My friend tells me he would be happy with $10 million. Another sets his limit at $10 billion. All of us have calculated a number that would enable us to quit the daily grind. We dream of the day when we can say adios to the rat race. We aspire to a life free from commutes, meetings, deadlines, office politics, and expense reports.


But there are some who have managed to accumulate enough cash to quit working forever. Yet, instead of heading off on a permanent vacation, many of the mega rich remain in the workforce. And these affluent professionals really work. Many devote more than 40 hours a week in jobs that are oftentimes banal and stressful.


The question is, why?


For one, oftentimes they have nothing better to do. Usually in order to become that wealthy, you typically have to work more than 40 hours a week. Being a workaholic doesn’t leave much time for other things. So when you drop out, what else are you going to do? Your whole life was work.


For many, call it ego, insecurity, or the need to be the big kahuna, but it’s also hard to give up an exalted status. Or they tell themselves they will get out when they are the king of the hill, except there’s always a bigger hill to climb and conquer. 

Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor, had a particularly elegant model for understanding this. Norton says that research points to two questions people ask themselves when determining whether they’re satisfied with something in their life: Am I doing better than I was before? And am I doing better than other people? 


Many achievements in life are hard to quantify or compare.  So people turn to money as a comparison that can be quantified. “Am I making more money? or Does my house have more square feet? or Do I have more houses than I used to?”

This instinct to measure and compare doesn’t disappear once people have an obscene amount of money. And if a family amasses, say, $50 million but upgrades to a neighborhood where everyone has that much money (or more), they feel a lot less rich… Hence the ever-shifting goalposts of wealth and satisfaction.


However for some mega rich, they never set out to be rich. They set out to pursue a passion.  That enthusiasm doesn’t go away even when people hit that mega level of wealth.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!Kevin

Why do Billionaires still work?

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I held off writing this email for many weeks now. I dread sounding like a condescending, finger-wagging, fear monger. But when I witness the aggravation and damage that business owners bring upon themselves day-in-day-out, I feel that I must speak out.  This must stop. Please forgive.

I am referring to what is known in the Credit Card Processing industry as “collusion”.

The purpose of a merchant account is to be able to accept credit card payments from customers – for the goods or services disclosed during the application process. A business owner may not charge a credit card to loan themselves money. Certainly not their own card!

Aside from bad economics (it costs 2% – 3% to get those funds = approximately 25% a year) … someone who swipes cards through their account for non-true-business purposes is putting their entire business at risk. The processors and card brands (especially Amex) are on high alert for such transactions and will detect these transactions most of the time. For a business that relies on being able to accept credit card payments, the fallout can be devastating.  The merchant account will get shut down by the processor with the business and business owner getting blacklisted by all US processors.  Many times the funds (that the merchant so badly needed) will get frozen for six months, leaving the business owner with a credit card bill to pay without even having the funds he tried to obtain.

We see these stories every day.  A business who is accustomed to transactions ranging $500 – $1000, suddenly processes a $25,000 transaction.  A quick review shows this was the merchants own card (or father, brother, neighbor, etc.) being swiped to cover payroll the next day.  Please I ask all our clients (and please tell your friends too):  don’t take risks.  No loans on credit card.  The processors and card brands are diligently scrutinizing every large transaction.    (If you are in need of urgent funds, ask your processor for a cash advance.  The rates might hurt, but at least you’re not risking your merchant account.)

I just want to end this email with an important note: If your merchant account was shut down by a card brand or processor and you were NOT doing anything wrong, please reach out to us.  We can help.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

Kevin

Playing The System

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Many moons ago I walked into my first job interview and seated myself across the CEO of the company.  This is how the interview went:

 

CEO: Do you know how to type?

 

Me: No.  (I grew up without a computer in the house!)

 

CEO: Come back when you know how to type.

 

He then handed me a “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” disc and wished me a good day.

 

P.S.  For the next 48 hours I was glued to my chair practicing typing.  Two days later I returned the disc (and got the job!).

 

I am tremendously grateful to this CEO for forcing me to learn how to type correctly.  When I start my day and find 100+ emails in my inbox, I can respond quickly and professionally without wasting all morning pecking away at the keyboard.

 

Today, employing a large staff who perform various computer tasks all day, I stress the importance of making sure every member of my team can type quickly and correctly.

 

The ROI is simple.  Take for example a team of 10 employees earning $15 per hour and typing at 25 words per minute:

typing chart

This is probably one of the simplest and fastest investments you can make with your staff.  It takes 2 – 3 days to learn how to type and they will practice and get faster as they go about their daily tasks.

 

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

Kevin

Typing or Pecking?

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168 hours a week!  Really?

After getting my 75th reminder to say Parashas Hamon (before 9am!) I started thinking about just how many hours of our day/week we invest into “work”.

 

Since the Depression, when free time became equated with unemployment and “full time employment” was established as key a value; working 40 hours a week became the norm.

 

Today many employers consider full-time fewer hours (35 hours, or 37.5 hours).  With the introduction of Obamacare, a new definition to the “full-time” was born = 30 hours a week.

 

Yet while the definition of full-time may be shrinking, Americans are working longer hours than at any time since statistics have been kept, and longer than anywhere else in the industrialized world.

 

In the last 10 years we are swimming against an even stronger current. The work day no longer ends when we leave the office!  Our phones and laptops keep us attached to our work 24 hours a day.

 

We are slowly turning into non-stop workaholics and it doesn’t do any good for our physical, mental, or spiritual health.

 

People with a healthy view of work may work long hours but are not constantly worrying about it. Such people may put in 12 hours, close their laptop, and go do something else.  However a workaholic will put in the same 12 hours but remain anxious about some of the tasks or decisions after work hours are over.

 

A true workaholic gets high from the adrenaline and cortisol, and without work, they go through withdrawal.  It’s the inability to turn off, such as thinking through a work problem while watching your kid ride a bike for the first time.

 

A workaholic is someone who is on the ski slopes dreaming about being back in the office. A healthy worker is someone in the office who dreams about being on the ski slopes.

 

So here we are in the twenty-first century.  Our jobs now serve the function that traditionally belonged to religion: They are the place where we seek answers to the perennial questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” and “What’s it all for?”  Life outside the workplace has lost vitality and meaning, work has ceased being a means to an end and become an end in itself.

 

I’ve recently taken on a new commitment to be home by 6pm at least 3 times a week.  For those of you wondering what the heck I’m talking about – kudos to you!  But for those nodding their heads along – please share your feedback what you do to keep your work from taking over your life.

 

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

Kevin

How many hours a week do you work?

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