Advanced Money School Lesson 6: The Wealth-building Power Of Business Ownership
Written by: David Weliver
A large percentage of multi-millionaires are business owners.
In this lesson, we’ll examine why that is and why owning a business is probably the fastest path to building serious wealth – even if it’s not the only path you choose to take.
Financial security vs. real wealth
Anyone with a well-paying job should be able to achieve financial security. Getting there requires some knowledge and the discipline to spend less than you earn. But it’s not an insurmountable goal.
Achieving wealth is another story.
We could easily debate what it means to be wealthy in 2020 America. To save time, let’s assume that a net worth of $5 million makes a person wealthy.
Now, there are a limited number of ways a person could achieve a net worth of $5 million or more. You could:
- Inherit the money from a rich relative.
- Win the lottery.
- Work in a high-paying job while saving a reasonable percentage of your income and investing.
- Work in an average job while saving an extreme percentage of your income and investing.
- Start a business.
If you’re about to fire off an email to complain that I omitted “investing” as a path to wealth, hold up. If you take investing seriously enough to earn $5 million, you do, in fact, own a business. It’s just an investing business!
The paths to wealth
Let’s look at the potential paths to wealth. We all know that winning the lottery is such a long shot it shouldn’t even be on the list. But what about an inheritance?
This 2014 survey from Statista suggests that 22% of wealthy Americans inherited their wealth. That’s more than I would’ve assumed. If you’re reading this lesson, however, I’ll assume you’re not expecting to be the beneficiary of a multi-million-dollar estate.
Which leaves us with three ways to build wealth, all of which involve work.
An outsized salary
If you’ve managed to work in a high-paying career, it’s reasonable to think that you’ll one day achieve at least a $5 million net worth as long as you’re diligent about saving and investing. This shouldn’t require undue sacrifices. But it will take time, and of course, discipline to not spend away your salary.
You may feel wealthy on account of your income. But you might not “be wealthy” on account of your net worth for many years.
If your existing and potential income is more modest, getting to a $5 million net worth is going to be a slog. If you can get there at all, it will require saving an extreme percentage of your income and living a very modest lifestyle. I realize that many people are attracted to this kind of lifestyle for many reasons, be they philosophical, environmental, or as a way to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, there are often circumstances at play that are outside of your control. Extreme frugality may be your only way to give your kids a shot at something you may not have had if you grew up poor or working class. That’s admirable.
Here’s the best part. The better you are at living frugally, the less you need to save to feel “wealthy”. If you’re able to live on $30,000 a year, $5 million is enough money to last many lifetimes.
Now, if you don’t want to live frugally, you don’t have a very high-paying job, and you don’t expect to inherit millions, I think the only reasonable path to wealth left is starting a business.
Not to mention that if you’ve ever dreamed of not only being wealthy, but stupid rich, starting a business is really the only way to go. The number of people who amass not just millions, but tens of millions from a paycheck are limited to the CEOs of enormous corporations and a very small pool of athletes and performers with outsized salaries.
All the rest are business owners.
Imagine for a moment a wealthy neighborhood in the U.S. The kind of place homes start at $1 million. Where there are more Range Rovers and Teslas on the street than Toyotas and Chevys.
In these neighborhoods, you will find doctors, lawyers, senior managers. But you’ll find an awful lot of business owners. Probably in the nicest houses!
Let’s take a look at why this is and how you can start picturing yourself as a business owner someday. This lesson will illustrate the significant wealth-building power of business ownership. Although I think it’s an important concept for everyone to understand, I also recognize that not everybody is interested in being a business owner.
At the end of this lesson, you’ll find a worksheet that can help you brainstorm business ideas that you might be able to start. This is completely optional. I don’t want to suggest that entrepreneurship is the “only way to wealth” simply because it’s the path that I followed.
Why business owners get rich
Owning a business is the fastest reliable way to wealth. Sure, hitting the lottery might be faster but it’s not reliable! Furthermore, owning a business is the only path to wealth on which there is no limit to how much you might earn.
That’s because once your business is established, you can earn more as the business grows without the need to work additional hours.
You could be the best lawyer or surgeon in the world and be able to earn millions every year. But, as long as you are trading your time for money, there will always be a limit to the hours you can work and the dollars you can earn.
If you start a business, however, you can hire employees to produce and sell your product or provide your service. You still need to run the business, of course, but you do not need to directly trade time for money. As long as you manage the company well, the more it grows, the more money you make.
The passive income myth
The internet loves to talk about “passive income.” Because who doesn’t dream of just sitting on a beach all year while the money pours into your bank account 24/7?
Here’s the thing: True passive income is harder to come by than you think.
What is true passive income?
True passive income is money that flows into your account every day, month, or year without you needing to do anything at all.
True passive income can come from a variety of sources, such as:
- Interest earned on a savings account.
- Investment dividends.
- Royalties on a piece of intellectual property.
- An annuity or structured settlement.
- A pension or social security.
Perhaps there are one or two more sources of true passive income that I’m not thinking of. But I think that about covers it.
The first thing you’ll notice is that two of the most commonly-mentioned sources of passive income – internet businesses and real estate – were not on that list. They were intentional omissions.
If you’re familiar with my story, that might strike you as a bit odd. You see, I’m the founder of this website, Money Under 30. I started it in 2006 as a hobby blog to chronicle my journey paying off student loans and other debt. Over time, it grew into a thriving ad-supported content business with several employees. Eventually, I sold the business for more money than I ever thought I’d see in my lifetime.
Although I created an internet business that, in a way, “earned money while I slept” – I can assure you that the income was anything but passive. I worked day and night on my business. Perhaps you can create something that earns passive income for a while, but if you don’t put in any work, it will eventually fizzle out.
You can create a business that creates recurring income. You can create a business that generates automatic income. But the income is not passive. If you do not tend to the business, it will wither.
I don’t consider real estate investing passive, either. Yes, you might be able to collect a rent check every month and go a long period of time without needing to do any work. However, there’s real work involved in managing real estate from finding tenants to maintaining the property to accounting for your profit and loss.
It’s true that both owning a business and investing in real estate are good sources of recurring income. That’s why we’re are going to focus on these two asset classes in this lesson the next. I believe, however, that holding these asset classes out as having the ability to generate true passive income is false advertising.
So saying that owning a business is passive would be like telling you it’s possible to get rich quickly – they’re both lies.
Next, let’s look closer at each source of true passive income. But just a heads up that none are easy winners; each has its own problem and challenge.
Interest and dividends
You need a lot of money to start with to make the income from interest or dividends significant. If you have millions, then this becomes a powerful source of truly passive income and it’s the main reason the “rich get richer”.
Ask anyone who has written a book that didn’t rise to the top of the bestseller’s list (which is most writers), royalties often don’t amount to much. Although a few breakout authors, songwriters, and other creatives can become very wealthy and enjoy living on royalty income, we all know how difficult it is to reach that level of success. For everyone else, it’s possible to make money by working hard and being prolific. Doing so, you might someday have a stream of royalty income to speak of. But again, it’s not very passive.
Annuities, pensions, and social security
Since this is Money Under 30, the chances that you have money coming in from these sources are slim. And, for retirees who do have these income streams, they are often modest.
As you can imagine from the above examples, if you do have some amount of truly passive income, it can become a powerful wealth multiplier because the income you earn from the time you spend working can be lumped on top of the payments already coming in.
Which brings us to the truth about passive income and business ownership. The goal of owning a business is not to create passive income (because true passive income from a business is a myth). The goal of owning a business is to stop trading your hours for work.
Stop training time for money
The book is based upon the simple truth that time, not money, is our most valuable commodity.
To drive home this point, the book asks you to examine your relationship with money through an entirely new lens. A very simplified version would be to think about the things you own in terms of how many hours you need to work to buy them. But you also need to adjust your hourly income to account for the time you spend getting ready for and commuting to work.
After a chapter or two of such exercise, you begin to get a sense of just how much of the typical human life is consumed by work simply for the sake of consuming.
From there, the book can be a powerful motivator to examine your consumption and make changes towards a simpler, less costly, and more sustainable life. By doing so, you can one day work less (or not at all).
But this framework also drives home the power of being able to earn an increasing amount of money without a correlated increase in working hours.
The doctor and the builder
Here’s a quick story about two successful people, Emily and Brandon, who are both hitting a stride in their careers around the age of 30.
A sought-after cardiologist, Emily is a success by every conventional definition. After graduating near the top of her college and medical school classes, Emily was able to pursue a highly-paid specialty and is set to earn mid-six figures a year. She will need to repay $250,000 in student loans , but she’s not worried about that given her generous salary. If there’s a downside to her chosen profession, however, it’s that Emily will need to work long hours – including on-call weekends – potentially for the entirety of her career.
Although Brandon never attended college, he parlayed his natural business acumen and experience working as a carpenter to launch his own home building company. He’s grown from a single team able to build one house at a time to dozens of employees and contractors taking on multiple projects at once. In the next year or two, Brandon is planning to hire a project manager and sales rep that will allow him to exclusively focus on overseeing the business. Profits from the business grow every year even though Brandon is taking steps to work less, not more!
Who would you rather be: Emily or Brandon?
Of course, there are other differentiators between these two others than money. For many physicians, the desire to help patients (or, too, the desire for the status bestowed on the profession) is as important as their salaries.
From the perspective of time and money, however, I think the choice is obvious: Brandon has the better situation.
- Brandon has no personal debt and, as he grows his business, there’s no limit to how much he can earn. Best of all, he’s been so smart about running his business that he can earn more money each year, but he does not need to work harder or longer to do so.
- Meanwhile, Emily will do very well for herself. As long as she doesn’t fall into the trap of spending above her quite ample means, she should be able to pay her debt down quickly and save quickly. Unless she decides to save 50% or more of her income each year, however, it will still take Emily a long time to save enough money to comfortably retire. (Assuming Emily wants to maintain the comfortable life a cardiologist’s salary affords.) In the interim, Emily has to work long hours, day in and day out.
Being a business owner isn’t for everybody. However, if you want a shot at earning good money without the need to punch a clock for the rest of your career, there’s no better way!
The power of business cash flow
There are two reasons why owning a business is such a powerful wealth-builder. The first is the cash flow potential.
(For our purposes, cash flow equals income.)
Right now, you probably receive income from your work in the form of a salary and you perhaps receive some interest or dividends from savings and investments. If you own rental real estate, hopefully, you collect rent. And, if you own a business, you might either pay yourself a salary from the business and/or take out a percentage of profits every quarter or year.
Cash flow is a kind of wealth. Some might argue it’s the best kind, and some might argue it’s the only kind of wealth that matters.
For example, it’s possible (and common) for businesses or wealthy individuals to possess immensely valuable assets that are illiquid, making them “cash poor.” This frequently happens with real estate holdings but can occur with other assets as well.
Imagine that you have $10 million worth of real estate holdings with no mortgages. Although unlikely, imagine the economy is in recession. Your buildings are all vacant and not generating rent. Consequently, they are also difficult to sell at the moment. You have $0 in your bank accounts. Are you wealthy?
Well, on the one hand, of course…you have property worth $10 million.
On the other hand, you’re not much better off than the broke college student next to you on the subway (at least in the short-term).
Cash is king
You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “cash is king.” This is why we say that.
When you need to pay the bills, equity won’t help you, cash will.
Although a good investment will appreciate in value over time (something we’ll look at in the next section), a great investment will appreciate in value and produce cash flow. Think about an apartment building that appreciates in value while landlords pay you rent. Or a publishing business that generates ad revenue while increasing its subscriber base and, consequently, it’s market value in the event of an acquisition.
If you want to retire, you’ll need your investments to produce cash flow, or income, that will pay your living expenses. You could do this with real estate as mentioned earlier, or you could invest in a portfolio of stocks and bonds. If you invest in the stock market, your investments could pay a modest amount of income in the form of dividends. Alternately, you could periodically sell off your holdings to raise cash.
Both methods suffice for generating income. Technically, however, we would only consider dividends from a stock portfolio as cash flow. That’s because, when you sell shares, you’re tapping the appreciated value of your asset. (Although you cannot typically sell part of a building, it would be like selling 1% of a piece of real estate every year.) This is not really cash flow.
Knowing all this, let’s imagine for a moment the kind of cash flow you could expect from two different types of investments.
- Dividends on certain stocks and bond yields range from about 1% to 4% — although a few could be more or less. Keeping in mind that not all stocks pay dividends, let’s use an average of 2.5%. Just to be clear: This is not the total return of the portfolio, just the rate of cash flow. If the market is on the rise, you might have an annual return of 7% or even 18% thanks to appreciating prices, but your cash flow rate would be more or less the same.
- Although the annual cash flow from real estate can vary widely depending on location, type of holding, and market conditions, they tend to be higher than what you can expect from a stock portfolio (explaining their popularity). As an example, let’s use 5%.
If you were to invest $1 million in either of these, you could enjoy a cash flow of either $25,000 or $50,000 per year from your investment. Again, your rate of return will hopefully be higher. Especially when looking at the stock portfolio, you might think “that’s it!?” That’s all I get from $1 million?
Now, imagine you have a business that’s valued at $1 million. Your cash flow is going to depend entirely on the kind of business you run and how efficiently you run it. Many common small businesses are valued at between one and two and a half times cash flow. With that multiple in mind, it doesn’t really matter what kind of business you run or how much you earn. Compared to the cash flow rates of a stock portfolio or real estate holding, the cash flow rate from your business is going to be between 40% and 100%!
How can this be?
There are two primary reasons owning a business produces so much more cash flow than other asset classes.
- First, the thinking goes that individual businesses involve more risk than owning a mutual fund or a collection of rental properties. For a small business, this is very true. As the owner, you’re taking on all the risk and enjoy all of the rewards.
- Second, don’t forget that we’re not necessarily talking about a passive business. You’re working in the business, which partly explains the higher cash flow rate. That said, it’s possible (and desirable) to systematize your business so that you can work less and collect more cash flow.
The magic of business equity
Relative to its value, a business produces more cash flow than any other kind of asset. Most businesses also have an asset value that enables you to hold equity.
In contrast to cash flow, asset value is what somebody would pay you to purchase the asset. When talking about a business, the asset value is typically called a valuation.
Business valuation is a squishy subject. Like everything that’s bought and sold, a business is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. This is why you sometimes see tech start-ups selling for 100x profit or even unprofitable companies being bought for billions.
Aside from such “disruptive” companies that command incredible premiums, real-world business valuations are more modest.
Businesses that possess proprietary intellectual property, unique technology, or a dominant brand or market position can be valued at five, 10, even 25 times annual profit. Again, it all depends on what someone’s willing to pay. Likewise, businesses require less day-to-day work by the owner might command a higher multiple because they’re more passive.
The vast majority of small businesses – from law firms to gas stations to auto body shops – can only be sold for between one- and two-times annual profits. The lowest-valued businesses are ones that require the owner’s labor (such as a law firm or accounting practice).
Regardless of what kind of business you have and the kind of valuation it might fetch in a sale, the business itself probably has asset value. An important exception is a business that’s based solely on your personal brand.
If you do a kind of work that could be replicated by another skilled professional (e.g. law, financial planning, auto repair), your client list or “book of business” might have value. That changes, however, if your profession depends upon you as a unique individual (e.g. coaching, speaking, writing). In these cases, you don’t have a business you can sell unless your name becomes so well-known you can build a business around it. (Think Oprah, Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, or Gwyneth Paltrow).
Cash flow for short-term income, equity for long-term wealth
The reason businesses are such powerful wealth builders is that they can simultaneously provide you with cash flow while accumulating asset value. The more your business pays you, the more it’s likely worth.
The downside is that equity in a business is difficult to access.
A small business can’t borrow against the value of their business like you can borrow against the value of your house. (Small businesses can get credit, but they must borrow against future cash flow or real assets like the owner’s home or investment accounts).
The only way to access the equity in a business is to sell some or all of your business to someone else. This could involve selling a stake to an investor to fund growth, selling shares to a partner to take some money off the table for yourself, or exiting the business altogether in an acquisition.
Whether or not you pursue any of these options ultimately depends on your goals. If you’re an entrepreneur who enjoys the idea and start-up phase, you might sell several businesses. On the other hand, if you enjoy building a stable business for the long-run, you might pass it on to your children and never take equity out.
Either way, the equity in your business is real wealth, but it’s not at all liquid.
So, you want to start a business?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that owning a business is one of the best ways to grow wealthy. I’m sure, at least, I’ve piqued your curiosity.
Now, I know, owning a profitable business is not as easy as snapping your fingers. I also know that I cannot give you an MBA in the next few pages of this lesson. What I will do, however, is offer a few key points that you should understand as you think about what starting a business might look like.
Self-employment vs. business ownership
The first thing to understand is that being self-employed does not necessarily make you a business owner.
In some cases, this is obvious. If you drive for Uber and Lyft you’re technically self-employed, but nobody would call you a business owner.
What if, however, you own your own Town Car and make reservations to take people to the airport outside of those platforms. You have your own brand, website, and business cards. Are you a business owner now?
You might argue both ways, but I’m going to suggest that no, you’re not.
In this example, I wouldn’t call you a business owner until you’ve hired either someone else to do the driving or someone else to make the reservations. In other words, you become a business when you start delegating and you have successfully separated some of your income from your time.
Now, you do not always need to have employees to own a business. You can have a business of one.
Let’s compare two software developers.
- Jim is self-employed and contracts to write code for several clients.
- Amy has similar skills but develops her own apps which she then sells.
To me, Amy has a business while Jim is merely self-employed. Same skills, same tax status, but only one of them can take a day off and still make money.
How business ownership might fit into your wealth plan
If you’re already a business owner or are already self-employed and are thinking of taking things to the next level, I hope this lesson is inspirational. You are uniquely positioned to begin building an incredible asset.
If that’s not you, don’t worry. Not everybody wants the responsibility and stress of being a business owner. It’s a nice way to make money, but it’s not the only way.
But, if you’re interested in owning a business but not sure how to get started, let me leave you with a few ideas.
- You do NOT need an MBA, a polished business plan, or a $1 million investment to start a business. I began Money Under 30 with an idea and about $20 in domain and web hosting fees. In fact, I think starting small and lean is a far better way to go about a new business than taking months to raise capital and hire a huge team. If you’re going to fail, you want to fail fast so you can try something new.
- If you have a skill, you can own a business. If you’re a skilled worker – whether you’re an editor or an HVAC technician – the chances are good you can start a business. The first step is to begin working for yourself. While I mentioned earlier being self-employed does not make you a business owner, if you adopt a growth mindset you can get yourself to the point where you have to hire others to do the work while you build the business.
- Brush up on sales, marketing, and negotiating. Whatever kind of business you own, you will need to be at least half-way decent at sales, marketing, and especially negotiating. The CEO or business owner is almost always a company’s top salesperson – whether they like it or not! I’ve always hated sales, but I had to step up as my business grew. Even after I hired a business development rep, the clients would tell her “I want to talk to David.” Go figure.
- Learn to let go. Control freaks, heads up. Delegating is essential to creating a business that can thrive without you. Unless you want to work 80 hours a week for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to hire employees, train them, and trust them to get the job done. No, they won’t do it your way. Yes, they will make mistakes. But they will get things done and grow the business. You won’t be able to grow – or separate your income from your time – without them.
- Learn to love systems. At the heart of all successful businesses are well-designed processes. How can a McDonald’s in New York City and a McDonald’s in Amarillo, Texas give you the exact same burger, fries, and milkshake every time? Many, many exacting processes from buying the beef to cooking the fries. This is something I waited too long to pay attention to in my own business. I should’ve been designing processes from day one. Instead, I waited until my business was demanding all of my time, even with employees. I had to add the extra work of creating processes and I always felt like I was playing catch up.
- Hire slow, fire fast. The right employees can take your business to heights you didn’t think were possible. The wrong employees will cost money, get in the way, and slow you down. Take your time to hire the best people possible – people who are smarter than yourself. Pay them well and treat them right. But if somebody’s not working out. Even if you just have a gut feeling, let them go right away. You’re doing them (as well as yourself) a big favor.
- Look for a mentor. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a good mentor to help you; sometimes your mentor won’t cost you a penny, and other times you’ll need to pay someone for that advice. But I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good advice as you do your mapping and planning.
Finding business ideas
I’m willing to bet that for every person that actually starts a business (successful or not), there are 10 people who talk about starting a business but never do.
There are many possible excuses, but one of the big ones is: “I’m just waiting for a unique idea.”
I’m going to let you in on a secret. Unique ideas are unicorns. Don’t wait for one!
If nobody’s using your idea, there’s a good chance somebody already tried it and failed.
Rather than wait for a unique idea, find a business model that’s worked before and then execute that model better.
- Tesla didn’t invent electric cars. They just designed models that people actually want.
- Apple didn’t invent the smartphone. Remember Blackberries? Well, maybe you don’t and I’m getting on in years. But they didn’t. They just improved on the idea by replacing a physical keyboard with a giant touchscreen.
Don’t wait for a unique idea! That’s the mantra for this lesson and in life – you just don’t have to wait for everything to be all set and ready to take action.
To be fair, I understand that finding a good business idea – even if not entirely unique – is not easy, either.
I see two paths forward.
- The first path is the one I just mentioned. Find a business that’s doing well that you can use as a model and then do it better (or at least differently). Don’t copy the business, but draw inspiration from its best attributes.
- The second path is more involved but arguably leads to a stronger – dare I say more unique –business idea.
What you want to do is to look for ideas at the intersection of:
- What you know or can do (knowledge and skills).
- What people want.
- What people are willing to pay for.
You should have some knowledge of the business you’re starting. In other words, don’t open a restaurant if you can’t cook or a gym if you don’t know a dumbbell from a kettlebell. Better yet, dig deep to consider your most valuable knowledge and skills.
Next, you have to make sure your offering is something that enough people want. You might be the best breeder of albino squirrels in the Western Hemisphere, but does anybody want the squirrels?
A personal example
I was recently flying home on a Monday night from a weekend in Las Vegas. As with most flights prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it was fairly full. But I noticed something interesting that was different from many other flights I’ve taken. The plane’s premium economy section was nearly empty. Usually, when I fly for business, that section is always full.
On this flight, out of more than 150 passengers, only two or three had opted to pay the $50 or so extra for premium seats.
Why the difference?
Well, this flight was comprised almost entirely of tourists, not business travelers. What the empty premium section tells you is that these kinds of passengers bought their tickets based entirely on price. Business travelers, on the other hand, are often road-weary frequent fliers who will gladly pay a bit more to be a bit more comfortable on any given flight.
Because of business travelers, premium economy is usually a money-maker for the airlines. But, if every flight were like this one – full of tourists — the airline’s premium economy product would be a total failure.
The take-away is that a good business idea can flop if you don’t find the right market.
Finally, you need to ensure your idea will be profitable enough. Many businesses are ultimately unsuccessful not because they don’t attract customers but because they can’t charge enough to be profitable. This is an easy trap for restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, and other thin-margin businesses to fall into.
When you add up all of these factors, the more specific your idea, the better. Creating products to teach people a foreign language is good. Creating products to teach graduate students and professionals to become fluent in that language as it relates to their field is better. Your idea will be especially valuable if it helps people get the things they want.
Lesson 6 wrap up
In this lesson, we looked at why business ownership is such a powerful way to build wealth. As you grow a business, that business becomes an asset with intrinsic value. When your business is profitable, it generates cash flow for you, the owner. Relative to the asset value of the business, the cash flow rate from a business is often several orders of magnitude higher than the cash flow rate from real estate or paper assets (think 33-100% compared to 3-15%).
To put this another way, let’s say you invest $1 million in three different ways:
- In the stock market, it might earn you $30,000 a year in cash flow.
- In real estate, it might earn you $150,000 a year in cash flow.
- If you buy a business, it could very well earn you $500,000 a year in cash flow.
The difference comes down to effort and risk. With paper assets, you can be quite diversified and you collect your income without the need to lift a finger. In real estate, you’re less diversified but own tangible property. Of course, you need to either work to manage your property or pay someone to do it for you, thus reducing your cash flow rate.
Finally, if you own a business, you will have to work in the business on some level or another. You also have the most risk.
However, if you can learn to delegate and create systems that allow other people to run your business for you, it’s possible that you can work very little while your business generates enormous profits for you – all the while growing into a significant asset that you one day can sell.
If you’re therefore so inclined to go this route, it’ll be clear why there’s really no better (or faster) way to get rich than by owning a business. And if you’re so inclined, you can work through this Business Idea Brainstorming Worksheet. And if a business is not for you – know that you are not alone and there are other paths to gaining wealth that are slower, but steady too.
Again, I leave you with my mantra for this lesson that you don’t have to wait to have everything lined up to begin. Inactivity and indecision ultimately is your biggest enemy.