What can you do about losing more and more control in your life?

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Stones on a Rocky Ocean Beach
Stones on a Rocky Ocean Beach (Photo credit: epSos.de)

What’s happening? Why does it feel that so many things are outside one’s control?

Take fuel costs, for example, which just seemed to keep on rising. With no end in sight. What can you do about it except to try to use less? But how possible is that when you have to use your car every day?

Electricity costs are following the same upward trajectory. Use less, buy energy efficient appliances. It’s hard but doable.

Policymakers introduce more restrictions on business. You’ve got less discretion to do what you need to do.

Local rates go up with less service. If you complain, nobody listens.

Shop in supermarkets and even go to chain takeaway restaurants and you buy less food for your money. How do you stretch your shrinking local currency?

Politicians and government officials spend taxpayers’ money with gay abandon on food, drink and first-class flights. Can anyone stop them?

What can you control in your own life?

You have the power to control your health and the food that you eat.

You have control over your fitness through exercise. Regular walking, running swimming and gym can get you back into shape.

It’s possible to control the way you look and feel by dressing your best even on a tight budget.

It’s also possible to control the people that you see, your business contacts – those people that add value to your life.

You’ve got control over your breathing. That might sound elementary but not when you’re stressed out and start overreacting to everything. You are able to into the quiet room of your mind and say no to negative stimulus. Discard newspapers, switch off radio and television sets and put away your cellphone and iPad.

You’re a sitting duck if you can’t control your income. What are you going to do about the shrinking purchasing power of the money that you learn?

Do you ask for a raise or go find a new job. Are you young enough to invest aggressively? You could sell something on the side or even buy a second-hand business or franchise. Starting something of your own may be a better way to make ends meet. Many people have started something at home, in their kitchen, garage or backyard.

But how viable is starting something of your own compared to investing in shares or buying and selling assets? Asset values rise and fall. Investments accumulate annual interest but even if you are a shareholder in a business you only realise the capital appreciation of your stock and maybe receive an annual dividend payment. If you compare investment income of 5% or so a year, against that which you can learn in a business of your own you will soon realise that you can earn up to 50% on your investment (in products services) a month. That’s the difference between straight financial investments and running a business.

Some small business owners make good money and eventually turn their backyard businesses into a full-time income. But many fail. It’s alarming how many just don’t cut it. The biggest success factor is the quality of the business person. Next is experienced business guidance, having a mentor. It’s much easier to achieve business success with a mentor.

Any investment of money whether it is in a straight financial investment or a business ownership carries risk. The price of investments can suddenly crash and turn out to be almost worthless. Business investments, particularly small business investments, carry two levels of risk. The one is the risk inherent in the type of business and the other is the market risk.

It also takes a long time to get a product and small business off the ground. Three times as long as you think. Only 5 to 8 people in 100 will have the determination to pull it off.

Why am I telling you this?

I have seen even the best business ideas fail horribly. I’ve witnessed would-be small business entrepreneurs make the same dangerous mistake (not because they are not smart or bright enough but because they hold back on one crucial but elementary step that involves grunt work they don’t want to do).

What makes me able to say this? I have learnt the hard way. I have started and run small businesses and helped others get off the ground.

If you liked what you’ve heard so far, don’t object to hard work, can handle failure, have the ability to accept reality and want to control your own destiny, then instead of dreaming about what you need to do go here now.

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