Gasoline 20ctsIn recent years I have seen more and more commercials promote the conscious fear for retirement (when the checks stop coming in…), as even the most optimistic baby boomers are starting to get nervous, with the prospect that their money will run out before they do. Social Security, 401Ks, annuities,stocks and bonds, if we were to believe the financial advisors, you need to set every penny aside to secure your “golden years”, as if there was no inflation, no interest paid for money, no deflation or a currency crisis in the making and that real state will never loose its value. Historically retirement was never a financially secure option, so why would it be now? I see the advertisements, TV commercials and billboards plastered with happy seniors, walking hand in hand down a tropical beach smiling at each other. Life is good! Well, of course there are some that lucked out and kept their health and their money and ended up financially secure enough to enjoy the fruits of a life of hard work. But for every handful of the lucky ones, there are thousands that wonder where all the promises went. Yesterday in the super market I was drawn into a conversation about pricing by what must have been an 85 year old gentleman who wondered what happened to the cost of groceries. Shaking his grey manes as he walked away he said:”I remember the days when a pound of Cube Steak cost 43cents!” Honestly I don’t know how most people will go into retirement and survive. But I know that there are always options.

Having operated a B&B for the past 2-1/2 years I have come in contact with many guests on the edge of retirement, wondering if and how they can afford the remainder of their lives in preferred financial stability. During many a conversation, I have been trying to convey the message that building an internet based business can not only provide them with income, but also with the means to diversify. To be sure, I’m not talking about your regular guy in the street, who can hardly afford a $200 a night vacation on the beach; I’m talking about people who during their active years built up a practical knowledge base or have committed a lifetime to learning and applying hobbies and other skills, that can be translated into a sellable proposition.

All that is needed is to create a product or service that appeals to a group of people willing to learn from your mistakes and ultimate successes. Whether a series of e-books, instructional videos or even podcasts; whether a newsletter or a seasonal webinar or seminar, if your product or service makes sense, there will be a subscriber base willing to pay for your knowledge and your research.
And the beauty of internet sales is, they become financially attractive already in the smaller numbers. Suppose your videos on “Learning to Play the Ukelele” attracts initially 300 subscribers willing to pay $19.95 a month to learn to play from a beginner to intermediate to advanced (a 3 year process), you would earn a cool $215,460 over those 3 years. Now if during the course of time you would expand your services and products with e-books, personal instruction lessons, a book on the history and manufacturing of Ukeleles, best strings, picks etc. etc., you may turn a nice $100K per year and that’s assuming that your subscriber base does not grow.

You’ve been a PR or Human Resources Manager all your life? Believe me there is a group of takers out there that will pay for your experience in a well published booklet.

One of our sons is on a managerial fast track in a solid retail company. Often when we drive to get supplies for the B&B we talk about his work and him leading his team, strength and weakness propositions etc. and I advise him based on my 40 somewhat years in corporate management and people skills. Obviously I don’t charge him, but when on one trip he kind of hinted that my reimbursement for all the advise would be him taking care of us (his mom and me) when we reach the age of ‘decrepit’ I realized that I do not look forward to those potential days. I appreciate the thought behind it however.

So when analyzing your skills and knowledge, don’t be too negative or hesitant. You’ll be amazed of the diversity of needs there is among the world’s populations. From cooking recipes, to cocktails, to tax advice, to explaining laws or government regulations, explaining home remedies, the needs are practically unlimited. Pick one that fits you best, stay up-to-date with knowledge and tailor-make the advise for those who cannot commit the time or resources, to stay ahead; package it in a neat easy to understand form and sell it on the internet.

I know a young man who is creative with a video camera. Commercials on his youTube channel generate a $15K income a month for him. I don’t think age has anything to do with that initiative.

Internet Opportunities

As we are now thoroughly in the Internet age, starting an Internet-based business or restructuring an existing business to be operable over the Internet, offers numerous opportunities in terms of diversified income plus international maneuverability into another jurisdiction should it become necessary to avoid many of the regulations of the home country.
This is a very real possibility for many. An Internet-based business does offer the potential to create an income that is either equal or similar to that which one would enjoy. In addition, in many cases, this is possible without having to change clientele or learn a new language. Therefore, the Internet-based business tends to minimize the level of financial fear for the future, that one would need to go through.

The Internet is not regulated by any country at present yet, which allows for tremendous freedom. But, here is where the bad news comes in. There can be no doubt that, at present, Internet-based business is a tremendous boon to those who are hoping to escape the clutches of their financial fears for the future. But those words, “at present,” are a reminder that many desperate governments are hot on the tail of Internet-based businesses, to make sure that they get their unearned piece of the pie.

Internet Regulations to Consider

As the unravelling of the internet is gaining speed, the countries that have been the major players in the development are increasing legislation and regulation. The leaders of this trend are the US and the EU, but there are others. Rest assured that, the greater the trend toward financial independence through Internet-based incomes, the greater the push will become to regulate and tax Internet-based incomes.
The US has already begun with the introduction of The Marketplace Fairness Act, that has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives. Any legislation containing the word “fairness” virtually guarantees to be the opposite, is the experience of a long life of fighting against the dictatorship called “majority rules”. The purpose of the Marketplace Fairness Act is to apply sales tax to any online transactions, much in the same way as we now pay sales tax over an item purchased in a Second Hand Store, where the sales benefits a charity. Should this Act be passed (as it is likely to, either in this go-round or in a future form), there would be three principle negative effects that an Internet-based business would experience.

First, whatever savings the business might have been offering to consumers as a freedom from sales tax, would be eliminated. Second, whatever benefit the business owner sought to enjoy through the avoidance of sales tax would be eliminated. Third (and most debilitating), the Internet company would be buried in paperwork and tax-filings.

There are legal ways to avoid any of this, which is what I’ll explain in next week’s business essay. Until then, think about what you would like to share with the world that somebody out there would be willing to pay a small amount for. I guarantee you will not outlive your money and what’s more you will stay active and interested and that’s truly happiness, or at least joy.

PS I’m working on an E-Book titled “Is Having a B&B on your Bucket List?”. Stay tuned.