How Are You Playing?

There was a class of MBA students that was once asked by their professor, “What is risk?” The answers that came back were conventional:

“To start a business,” and “To become an entrepreneur,” and “To invest in the stock market.”

The professor let the class name several and then he named it, “To have only one source of income. This is what you have when you are an employee. When you own a business, you have multiple streams of income by the number of customers you have. If you lose one, it does not proportionately affect your income as being an employee.”

Of course, the class was surprised at the answer. It is not the training of academia for sure. However, the bare reality is that many people have a fear of losing their jobs and behave in that economic interest alone. For if they did, their one source of income would be compromised. It is all or nothing.

What would it look like to create a second stream of income? Or a third? If you really had to think about it, how do you play the game of money? Is it pure defense? Live on a budget? Oscar Wilde stated, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” How about playing the game as you did Monopoly? Ask: How do I get more houses and hotels? How can I make deals with others and create opportunities? How do I win? Somehow, when life started happening in the adult years, the approach to the game changed. Risk got redefined.

Reflect on the game that you are playing. Are you playing to win or are you playing to survive? How will that change in three years or ten years if you continue doing what you are doing today? You have become what you believe and define as risk. That is the reality by which you behave.

The fact is that if you are willing to work hard and you are not afraid to learn new things, you could take an extra 20 hours a week and reinvest it in yourself after you meet your honorable obligations to your one customer, your company. In a year, that is one thousand hours. So the question is, if you had one thousand hours that you applied yourself to could you convert that into a second stream of income? Of course you can.

Taking such a step is not hard. What is hard is confronting your belief system which has been developed by a lot of financial and social inertia. If you cannot see the opportunity, but you can only see the cost, there is a reason for that. Your view of reality has been shaped this way through your choices.

Robert Kiyosaki shares extensively about his journey to building wealth. His advice to everyone is, “The No. 1 thing people can do to increase their wealth is to start a part-time business.” I share his observation. Putting money into the stock market is an information disadvantage. You do not have control or information. Putting money into growing your very own business is an asset. It is designed as an investment of your time and money to give you a return. That is its purpose. You have an information advantage, and it grows based on your effort and commitment.

The best way to start is to first make a commitment. Commit that you want to wake up and play the game as a kid again. Then start asking the right questions and getting the right help. Each step you take pushes back your insecurities and minimizes the risk of one income stream. Next is to learn to think like an owner not an employee. The key question is about how to bring value which others are attracted to. Feel free to use the form below or go to and request the document on how to approach the 41st hour. With all the opportunity you have, go after building security for yourself and win the game just as you did when you were a kid.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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