There are lots of people who claim to have the key to making money.
And with this post, I’m going to bite the bullet and become one of those people who claims to have the key to making money.
But, I’m not going to charge you anything for this key. I’m not even going to ask you to sign up for my newsletter! (Though, if you want to, please move your gaze to the right and enter your email address .)
Recognize the other side of the transaction
Over ten years ago (after spending twenty-three years in school) I began investigating ways to make money online. I’m still investigating, learning, and trying different things.
One mistake I made for a long time, though, was treating the money “machine” — a website, an affiliate program, an online course — and the actual source of the money as one and the same. As in: “This program will make you money.” “You can make money with your blog.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The websites don’t make money for me, or for anyone else.
People make money for you, not websites. It’s people who decide to pull out their wallets or purses to:
- buy a product or service you sell
- buy a product that someone else sells, but triggers an affiliate commission for you
- sign up for a trial service on your recommendation that triggers a commission
Websites or any other non-person thing don’t have a dime to spend.
One huge mistake I made for years with this website is taking people who read it, and commented, for granted. The traffic was decent, as was the money. So, I coasted. Posts with seven or eight comments regularly got no response whatsoever from me. How utterly ungrateful!
I was treating the website as the moneymaker, rather than the people. Some regular commenters likely felt blown off, and decided to spend their valuable time elsewhere, taking traffic and goodwill — oh, and revenue! — with them.
And there is no one else to blame but myself.
At one point several of my blogging peers were people who would later sell their blogs for seven figures and catapult to bigger and better things. I still have good relations with a number of them, but I’d be kidding myself to say that I’m a peer now.
And that’s all right. It is what it is. And the only place we can start from is where we are.
Recognize those who know
Those wildly successful bloggers I mentioned above — and many others whom I met and talked with here — all have something to teach about making money.
They may sell the information. They may just talk about it for free.
Or they may just put it in plain sight and let perceptive people figure it out.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn posited: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I guess this is why married couples start to look and act like each other.
Kidding aside, we have a lot of leeway in choosing who we spend the most time with, especially after work. (We ultimately have leeway even at work, though there’s usually a higher cost to switching colleagues.)
On the subject of making money, if we’re looking to do that, then we should strive to spend quality time — friendship, mentorship, or even both! — with people who do the following:
- Manage their finances well. Befriending frugal people begets frugality. Befriending financially responsible people begets financial responsibility.
- Bring value to their customers. Whatever form that’s in. This could mean having a key leadership position in an organization, or being a successful business owner. The customers are different, but the amount of value that these people bring to them is the same: a lot.
- Conduct themselves ethically. Befriending a dishonest, lawbreaking person begets, well, dishonesty and lawbreaking. The sword cuts both ways.
- Have a higher purpose than the money itself. This basically follows from the three things above, but it bears repeating.
It’s clear that spending time with people who do these things is beneficial to you, me, and anyone looking to step up their game.
But, in order for this to happen, it also has to be worth their time as well. So this involves bringing what we can to the table, investing in the relationship, not just using the people, etc.
The two keys to making tons of money
In order to make tons of money:
- Seek out, and make meaningful connections with, people who have money – either to learn better how to make money yourself, or as potential customers.
- Provide value to them in exchange for money, directly or indirectly – being keenly aware that the relationship with them underpins it all.