On this page, I discuss making money, especially how to get a good regular or residual income. I also plan to make some cash from this page as well, so there will be banners and maybe links to other money-making sites here too. There will be ways for you to get an income here, and tips and ideas that I think may be good cash earners and good ways of working. I am of course keen to hear your own thoughts, so e-mail me if you have anything relevant to add. I am not interested in illegal chain-letter-style schemes, but in serious ways of adding to your income. As I come up with new ideas, I will add them to the list on this page.
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Well, I’m not claiming to be an expert at getting rich or anything, but I have ideas nevertheless! It is up to you what you make of them. There is one thing, though. Many people are highly motivated, forceful achievers. I am not. I am lazy. In fact, I would say that laziness is one of my main motivators! I want to make money quickly so I can quit the world of wage-slavery (my job/unemployment/job routine) and get on with my life. That means dedicating myself to money-making projects until I feel like stopping or until my targets are achieved.
Another motivator is that I want to do something a bit different with my life, and I just don’t feel like doing charity work or other worthy things, I’m afraid, because they require too much personal involvement, and that is just not for me: I am definitely a person who likes to keep himself to himself. So, I thought, what then? How about making some money? OK! Plus, I can probably do more good if I have more money anyway. I can certainly donate more to charity that way.
While for many people, making money is practically an obsession, for me, it is just something to do. A game. A challenge. Fun. A way of enjoying life’s great adventure. That’s all. Such an attitude, I feel, also takes much of the stress out of it, which has to be a good thing I think. On the other hand, it isn’t totally stress-free: I see a pensionless future ahead if I don’t do something… and working all those years for next to nothing anyway just doesn’t seem like a viable or even sensible solution for me. I know we are all advised to get a good education and job if we want to secure our future, but while I still agree that a good education is very important for maximising your options, there are very few good jobs out there – and they are certainly not stable anyway. With the likely future development of machine intelligence and robotics I strongly suspect that in the end there will be very few jobs at all, especially for the unskilled or out-of-date. So, here are my tips for improving your chances, and making an independent income.
Tip 1: How many projects?
Once a project gets off the ground, it can become quite time-consuming, especially as most projects have to be run in your spare time at first. Most people can handle only two full-scale projects at once while still having some social or family life.
Multiple Streams of Income guru Robert G Allen (who is currently giving away one million copies of his latest book, The One Minute Millionaire which I haven’t read yet), says that everyone will need five or six projects in the future as employment becomes less common. The way to handle that is to use what he calls the plate-spinner mind-set. A plate-spinner spins plates on poles; as one starts to wobble, the plate spinner comes back to it and spins it back up to speed, then looks around to see if another one is wobbling; if so, that one is spun up to speed, and so on. The idea is to spend a little time (say, a day) on whichever project requires the most attention right now, then sit back and see which project to spend time on next, and so on. Focus, relax, focus, relax, and so on.
I think that at first it is best to stick to one or two only until they are up to speed. Then, add projects one-by-one when the original projects are taking up less of your time. Incidentally, Robert G Allen promotes a scheme called USANA: it costs money, so I’ve skipped it, and it involves selling stuff, so I’ve double-skipped it. The products seem expensive to me too… His ideas about property leins are completely illegal in the UK as far as I know, but are presumably OK in the USA, if you don’t mind having people evicted from time to time if they don’t pay their rent or mortgage. This doesn’t really appeal to me, but some of his other thinking well worth checking out: residual income, that is, a regular income that you don’t have to work for much once it has started, is his speciality.
Tip 2: What sort of projects?
A good project is one that can run without you once it is up to speed. Obviously, most projects will require effort from you at the beginning, but the ideal one should quickly get to the stage where you can spend less time on it and still generate an income from it. A bad project, from this point of view, is one that requires a lot of your time, permanently: that is not a project, it is a job. If you have this sort of project, then as soon as you can, hire or train someone else to manage it and get on with your next project! For example, suppose you run a shop. If you own the business, then as soon as you can afford to, hire a manager. If you own the building, lease the shop to someone who wants to run that sort of business and get out of it: they do the work (running their own business on your premises) and you collect the rent while concentrating on your next project. In this latter case, your project is no longer the shop, it is real estate. Get it?
A good project should also offer you what is known as a ‘residual income.’ That is, a regular, preferably monthly, income, whether you are working on it directly, or not. The real estate (rent) example above is an example of this.
Examples of Good Projects
- Property: either buying cheap (using the bank’s money, not your own), doing them up and re-selling them at a profit, or buying cheap and renting them out for an immediate monthly income. Some people say landlords are parasites, and let’s face it, they have a point, but it is not your fault that the fat cats have structured the economy this way. In my view it is better to take advantage of it than to be working all your life and still be poor when you retire. Seek out Think Like A Tycoon by WG Hill on this subject. He’s the expert. He’s also seriously paranoid on the subject of privacy, taxation, divorce and government snooping – or is he? Anyway, some sites are saying that Think Like A Tycoon is out of print, but you may still be able to get it here. You can investigate his paranoia products here and here (click the Bill Hill books link on the right). Dolf de Roos has also written an exellent book on the property business, internationally applicable, and available from the aforementioned Rich Dad web site, and which I highly recommend. It is also a lot cheaper than Hill’s book, if that is a consideration for you. One thing about the property business worth being aware of: prices can go down as well as up. Every now and then there is a Great Depression and you can be stuffed for decades if you are caught with big mortgages at such a time.
- Creative: writing, artwork, design, music, etc.: if you have the talent, go for it! The best time of day is often early morning if you have other responsibilities, because at the end of the day, if you are like me, you will be too tired to bother. For some people it can work to transfer a couple of hours of evening time to the morning so they can write or work undisturbed at 5am. As Ben Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise, is the way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Writing offers you regular royalty payments if you can get your stuff to sell. I am busy writing my sci-fi novel and have also put a few short stories on the writing page of this web site, just in case… One point here: writer’s block. Don’t allow yourself to chicken out just because you are afraid that your writing isn’t going to be good enough. This is just vanity. Maybe your writing does need some work, but it might be just that you feel it isn’t good enough for you. An editor or a reader might think differently and anyway, any written work will need to be thoroughly revised before final publication. You can sort out problems with it during that phase. Get it down first. Also, consider a cooperative venture: you write, someone else edits, or vice-versa, or get a co-author. There are always ways around problems like this. If you are good with graphics, photography, photoshop, illustrator or similar programs, then sites like Fotolia or Dreamstime will help you sell your work, for free. In the case of photography, it is essential that you have a good camera.. That is, a £300+ camera (2008 prices) that takes very sharp images (i.e., Nikon D60, Canon EOS, etc.). With cheaper digital cameras you’ll be lucky to get many pictures accepted: they tend to suffer from too much digital noise, lens abberations and so on.
- MLM: Be careful with multi-level marketing, or network marketing as it is also known. Most MLM schemes are simply rubbish or rip-offs. However, there are one or two out there that are actually perfectly legitimate, workable schemes. Search carefully for schemes that offer a) residual income, and b) a genuine product or service, such as a web-hosting scheme, or good books. A good scheme barely qualifies as MLM as it will only have a small number of levels; however, the best modern schemes are like this: simple, with very few levels (typically two only) and a quick residual income or at least a commission from a good, genuine, product or service. Avoid all chain-letter type schemes which offer little or no product or service, and which are invariably illegal despite claims to the contrary. Avoid all schemes which require money up front, however small the amount: they are only after your money. Avoid schemes that require you to sell products almost like a door-to-door salesperson or to your friends: it is very difficult to make anything more than pocket-money with such systems, they take up a lot of your valuable time and upset your friends anyway.
- The Stock Market: Yes, there is a strong element of gambling here, but if you are careful and can control your greed and fear, and can analyse situations unemotionally and carefully, there is money to be made here. You will need a few thousand in spare cash that you can afford to lose without getting too upset before you can start, however. For full instructions, check out Anthony Robbins’ Wealth Mastery seminars (they also discuss property investments). A seminar lasts several days and will set you back a huge sum of money: the Wealth Mastery seminar I went to cost GBP1800, in Euros or USD about 2880, but was very informative indeed. It began with basics but quickly became very advanced and was easily worth the money – they call it the Mastery University and I think it is a good name: University courses are the only equivalent I have come across where so much densely packed information is pummelled into your skull in such a short time. The seminar was full of the usual American hype and motivational stuff (we had to dance around and cheer, apparently to increase our activation levels: you boost your learning ability if you are hyped up, according to Mr Robbins). As an alternative, for a gentler introduction to the subject, you could also take a look at a Foolish website in the USA or the UK. In particular check out their introductory lessons on investing relatively safely. See also Tip 9 about accumulating your seed capital.
- Affiliate Programmes: these are usually web sites that offer you a commission when you sell their products. For example, I was for a time able to make a little bit of money from a mobile phone ringtones site, now no longer profitable: every time someone would buy a ring tone, I would get a small commission. The site at its peak was getting around 6500 unique visitors a month, making me a couple of hundred pounds, typically. The links to books, etc., on this page can in theory earn me a bit of commission too. Once an affiliate programme is up and running, you only have to check it out occasionally to make sure it stays up to date. There are some people, known as Super Affiliates who make huge fortunes running zillions of web sites with different affiliate programs running on them. There are also web sites that specialize in affiliate programs: they list them, and you can join them via those sites. For example, check out Commission Junction. Use the publishers link if you have a web site that could do with some commission-earning links, or the advertisers link if you run a business that has products to sell. I recommend you visit each of these sites and spend the time to figure out just what they are up to and how you can make some free, or nearly free, money out of them.
- Your ideas wanted!!! E-Mail me using the button at the top or bottom of this page!
Tip 3: When to quit your job
Quit your job, if you want to, only when your residual, after-tax and expenses income from elsewhere is equal to or greater than your income from your job. This tip is made to be broken if you are convinced that dedicating yourself full-time to a project or two is going to be a better investment, but for most people, the risk will be too great. I’ve quit my job provisionally, not because I’m making loads of money yet, but because I was so fed up with it I couldn’t stand it any more and decided I’d better dedicate myself to a project fast or burn out completely. I’m currently trying to get into the property renovations business by selling my house and using the money to get started. (Update: this didn’t work – the house took too long to sell partly because of a recession and I ended up just about being able to offload it before the expenses of keeping it on became too great). I’m also writing, and looking into affiliate programmes. I’m also slowly going bankrupt while these schemes come on line… All those plates to keep spinning! Phew!
Tip 4: Set targets
As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get there. If you want detailed instructions on how to set targets, take a look at Anthony Robbins’ “Unlimited Power” book or tape programme. Basically, write down what you want to achieve, and when, and then block in some steps, with dates, on how you plan to achieve those goals. Spend a while brainstorming all the things you would like to do if there were no restrictions at all, then pick your favourite ones as your end goals! Exercise your conscience too, after the brainstorming: it is no use picking things that will make you feel bad in the real world, or that conflict with your full personality.
Tip 5: Continual movement
Take one day off a week, at least. Other than that, make sure that at least one of your projects moves forward, by however small an amount, each day. This could be as little as making one phone call, or taking a book of the shelf for you to look at tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how tiny the movement, as long as something happens. Over time, except perhaps when you are particularly tired or on holiday, this tiny movement will become easier, and greater. This method builds momentum in even the laziest person. Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter in their Rich Dad Poor Dad book say that cultivating a little greed can overcome laziness (obviously, they don’t recommend going too far with that, but the desire is there for a purpose, so you might as well use it to your advantage).
Tip 6: Deferred gratification
The get-rich-quick mentality is a saboteur. Think about it. What are the odds of finding a scheme that will make you loads of money quickly? At best, say, one in a thousand. What are the odds of making loads of money by careful planning and constant, incremental, step-by-step working at it? About 50-50, I’d say. Which odds do you prefer? So get used to the idea. Your efforts are unlikely to make you much money in the early days, but over the long haul, as you gradually build on your knowledge, skills and contacts, you will sail way ahead of all those get-rich-quick grasshoppers, who are jumping from one half-baked scheme to another instead of concentrating on building up a permanent, long-term income. You don’t have to be smart to get rich, just diligent.
Tip 7: Constant learning
What sort of person gets rich? As Brian Tracy says, look in the homes of rich people, and what do you see? Books. Lots and lots of them. Books about how to get rich, books of knowledge in general. Look in the homes of poor people and what do you see? The biggest TV they can afford. Need I say more? OK: if you have difficulty with reading, learn that first. As I said in Tip 6: you don’t have to be smart to get rich. But, you do have to fill your head with useful facts and attitudes, so learn from people who’ve done it already. As well as reading about making money and the lives of people who have done so, read about any area of knowledge that interests you: in the end, that information may open doorways for you too.
Tip 8: Dealing with setbacks
As much as you can, think of setbacks and obstacles as messages trying to teach you something. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or, “What do I do differently next time?” or, “What didn’t work?” Such questions keep you in the driver’s seat and get you back in control as quickly as possible. Avoid the tendency to blame others or to seek to be rescued by others. Sometimes, perhaps, you will feel that luck is against you and you feel like giving up (a disguised form of the desire to be rescued, I suspect), but the problem with this is that if you give up, then the only certainty is that you won’t achieve your ambitions. Be responsible for yourself, because it is only your own attitude that you have any control over. See Tip 10 for ways to improve your luck.
Tip 9: Money to start with
I’m sure you’ve heard that “it takes money to make money.” Well, that’s often true, depending on your goals (e.g., to invest on the stock market, realistically, you need a few thousand at least; to start a business you may need a lot or a little (watch out that it isn’t a “job” (Tip 2) if you’re following my tactics closely – although it all counts as experience, of course). So, having little or none, what do you do?
- Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Got that? Live by it: this is your new mantra; when you see something you want, ask yourself, “Can I live without this?” and pass on by if you can. You might also ask yourself, “Will this put money into my pocket?” and if it won’t, save your money for getting rich with.
- Earn more, e.g., by training yourself up, getting experience, making yourself more valuable (without becoming a doormat for your boss to exploit); become a contractor rather than a wage-slave if that is applicable to your field: job security? There is No Such Thing: the average job these days lasts just 2.5 years;
- Borrowing to invest is generally a good idea if you can work it out such that you can cover the repayments. If you can reduce debt payments by transferring them to a cheaper debt, that is also a good idea; a mortgage is the cheapest debt of all, normally. Of course, whatever you invest in has to work out…
- Sometimes you can extract equity from your house by way of a mortgage extension – assuming you have a house and a mortgage, of course, and assuming the property has gone up in value: just think of it as a tax-free low-interest loan.
- If you are a property owner, you can rent rooms out to make more money (this usually suits single people and the non-houseproud more…)
- The money you free up by spending less, earning more and transferring your debts can be accumulated in something relatively safe such as government bonds – note, I don’t consider bank accounts to be safe, although they will do if you only have small amounts to save at first, but their interest rates suck anyway. If your risk profile is higher and you are saving enough (a hundred or more a month), consider an Index Tracker fund (and no other type of unit trust fund performs as well over the long term) on the stock market; the miracle of compound interest and pound-cost-averaging (or whatever your currency is) can help your funds accumulate if you give it time – lots of time; don’t worry if you don’t have much to save, just save it anyway. It all adds up. Saving is not so hot when inflation is high (over about 10% per annum), but at lower rates you can usually beat it: either way, you must beat it for saving to be worthwhile, in my view. Note that even government bonds are not necessarily safe if the government is struggling with overwhelming debts of its own and the interest rates it is being charged are too high: governments default too – and won’t hesitate to default on your bonds, either directly or through inflation. Then what? Gold and silver coins, maybe? Governments confiscate these in times of emergency, if they know you have them. Basically, governments are not honest: none of them.
- One trick to start the saving habit is to take all the “ones” out of your change each evening: one dollar, one pound, one whatever (100+ if you have a dodgy currency) and save them. This will come to 500 or so a year and you will seldom miss them while you’re saving;
- Think positive. Don’t dismiss this idea just because it’s simple and you’ve heard it before. Learn how to do it. See also Tip 10.
- Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter in Rich Dad Poor Dad (yes, its them again) say that most people don’t understand what an asset and a liability are, from the point of view of a rich person (as opposed to that of an accountant). They say, think of an asset as something that puts money in your pocket, and a liability as something that takes it out. Buy assets, not liabilities (as so defined). So, a house that costs you mortgage payments, insurance, utility bills, maintenance, etc, is a liability from your point of view – unless you are making a profit on it somehow (renting all or some of it out, refurbishing it for resale, or sitting tight in a rapidly rising market, for example). A car is also a liability for many people: depreciation, petrol, insurance, maintenance and so on can easily add up to GBP4000 a year. For that money, you could afford 400 GBP10 taxi journeys. Think about it carefully.
Tip 10: Improve your Luck
Dr Richard Wiseman has conducted scientific research into why some people seem to have all the luck, and others get splashed on by the passing traffic of life. His book, The Luck Factor, describes how he discovered the ways in which people sabotage their own luck, and what they have to do to change their luck for the better. I can summarise the techniques here, but the book shows you exactly how to actually make all these ideas work for you, even if you are a really unlucky person.
- Give chance a chance: the more people you know, the more chance they will know something or someone that can help you. Similarly, it helps to be relaxed about life, so you are open to opportunities that may come your way. So, go out more if you are not meeting enough people or encouraging random events to come your way.
- Listen to your intuition: it has been said that God speaks to us through our dreams and our intuitions. People lacking in self-trust tend to ignore these clues to the workings of our unconscious mind (or God) and as a result miss out on a lot of good things. The unconscious mind notices much, much more than the conscious mind – and remember, this is proven, scientific fact, not just new-age airheadism. In his book, he describes ways in which many lucky people take steps to improve their intuition.
- Expect good luck: Speaks for itself really, but the point is that our expectations tend to be self-fulfilling. If you are grumpy or nervy, other people will react to you accordingly. If you are open and friendly, more opportunities will be presented to you.
- Look on the bright side: When bad things happen, consider how you can make the best of it; remember that in many cases it could have been much worse. Treat obstacles as steps along the way, or as lessons you can learn from (Tip 8 )