People achieve the American Dream everyday, you just don't hear about it. We are not all Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, but our American Dream can still be huge. Just ask your local baker, or the restaurant down the street.
I’ve met lots of people that have said the dream is dead, America is too competitive and over crowded with ideas. I say, ‘you’re not thinking hard enough’. You might want to start a blog and utilise your online space to sell unique products or services, maybe you’re an accountant who is sick of the poor standard of customer service regular accountants give to their clients, or perhaps you just like knitting and want to start a little store for handmade goods. They are all possible.
The examples outlined above have a special quality that links them, have you guessed it? They all offer something extra… Whether it’s a new view on an existing topic via a blog post, or amazing customer service from a dedicated accountant, even the style and warm feeling of a handmade scarf. Your American Dream can be fuelled not only by your idea, but by the way you put it to action.
The land of opportunity
During the birth of modern America, the founding fathers wanted to create a system in which a person could succeed on their own merit. They designed a system that rewarded hard work and dedication to a cause. Since then America has always been a safe haven for people down on their luck, because the country believes in judging character based on action not consequence.
How many times have you heard the story of a family moving to America for a new beginning, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These stories often lead from extreme poverty, rising above circumstance and making it big on their own.
Let’s have a look to see if you have what it takes to achieve your American Dream.
Blood, sweat and tears
The American Dream does not come with any guarantee of success. It does not come with a free Bentley, a beachside mansion, and $500,000 a year working from home. It does however come with a chance you’ll be able to get those things.
You have to put in the work and not give up, battle every obstacle and beat every opponent. Your personal American Dream is centered around what you want to achieve. The entire topic is surrounded by the idea of putting the effort in and working hard, the American Dream is the personification of the quote by Virgil “Fortune favours the bold”.
4 Tips to get you started
#1 - Start saving early
“Starting early is a big part of the solution” - Unknown. An alarming high amount of Americans are handcuffed by debt, in particular, student debt. Over 70% of Americans prioritise paying down their debt, but as a result, these people are not financially prepared for a one-time event, or they can’t afford to keep an emergency fund for rainy days.
It is very difficult to set aside money you don’t have, but I urge you to cut your expenses or get a second job and save money for rainy days, if you an emergency fund that can sustain you for 6 months, you are ready to dive in and get started on your dream. If you need help understanding your best saving options you can see the difference between a Roth IRA (US) and a Stocks & Shares ISA (UK) here.
#2 - Speak with a financial advisor
No matter who you are, what money you have in the bank, or your experience with business you will benefit from speaking to a financial advisor. Seeking professional advice on how to save for your venture, or how to apply for start up loans is critical to your money management. You can plan your money to help balance your current financial needs with your long-term goals.
When thinking about the short term, you might set a budget, or saving plan. While your long term plan might be to save $10,000 in 2 years. A financial advisor can help push you in the right direction, and most of them offer a free meeting with new clientele.
#3 - Begin with the end in mind
Setting goals is a requirement to being successful, if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know you’re walking in the right direction. I set a monthly goal in my business, something easily achievable that doesn’t require that much time. Then I look at a 6 month goal, a 1 year goal, and a 5 year goal. These are more likely to be either financial or development goals set to better the situation my business is currently in.
#4 - Set it and forget it
Automatic deposits into a savings account, monthly meetings with your advisor, or a weekly review of your business success. These are things you should set up, go to, and forget how to cancel. These little gestures to your future self are golden, you should always plan for the worst and hope for the best, by saving and reviewing progress you are taking full control of both sides of the coin.
How can you live the American Dream today?
Since you have found this article and haven’t left yet, it’s safe to say you have an internet connection and some sort of device at your disposal. This means you already have what most of our friends before the 80s didn’t, you can access the entire world in one click.
You can take online courses, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, you can even start growing your customer base using social media. Your success is waiting for you, you just need to take the initiative to get going.
The American Dream isn’t working all night coming up with an idea, scribbling a few notes on a whiteboard then making a million dollars. Just look at some of the unsung heroes like Warren Buffet, the number 1 long term investor in the world. Michael Bloomberg, the owner of the world's most trusted financial news outlet. Or Anne Cox Chambers, the co-owner of Cox Enterprises, a privately held telecommunications and media empire.
None of the billionaires above had an original out of this world idea. They had the dedication and foresight to see an everyday task and build multi-billion companies from it. We all have access to the stock market like Warren Buffet, but he has spent his life learning about it. We can all start a news website, but Michael Bloomberg found a niche and created the best content. We can all start producing online media and marketing material, but Anne Cox Chambers organised herself to produce high quality material on a massive scale.
If you want to start small here a 6 great ways you can invest $100
What is stopping you?
Most people will answer this question the same way: MONEY!
But throughout this article I have told you to save, invest, and then save more. All you need is time to let your money grow then you can get started, right?
The real problem when people say ‘it takes money to make money’ is that they absolve themselves of all responsibility, blame it on the lack of cash. The abdication of responsibility might make you feel good, but it isn’t going to make you successful. If you take away one thing from this article take this:
Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage, in his first year there was a tick in the site that allowed people to get free books, then he went to every investor and bank you can think of to get a loan, and he got turned down. After all of those setbacks he kept going… So what’s your excuse?
You’ll never experience your American Dream if you spend all of your time searching for excuses not to start.
If you want to get some ideas on small businesses you can start from home check out Why You Should Start A Side Hustle