Is Buying Real Estate a Good Idea?

You’ve probably heard this question asked multiple times, but this is probably the first time you’ve heard this answer. Is buying real estate a good idea or should you rent? Here’s an answer from the perspective of what jobs skills and education you have.

Why You Should Rent for Now and Buy Real Estate Later

First, before we talk about buying real estate, let’s begin with renting. You’re likely living at home or renting while you consider the big move into investing in a property. Many factors go into a decision like this, including your income, cash flow, and future plans. Renting makes more sense if your situation is the following:

  • You won’t be living in the same location for a long time or you aren’t certain how long you will be at that location.
  • Your income is unstable. For example, you have been hired on a short-term contract, you work hours fluctuate from month to month, or you are still on probation with a new job in a new career that you may/may not like.
  • Market conditions are not ideal. Factors to consider are inflated market prices, mortgage rates, and available inventory on the market. (If you don’t like what’s available to buy, it’s best to wait.)

But let’s say all the ideal conditions line up. You’ve found the city that you want to live in for the next few years, you’ve been working for a while for the same company, and there are a few listings on the market that look like a possible dream home. Buying real estate now may be a good idea.

Why Buying Real Estate Now is a Good Idea

Buying property is a great investment if you’ve got the cash flow, income, job skills, and a stable future.

First, you’ve found a city that you want to settle down and call home for a while. You’ve had your eye on a few neighbourhoods that you would feel comfortable living in. The market and economy are in your favour, with interest rates and a price you can afford.

Second, you have job skills that are in high demand. It’s easy for you to find work because companies are hiring for your job description or you have specialized skills that companies want. You will be able to find a steady income no matter what condition the economy is in. If you can’t find a job, you will have enough experience to be able to freelance and find work on your own.

Now, say you want to take real estate investing a step further. You can find ways to pay down your mortgage faster and turn it into a business investment.

At the end of the workday (or whenever you have free time), read books and learn about investments. Increase your cash flow by investing in stocks or something else you have strong knowledge in to help with mortgage payments. A financial education isn’t just about what you learn in a course. You can increase your knowledge by taking initiative.

Another option you have is to turn your home into an investment by renting out a room or suite in your house. If you have a side business, such as freelancing, or you own a business, you can write off the areas of your home that you use for business. For example, a room that you use as an office or a meeting room to meet with clients.

Some people will buy a new house without considering their own personal preferences when choosing furnishings. For example, when deciding on types of appliances, type of finish for kitchen cabinets, and interior paint colour, they will choose what most people want to buy. A few years after they buy and live on the property, they plan to sell it for a profit.

Summary

Buying real estate is not a simple decision because of all the factors involved. Two factors that will impact when and if you buy are your job skills and financial knowledge. The more skills and knowledge you have, the more options you have for paying down the mortgage or turning your home into an investment.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post!

How to Develop an In-Demand Skill Set

How pandemic-proof is your skill set? If a global event disrupts the economy, would you have a job tomorrow? Many people lost jobs last year, but those workers with high-demand skills were able to do one of three things.

These workers kept their jobs, they were snapped up by a new company if they were laid off, or they pivoted with ease into a new industry. Those are the perks of an in-demand skill set. You’ll always be able to find work. To ensure the stability of your income, you’ll want to continuously improve on this in-demand skill set which should include the following skills.

Speaking Skills

Strong speaking skills are one of the top skills that will land you a job, improve your job performance, and advance your career.

  • At job interviews, you’ll be able to give concise, well worded, and confident answers.
  • Your elevator pitches will persuade your listener to believe in your cause or invest in your project.
  • When presenting an idea or your boss, co-worker, or client, you’ll deliver your concept in a persuasive and effective manner. The other party will either agree with you or respect you if they disagree.
  • Customers and clients will trust and understand your advice.
  • Your presentations at meetings will be well-organized and polished.

Clarity and confidence are important on the job for people to understand you and believe what you say. To develop your speaking skills, work on the following:

  • Time and record yourself speaking about one topic for one to three minutes. Listen to the recording. Does your speech have a beginning, middle, and end? Do you speak smoothly, or fill your pauses with ums and uhs?
  • Practice giving a presentation to someone you feel comfortable with, such as friends or family.
  • Watch videos about public speaking and try to implement a tip into your speaking practice. For example, focus on the volume and pitch of your voice one day, and focus on your vocabulary use for an impromptu speech on another day.

Sales Skills

Here’s a fact you probably knew but may not have thought about: you need to be able to sell to be successful. Many people don’t know how to sell or are afraid to because of the slimy, desperate, dishonest salesperson image that we associate with selling. What you should know is that sales in every day practice is more subtle:

  • Selling your concept or idea to your boss at a meeting. Selling is persuading in this case, and if you can’t persuade, then you can’t get the other party to agree with you.
  • Selling your boss on a job promotion or getting a raise. Why should your boss give you that job title you want? Why should you get an increase in your salary? Again, if you aren’t persuasive, you won’t achieve what you’re looking for.
  • Selling to your customers and clients. The obvious result of a successful sale is if your client buys what you are selling. However, there are other levels of selling, such as getting the customer to trust you and build a long-term client relationship with you and your company.

Sales is a skill that can developed over time. It’s a high-demand skill because every business needs sales to survive. To work on your sales skills, practice the following:

  • Read books and watch videos about sales tips and techniques. Understand the psychology behind why some sales techniques are effective.
  • Practice selling something to someone you feel comfortable with. As you gain confidence, work on selling something to a stranger. For example, convince someone you don’t know to try visit a place you like.

Writing Skills

Writing is an important skill for communication and professionalism. Your mastery of this skill increases in importance if your work involves a high level of accuracy and/or or political correctness.

  • Writing emails that have few grammar, spelling or punctuation errors reflects on your level of education and professionalism. If you make a lot of mistakes with words like they’re/their/and there, your writing can look sloppy.
  • Verbal communication is easy these days with voice messaging apps, but writing is important for keeping records. A letter or email saying that you will have something done by a certain date is a solid promise of what you will do. In some cases, written records can become evidence if there is a lawsuit.
  • Written reports and other documents are a permanent record that will be referenced in the future. Your choice of words and the clarity of your thoughts will be vital to the professionalism and accuracy of the document.

Writing skills need a lot of practice and time to develop because you need to learn grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. You can also try these activities:

  • Copy a piece of writing that is written in the style that you want to learn. By copying it as practice, your brain starts to learn that writing style.
  • Practice writing each day. Use writing apps such as Grammarly to review and give suggestions on how to improve your writing.

Leadership Skills

Career advancement is difficult without leadership skills. Empathy and understanding the people you work with, and being clear and organized about when you want something done are both in-demand skills.

  • At most companies, a promotion means becoming a leader of some kind, which means you need leadership skills. You need accountability and responsibility to lead a team, become a supervisor, or become a manager. It’s rare that an employee will receive multiple promotions for a job in which they work solo. Leadership skills can be learned from on-the-job training or taking a course.
  • As an owner of your own business, even for a sole proprietorship, you still need to know leadership skills to manage your employees or contractors.

Technological Savvy

Ongoing mastery of technology is key.  Software is constantly upgrading to new versions and companies require their staff to learn new programs and platforms over time.

  • Larger organizations have replaced processes with technology to simplify the work of employees. For example, paper-based time sheets have been replaced by computerized time sheets to make the calculations easier for the accounting department.
  • Companies with employees or clients in other cities or countries are using technology instead of in-person meetings. For example, the technology for a Zoom meeting is less expensive than flying people and booking hotel stays.
  • While it’s still possible to call someone on the phone, or walk over to another person’s desk on the same floor, communications applications make it easier to share files and messages between office workers and locations. Members of one chat can see what actions have been completed by various team members involved in the same project.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find videos on YouTube on how to use all the latest platforms and software. If your co-worker or your company IT department hasn’t answered your tech question, you can educate yourself on whatever technology you are using.

Summary

If you aren’t sure how to develop an in-demand skill set, start by looking for skills that are transferrable from one industry or niche to another. In times of economic hardship, these skills will continue to find you steady work. Strong speaking and writing skills, and sales and leadership skills are just some of the skills that are always in high demand. Can you think of any other transferrable, high-demand skills? Comment below!

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post!

What You Need to Know About Remote Work

How would you feel about mixing work and home life? Many workers got a taste of remote work, or working from home, when the pandemic turned our lives upside down in 2020. Some people loved the change while others absolutely hated it.

If you haven’t tried it yet, and you’re wondering what it’s like, here’s what you need to know about remote work. If you already have been a remote worker, would you agree with the following points about blurring work and home life?

Isolation and lack of in-person interaction

At first, you might think it’s a nice break from your coworkers if you’re working from home. The co-worker you dislike running into is finally gone from your life, and the co-worker who interrupts you to offer the latest company gossip is finally quiet. Then weeks go by, and you become a hate or love it remote worker.

Here are some reasons why you hate it: you miss having lunch with the co-worker who is also your friend. You miss the conversations you had whenever you collaborated with a team. Sure, you have team meetings on Zoom, but everyone is mindful of the time and sticks to the point. When you worked in person, there was time for social conversation to lighten the mood while you worked.

In contrast, if you’re an introvert, you might love remote work. Interaction with your co-workers is at a minimum. No more purposeless water cooler conversations. Now, you can work in peace and get what you need done on time. You don’t feel isolated at all. You also enjoy the short commute from your bedroom to your home office.

Some people may be less extreme, preferring some face-to-face in-person work time and the flexibility to work from home without interruption.

A makeshift office that doubles up as kitchen and family space

Your office may be a temporary workspace, a desk by day and family dining table at night. It’s easy to be distracted by family members or the family pet as they pass from room to room. Virtual meetings with the office may be a challenge. For example, a friend said her co-workers are now familiar with her husband’s comic character T-shirts because he passed in the background quite often.

This makeshift office may be less comfortable without a proper chair or room lighting. You might start to get annoyed at your spouse, sitting at the other end of the dining table, clicking away on the computer or talking during a meeting. It’s a change because you used to have your own private office with a window view and now you’re sharing your desk with someone you see from morning til night.

Lunch has required some changes too. It’s nice you no longer have to spend time packing your lunch the night before. You can heat up or cook something from your kitchen. Or you can order take out. But you miss popping out of the office to grab something from a nearby restaurant for lunch. It was an excuse to get some fresh air.

Different level of professionalism

Is it necessary to dress up if your co-workers can’t see you? You’re accustomed to wearing comfy clothes when you’re at home, not stiff suits or heel-biting shoes. Perhaps you dressed up when you first started remote work because you enjoyed the psychological separation between work time and home time.

As the months trudged on, however, your formality may have started to decline. For example, why dress up from head to toe if the camera only shows you from the waist up during a meeting? Why not look good from the waist up and let your lower half get comfy in jogging pants?

It may also be more practical to dress casual at home because of the added flexibility. A friend said that during coffee breaks, he would do some housework before returning to work. It seemed more productive than what he used to do at the office, which was complete crossword puzzles during coffee breaks.

Overnight technological savvy and IT nerdiness

When you used to work at an office, you had someone to call on whenever you had an IT issue. While working from home, you may have found an overnight need to become technologically savvy with your own computer.

With remote work, you had to set up your home office for virtual meetings, learn how to install communication and project management apps on your computer and/or phone by yourself. If you needed the “IT guy”, he would need to access your computer remotely or advise you over the phone or by chat messaging.

On the upside, you may have figured out a way to let the office know that you’re online during regular office hours, even if you aren’t.

Summary

Is working from home something you would want for the rest of your career? Remote work has changed the habits of many office workers. Some prefer remote work while others can’t wait to return to old habits. What do you think? Would you prefer to work from home?

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post!

Should You Join an MLM? A Detailed Guide

Often when you ask about joining an MLM (Multi Level Marketing), people have a strong, highly opinionated reaction. You may have heard MLMs are out to scam you, put you in debt, waste your time, and destroy friendships. All are true. Yet people are still signing up to join MLMs and you can still hear stories about people making a solid living 100% on an MLM income. So what information is the truth and what is a lie?

If you’re still wondering whether you should join an MLM (or network marketing), you’ll find answers here. This article will break down the pros and cons of joining an MLM, based on actual personal experience. For some, joining an MLM is the right choice, while for others, it isn’t. Let’s see which option best suits your situation.

The Cons of Joining an MLM

We’ll start with the cons of joining an MLM. If these negatives don’t deter you, then the positives may be the extra income option you’ve been looking for.

  • It’s a saturated market. If you’re considering an MLM company that has been in business for a long time, many of your prospects will already have been approached by at least one person from that company. In one case, someone I spoke to had already been approached by two others in the same company over the years. However, if your company is new, chances are, there is competition in the same niche. For example, there are a lot of supplement and skin care companies.
  • The initial and ongoing investment. The cost to start your own MLM business is a lot less then the cost of starting a traditional (non MLM) business. But each month, you will need to order products, maybe products you don’t use yourself or can’t sell, just to keep your business open. You’ll also be expected to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to attend annual and occasional company training events.
  • The stories about getting rich and leaving your 9 to 5 job are exaggerated. Most associates who join an MLM barely make a commission that covers the cost of their minimum monthly order. You will hear stories about a handful of people who went from zero to a six-figure income in a year or two. Success stories like these are the exception, not the norm.
  • They say you are self-employed if you join an MLM but technically you are more like an employee (without the salary). The commission structure, price for products, and regulations for advertising your business are all already determined by your company. A true self-employed person decides how much to charge customers, what products to sell, and how to advertise.
  • You potentially alienate friends and family. The MLM company encourages you to start by prospecting people you know, which would be friends and family. People who know and trust you could be the easiest to convert into customers. Some people press their friends too hard, however, and cause friendships to end. A friend of mine said his friend gave him an ultimatum: join his MLM team if he really was a true friend or end the friendship. My friend was hurt and haunted by the choice he was forced to make.
  • Introverted people with a small social network will struggle. As stated above, you’ll probably start by prospecting friends and family. If you’re an introvert with few friends, you will struggle to find prospects. An MLM doesn’t provide you with leads, so it’s up to you to network and attend social events to meet new people. You can expect to spend a lot of time and money going to lunches, dinners, parties, sports activities, and all kinds of social activities to build these connections.
  • Biased information about company products. The company will give you statistics and proof from scientists, medical experts, and industry influencers about why their products are the best or one of the best in that niche. They will explain why direct sales products are not found in stores and are more expensive but high in quality. But they will not tell you if there is a product on the market that is better suited to your specific situation. In my case, they told me I was using the skin cream incorrectly and six months was not enough time to get results. (Later, I tried a product from another company and got the results I wanted in two weeks.)
  • Training that depends on the strength of your team and upline. When you join an MLM, you join a team. Your upline (the people who joined before you and brought you onto their team) are responsible for training you on the products and how to get leads. The quality of their presentations and ability to help you with prospects directly affects how quickly you will learn the business. 
  • MLM is advertised as a source of passive income, but that is a myth. MLM associates look for people who want to start a side business or who are interested in making a passive income. They will tell you that when you recruit your own associates and build your own team, you will make commissions from their sales. In theory, this sounds great, but in practice, you will constantly be working to recruit new members to replace the ones who drop out. You will also need to train and support your recruits. Your income will not be passive – you will work to earn your commissions.

If these cons don’t deter you from joining an MLM, then take a look at these pros. There are success stories about people who do join an MLM and stay on their team because they like the benefits of being an MLM associate.

Related: How to Make Money in an MLM

The Pros of Joining an MLM

For some, joining an MLM has many perks. If these situations suit you, then definitely consider joining an MLM company. I have friends who have been an MLM associate for years.

  • Joining an MLM is a lot easier than starting a traditional business or transitioning to self employment. The initial cost of joining an MLM is a lot less than the cost of starting a business. Also, because you are joining a team of people who are part of the same company, you will have people who already know the answers to most of your questions. When you start your own traditional business, you’re on your own as you handle many legal questions such as licensing and collecting GST. You won’t have an upline to teach you about business strategies. You’re the one deciding on what products to develop and what services to sell. If you don’t have a strong business background, all your questions about marketing and sales can be overwhelming.
  • You are part of a team. Unless you’re going into business with a partner, it can get lonely really fast if you’re self employed. Many sole proprietors join business groups and networks for the support from people in other companies. If you’re in an MLM, your teammates are part of the same company, and your upline works to support your goals. You’ll make friends who have the same interests.
  • Tax deductions and write offs. If you have a stable job (or source of income), your MLM business can provide you with some enviable perks. First, if the products you are buying, such as supplements and energy drinks, are products you want to buy anyway, you can buy products and write off some costs. Second, your MLM business is a business, so you can write off costs such as attending training events and items needed to run your business, such as a phone. MLM associates have received thousands of dollars back at tax time. Third, if your company training event is at a destination such as Vegas, then your hotel and meals are part of your business expense and write offs. It’s like going on a working vacation!
  • Learning skills that apply to your personal and professional life. In order to learn to speak to prospects about your business, you need to perfect a few skills.
    • The first one is to learn a strong mindset. Many people will say no to you before you get a customer. All those no’s can be hard on you emotionally.
    • After mindset, you learn skills such as time management, goal setting, and organization. It’s up to you to decide how often you want to work on your MLM business. Will you work on the weekend or be lazy and watch a movie? It’s up to you. It’s also your responsibility to stay organized and keep track of receipts and other information for when you do your taxes.
    • One of the most important skills you will learn is public speaking and giving a presentation. You’ll need to learn how to talk about your MLM business. For many, public speaking is one of their greatest fears. If you can’t overcome this fear, one of the most important aspects of an MLM business will one of your greatest hurdles. If you overcome your fear of speaking to strangers and speaking to groups, you will develop a confidence that will benefit you in your personal and professional life.
  • Learning business skills that give you a foundation for starting a real business. You will hear that your MLM business is a business. However, you’re not really self-employed in the traditional sense. You have no control over how much you can charge customers, how much you pay yourself, or how you can advertise yourself on social media. As a traditional business owner, you have control over all those aspects. However, as you learn about building an MLM business, you will learn the foundation for entrepreneurship and developing a business mindset and attitude. If you decide to start a business later, you will already have some important business knowledge and acumen.

Related: Cold Market Prospecting

Summary

People may warn you to stay away from joining an MLM because it is a scam. The truth is, joining an MLM may suit the needs of people who are looking for some of the benefits of those who have a side business, without the hassles of a traditional side business. For those who want to get rich, or replace their income with MLM income, their goals may not be realistic. There is no simple answer to whether you should join an MLM, but hopefully this pro and con list will help with your decision.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post!

Should You Lie on Your Resume?

Would you dare to lie on your resume? What would motivate you to bend the truth? Perhaps you saw an ad for an ideal job but you were missing just one little qualification. You are so close that one small lie won’t hurt. People get away with little white lies all the time. No matter what your reasoning though, you and I have likely wondered if you should lie on your resume.

If you’ve had the situation where you look at an ad you know you have the aptitude or the skills but you don’t have the official work experience, it’s tempting to lie. It’s also tempting to exaggerate.

Lying About Your Accomplishments and Qualifications

Imagine seeing a job for a marketing assistant and you almost fit all the qualifications. They need someone with tech industry experience. You helped out your cousin for two weeks on a product launch. Should you include that project as actual work experience if all you did was give some advice? Should you consider that as an advisor role?

Maybe you believe in karma and you believe that one day, someone will expose the truth about you. Lying about where you worked, your education, your job titles, and your skills could result in your losing your job after you are hired. It also shows a lack of professionalism if your employer discovers your lie.

You might be thinking, well, that’s not fair. I would have developed those skills or worked on those types of projects if I had the chance.

I understand your pain. I came second place during a job interview at which I was asked about experience dealing directly with stakeholders. They asked me this question more than once, so I assumed this experience was an important part of the job. I replied I was confident I could handle these situations because I handled similar situations with internal teams. However, that wasn’t good enough.

The tough part was that I didn’t have a chance to work on that work experience, not because I wasn’t qualified, but because in that company, it fell under another employee’s job description. If I wanted to develop those public relations skills, I would have had to take over someone else’s work tasks. I’m sure my teammate would have thought I was trying to steal his job, not work on my professional portfolio.

Lying About Your Skills and Experience

Lying about your education and job titles is not a smart decision. Potential employers can check up on these details during and after the hiring process. You can however, re-word your skills and accomplishments in a more favorable light.

For example, if you see several companies are looking for someone with proficiency at specific software, you can develop that proficiency on your own. You could sign up for a free trial of that software and then complete a few projects with it. Those projects would became part of your portfolio. This extra project would build on your skill set and show that you have initiative.

Similarly, if you lack the official education credentials, you can learn about the skill on your own by reading books or taking free courses on your own time. You won’t have the degree, but you will have the knowledge. For example, if you don’t have a degree or certificate to show your skills in IT, you could design your own project, such as building a website.

You won’t have to lie about your skills and experience. Instead, work on them on your own and add them to your career portfolio and resume.

Summary

It’s tempting but not advisable to lie on your resume. Lies are unprofessional and you could get caught in them. Instead, if you see a pattern of required skills and experience, work on them on your own time if you don’t have the opportunity to develop these as part of your job.

A comforting fact is that most companies don’t require you to have every skill and depth of experience that they list on their ad. They are describing their ideal candidate. It’s your job to convince them that you are the closest they will find to that ideal.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post!