What Do You Have a Right To?

Enough About Your Rights

This post will be short and may sound like a rant, but I feel the need to clarify the difference between actual “rights” and things people wish they had. In today’s social media environment, there are so many millions who like to say that they have a “right” to free education, a “right” to free healthcare, a “right” to a certain income. These are not rights. These are wants. No one has a right to ask something to be free while others are paying for the service. In fact, there are only a few rights that exist to humans. Among them are the right to life, liberty and property. That’s it!

This means that you have a right to your life- no one else has a claim on it. You have a right to own property, which comes from the fact that you own your body and what your body produces via work in the marketplace. Lastly, you have the right to liberty, meaning that no one else has a right to initiate violence or aggression against you, nor do you have a right to do so to anyone else. Liberty means that so long as you are not violating another person’s life or property, or initiating aggression against another, you are essentially free to go about your business. These are really the only rights that exist for all humans. Just as you have no right to a free car, because you would be violating someone else’s property and liberty by taking one, you also do not have a right to free college (because someone would have to pay to service your education- a violation of their property, their money and time). The same goes for health care. As long as someone is spending time and energy to service your health care, they must be compensated. You do not have a right to ask others to pay for what you are receiving. That would be a violation of their property- their money. You have no right to a “universal income” without producing valuable work to earn income. Even if the government is paying, other individuals are truly the ones on the hook for what the government spends.

I apologize if this all sounds harsh. You may have been told you have endless rights to many things. Much of this is due to that fat that government are engaged in other activities and spending on programs besides concerning itself with protecting your liberty and property. Government should exist to protect your rights and that’s it. You do have rights after all. You have the right liberty, life and property. You have the right to not have others violate your rights. You do not have a right to violate other’s life, liberty or property. You do not have the right to ask for a product or service for free, because someone must spend their labor and money to support that product or service, so asking it for free would be a violation of their rights. It’s also worth noting that groups do not have rights. Only individuals, all individuals have rights. You do not have special rights because you identify with a certain group of people. Nor do you have less rights because you’re a part of a group. You have the same rights- life, liberty and property.

In Liberty,

Sean

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Being World-Class

What it Takes to be World-Class

Being a business owner for more than a decade, I have been forced to become a student of the marketplace. It’s my opinion that the only businesses that will continue to thrive in the coming years are those who are determined to be world-class. Not just good or even great, but only world-class organizations will be able to navigate the rapidly changing and volatile business climate. Unfortunately, good enough will not cut it the way it used to in generations past. Technology has vastly improved our lives, but it has also created increased competition in the work place and removed many of the boundaries and limitations businesses have, leading to more businesses being able to compete in a global marketplace. Businesses who compete in a crowded marketplace will all eventually reach the same fate unless they are able to break out and become world-class. What follows is what I believe makes a company (or an individual) world-class:

1. Inspire a feeling in people- World-class companies inspire certain feelings in others. It’s as if there is something special the company does, and other people want to be a part of what is special. A world-class company has no problem finding great people to join the organization because great people want to be around other great people. Think about world-class companies- Apple, Disney, Lego, Rolex, Ferrari, all of them can be associated with some special feeling. The best companies make people feel special about buying their product or being part of their team. They inspire a sense of pride.

2. Obsess about being the best at only a few key things- World-class companies and individuals understand that in order to be the best in the game, their focus has to be on being the best and doing what it takes to achieve that distinction. World-class performers know that only the best get recognized and acknowledged long-term. For world-class companies, it’s about leaving a legacy and only being one of the best companies will ensure that. The key is to only focus on the things you can be world-class at and not be distracted by those you cannot.

3. Work to be better all the time- The best understand they must constantly work to improve or they will not be the best for long. For people, progress equals happiness and the same goes for companies. For world-class companies, making progress is a necessity.

4. Fixing and anticipating problems before they arise- Problems are a part of life and business. The longer you live or stay in business, new problems will arise that will force you to grow and adapt. World-class companies differ in that they are able to anticipate problems before they occur because they have fully thought through and tested their ideas. If problems do occur, world-class performers are quick to make it right for the client.

5. Almost anyone would recognize its greatness- This almost goes without saying. World-class and greatness are almost synonymous. It’s worth repeating though the greatest companies and performers are recognized by others outside the industry as being world-class. The reputation of world-class companies is important to uphold. Without it people recognizing

6.People talk about the high quality and refer others without hesitation- Great companies make it exceptionally easily for clients to refer them to others. World class companies’ products are like a status symbol. Having the product or service means something, it stands for something.

7. Paying attention to details- The gardeners at Disneyland are meticulous about exactly how they plant the flowers and which way the plants are facing. The janitors, also known as cast members are careful to pick up trash and clean spills immediately. They take pride in making the clients experience a special one. This happens by paying attention to detail. The beautiful wrapping of an Apple product illicit a special feeling in the customer because they understand the company they are doing business with is paying attention to detail. When a car’s upholstery is hand stitched, the same attention to detail allows the business’ driver to take pride in doing business with them. Clients of world-class companies are happy to do business with them. This matters a great deal because the client knows if the company can pay attention to detail, they will pay attention to them as a person, even care about them! Focussing on details as well as the overall picture is what separates good from world-class.

I’ve struggled to move up from being good or great at certain things to world-class. Like many things in life, even if you have a roadmap on how to get somewhere, it can be exceptionally difficult to actually get there. In fact, most just look at the arduous journey and never take the first step. Still others, try for a while and then move on to something else or settle for “good enough”. My sincere desire is that everyone become world class at one thing in their lives. A world-class parent, athlete, student, philosopher, teacher, salesperson, employer, employee, CEO, speaker, actor- anything that helps other people. I think we should all strive to be world-class at whatever we do. After all, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and world-class companies do it right more often than not.

In Heath,

Sean

Dealing with Loss

Something Worth Considering

Much grief and despair that humans experience is due to some loss in our lives. We either lose someone or something and we feel pain because of this. We become attached to certain relationships and possessions. When we lose what we are attached to, immense pain occurs. Pain is a natural part of life and there is no way to eliminate completely from our lives. However, I think that it’s worth considering that when it comes to loss, it would serve us well to remember that we don’t actually own anything in this life except our own bodies and mind, and even those can be taken from us. Therefore, becoming too attached to people and things is actually a cause for pain that can be reduced because everything we perceive that we have in life is actually on loan to us. Circumstances outside our control can take these things away at any time without warning. Indeed our very lives are just on loan to us by nature, the universe, God, whatever term you prefer. Like a car at the end of the lease, we will have to turn ourselves back in to the dealership.

Should we walk around dwelling on the fact that we truly own nothing in this life? I don’t believe that is the best way to live. Instead, I think that quietly recognizing the fact that we don’t really have control over anything except our own mind and actions can help us actually reduce the pain we feel when we lose something or someone. The Stoics referred to this practice as negative visualization- by contemplating the reality that we will eventually lose everything and everyone in our lives, we can prepare ourselves and reduce the sting of the loss when it occurs. The practice can also lead to a greater appreciation fort the people and things in our lives. Because nothing lasts forever, we can learn to take nothing for granted and appreciate all we have just a little more. The pain of loss can also be lessened just by remembering that we were lucky to have been blessed with certain people and things in the first place. Eventually, we will lose everything, including our own existence, so we should actually learn to enjoy what we have a little more.

Again, nothing can ever stop the feelings of pain nor the grief associated with loss. But we can learn to reduce that pain by practicing negative visualization. The real key to satisfaction is wanting and enjoying what you already have, not in yearning for something else. Remembering that everything is temporary, we can learn to enjoy our time living. Life is beautiful exactly because it is temporary. So treat people a little better, appreciate your relationships a little more, enjoy material things without becoming too attached to any of them. Attachment leads to unnecessary pain because loss is inevitable. Enjoyment without attachment, that’s the simple formula for fulfillment. Just remember this, what is simple is not always easy!

In health,

Sean

Why Sales Should Matter to You

Sales 101

Too many people have a negative connotation about the term sales. Some think that engaging in sales in unimportant or even dishonest. I would like to clear the air about what sales really is and why it matters to you. This may blow your mind, but every single person is engaged in selling. Everyone. Sales or selling is simply the ability to communicate the value of whatever you are doing. When you were interviewed for a job, you were selling your abilities. If you started a company, you had to sell prospects on the value of your ideas or products. If you are a parent, you must persuade, or sell your children on the importance of doing things a certain way. Even if your job is cleaning, or something not directly associated with sales, you must still sell the idea that what you are doing is useful to your bosses and keep your performance of a high caliber if you want to retain your position. We are all salespeople.

Most of us think that only those involved in direct sales, like selling a product or service and overseeing the transaction of money is sales. But the truth is, that in the marketplace, we are all salespeople. Christopher Columbus was a great salesman because he persuaded the Queen of Spain to give him three ships so that he may find a faster route to the East by sailing West. He didn’t offer any guarantees, but his expedition turned out to be more profitable for the Spain than he or the Queen ever imagined. It’s very important to remember that persuasion is sales. Nothing sells itself. One must be persuaded to buy something, or join something, or hire someone. That is why I believe sales is the most underestimated skill that one can have.

Of course, there are good and bad salespeople. If you’re not where you want to be, it’s because you haven’t sold enough people, or the right people on the value of what you bring to the marketplace. You can be bad at sales through lack of communication, lack of confidence and lack of empathy for the other party. You can also be a bad salesperson by being and outright liar, but that relates back partially to not having empathy. Take note; the three keys to being a successful salesperson are 1.Having incredible confidence in yourself and your product. 2. The ability to communicate value to that others are persuaded agree with you. 3. Having empathy for the other party so that you can properly meet their needs. The last key is the most important because it ensures that you are meeting the customers needs in a way that benefits both parties because this will lead to many more sales and clients coming your way. Having all three is what leads to becoming a great salesperson. The best part is that all of these skills can be learned. No one is born a salesperson. They must develop the skills to persuade.

As the marketplace changes and more jobs and workplaces are becoming automated, sales will be the one skill set that will continue to be needed by all companies. As I mentioned earlier, nothing sells itself. So the people that are able to meet client needs by communicating the value of a product or service will always be in demand. I’m always looking for incredible sales people. I love people who have so much confidence in themselves and the product that they believe not selling someone on the product is actually a disservice to that person because nothing else will meet their needs as well! I hope that cleared up the air on sales. You are in sales. I am in sales. The kid who convinces his parents to let him eat candy is in sales. Everyone is in sales! Now go out and show others how you can meet their needs the best.

In health,

Sean

33 Lessons I’ve Learned

33 Lessons:

Tomorrow I turn 33 years old. So, here is a lesson for every year that I have learned and find valuable enough to share with all of you.

-Think about business from a customer centric angle to find insight.
-Save money. At least 20%. if you don’t, you’ll be at the mercy of those that did save.
-When you first date someone, you’d do anything for them including rubbing their feet and taking out the trash. Don’t lose that if you want a lasting relationship.
-Don’t always react immediately. Acting without thinking is usually worse than not acting.
– Don’t let fear drive you. Life is scary. If you want security, go to a mental ward. They’ll take care of you.
– All government is force. It is a monopoly on violence. Nothing more, nothing less.
– You and I owe to each other to look out for our common good. But I have no right to rob another because I believe I can use their property better than they can. (That’s called taxation)
– Read to your children and spend most of your days with them.
– Only you can teach yourself. Others can provide information, but you must do the learning.
-Read at least a book a month to ensure a better future.
– Work harder on yourself than you do on your job and you’ll get better at both.
– You are not poor because someone else is rich.
– Don’t wait to be wealthy;start helping others today.
– You don’t know everything. But God(the Universe if you prefer) does, so it might be wise to ask for guidance.
– Treat everything as if it was the last time you will see it. You quality of life will improve dramatically.
-Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Mark 4:25. ( This is talking about gratitude)
– Crap attracts flies. Don’t have crappy thoughts.
-Music makes life fulfilled in every way. It makes your mind vibrate at higher frequencies and attracts love to you.
– Your success will always reflect the standards of your peer group.
– Start everyday by writing down ten things you’re grateful for.
– The quality of your life will be determined by how comfortable you are with uncertainty (risk).
– You are not a goose. You don’t have to fly south during winter. Choose your own direction.
-Carbohydrates make you fat because of insulin. Earn your carbs. Don’t just eat them without training to use them.
– You can change your attitude by changing your state. Do some push-ups or train to operate at a higher level.
-Most people believe they desire Liberty, but sell themselves into a slave- like existence for false security or because of a lack of creativity.
– Skip a meal once in a while, it can help you feel better and get in touch with yourself.
– Any disease can be defeated if the reasons behind beating it are strong enough and the mind believes it can be done.
– If you want a great life focus on appreciation instead of expectation.
– Use your money to buy assets that produce income and not liabilities.
– Energy is something you produce, not something you have.
– The quality of your life is determined by your philosophy towards life.
– Disciplines are the keys to success in any area. The first discipline to learn is controlling your thoughts.

-You become the story you tell yourself. To change your life, start telling yourself a different story that serves you.

In Health,

Sean

What Really Matters

What Matters Most

What really matters in building a great life? Your individual answer will differ from others, but I believe it’s very useful to reflect on what really matters versus what does not. Not enough thought is given for reflection and meditation about the important matters of life. Moreover, so many of the negative experiences we have in life stem from focussing too much on things that do not truly matter the most in life. I can tell you from personal experience that when I have the most stress, I tend to be focussing on things that don’t truly matter like what others think of me and so on. What follows is a list that I’ve compiled of things I believe are truly important versus things than are not important, but receive too much attention. This list is not complete and will likely never be, but my goal here is to provoke some thought about what really makes a good life, compared to what we think makes a good life.

Here’s What Matters:

What you can control
Meaningful relationships
Doing the best you can
Being resourceful
Being a good person
Reflecting on your life
Having a philosophy that serves you
Helping others where possible
Growing as a person
Contributing to something greater than yourself
Having thoughts and emotions that serve you
Fulfilling goals
Having a team of people you can rely on
Living according to your values
Finding internal strength
Taking care of your family
Finding purpose for your existence
Experiencing joy
Learning
Reading
Knowing what makes you feel good
Surrounding yourself with good people (the right people)
Having adequate financial resources
Adding value to others

What Doesn’t Matter:

Controlling others
Being powerful
Being rich
Being famous
Being liked by others
Adopting the values of others
Doing what others want of you (you’ll violate your own values)
Making others upset (it will happen because you have different values)
Being happy all the time (not possible)
Feeling upset once in a while (it’s normal)
Letting others down (you cannot control how others feel)
External events outside your control
Entertainment
Paying too much attention to emotions (They can deceive you)
Buying a House (it’s not a great investment)
Criticism from others
Staying in relationships that don’t serve you

By focussing on what really matters in life, we can avoid unnecessary stress and negative emotions. Staying focussed on what matters will also steer our thinking and actions towards living a great life. How many of the things on the unimportant list are you guilty of thinking about too much? How has it impacted your life? Let me know what you think is important versus what is not by commenting below!

In health,

Sean

Business and Finance 101

Get Your Money Right!

I’ve had a large number of requests to write about business and personal finance. So many thousands of books and essays have been written on these subjects that I feel it will be difficult for me to add much more. However, I will cover a few crucial areas that I believe most business and households neglect when it comes to managing finances. The subject of money is often stressful so I understand the temptation to avoid looking at your bank account on just praying that it will all be ok. Every time I get hit with a huge tax, fee, rent increase or my businesses have a lousy month for revenues, I feel the stress as well. However, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, pretending it will all be okay without any strategy or action to back it up is useless. As Jim Rohn liked to say, “You can’t go in your garden and chant ‘there’s no weeds’!” The weeds will grow right up over your toes if you don’t recognize them and pull them out. So, here are the areas I think most households and businesses should pay attention to on a weekly basis:

1. Cashflows and income. It’s absolutely imperative that you track your income regularly. If you are in business, this will help you identify trends throughout the year and allow you to plan accordingly. If you get paid a paycheck once or twice a month, count that too. Make sure that you’re netting the correct amount. I can’t even tell you how many people I come across that don’t know how much was in their last paycheck. The same goes for business. Most small business people I know don’t know how much they made last month! They just keep grinding, spinning their wheels and getting nowhere! I’m asking you to keep track of the amount of money coming in on at least a weekly basis. If you only get one paycheck monthly, try to increase your streams of income so that you are getting paid multiple times a month from different sources.

2.Expenses. How much does it cost to run your business every month? How much does your family spend monthly? From my experience, the majority of people sorely underestimate their monthly expenses. Every business and individual should have a very detailed breakdown of every single category in which money was spent. Once you see how much you are actually spending, I guarantee it will be eye opening. When it’s all said and done, how much money did you have left over at the end of the month? Everything else was an expense that needs to be accounted for. If you had a little too much “month left at the end of the money” so to speak, it’s time to cut back your expenses and try to simultaneously to increase your income. If you can do both, you have discovered the fastest way to becoming financially free.

3. Know your numbers and what they mean. TRACK EVERYTHING!!!! This is the area that most business are neglecting. For example; what are your payroll hours as a percentage of revenues? What about rents as a percentage of revenues? What is the lifetime value of a new customer? How much new revenues does a new client produce in their first transaction? How much revenue does each billable payroll hour produce? What are the total costs per operating hour in your business? How much net revenues or expendable income are you left with at the end of the month? What is your best quarter for growth historically? How much are your COGS or costs of goods sold? You must know the answers to these questions and more if you want your business to succeed for longer than just a few years.

4. Work on your business and not in your business. If your business depends on your daily efforts to succeed, you are self-employed. You do not actually own a business. There’s nothing wrong with that either, just don’t be fooled into believing that you are an entrepreneur when you’re really working 80 hours a week and only making a few thousand a month. You may just be the lowest paid employee in your business. A true business owner spends most of his or her time reading market trends, strategizing, optimizing systems and making sure the business follows the regulatory and tax requirements. If the owner is not present, the business should still function well. The owner simply works to optimize the profits and expansion of the company and then decides how best to spend or reinvest the profits.

5 . For households, follow the 70-10-10-10 RULE. When your determine your monthly profits or wages, never spend more than 70% of the money you earn. This includes all expenses like housing, cars, insurance, food and entertainment. 10% of your left over money should go to active capital, or starting your own business which will produce additional monthly income. 10% of your income should go passive capital, or an investment run by others that will produce monthly passive income. The last 10% should go to charity or helping others that you care about. I strongly believe in this last one because the secret to living is truly giving. Helping others succeed will result in you doing even better. What goes around comes around and when you help others, you will reap the benefits. (If your monthly expenses are taking up more than 70% of your income currently, work immediately to reduce your expenses and increase your income. Eventually, as your income increases greatly, your expenses may only by 50%, leaving you with more to invest in businesses and spend more on helping others.

6. Know how much it costs to acquire a new customer. Track your marketing ROI or return on investment. Many companies that advertising budgets are not properly tracking the lifetime value of a client, the efficacy of their marketing or the total cost that goes into acquiring a new customer. I have made this mistake many times. I’ve spent hundreds of thousand on marketing without calculating my exact return from the ads. My new rule is that if I spend one dollar in advertising, it must produce more than a dollar in revenue in the first month. Other companies use a longer time frame as their metric depending on what they sell, but this rule has helping me control my marketing costs significantly. I also focus as much as possible on direct marketing so I can track who is engaging with an advertisement and then I can subsequently track what marketing pieces led to new clients. Another cost associated with new customer acquisition is the payroll hours it takes to call prospects, past clients media such as signage in and outside the business, etc. Just be sure to track all costs associated with new customer acquisition. As a general rule, the companies that can afford to spend to most to acquire a new customer and then have that customer produce higher than market average revenues for the business will win!

7. Love the business you are in, but fall in love with the customers more. Business is hard, so it helps greatly if you are passionate about the business you are in. I love health and fitness and bodybuilding, so this is easy for me. But I’ve learned that companies do best that obsess over their customers rather than the products or services they produce. Customers are the ones who pay all the bills at the end of the day. They are the real boss. Every one needs to feel special or significant, so if a company can solve a problem with their products while making the customer feel special, they will do better than companies who do not.


8. Know the difference between good and bad debt
. We live in a debtor nation. The country itself has a 20 trillion dollar federal debt and household debt is at record levels. Debt cycles are the reason for booms and busts in economies and a business or family that takes on too much debt will face significant financial hardships. However, there is a difference between consumer debt and business debt. The latter is a type of debt that produces income and is paid for by others. For instance, if I take out a mortgage to buy and apartment complex that produces cashflow, the tenants are paying for that debt. I am using the debt to create profit. This is called leverage and can be a good thing if used wisely. Consumer debt on the other hand is debt that is paid by the debtor. This includes home mortgages, student loans and auto loans as well as most credit card debt that we are familiar with. Do not let debt sink you or your business!!!! Go back to the 70-10-10-10 rule and see how much of your monthly expenses are debt service, or paying back money you’ve already spent.

There are so many more business lessons, but I think these eight rules are a great start for any business owner or head of the household. I’m hoping any of these tips will lead to financial abundance for you and your family for many years to come.

In health and riches,

Sean