Money is one of the most emotionally charged subjects in the world.
Things get touchy when people start talking about money.
Some people are born into money. Some people marry into money.
Many people are born into poverty.
I read the following shocking facts about money recently:
- 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day.
- 14% of America lives in poverty live only less $65 a day.
- 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
Think about these for a moment.
If one loses their job, they will be up a creek without an oar. They will be in a financial disaster.
I remember right after my first year of college, I set up a simple budget for myself. I had a commission only job.
I didn’t have any money so I wanted to be as thrifty as I could. I shopped at this store called Food4Less.
What a great name of a store. I was the target customer for that store.
During those lean times, my initial food budget was $10/week.
I don’t know where I came up with that number, but I felt like that I could definitely live on $10/week if I prepared all my meals. (I chuckle about that now because there are times when I go out to eat and spend $10 for a single meal.
After two weeks, I realized $10/week wasn’t enough money. I think I bumped it up to $25/week.
Here are the main foods I ate back in those days:
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on toasted bread. I really enjoyed it because the peanut butter would melt from the warm toast. I ruined a number of shirts from the runny peanut butter and grape jelly that dribbled out of the sandwich.
- Tuna fish sandwiches on toasted bread.
- Hamburger helper with fresh broccoli and fresh carrots.
- Ramen noodles cooked in canned soup with half a diced potato for added starch.
I enjoyed those foods back then. I ate them on an almost daily basis.
You couldn’t force me to eat any of those now. Now, the very thought of eating any of those foods starts a gag reflex in the pit of my stomach.
I’ve never been waterboarded, but I suspect I would enjoy that more than eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toasted bread.
Getting back to people hating money.
I recognize that there are a lot of causes of poverty. Some evil people in the world keep populations down. Many wars have been fought to control people and amass enormous sums of money.
There have been systemic poverty cycles that put many races and populations of people at a distinct financial disaster.
My point is not to discuss why people are poor.
We live in America. The land of the Underdog.
There is nothing like an Underdog story to get me weepy and go through a box of tissues as my eyes water my face.
We live in America, where there are limitless ways to make money.
Yet most Americans follow the traditional education which trains people to become good taxpayers.
Then finany a firing or a decision is made that enough is enough. They leave the cubicle jungle to become a business owner.
However, most people that go into business people are nothing more than freelancers thinking they are business owners.
The freelancer is just like an employee. The freelancer trades time for money. The freelancer is nothing more than a hired gun.
The biggest mistake a freelancer makes is thinking he/she owns a business. The freelancer merely owns a job.
Owning a job can be better than being an employee. However, a freelancer is not a business owner.
I know the freelancer role because I’ve been a freelancer for a large part of my career.
There have been tremendous benefits of freelancer life. I earned a lot more money. At times I had a lot more control of my time.
The biggest challenge most people have when they attempt to build a true business is they try using the principles that worked for them to be a good freelancer or a good employee.
- They sell their wares on a time plus materials for money basis
- They charge too little for their services
- They never become good at selling.
- They never define their ideal customer
- They don’t create an effective marketing engine.
- They don’t measure their money.
- They get bogged down in work that is urgent and unimportant.
- They spend 80% percent of their time, money, efforts, and resources working on trivial matters.
The never learned to put on their big boy business underpants.
Trying to build a business using the skills and knowledge that one learned while they were working as an employee for someone else is a fool’s errand.
It simply will not work.
It’s like trying to walk on water. The skills for traveling through water are different than the skills for walking.
In order to travel through water one must learn how to swim.
(Now I will admit there are times when my wife Angel walks on water. I’ve asked her many times to teach me how to walk on water, but she keeps her lips sealed like a bear trap!)
The whole purpose of owning a business is to make money.
Business ownership is still the best way to make lots of money in America.
However, it is only a good way to make money if one does the things it takes to build a business.
The most important thing in business is to do things.
This is much different than the approach most Americans take. Most Americans learn, suffer analysis paralysis, delay, think about it again, then read some more and then after sixty days they do 5% of what they initially planned on doing.
They don’t want to make a mistake. They live by the beliefs they were taught that making a mistake is bad.
The best way to learn is to do. Make mistakes. Learn from mistakes. Do it again.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Wise words from Thomas A. Edison. One of the most successful and prolific inventors and business owners in American history.
Let me end with a lesson I learned.
I consider myself a relatively intelligent person.
I think I have all the answers.
I realized I don’t. In fact, most of my preconceive answers nobody wants to buy.
I will never know what people want to buy until I make them an offer and they decided to give me money for that offer.
The only way to know what is valuable to sell is to practice selling lots of stuff.
Lots of stuff I sell has no value and therefore has no value to my ideal customer.
When I try and sell something, and it doesn’t sell, I’ve just learned one thing that doesn’t sell.
I’m smart. I stop selling that item and try to sell something else.
That’s the game. Make lots of decisions. Sell lots of stuff and fail at selling stuff until you discover the item that does sell.
The item that sells makes all the failures worth it.