Today, I would like you to resolve that — if you haven’t done so already — you’ll develop a second stream of income this year by getting yourself into a side business. The business can be home-based or housed in an office. It can be run by you or someone you trust. It can be done on a part-time or non-stop basis. It can be anything, so long as it is profitable. Having your own business is not the only way to get rich, but it is — far and away — the way that most people do it. Statistically speaking, it is your most likely road to success. It also gives you a chance to eventually become super-rich — to join the $50-million-plus club. As you know from reading past ETR messages, I am NOT in favor of quitting your day job. Going into business is tricky and requires a lot of trial and error — which can be very costly and even ruinous if you don’t have a reliable way to pay the bills.

I’m a chicken entrepreneur (as I’ve told you many times) and favor chicken entrepreneurship, which consists of the following rules:

1. Don’t try something new. Instead, knock off something that’s been proven.

2. To get a fast share of the market, try to develop a way to underprice the competition.

3. Don’t spend any time and/or money worrying about logos or business cards or even customer service. Instead, spend the majority of your time learning how to sell your product or service efficiently. Starting your own business is the only way I know to generate serious cash flow in a relatively short period of time.

A few examples from people I’ve personally mentored:

* CF built her specialized physical-therapy business from zero to $90,000 in 15 months.

* AS’s nutritional-supplement business — just 5 years old — is grossing $5 million, netting over 20%.

* JJF’s financial teaching program for children is paying him close to $100,000 a year after less than 3 years.

* WC made $250,000 in less than 18 months — on top of his regular salary — by running a mail-order business I helped him with.

* PR built his health-product business to more than $20 million in six years (and became a multimillionaire doing so).

* KY’s business pays her a very nice salary — plus she shares $500,000 in profits from a career-counseling program that’s less than 10 years old.

So, get something going this year. Pay attention to the marketing — that’s your first and most necessary job — and insist that the product and customer service improve over time. With each passing year, your business will grow — and that will give you greater cash flow and the potential for a bigger payout when you’re ready to retire. In two or three years, your side business should be big enough to hire you as the CEO. Then, and only then, can you quit your current job. Once you become CEO, things should really skyrocket. You’ll be able to devote all your time and energy to this one single enterprise, and the benefits of all that concentration will pay off.

As is the case with stock investing and real estate, starting and growing your own business requires a lot of learning. The difference between successful entrepreneurs and those who fail is usually a question of which ones figure out the business before the money runs out. You can minimize the losses your new business will sustain if you begin with the maximum amount of knowledge possible. The best way of doing that is to start a business that is a knock-off of one you’ve worked in. It also helps to have a mentor. (See “It’s Good to Know,” below.) But in addition to that, you’ll have to become smart about business.

Here are some ways to do that:

1. Read the business press voraciously but efficiently. You don’t need to spend more than 30 minutes a day — but you should spend that time and you should be very selective about your reading. You’ll want to focus on books, articles, and essays that pertain to your industry — primarily the “how-to” pieces. Give preference to authors who’ve done it themselves as opposed to academics and/or journalists.

2. Supplement your reading by going to seminars and attending conferences. Person-to-person contact is invaluable.

3. Take meaningful correspondence courses. When you find a good home-study program that pertains to your field, don’t hesitate to invest some time and money in it.

In future ETR messages, I’ll make recommendations for programs I’ve seen and approve of. One such program created by my friend, Don Mahoney (co-founder of AWAI), will feature an analysis of the top direct marketing pieces in the mail and on the Internet – controls that are among the biggest mailers there are today. Every month, he’s going to take a top-performing marketing piece and dissect it. He’s going to look at financial information products, health products, fundraising, software, services, and any and every product that’s being successfully marketed through direct marketing today.

For more information about this new service send an email to support@earlytorise.com. I also strongly recommend that that you take “ETR’s Fast Track Program to Starting and Running Your Own Million-Dollar Direct Response Business.” Although you can’t enroll right now (we’ve closed registration for this session because we can’t handle any more students), you can add your name to the waiting list by calling Patrick at (561) 278-5557 or by e-mailing support@earlytorise.com. When you call or e-mail, make sure you mention the name of the program in your message.

The average American is 44 years old and has only $40,000 in his retirement savings plan. If he ever hopes to retire — or even reduce his working to, say, 20 hours a week — he’s going to have to do a lot more than invest in “the next hot stock.” He’s going to have to increase his income by working better at his day job. He’s going to have to invest much of that extra money in the stock and bond markets. He’s going to have to find ways to build a substantial real-estate portfolio. And he’s going to have to — if he wants to live comfortably in his senior years — start and develop a side business. You can definitely do it. There is no limit to the number of new businesses the North American economy can absorb.

Even in other parts of the world, there is no stopping an energetic and committed entrepreneur from starting his own prosperous company. Make yourself a promise to devote a good part of your time this year to creating and/or developing a second stream of income. Allocate learning time every week. Develop a three-page business plan. Make at least one new contact every month — and use that contact to build your business. Give your fledgling business a specific financial target each year and reach it by figuring out how much you have to accomplish every month to get there. Break those monthly targets down to weekly objectives and those weekly objectives down to daily tasks. Start today by committing to an educational program. Then give yourself a business goal for next week. Get going. Have fun. Make a lot of money. Tomorrow, we’ll start to work on the personal “you.”

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.