idea was, we wrote it down.

Within 60 days, I had that project bringing in $10,000 per month.
You see, because I thought it was impossible, it was. My mind never even considered it. But as soon as I began asking the question “how?” I went to work on answering it.

What are you saying “I can’t” to?

It’s time for some honesty. Think back to the past week. When have you used the words “I can’t?” When have you shut your brain off? When have you let an attitude of failure, rather than an attitude of success, rule in your life? Transform these statements:

Instead of “I can’t raise money for my business,” try “How can I raise money for my business?”
Instead of “I can’t get 1,000,000 users on my app,” try “How can I get 1,000,000 users on my app?”
Instead of “I can’t buy a rental property,” try “How can I buy a rental property?”
Instead of “I can’t get Christopher Walken to sing karaoke at my birthday party,” try “How can I get Christopher Walken to sing karaoke at my birthday party?! (I’m still working on this one …)”
You get the picture.

Make it your goal this week to eliminate the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary. You don’t need ’em! Embrace the advice your mom gave you as a child and realize it isn’t cliche.

You can do anything you put your mind to.

Source: Entreprenuer.com ~ Author: Brandon Turner

Would You Join A Multi-Level Marketing Company For Retirement Income?

At some point in your life you’ve been pitched a multi-level marketing (MLM), direct selling, or network marketing business opportunity.  While the pitch varies from company to company, it basically promises a chance to ditch your 9-5 work schedule, be your own boss, and make lots of money while making new friends in the process.

It all sounds good on paper, yet there is a seemingly endless debate over whether these companies and programs are legitimate business opportunities or not, so I dug in and got the real scoop.  As a result, I believe that the entire industry is poised for explosive growth and can be one of the most significant solutions to America’s current retirement savings crisis.

Initially, that may sound like a bold statement, but it’s not if you understand retirement the way I do.  The reality is, making a successful transition into retirement has more to do with psychology than with money… and the same may hold true for multi-level and network marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, money has a role in retirement, but it’s not the primary one every one gives it.  Combine that concept with eye-opening statistics like AARP’s estimate that half of all baby boomers (76 million) are interested in starting a business and the makings of a massive trend are in place.

As far as the retirement saving crisis is concerned, more and more people are coming to terms with the fact that they probably aren’t going to be able to save enough money to just sit around and slowly deplete their nest egg from age 62 to 100.  With the average 50 year-old estimated to have less than $50,000 in retirement savings, there is an obvious need to find alternative ways to either save more or generate supplemental income starting now, and continuing throughout retirement.  Moving beyond just the dollars and cents, boomers are growing tired of feeling guilty or bad about their past savings habits and are interested in moving towards possible solutions.

Another growing reality that could benefit MLM and related businesses is the increasing number of baby boomers who are disenchanted with their current careers.  They’re worn-out from years of the corporate grind and don’t feel the connection between their job and the people it impacts outside their office walls or company grounds.  They’re shifting their focus from accumulating a giant nest egg to a desire to be part of something bigger and better… to have a positive effect on others… and working in retirement.  Facets of life that can be fulfilled with specific types of products and service available through some MLM or Direct selling opportunities.

MLM and direct selling programs also offer very low barriers into entrepreneurship, often providing training, support, and ample encouragement along the way.  As retirees begin to realize they need activities that keep them busy, relevant, in good health, and connected to others, the time, energy and cost to participate in these kinds of companies make them very appealing to large segments of the population caught up in these dynamics.

This is not a ringing endorsement for the entire industry.  Like any investment of time, money, and energy, people need to be aware of what they are getting into and do their homework.  That’s the primary reasons I began researching the topic by reaching out to regular everyday people involved in these types of businesses and who were willing to skip the hype and offer a transparent view of the programs and give their opinions as to whether this can be a realistic source of retirement income.

I initially spoke to a retired friend who said she joined a health and beauty direct selling company as a means of meeting new people. She had recently remarried and moved to a new location, so she combined the practice of meeting new people with making extra money.  After almost a decade in the business, she’s built a small niche business with family and friends despite switching to from one company to another competitor after three years.

She admits she doesn’t attend all of the company’s local meetings and goal-setting sessions because she’s not interested in becoming a top producer.  She just likes to use the business activity to keep busy (particularly in the winter) and use the extra money she earns to travel and spoil the grand kids.

Having studied the psychology and behavior of boomers, this example represents a major shift in my thinking about the industry.  I no longer perceive these types of opportunities as money-making pyramid schemes.  Instead, I now see it as a way to enhance many of the personal aspects of retirement that are rarely discussed let alone planned for, with the added benefit of supplementing other popular retirement income sources such as pension and social security.

Daria M. Brezinski Ph.D, a practicing psychologist and former marketing director for a multi-level marketing magazine, echoes these sentiments.  “Many people don’t realize that multi-level marketing companies are successful because they help people satisfy a number of important human needs, including feeling significant, having connections, learning something new, and making a difference.  I have heard people in network marketing say again and again, ‘I’m doing this because I’m meeting amazing people … making so many connections … and I feel so good about myself.’”

Dr. Brezinski’s point is well taken and easy to see practiced by popular network marketing companies.  Many MLM and NM companies tout a three-to-five year plan to attain freedom and wealth, yet many of the people running company meetings have been in the business for five or ten years and still haven’t left their full-time job or landed on easy street.  “As it turns out,” Dr. Brezinski notes, “when other human needs are being met, the members and consultants don’t focus solely on the financial aspects.”

Continuing my interviews, I challenged three others who are in the business to be straightforward, and prove to me that the process really works.  What I found was good, consistent business advice applicable to any new business.

Lorene Hochstetler, from Ohio, recommends keeping your current job while slowly making the transition into MLM.  She’s been able to replace her full-time income but explains, “It didn’t happen overnight, and I still work every day.  I am very disciplined with my business and wake up every day knowing what I have to do in order to succeed at this.  You have to treat it like a business and be willing to follow advice from others who have made it.”

Tracy Willard of California began her MLM career out of necessity. “Prior to getting involved in my business, I told my friends to never let me join one of those things… but when our family was hit by the mortgage crisis I had to do something different.” She started her business with the intention some retirees may also find themselves. “I started with the idea that I just needed to make my month easier. My company helped me figure out what I needed to do in order to make an extra $500 per month.”

She reiterated a common theme I heard throughout the interviews. “If you treat it like a hobby it won’t pay you like a business.” She also acknowledged that, in spite of her success, she doesn’t sit around eating bonbons every day waiting for residual checks to hit the mailbox. “That’s a common misconception,” she said. “I work hard at my business every day, although it doesn’t always feel like work. Similar to other entrepreneurs who profit from their passion, she says “It’s rewarding because I found a product that has made in difference in how I look and feel… and I love selling it and helping other people start a business.”

Staci Cahill runs her Washington MLM company in a way many people can appreciate.  She keeps her personal life separate from her business life by avoiding home parties, offering instead workshops that educate prospects on the products she offers.  “I didn’t want to be that person others hid from because they thought I was going to ask them to host a party.  I like to keep my business life and personal life separate.”

When I asked her if she was successful at her craft, she pointed out an MLM approach different from what many might expect.  “Yes, I am very successful given what I wanted to get out of it.  I’m a single mother who used to work 50 hours per week outside the home.  Now I’ve cut it to 20 hours, which is a major upgrade for me and my family.”

As a five-year veteran of MLM, she attributes her success to the fact that, “I switched companies a few years ago once I realized that pots and pans don’t change people lives.  The products I now offer has changed my life and that of others… and I find a lot of value in waking up and going to bed knowing that.”

The interviews and psychological connections lead me to conclude that MLM and NM companies, along with other small businesses opportunities, are important considerations for anyone entering retirement.  In fact, I believe the concept of starting a business for retirement income will become one of the most significant trends impacting retirement in the 21st century.  But it has to start with redefining entrepreneurship and framing it into a retirement lifestyle.  That means helping people find ways to turn a passion, hobby, or personal desire into extra money in their pocket… not to mention helping people see the importance of  planning for the non-financial aspects of retirement such as replacing a work identity, staying relevant and connected, as well as keeping mentally and physically fit.

Something multi-level marketing as well as network marketing companies are poised to capitalize on.  As a result, the industry could soon experience larger than life growth, spurred by baby boomers looking to adjust their retirement feelings and plans.

Source: forbes.com ~ By Robert Laura

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