4 common paths to entrepreneurship

Given the modern economic reality of our time, more people are deciding to go it alone and start their own business.

Some people do it because they have spent years training and becoming educated only to find the “job” they thought was waiting for them doesn’t actually exist.

Others do it because the 9 to 5 grind simply doesn’t work for them and they would rather spend their time creating or working with something that they love and feel passionate about.

Still others want to create a work schedule that fits them and their own life goals.

There are many reasons to want to go out on your own. No matter what your motivation is, you can start today. Tomorrow is the place where dreams go to never come to fruition.

Here are 4 common paths to entrepreneurship and why multi-level marketing is the best one.

1) Start from scratch

Starting your business from scratch means your starting at the ground level. Floor one. No one knows who you are or what you’re doing until you speak up.

From scratch means you scrape together seed capital (the initial funding used to begin creating a business or a new product) and begin by telling the world what you are up to by advertising, marketing, and word of mouth.

Then, you work your bag off. You sink fifteen hours a day, six or seven days a week into making your new business work.

It can be very exciting – you’re creating something brand new and you’re challenging your business acumen against many others who are already established. Some people thrive in this environment. Many perish.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80% of business with employees survive their first year. After that, the number steadily decreases. 70% survive the second year, 50% survive year 5, and 30% survive year 10.

2) Buy a going concern

Another path to entrepreneurship is to buy a going concern.

A going concern is an accounting term. It means that the company is doing well, and it has the resources to continue operating indefinitely until it provides evidence to the contrary.

Buying a franchise or buying an already established business are both ways to buy a going concern.

The main reasons acquiring a going concern fail are because of a lack of adequate funding, because a business plan isn’t prepared, or because of a lack of teamwork.

While many people say they want to run their own business, there are comparatively fewer that are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes time to making the business work.

Running a business requires organization, promotion, and risk management. Managing risks requires management and marketing skills and, above all else, commitment. If you’re risking a significant amount of capital, whether its from your savings or from borrowing against your assets, you need to be sure you have the experience, knowledge, personal traits, and the habits you need to succeed.

Even a company that is doing well can falter under new management. The initial excitement that comes with owning a business of your own can carry you passed some obstacles, but just because a business is a going concern when you purchase it, doesn’t mean it will remain so.

3) Start a new concern with a partner

Starting a business with a partner can be rewarding. It can also be a huge drag and damaging to the relationship.

The most successful, rewarding partnerships occur when each member has skills or knowledge that the other lacks. When this balance doesn’t exist, the relationship has a higher probability of becoming toxic, as one partner may begin to feel like they are shouldering most of the weight of the new business and the other is just along for the ride.

4) Multi-level marketing

Many people do not consider themselves to be business savvy, a marketing mogul, or have an original, creative idea they feel could turn into a legitimate business. Many of these people, however, still dream of working for themselves and starting a successful endeavor of their own.

Multi-level marketing is yet another path to entrepreneurship, and it may be the most enticing one.

Multi-level marketing (also known as network marketing) is a business model. It is a strategy used by some direct sales companies that encourages existing distributors to recruit new distributors. New recruits become part of the distributor’s “downline” and a percentage of the recruit’s sales are given to the distributor that recruited them.

Multi-level marketing is easier than starting a business from scratch, it doesn’t require the initial capital that purchasing a going concern does, and it comes without the risks of starting a new venture with a partner.

This path to entrepreneurship is attractive because you don’t have to start at the bottom and go into it alone. You start your own business with a product that has proven brand recognition and has programs that provide information on finding people, how to sponsor them, and how to train them.

Multi-level marketing is somewhat like buying a franchise, but without the 20,000 to 200,000-dollar initial investment that purchasing a franchise often requires.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need any investment at all. It’s just not as substantial as a franchise. You still need to invest in the product for use and for demonstration.

With multi-level marketing you are going into business for yourself. You are the Chairman of the Board. That means you need to make a financial investment in the product and a personal investment in your recruits. The more involved you are, the more likely you are to find others who are willing to make the same commitment that you did.

Being personally invested in the company and the idea of owning your own business is the only way to become successful with multi-level marketing. The people who go into it thinking it’s a way to easy success and wealth often become disillusioned, quit, and tarnish the industry as a whole.

Sources and further reading

Network Marketing Success for Everyone – Lyle Manery








3 simple tips to help you become a smart spender

You can make a good argument that spending money today is easier than spending money 50 years ago.

Most people, myself included, carry nothing but plastic. I don’t even remember that last time I paid for something in cash.

Paying with credit cards – and debit cards are likely the same – is less painful psychologically than paying with cash. Because it is easier to divorce the pain of spending money from the pleasure a new purchase can bring, unsmart spending can quickly take over.

Pair this with a few other psychological quirks and it’s a wonder you ever have anything left in your bank account.

Today I’d like to share a few thoughts on being a smart spender.

I’ll explain a couple cognitive biases that can trick us into spending more than we should and then share a few tips about smart spending that have really worked for me.

Common mental money traps people fall into

Humans have the unique gift of being rational. And most of the time we convince ourselves that we’re exercising this ability. When faced with a decision, for example, we logically weigh the pros and cons, digest the information, and pick a direction based on sound reasoning.

When you put some of your decisions under a microscope, however, you might find that you’re not as logical as you think you are.

Sometimes, maybe most times, you might fall for a cognitive bias.

Cognitive biases are errors in thinking that occur as you process and interpret information in the world around you.

Falling for a cognitive bias can hurt your bank account and make you an un-smart spender.

Here are 2 in particular that can make you spend more than you want to if you’re not careful.

1) Anchoring

Anchoring is when you rely too heavily on an initial piece of information when making decisions. When you’re buying something, the initial piece of information might be the first price you saw for a particular item.

Say you’re in the market for a house. Your real estate agent takes you to the neighborhood you’re interested in and the first house they show you is $1 million.

Then they show you several houses for $750,000.

Because you saw the $1 million-dollar home first, $750 000 seems like a pretty good bargain.

Until you go home, do your research, and find out that the average house price in that neighborhood is $500 000.

If you weren’t wise and crafty, you might have believed that real estate agent, spent way over your budget and gone home feeling good about yourself because you got a good deal.

2) The Bandwagon Effect

“Hopping on the bandwagon” simply means going along with the crowd instead of making your own decisions.

We are social creatures and it is human nature to want to fit in.

Blindly going along with the crowd to fit in, however, can throw you into a financial tail spin pretty damn fast.

Buying a house, buying a car, going on vacation, family trips, dinners out, new clothes and accessories, fitness classes…

These are all tempting activities to want to get involved in as you see friends, family, and coworkers doing them.

But can you afford it? Your financial situation may be completely different than your best friends or your neighbors. Maybe they’re not making the best decisions about money. Maybe they got some kind of inheritance from a distant relative and can afford that lavish lifestyle.

In any case, you just don’t know what everyone else’s situation is. So, don’t do things just because every else is doing it.

How to be smart with money

Here are a few tips to help you be smart with money.

1) Be aware of your biases

Pretty much the only way to overcome a cognitive bias is to know it exists.

Acknowledge the fact that your brain has limitations, look out for them, and adjust accordingly when a situation arises that could make you fall for one.

2) Live below your means

This rule applies no matter how much money you have in the bank. Because excessive spending can ruin you, no matter how wealthy you are.

Living below your means doesn’t mean you have to be a complete minimalist and adopt a lifestyle of frugality.

And it doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself.

It just means getting things only when you can afford them. This is a simple principle on the surface, but much harder in actual practice. Our brains are incredibly good at finding reasons to convince us that what we want needs to be purchased right now.

Discipline yourself.

If you want a new car but can’t afford it, set a goal and come up with a plan to get the money you need. Then buy it.

3) Learn to say no

Have you ever gone out for dinner or drinks when you knew you couldn’t afford it, just because you were afraid to say no or because your were afraid of letting people know how little money you actually have.

Saying no isn’t as socially destructive as you think it might be. It can actually be quite liberating. You reach a new level of comfort with yourself and your life when you can boldly stare reality in the face, accept it, and act in a way that is best for you and your loved ones.

Can’t afford to go out for drinks for Sarah’s birthday? “Sorry I can’t make it this time.”

“Jonny’s bachelor party is in Mexico, do you want to come for 1 week or 2?” – “Maybe next time, that’s just not in my budget right now.”

I promise you’re not going to lose your friends and your family isn’t going to disown you just because you can’t make an event here and there.

They might actually appreciate it when you don’t have to ask them for money because you blew your entire savings on a destination wedding for a third cousin last month.


Overspending can make you feel out of control, guilty, and worried. Financial stress is the worst; it can rip families apart and lead to a lot of sleepless nights.

The key to avoiding overspending and being a smart spender is knowledge. Know how your brain works and know what your situation is. Then, have the courage to face that reality and the discipline to keep yourself in check.

Sources and further reading

How to Spend Smart

10 Cognitive Biases in Your Brain That Are Costing You Money

Don’t spend, invest—and other secrets from millionaires

Dollars and Sense



A primer on RRSPs

Retirement seems like a long way off. Nothing but a destination far off in the distance that has little consequence for us in the here and now.

That’s future us’ problem, right?

Unfortunately, not. We’ve talked before about the many advantages of starting to save young.

Planning for retirement is the same thing. It’s a wave best caught early, otherwise you spend the rest of your life paddling frantically to catch up.

Today we’re talking about a little government program developed in the 50s called retirement savings plans or RRSPs.

We’re going to cover everything from what they are and who can contribute to them, to some common myths about RRSPs, and some legitimate concerns about them.

This article has two goals: One is to provide you with enough information that you can feel confident talking about RRSPs. The second goal is to help you make an informed decision as to whether or not an RRSP makes sense for your particular financial situation.

What is an RRSP?

An RRSP is a legally recognized trust with the federal government. It is not an investment itself. It is a special type of investment account where you can hold savings and other investment assets.

There are many types of investments that can be held in an RRSP. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cash
  • GICs
  • Savings bonds
  • Treasury bills (T-bills)
  • Bonds (including government bonds, corporate bonds and strip bonds)
  • Mutual funds (only RRSP-eligible ones)
  • ETFs
  • Equities (both Canadian and foreign stocks)
  • Canadian mortgages
  • Mortgage-backed securities
  • Income trusts
  • Corporate shares
  • Foreign currency
  • Labour sponsored funds

What you can’t hold in an RRSP: precious metals, personal property (art, antiques, and gems), or commodity futures contracts. Those are the rules.

Who can get an RRSP?

Just about anyone. If you’ve filed a tax return and have an earned income, you are eligible to join the party.

You can open an RRSP with banks and trust companies, credit unions, mutual fund companies, investment firms, and life insurance companies.

Who can contribute?

You, your spouse, or your common law partner can contribute to it; however, it must be closed when you turn 71. At that time, you can withdraw your RRSP savings in cash, convert them to a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), or buy an annuity.

Why get an RRSP?

RRSPs were introduced in 1957 to supplement registered pension plans and encourage Canadians to save for retirement.

While the intention of the program is to set you up better for retirement, I would say the majority of people get them for the tax benefits they are going to experience in the here and now.

With RRSPs:

  • Your contributions are tax deductible

Your taxable income is reduced by the amount you contribute to your RRSP for that year. In a given tax year, you can contribute as much as 18% of your earned income (to a max of $26,010 dollars).

** If you are a member of a pension plan, this will reduce the amount you can contribute to your RRSP. **

  • Earnings are tax-sheltered

Investments within an RRSP can compound without you having to pay taxes on the gains. For the time being anyway.

You do have to pay taxes eventually, but this tends to be in retirement when your income tends to be lower than in you peak earning years.

The one caveat to this is that the funds must stay in the RRSP. In contrast to something like a tax free savings account (TFSA), you will take a tax penalty if you choose to withdraw your RRSP contributions early.

Some unfounded concerns about RRSPs

  • You have to pay taxes on your contributions eventually, so what’s the point?

A popular knock against RRSPs, although it shouldn’t be enough to prevent you from contributing to RRSPs altogether.

Since you get a tax reduction upon your contribution, an RRSP provides a completely tax-free rate of return on your net contribution. This holds true if the tax rate is the same in the year of your contribution and the year you make the withdrawal.

If the tax rate is lower in the year of withdrawal, you get an even better after-tax rate of return.

Even if the tax rate is higher in the year of withdrawal, the benefits of compounding tax free wash out the taxes you’ll eventually have to pay.

  • Having too much in an RRSP means there will be a huge tax bill when you die.

The rules say that your RRSP is included in income on your terminal tax return with tax payable at your marginal tax rate for the year of death.

If you have a surviving spouse or partner, or you have a financially dependent child or grandchild, a tax-deferred rollover will be granted.

You can also take annual withdrawals from your plan during your lifetime to maximize the income that will be taxed at low rates.

Some genuine concerns about RRSPs

Some financial gurus suggest RRSPs are an outdated program that does not reflect the current job market.

Their primary critique is that the program was developed way back in 1957: a time when long term job security was more prominent and people were much more likely to retire in a lower tax bracket than in their peak working years.

We now live in a gig economy. Job precarity is more common and many Canadians spend much of their careers in various entry-level jobs or spend some of their working years dealing with unemployment.

If there is a risk that you will have to withdraw funds from your RRSP early, it doesn’t make sense to put investments or savings into them. And this seems to be the case for a lot of Canadians: 40% of Canadians withdrew from their RRSPs early in 2017.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, you’re better off saving your money in something like a TFSA, which won’t hit you with the tax penalty an RRSP does for withdrawing.

Sources and further reading

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

The five biggest RRSP myths that Canadians can’t stop repeating

How RRSPs work

RRSPs: The Benefits

IT’S TIME FOR CANADA TO GET RID OF THE RRSP: It is a savings scheme that benefits everyone except the people it was designed to protect

These are the situations when contributing to an RRSP isn’t worth it





4 things I would tell my twenty-year-old self about money

There are things you only learn with time. For many, personal finance is one of those things.

Maybe it’s the arrogance of youth that causes you to brush off advice about money from your parents and grandparents, or maybe there are just certain life experiences you need to have before you can really grasp things like, how much money it’s going to cost to retire.

Whatever the case is, here are 4 things I’d tell my twenty-year-old self about money. Because maybe I’d have heeded the advice if it came from my own mouth (but, probably not).

1. Start putting money away

This is one I remember hearing a few times. Once when I was 18 from an uncle who said, “Just start, doesn’t matter how small it is. Twenty bucks a month. Just start a savings account and start putting just a smidgeon of your pay cheque in there every month.”

Of course, I brushed the advice off.

But wow is it good advice. Simple and so true.

The greatest financial resource a person has is time. Compound interest is an absolute force of nature (a force that can work for you or against you).

This is something you don’t really appreciate until you see the numbers first hand.

Investing for Dummies put together a cheat sheet where they broke down how much a person would have to save and invest to have 1 million dollars by the time you are 65. The numbers are based on assumptions of a 10% return every year and starting with a savings of 0.

If you start saving when you are 20: You need to save $95.40 per month

If you start saving when you are 30: You need to save $263.40 per month

If you start saving when you are 40: You need to save $753.67 per month

If you start saving when you are 50: You need to save $2,412.72 per month

If you start saving when you are 60: You need to save $12,913.71 per month

Giving your money lots of time to incubate without being touched can change the concept of becoming a millionaire from a lofty dream – only attainable for the precious few – to something really manageable and attainable.

Setting up an automatic withdrawal of $95.40 to go directly into a savings account for investment every month when I was twenty is something I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

2. You don’t need to be rich to start investing

I spent most of my life up to this point thinking you need to have a ton of money before you can start investing and dabbling in things like the stock market.

Turns out that is just false.

Yes, you may need larger sums of money to make a lot of money investing. But it is completely possible to start small and use it as a way to start making your money work for you (a little thing called passive income – check out another article I wrote for different ideas to generate passive income).

Getting into investing young is great for two reasons:

First, it is a way of saving money that will get you an average yearly return on investment better than what you can expect from a regular tax-free savings account.

There is some risk involved, of course. But you can set yourself up with a relatively low risk portfolio using some of the tools I’ll mention shortly.

Second, starting small gets you learning about investments and getting comfortable with them. This way, when you reach a point in your life when there is regularly more money coming into your account, you’ll know what you’re doing and can really start to make some good money before retirement.

CNN put together a good article on how to get started with investments that serves as a good starting point if this is something you’re interested in. It covers where you should get your advice from, what you should be investing in, how much money you need to start investing, and how you physically make an investment.

3. Pay attention to what you’re spending your money on

Responsible spending is the bedrock of financial health, now and in the future.

The first step towards responsible spending is paying attention to what you’re spending your money on.

Try an experiment: track your purchases for a month. And be honest.

You’ll be surprised how much money you spend on little purchases you think are relatively innocuous at the time.

When I tried this, I was flabbergasted at how much money was going to app purchases, memberships to websites, and buying what I thought was just the occasional lunch.

Tracking your spending lets you see where you stand. It helps you identify areas in your life where you’re spending way more money than you should be. Twenty-year-old me spent way too much money on beer and entertainment. Way. Too. Much.

Here’s your perfect budget as an up and comer, according to Nerd Wallet.

50% of your income goes to necessities – these include rent, insurance, car payments, etc.

30% are for your wants – the dinners out, frivolous purchases, an Xbox… you get the idea

20% is for your future financial health – savings and investments

I could have made this budget work easily way back when if I had just stayed home even just one Saturday per month.

4. Get insurance

A simple fact of life: bad things happen to good people.

As a young man I fit into the category of the prototypical young person thinking that I was invincible.

People’s cars, apartments, and lockers got broken into but that wouldn’t happen to me.

Well twenty-year-old me, sometimes shit just happens. If you’re renting, get renters insurance.

It’s cheap and it covers things like break-ins, damage from a fire or severe weather, and the stuff in your car if your car gets broken into in the parking lot.

Also consider life and disability insurance. Much like investing and saving, the younger and healthier you are when you start, the cheaper it is and the more coverage you’ll have over time.




A guide to investing in your 30s [infographic]

Your thirties is a decade in your life when you really start planning for the future – you’re settling into your career, maybe you’ve met the “one”, kids might be on the horizon, and you’ve had your eye on that bungalow in the suburbs for some time now.

A big part of planning for the future means investing now.

If you’ve never thought about it before, don’t feel bad. Many people in their thirties are in the same spot as you.

This article is here to get you started thinking about investments and point you to some resources that will put you on the road to financial success.

healthy wheys corey munegatto isagenix kamloops

A guide to guaranteed income certificates

A guide to dividend-paying stocks

A guide to exchange-traded funds

Main source for the infographic

Further reading: