The Literal First Step: Changing the Attitude That’s Keeping You Hungry
It’s easy to put yourself down. It’s easy to make excuses about why something is out of your reach, but sometimes the only thing that holding you back is the doubt. Making money, for example. You need business skills to do that, right? A prestigious business degree? At least a childhood where family members let you clerk their shop so you could learn the ropes? Where else could you learn all that stuff, right? How do you make money?
I get this question a lot from the people around me. I’m the “online” guy in my friend group. The one who sometimes sleeps in on a really cold weekday morning because he can. My friends seem to think this makes me the holder of some secret knowledge, but that never made any sense to me. They’re successful people working good jobs, but for some reason, they think they’re clueless about making money. Maybe that’s not fair to them. Maybe it only seems weird to me because I’ve been steeped in my own projects for a while. But the truth is, you know how to make money. Humans have known how to leverage value since the days before you needed to be literate to graduate business school.
The first step to becoming an entrepreneur is changing your attitude and opening your eyes. Everything is here in front of you, and it’s effortless to get started. Think…
Sell Your Own Shit
You have an inventory. It’s under your bed. It’s in your closet. It’s that Christmas present from your in-laws that you never took out of the box. It’s the stuff your friends were going to dump on the curb if you didn’t offer to haul it away for them. Have it? Good, now improve the value over whatever it’s worth now. Clean it. That’s one’s always easy. Fix it (if you can). Improve it. Do art to it. Then take it to the market—Take it to Craigslist, to Etsy, to that weird convention down the street where everyone is in squirrel costumes.
That’s how you begin, how you can learn anything else you need to know. Just find the product and then the market and keep throwing the line until you get bites.
If you have something to say, there is a fairly decent chance that there’s someone out there willing to pay for it. There are thousands of blogs desperate for content that a subject matter expert could put out in 5 minutes. Just finish a stack of pieces (at least 5 of them) then shop them around. Don’t get technical, just drop in some inboxes in niche blogs that take multiple offers and say “Hey, I’ve got an article ready for your blog at $?. I can sell you a stack of them at a discount.”
I mean, something more professional than that, but you get the point. Don’t sell yourself short. If you have good expertise, start at a high price. There are hundreds of blogs that buy content, so don’t worry about burning bridges with high offers. Just keep sending out offers at a slightly lower price until you find the sweet spot.
A few hours a week of this and you could easily clear hundreds of dollars a month. It’s one of the ways I started out, and I didn’t have subject matter expertise in much of anything at the time.
Do It the Way Your Grandpa Did It
There is a hundred dollars of work to be done in your neighborhood, I’m almost positive. Someone around you doesn’t want to shovel their sidewalk, rake their leaves or mow their lawn. Probably the biggest explosion in clients I have seen has come from home exterior cleaning companies. In some cases, these are just college kids who start their business one day and get more orders than they can handle from the first neighborhood they canvas. People are still paying for hard work, and they’re paying better than ever.
The best part about cutting someone’s grass or cleaning off their leaves? Grass grows back. Leaves fall again. Now you have something that businesses salivate over—a return customer. You don’t need anything but the same equipment you use for your own yard.
Embrace Your Network
You have a network. Maybe they aren’t as well placed as some others, but they’re people who know people who know other people. Those people may be reachable by you, so be open about what you’re doing. If you’re starting a business, if you’re starting to sell a skill, make sure that your network knows about it. Drop it on social media and update all your profiles.
Don’t Let Doubt or Pride Hold You Back
It’s not even about doing what you have to do. Making money is mostly simple, you just need to change the way that you look at it. Anything can become your livelihood as long as you have your mind open to the possibilities.