Last July (2007), I joined a marketing agency as a Sales Consultant. It was promoting an investment programme that was to deliver a monthly passive income based on a legal main stream business. Before this, I had rejected other investment schemes deemed too good to be true.
But this one was different, so I thought. It wasn't a get-rich-quick plan 'cos it would take 5 years to recover my capital, and only thereafter, would I be expecting a monthly income through production revenue. I loved the concept so much and eventually joined their sales force. I believed this programme would give many families some form of financial security.
I'd held different jobs in the past, but non excited me as much as this sales consultancy job did. For the first time in my life, I actually DESIRED to go to work in the morning! In the months that followed, I gave my best and diligently worked hard to morph myself into a professional marketing agent. Heaven knows the amount of effort and hours I'd put into this job ...
Then ... CALAMITY struck! The American Principal Company that we were marketing the programme for, defaulted on its contractual obligations to our investors for the first time in 5 years! What followed was a torrent of frantic legal investigation, counsel and action.
As the story unfolded, and as our management caught up with what actually went wrong with our American Principal, we consultants were all shell-shocked.
I was dazed for 4 whole days. I was physically there but was oblivious to the world around me. My mind was consumed with imaginations. What would happen to my clients, most of whom were family and friends of many many years?
In the months that followed, we had a hard time explaining to clients that we did not set out to scam them because we ourselves had invested heavily into the programme.
Many consultants jumped ship very quickly as they were holding multiple portfolios elsewhere. Only a handful stayed back to serve their clients, including me. How could I just walk away and leave them in a lurch? I was prepared for life-firing from my clients, but thank God, all were understanding and were prepared to wait patiently for further news.
Desperate times call for desperate actions. One fellow consultant went straight into another money-making scheme, trying to help his clients recovered some investment lost. I was offered to take part in it but I turned it down. Yes, I would very much like to help my clients recover money from somewhere, but this scheme is questionable and illegal, I can't operate like this in God's sight.
It has been 5 months since our company undertook the law suit on behalf of our clients. However, the prospect of recovering our money seems dim.
My company's CEO is trying very hard to resolve the issue, at his own expense. I salute him for his accountability, though he should have been more careful earlier ... but what has happened, has happened, so let's just move on. He's paying heftily for his over-sight.
So, what'll happen next? Only God knows. Sometimes in life, unexpected events happen. You never plan it, you never wish it, but it happens. Yet all things will somehow work together for good, I hope I will be able to understand all these someday ...
I'd spent months exploring the various ways to earn an income through the internet, and finally settled on the infopreneur business model from SiteSell.com .
I studied the SBI! online manual diligently, spending hours daily at the computer, building a site from scratch, trying to convert what I already know from my daily life experiences, (i.e. from work experience, hobbies, passions or past-times) into a genuine, thriving enterprise, one step at a time. The trouble then was, alas, I didn't really have any idea what theme to base my site on as non of my interests seem profitable!
After a while, I finally decided to share my story on my difficulty to conceive with other women in the same plight, and started a site on infertility - http://www.getting-pregnant-tips.com/ . I must tell you, the whole experience was FULFILLING, not exactly a breeze, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes exasperating, but nevertheless, truly fulfilling.
The site was pretty successful as my keyword landed within the first few pages of Google Search! It was visited by about 1,500 unique visitors monthly from over 40 countries and I'd women writing to me, pouring out their woes, and to whom I attempted to comfort.
I made some money too from an affiliate merchant and google ads. The money wasn't much, but I'd just started then, I believe that if I'd continue with it, I would have expanded my income. However, after one and a half year into internet marketing, I sold off the site to somebody else (who did minimal changes to it) because of other concerns. But I really, truly, cherish the experience and am grateful that I have learnt and gained SO MUCH. :)
SiteSell offers a solid online business model and even makes it easy for newbies with zero technical skills to build a site. They also provides 100% professional technical support. I've good memories working with them; they answered all my queries courteously and resolved all my online problems promptly. If you are curious enough, click on one of these links to find out more; Video SBI! Tour , SBI! Slide Show .
There are of course other ways to earn an online income, through ebay, marketing ebooks etc (be careful of internet scams though). My friend, Angie, a former teacher and mother of three, makes beautiful cards which she sells through her blog. Those of you who would love to send a prototype card to your friends, please order one from her!
Well, this blog I've started? Nah, it's not exactly for income (though I definitely won't mind if you click on my ads, heehee), because I don't want to sweat it. So much more effort would be required to make it profitable. It's just a good channel to ventilate my thoughts, and to give thanks to my Creator for His blessings in life.
Heh, I enjoy blogging too. Yeah :)
Prior to this present economic dislocation, investors were earning good returns on their investment. Now, many people are worrying not only about their jobs and mortgages, but agonizing over the devaluation of their overall investment.
A few hours back, a friend called to unload her burden; the worry over a substantial drop in their stock value. I told her that we too incur loss. In fact, EVERYONE I know who has have some kind of investment is loosing money. One colleague's AIG shares dropped from $63 to $3. A relative lost $200k in Lehman minibonds. I can go on and on.
There are days when I am hopeful that the current downturn, like past economic cycles, will not last forever. Then, there are days when I feel battered, almost overwhelmed by the bad news out there.
No one wants to outlive their money. By God's grace, we had been managing our finances well all this while and we were doing fine until the sub-prime crisis which stumped even the experts. We still want to be in control of the situation, yet this economic crisis is just too humongous and complex to handle, even for the US and British governments.
Technical charts aren't so reliable nowadays and there are so many voices out there. Shall we cut losses or what? Experts are still singing the same tune:
- Stay invested and do not succumb to fear and panic selling.
- Invest in for the long term.
- Buy Low Sell High.
- Rebalance your portfolio regularly to minimize risk.
- Remember that economy moves in cycles, alternating with upturns and downturns.
Well, well, well, the principles sound simple, but they are really hard to follow, and not always true.
I have absolutely no idea what to do next, but am remaining thankful to God for His providence still. He had seen us through a prior downturn before, and if it pleases Him, He will see us through this one again.
We must continue to honour God in all our actions, not succumbing to dubious ways to make money so as to recover loss. There are people doing this, driven by panic and desperation, but we shouldn't participate in anything that's wrong.
Hard times are here, but still, interesting times. I told my elder son; this is such a good experience for him to go through although his portfolio drops about 30%, because he'll recover his loss in due course as he has a longer time horizon to wait out the crisis. This kind of lesson, you'll have to go through it to learn.
Well, regardless of difficult times and seasons, regardless of how we feel, one unchanging truth remains ; GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME! Amen.