When people ask me what
the best ways to make money are, sometimes I laugh.
Not because the question
is stupid — but because, well, there really is no “right” answer.
The real answer is
almost anything can make money.
The first thing you have
to do is change your mindset. You have to start viewing your skills and experiences as
You have to stop
underestimating your ability to help someone with what you can provide —
whether that’s information, a service or a physical product.
When you’re first
getting started making money on your own, the best way to get started quickly
is to understand the different ways you can make money, and which one will work
best for you.
there are 3 ways to make money:
Providing a service to
(really a subset of services)
Selling a product
All 3 of these can be
very lucrative — it just depends on what type of business you’re most
comfortable with, and what type of work you want to do.
Today, we’re only going
to talk about providing a service. This is also known as freelancing.
This is typically the
first place that beginning entrepreneurs start, because it’s something you can
begin immediately based on the experience you already have — and it’s very
simple to plan.
This is the maxim of
starting a new service-based business:
If you currently have (or have ever had) a
job, you’re capable of providing a service that someone will pay for.
In fact, for many
people, the skills you’re already providing to your current employer can used
directly to start your freelance business.
If you’re an
administrative assistant, there’s a good chance your organizational skills will
be useful to clients.
If you’re a web
developer, you can definitely help people build projects on the side.
If you’re an accountant,
you can help clients with their taxes, or small businesses with their accounts.
Now, not every job can
translate directly into a freelance skill — but most can give you an indication
of where your strengths are. For instance:
If you’re a veterinary
technician by day, you can’t necessarily take care of sick cats at your
house. But since you love animals, and are good with them, maybe you can open
up a side business as a pet sitter!
If you work in IT, maybe
you can start managing client websites/doing sysadmin work, etc.
The main issue most
beginners have here is underestimating the value of their services. I did the same thing when I was first
starting my business as a test prep coach.
The company who hired me
way paying $18/hour for me to go to houses and teach SAT/ACT exam prep. I
thought this was GREAT money…
(isn’t it funny how we
judge what fair pay is based on how much more it is than minimum wage, not on
how much money we actually need to live?)
One day, I was at a
student’s house and saw a brochure for the company I was working with on the
fridge. I took a quick peek inside and I realized that the parents were paying
$100/hour for me to be there! And I was only getting $18 of that!!
I was a little upset at
first, but then, I realized this was actually a great thing.
I was doing all the
driving, teaching and consulting.
The company’s only real
task was connecting me with the families — and these families had validated
that the service I was providing them was worth at least $100/hour.1
That validation gave me
the confidence to go out on my own and start finding clients.