Looks like CNY is just around the corner. Almost everybody is winding up their businesses especially factory production. With the looming gloomy economic climate, many factories has taken this opportunity to extend the CNY holiday for a week or more in an effort to reduce production overhead cost. Some has even decided to cut employees salary as a move to reduce expenses. Though family reunion dinner celebration is a must, it looks like a mixture of “glad to be still alive but have to tighten belt” to face an uncertain future.
It is unfortunate the world economy has to centre itself on the biggest consumer market namely the USA. Whenever their economy goes down, so does the whole wide world. The cycle of wax and wane of the world economy has a very predictable pattern which no one seems to bother except the academics. It roughly follows a 10 to 11 years of boom and bust cycle. Some scientist even wonders whether it has something to do with the solar cycle activities which also follows a 10-11 year cycle. Strange coincidence indeed. The world’s economy is like a bubble, it just need a flashpoint to trigger it and the house of cards would just come tumbling down.
It is always nice to have a predictable future receiving a regular monthly cheque for a regular work. Nowadays there is no such thing as job security anymore. You can get the axe just about any time whether in good times or bad. And if you have been dutifully saving yourself a nest egg for your retirement, even that value is shrinking much faster than it can grow to sustain a future living cost. Inflation is a result of a market economy. It exists because money is constantly flowing from one hand to another. If the money do not flow, the economy is dead and there will be no growth. Money makes more money, it makes an economy grow and it makes wealth, but the side effect is rising inflation and shrinking disposable income.
Living here in Malaysia, on a dollar to dollar basis in comparison with our nearest neighbour, our Malaysian Ringgit value is not on par. If we earn RM1000 versus say a Singaporean earning S$1000, our meal cost is certainly double that of theirs. Let’s take for example our ever popular chicken rice, nowadays it cost RM4 per plate in a hawker centre. In Singapore, it cost about S$2 for the same. In terms of exchange rate the value is about same. But in terms of disposable income, we lose out as our earning capacity is half of that of our counterpart.
With the gloomy economic outlook, entrepreneurs are going to have a tougher time ahead as many people and companies curb their expenditures. When people don’t spend, the economy shrinks further. That was the great lesson learned from the Great Depression when the US Government made the mistake of telling people to save instead of spending. Since it is difficult to ask people to spend as they face uncertain future, the government will do the spending instead by coming out with “stimulus packages”, ie look for any kind of project to create consumption in the market which in turns create jobs and promotes spending.
So what about us? Since regular jobs are unsecure, we too must not rely 100% just on our pay check for our current and future needs. We need to look out where we can create streams of income to supplement our current income. In addition, that stream of income should continue to work for us even as we retire.
It is quite difficult for a person who is so used to getting a regular pay check, to start even a simple business. Selling is not an easy thing to learn. People just can’t face rejection. You would think I would have a thick face by now doing sales. In truth, rejection is quite emotionally humiliating and even depressing. Only those who can overcome the sales objection would truly grow in their business. It is also the same reason when Pastors ask the congregation to go out to help saves souls that the people just get cold feet and have difficulty to muster their courage to approach people. It takes a lot of courage and determination to approach people especially on the subject of religion. It is very comparable to sales and selling!
As a working person, you could create streams of income by trying any low cost venture. One that you could still afford to lose save for your dignity and lost time. I would say for a low cost venture that would be in the ball park of around RM1000 as a low cost venture. Where a loss of that amount would not put a big dent in your savings. MLMs are a good starting point. Hey! You would say, joining an MLM only cost you about RM100 only! Don’t forget, MLM also requires that you as a business owner to consume their product while trying to approach potential individuals would may want to buy into the system. Not all MLM are the same. Some are trying to be like supermarket selling anything and everything, for example Amway, Cosway etc, while still others go into niche areas, usually the health segment. Usana is one of them to name a few.
Not many can make it in the MLM business. Just about 80% will fail in their venture. Like I said. Most of us are not cut out to do sales. Finding lead continuously is not so easy if we didn’t develop a system to continuously capture new potential individual to sign up into the system.
Another form of income would be in the property market. By buying up a house here, an apartment there, perhaps even a shop lot, you could create a continuous passive income when you retire. The big problem here is that the investment cost is very high! And there is also the downside of choosing a poor location. Properties located in good location always cost more, and when the value is too high, the rental income returns is usually not enough to cover for the loan repayment. It becomes like you subsidizing for your tenant to stay in a property that you owned.
And whither internet marketing? Yes, it is an interesting new form of income generation. It has a passive income potential. A so called earn money while you sleep! Hah! Do watch for all those web sites that promise you get-rich-quick of running an online jobs work from home business. There is no such thing as that. To build a good high traffic web site that has the potential to earn you income needs some creativity on your part and of course some complexity to emulate their money earning system. Yes, it is possible. And as usual, many would not succeed with those kind of system. However, one system stands out, and they really tell it is NOT a get-rich-quick system. Site Build It however do promise that you would get a return if you follow their system of running a web business. The simplest income earning from internet marketing is using Google Adsense. Usually this is not enough to generate a sufficient amount for income. But it is a good starting point to start off your web business. Another way to earn online is to become an affiliate seller. Best way to earn online is to tie it in with your own business, like your MLM business or sell something, a product, a service like your skills in art, photography, music, web designing, etc. This has more lasting appeal. The internet has too many of those get-rich-quick web site that promises empty air, with e-books that don’t have much value. Heck, if you are patient enough and know where to look, you could search the internet and eventually find all the information for free.
Anyway, it is always good to get an extra income stream as it helps to provide additional income supplement and it is a much better security against job loss. Do it right, and you may earn enough to be on your own without having to work for others. It is also a good way to ensure you have an income after you retire.
So what do you plan to do? Think about it and consider your options even as you take time off to celebrate with your family members this coming Chinese New Year.
Wishing all my readers a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!