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Why You Need to Make It On Your Own

September 7th, 2012 by shawn · Comments Off

From LewRockwell.com, I recently found the article Real Wealth, Gold, and Why Government May Want You on Food Stamps. Here’s an excerpt that really jumped out at me:

The bread lines of yesterday are the Food Stamps of today. In the 1950s Russian people stood in bread lines for hours. It was the best way to control the people and keep them from overthrowing the government. Hungry and tired from standing in bread lines, they would never pose much of a threat to the government.

While I see the logic and the helpfulness of something like unemployment (or even food stamps!) I think it needs to be something only taken as a very temporary measure. Avoid it as much as possible, and if you must take assistance from the gov’t, get off as soon as possible.

Sucking from the gov’t teat makes a person dependent, weak, and complacent. Stay independent, stay free…make it on your own.

Comments OffTags: DIY Life

I’ve Just Lost My Job: Now What Should I Do?

August 27th, 2012 by shawn · 1 Comment

If you’ve ever had the experience of losing your job, you know that sinking feeling – followed by the realization that you have nothing to do the rest of the day. Next comes the question of “what do I do NOW?” and wondering what your next step will be. Well, I had that exact same scenario recently – because I just lost my job!

In the beginning of DIY Dollars, I wrote about entreprenuerial topics such as how to make money for your self, how to generate income without a job, how to start a business, and how to profit from online marketing. I always had a genuine interest in those topics, but eventually the perfect job came along: it paid well, it allowed me to work remotely, and it focused on my main interest which was SEO. So I took the job (and as you can see from this site’s post history) effectively abandoned blogging. Well, now I’m back.

The last week is what I jokingly refer to as my “week off”: I was freshly unemployed, and a not-so-proud member of this nation’s biggest-ever crowd of jobless. But this is a new week, and I have some big plans. Like the kid in Home Alone, I slapped my cheeks with aftershave, and screamed “NOW what should I do?”. And here’s the answer.

Get Unemployment
This is step one. I know – unemployment doesn’t amount to much money. One week of unemployment payments equals about what I used to make in a day. But every bit of income will help, so I’ll take what I can get while I need it.

Tell Everyone
Losing one’s job is nothing to be ashamed of, unless you did something stupid and got yourself fired. But these days, many people are losing their job due to reasons such as company downsizing, outsourcing, or cuts due to low profits. It happens, and like Omar used to say (in The Wire) “it’s all in the game.” So don’t be bashful; let everyone know. If they know, they can tell you if they hear about work you might be interested in.

Send Resumes
Get busy, immediately, applying for jobs. You have to do this in order to get unemployment benefits anyway – but you need to find work. No matter what the economy is doing, there are jobs out there – you just need to find them. People still need other people to provide services. So get on Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, look in your local paper, and respond to ads. It will not only possibly get you a new job but it will make you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile with your time.

Work Freelance
If you’re of the same mind as me, you’ve had an LLC long before you ever lost your job. (I’ve had one for a few years that I’ve rarely used for any sort of business.) Having an LLC will allow you to get contract work with some of the larger companies, but if you don’t have an official “business” you can still find freelance gigs working as an individual. There are local companies, individuals, and organizations that need someone to do short-term work, and if you have the right skills you can respond and at least do one project. That, in turn, can earn you money and possibly get you a job. Plus, you need to stay busy.

Create Something
Right now I’m working on a book, which I plan on publishing for the Kindle. Maybe you are an artist. Or maybe you bake. Whatever it is you can do – create something. If you don’t know where your creative powers lie, then make a website and write a blog. Please, just create something. Don’t leave this work having contributed nothing other than some labor in exchange for a paycheck. Make something during the time you otherwise would be working for someone else.

These simple actions might not seem like much, but to me they’re my framework until I figure out my “real” plan. These things will keep me doing something useful, and will allow me to not waste my days, now that I’m unemployed. I look at life right now as full of opportunity – who knows what will happen? Probably something awesome. (At least, that’s what I like to think.)

I hope things are awesome for you, too. And for those of you who are in the same situation as me, I hope these simple words will help you during this time.

→ 1 CommentTags: Advice & Inspiration

Cash-Only Jobs and Underground Ways to Make Cash in 2012

April 3rd, 2012 by shawn · 3 Comments

I’ve written here before about the underground economy, “dirty” cheap ways to start a business, and also cash-only jobs. And don’t forget the secret that Mark Cuban told me when I asked him what the secret to success really was. Those were perhaps good posts at the time, but it’s interesting that the climate in the USA has changed a bit – making the things I wrote four years ago even more applicable today. There is now more of a need to make extra cash due to the economy, and there’s also mainstream awareness of the need that people have for cash-only jobs and work that pays “under the table”.

Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117As one very obvious example of this new mindset that Americans are beginning to have, I’m seeing that “regular” people are increasingly becoming part of the “prepper” movement. Self-reliance now seems to be everywhere I look and on everyone’s mind. (Everyone who reads a newspaper or watches the news, that is.) I hear ads for survival seeds on the radio. I see commercials about buying and selling gold on TV. I read articles about surging gun and ammo sales. I see news reports about people who are building bunkers and buying land to make survival retreats. I see shows like Doomsday Preppers and The Colony gaining popularity. Modern cities are seeing an increase on urban farming, “guerilla gardening”, keeping beehives to make honey, and backyard chicken raising. And books like Patriots and movies such as Hunger Games (which was originally a book) aren’t relegated to literature tables at gun shows – they’re sold at your local Barnes & Noble – and are totally mainstream. We’re not at the point of The Road or The Book of Eli just yet, but with gas prices rising as quickly as they are, I won’t be surprised if I see Mad Max rolling down the street someday soon.

My point is this: the reality is that in 2012 things are looking scary. It’s no secret that our currency is (possibly very soon) on the verge of collapse. Unemployment is high, the future is uncertain, and we know that things can change very fast. Because of that, you probably want to have a few options available to you – other than your 9 to 5 office job that may go “poof” one day. If that were to happen, what would your options be?

I want to give you a few. You need some options to at least think about your next move.

These are low-investment, easy-learning-curve ways to supplement your current existing income. They also lean towards putting something on your table, in your home larder, or otherwise add to and build up your resources. I hope these suggestions inspire you and give you some ideas.

Beekeeping
The initial investment is low – maybe a few hundred dollars. The learning curve isn’t too high either, and there are numerous books and many beekeeping websites that can teach you what you need to know. You don’t need a lot of land (your backyard might be enough). The supplies can be built or ordered in a kit - both for cheap. But the payoff can be big: bees pollinate plants which can benefit your garden (and you should have a garden, by the way), and bees make honey – which is expensive, healthy, and delicious. Urban beekeeping is more and more accepted these days, and you might even find a local Meetup group of beekeepers. Of course, you will be able to harvest totally organic honey. What to do with it? Jar it and use it, or (if your bees produce enough) sell it. Most cities have farmer’s markets which are perfect venues to sell or barter goods. If you become very knowledgeable and proficient, you can expand this into a beehive removal service or related business.

Vermiculture
What is vermiculture? Worm-raising. Sounds gross, perhaps. But worms are amazing creatures – highly useful, very beneficial for soil and gardening, and easy to raise. You can very easily raise worms in nothing more than a plastic storage bin kept in your backyard. Feed them scraps – fruit cores, bread crusts, potato peels – and they will turn it into amazingly healthy fertilizer. You will be amazed at what one handful of worms can do. How to use them? Raise a lot of them, and you could sell bait. You can sell the fertilizer. You can of course use the fertilizer in your garden as well. No one should ever throw organic matter into the garbage. Worms allow you to compost that valuable biomass and put it back into the earth.

Lawn Care
This one is obvious, but I had to mention it. A lawncare business can take up your weekends but earn you a lot of extra cash when you need it. The equipment you need is minimal: a lawnmower and weed wacker. Get your equipment at the pawn shop, print up some flyers, and get to work. It will be cash money in your pocket, whenever you work. If you build up a regular clientele, you will have a regular influx of cash in your hands.

Wine Making/Homebrewing
In most localities you cannot sell home-brewed alcohol (such as beer or wine). But you can often barter it. Of course you can also consume it (as I am right now with home-made Apfelwien), and you can give it as gifts. Homemade Apfelwein is very easy and very good (such as the celebrated Edwort’s Apfelwein recipe), and only requires about $30 to $50 in equipment. Get your bottles free from FreeCycle or Craigslist – or save your own beer bottles. For something very simple like Apfelwein you just need applejuice, corn sugar, and brewer’s yeast (I use Montrachet) and a five gallon container. Five gallons goes a long way. It’s especially economical when it costs just a few bucks to make each time. Beer is fairly easy as well, and you can order everything in an easy beer brewing kit or buy supplies locally if your town has a home-brew shop.

Soap Making
The very best soap you will ever use (I promise) is soap you make at home with all natural ingredients. I don’t even like Dove or Ivory anymore – I use homemade peppermint soap. It’s very simple to make (it’s made of vegetable oils and lye) and you don’t need special equipment. I used a hand-mixer, a big cooking pot, and shoe boxes for the soap forms. You can make a bunch at a time and it will last the whole year. It’s a perfect item to sell. You can ship it easily as well, in case you wanted to sell on eBay or your own website. There are many instructional videos and soapmaking websites to show you how to make the soap, and you can probably find all the ingredients at your local grocery store except for the food-grade lye (which you can order here – the same place I use for my supplies).

Gardening
Our vegetable gardenIt used to be that every household had a garden next to their kitchen. Victory gardens were once common. Gardening gave way to supermarket shopping…but now backyard gardening is making a comeback. People now appreciate the taste of homegrown vegetables and fruit, they’re more educated about the harmful GMO crops in stores, and of course they appreciate benefit of gardening and growing your own food. I am starting to see more people planting things they can eat as opposed to things that are merely ornamental.

On a small scale, you can supplement your food needs. On a larger scale, you can eliminate your dependence on the grocery store. On an even larger scale, you’ve got a farmer’s market or roadside stand business. Again, you will largely deal in cash. All you need is dirt, some fertilizer (remember the worms), and some good seeds. I recommend heirloom, non-GMO (meaning, non-genetically-modified or non-transgenic) seeds from a reputable supplier.

Canning
This is a general topic, because you can can almost any food. Again, think of both feeding yourself and a possible farmer’s market table where you sell the canned goods you produce. By canning, I mean old-time canning in glass Mason jars. Nowadays you can buy all the supplies at Wal-Mart, and you can even order BPA-free lids for your cans. (This is a good idea, as BPA is present in every store-bought can, and BPA is extremely harmful.) I’ve made canned pickled okra, kumquat marmalade, pickles, and will can or pickle everything else my garden produces this year. Tomato sauce for instance. The online resources to teach you what to do are numerous, and the supplies are readily available. You just need to do it. Before you know it, you could have a table selling salsa, pickles, jams or preserves, and whatever else you can think of – all for cash on the table. If you’re not aiming to make money from it, you can store it and feed your family healthy, delicious, BPA- and preservative-free foods year-round.

There are numerous small businesses you can start in short order that can provide you with cash.Need to raise a grand in a month? You can do that with some of these ideas. I haven’t even mentioned some of the other possibilities such as being a weekend Mover or doing House Painting (which is a very easy-to-start business with a low investment, and is always an in-demand service).

Whatever situation you’re in, and however bleak the economy might seem, you should always know that you have options. You can hold on to your dignity and go make some money for yourself. You don’t have to stand in line or sign up for a government hand out. You can make it – the opportunities are out there.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Underground Money-Making

$980k in 18 Months: The Bloodhound Method of Building Authority Websites

March 28th, 2012 by shawn · 3 Comments

If you want to build a money-making machine, you need a website that meets a need, provides useful information, and engages the audience. The website should focus on content and develop a community. It should be an authority. How to do that is the question, but in this great video by Vishen Lakhiani he gives you the exact step-by-step plan he used to generate $980,000 dollars in less than two years. He calls it the “Bloodhound Method” and this fifteen-minute video is well worth watching – because he explains exactly what he did, and how you can also do it.

What do you think of the Bloodhound Method? Do you see any ways you can utilize it in your niche? Let me know.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Business How-To's

Work for Yourself: How To Become a Courier

January 31st, 2012 by shawn · 1 Comment

Note: This is a guest post.

One of the most overlooked self-employed careers is the courier driver. You can become your own boss and work on your own terms, all while making a decent wage. Use these tips to get your courier career of to the right start.

Get moving
The first thing you’re going to need is some kind of transportation for your job. There are bike couriers and car couriers, and some people even use airplanes to deliver parcels from place to place. If you’re like most, you should choose a car or van for your delivery jobs because it’s faster than a bike (more deliveries equals more money) and it has relatively low upkeep cost. You can start out with a mid- to full-size car and move up to a bigger van later as business increases.

Get insured
It can be nerve wracking when you’re responsible for other people’s things. What if something gets broken, or you get in an accident during a delivery run? Insurance is the answer to your concern, and it will help make your business more reputable as well. Call your current insurance provider to see if they can help you with their courier rates or a referral. Insurance will give you and your customers the peace of mind that everything is covered in case of an accident.

Get digital
It can take years to build up a good customer base by traditional word-of-mouth marketing. Thankfully, the Internet has changed all of that and a good website will do all that work in a fraction of the time. You can try your hand at building your own website or use a professional company or individual to set it up. Remember, this is the first thing people will see about you and your new business, so it needs to be top-notch.

Get advertising
Your website isn’t going to attract traffic on it’s own, so to start out you’re going to need some advertising. During this time you can supplement your income with companies that list delivery jobs for independent drivers. You don’t have to spend all of your money on advertising, but a big part of your starting expenses will come from this area. When you’ve been around for a while, you will start to get repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations so you can lower your ad budget. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on ads in the beginning or you’ll be out of money and work before you know it.

That’s it! Obviously there’s more to being a successful courier than getting off to a good start. You need to become the trusted provider for your customers’ delivery needs, and that will take some time. If you take these first steps, however, you’ll be on the way to being your own boss in no time.

Logan is a writer who spends his time planning for financial freedom when he isn’t pounding the keys on his keyboard.

→ 1 CommentTags: Business How-To's

The Only Make Money Guide You Need for 2012

January 26th, 2012 by shawn · 4 Comments

I really hope you found this post while searching for a guide to making money online – a guide you would have otherwise paid for. I’m not against WSO’s and I’m certainly not against books, but what I am against is wasting money. So don’t waste your money. You and I both know that almost every person who pays for a course on how to make money or buys an ebook will not actually accomplish what the book or guide promises they will accomplish.

Have you ever wondered why that is? I have not only analyzed it and thought about it but I’ve experienced it. So after wasting money on special SEO software, memberships to forums, e-books, WSOs, courses, and all sorts of other money- and time-wasters…I offer my free guide. And I promise you will make money from it. Before beginning, put some beer in the fridge.

Step 1: Research a Niche
You need to figure out a niche of product. It can be almost anything that can be bought and sold – anything from a service to a tangible product to a non-tangible product. In fact I don’t care and it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is something people buy online. It doesn’t matter if they buy it on Clickbank, via merchant’s private affiliate programs, or via Amazon affiliate links. Just find a niche that can be sold (via affiliate links, of course).

How to pick? I don’t want to give you any complicated formulas or even any simple formulas for how to choose a niche. Since this is my guide and I like to keep things simple, here’s the only requirement: you are interested in it. If you like guitars, then maybe the niche is guitars or guitar effects pedals. If you are a big time anime geek, then something anime like maybe those statues of anime women or whatever. If you like a certain kind of eyeglasses, then choose that style of glasses. You just need to like this niche enough to stick with this project.

Your niche research consists of simply picking something you’re interested in that you can sell online.

Step 2: Buy a Domain
Get yourself a reasonable domain. You don’t need to spend lots of money on a domain. Just do a bulk domain search for your main keyword with words appended to it such as “buy”, “online”, “store”, etc. Get a .com and don’t bother with anything else. The shorter the better, and no dashes.

Step 3: Set Up a WordPress Site
I make the assumption you have hosting already. If not, get cPanel hosting with Fantastico. Set your brand-spanking-new domain up with WordPress. A non-techie could probably do it with ease, so you can probably have it set up in five minutes just like WordPress promises. Put in the title of your site, put a nice template on there, set up an XML sitemap, set up pretty permalinks (category/title), and set up a contact form. (I’ll leave it up to you to pick the plugins for those tasks). Now, grab one of those beers.

Step 4: Research Ten Titles
As you crack open that beer, you should have a notepad next to you and your computer screen in front of you. I want you to brainstorm topics that relate to your niche. Some words to get your ideas flowing are “best”, “worst”, “tips”, “how to use”, “best methods”, “best uses”, “highest rated”, “reviews”, “how to pick”, “best of 2011″ (or previous year), “bargains”, “coupons”, “deals”. Depending on your niche these suggested words might work, but you might need to come up with some others as well.

This might take an hour. It might take three hours. But if you sit down and brainstorm, do a bit of searching, and write down all the good ideas, you will end up with a list of decent article titles – these are topics for the next step. Out of that list, I want you to choose the ten “best”.

Step 5: Write
If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! You are doing better than maybe 75% of all “affiliate marketers” because most people simply hang out on forums, buy software, and then do nothing. You, however, are about to actually give yourself a shot at making some affiliate sales. That can’t happen until you write an article for each of your topics from the previous step, where you started drinking.

If you’re still drinking, it will help with the tedium – because writing a lot of content can be very boring. The most common complaint is “I can’t think of any more ways to say the same thing”. I know, because I’ve had to do it and I’ve also directed inexperienced content writers in how to write for me. But be of good cheer; it is possible to write about the same thing over and over.

For one thing, the titles you picked are hopefully different enough to where you aren’t duplicating the exact same thought over and over. Secondly, as your write your articles you can formulate some content creation steps. Here are some steps I used in a particular niche for which I had to write a series of 300+ word articles dealing with apparel and accessories:

  1. If there’s a brand or company in the subcategory, type out some company info including product specialties or applications, if possible. You can use this to flesh out the text.
  2. Make a generic list of product types that are in this category.
  3. Divide those product types into related groups of products.
  4. Form an outline by introducing the company or subcategory, then writing sentences around the groups of product types, then closing with a summary.
  5. Fill in details by citing possible uses of the products.

For your niche, you will have different steps, but the point is that you CAN formulate some steps to help you create the articles. You have to first write one really good article, break down what you did, and then formulate it. After that, it’s almost like filling in the blanks.

When you’ve written your ten articles, you can go to step six.

Step 6: Publish
This is where you can reward yourself by actually doing something you can see. This is where results can occur. This is when sales can start rolling in!

Publish each of your lovingly crafted articles on your WordPress site. Of course make sure to do your tagging, any SEO stuff you want to do, and last but not least – put those affiliate links in the articles. I would suggest placing a good image in each article as well. Place an alt attribute on each pic while you’re at it.

It Is Finished!
Now, sit back and pronounce it “good”. You have something that can make money. You have a foundation, at least, from which to build upon. You have something you didn’t have before, and its something that the vast majority of “internet marketers” do not possess.

Best of all, if you’ve gotten this far I guarantee that you’ve gained knowledge, experience, and maybe some good habits that will get you going further. Why is this important? Because now you can move on to the next site. You can do it again. By the end of 2012 you can have a handful of solid websites that you can improve, build upon, promote, and (of course) make some money from.

And that is the full extent of the guide. I really have nothing else to say. That’s partly because I hate writing long articles, but also because I am confident that if you simply build one site as I’ve described, you will have learned (either intuitively or as a side-effect of your efforts) the rest of what you need to learn. It just comes with the territory, and in fact can’t be imputed by “book knowledge”.

If you build a site as I described, you have what you need to make money online in 2012. And I wish you the best of success.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Business How-To's

How to Work for Yourself with (Almost) No Risk

November 17th, 2011 by shawn · 3 Comments

If you read a blog, article, or flashing banner ad that promises you a job making a thousand dollars a day with no risk, forget it. Come on, you take a risk every time you pull out of your driveway—how are you supposed to change jobs on the promise of thousands without some risk?

I’m not promising you a thousand dollars a day. But I do promise that there’s a way to make money from your home without pouring your entire life savings into bone density scanners.

Learn What “Marketing” Means

The first step is to learn how to market yourself. No one understands value until you teach them what that value is. “I need work because we need groceries this week” has two problems with it: “I” and “we.” The first rule of marketing is to learn to think in second person: “You need this service, because your life will become infinitely easier with it. You can do such and such, and this is how. For something that amazing, it will only cost you $X.”

Repeat Customers and Word of Mouth

The second step is so important, I might even consider it step #1 ½: Start small. That’s right, take it easy. Whether you’re going the acai berry route, writing code for websites, or building furniture, don’t go all out by quitting your job right out of the gate.

Get a couple of customers or clients, and give them the most amazing work you have ever performed. Give them more than what they paid for. Don’t hold back on them—you may even lose money or spend far more time that you normally would, but it is worth it. They will hire you again, and they will tell their friends. Repeat customers are a steady stream of revenue, and word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing available. (This is about the time you should consider social media.)

Do Your Research

It’s very exciting to pull in several hundred to even several thousand dollars a month on the side; but it’s not time to quit just yet. Research the demand in your area. Start running numbers. If you were to go full time, would you need to hire more help? Do you have trade secrets that you would have to be careful with? Can you continue working from home, or would you need to buy a brick-and-mortar? What is the overhead that you have to consider?

The question that I did not answer when I first started was taxes—untaxed income is absolutely wonderful . . . right up until April of next year.

Go for It

You can ask the questions to convince yourself right out of the entire deal. But I dare you to take a risk, make an informed decision, and do a job where you hire yourself. If you ever decide that you’re done and want to go back to a 9 – 5 behind a desk, consider the amazing experience you’ve had: marketing director, quality assurance specialist, vice president of sales, chief executive officer, human resources, and chief financial officer.

Who knew that an acai berry could become so fulfilling?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author. Guru. Content manager. Aficionado. Nerd. Freelance writer. Call him what you will, Jared Heath has a few very important passions: his wife, his writing, and his marketing. Take it from a guy who has been there—taking the risk is often worth it.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Advice & Inspiration

Spintax Tester – Test Your Spun Content

October 27th, 2011 by shawn · 9 Comments

Spintax testing is something no one has really addressed out there. Many apps will spin text (Link Farm Evolution for instance) and other apps use spintax in certain portions (Scrapebox allows you spin anchors and comments) but I was missing an app or a website that would just let me plug in my spun content and see if it works. Why would I need this? Two main reasons.

  • Sometimes I just want to see what the output looks like (how it reads).
  • Sometimes I want to use spun content in a static page or in a WordPress page – not in an app that spins the content itself.

Anyway, I ended up coding my own Spintax Tester. Now whenever I want to get a spun article for certain uses or if I have some lengthy spun content that I want to test, I can quickly and easily try it out. Since it’s been forever since I’ve made a tool or script available on this site, I decided to make it accessible to all. Have fun.

Spintax tester is here: http://diydollars.com/spintax-tester/

→ 9 CommentsTags: SEO

Farewell, Steve Jobs. We Will Miss You.

October 7th, 2011 by shawn · 5 Comments

A great man passed yesterday – Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer. His legacy is a highly successful company that created innovative products that were loved by Apple’s loyal customers.

There will never be another Apple – and there will certainly never be another Steve Jobs. While his company will no doubt continue to make quality merchandise, the intangible “magic” is now gone from Apple.

In relation to the passing of Mr. Jobs, I received an email from Simon Black of SovereignMan.com. It was such a cogent statement about Steve Jobs, I feel I need to quote it in its entirety here. Enjoy.

***

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer; it’s been all over the news with wall-to-wall coverage, and iCandle vigils have sprung up all over the world. Jobs is being remembered as a pioneer, a technological revolutionary, a visionary. Rightfully so.

But it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and the world owes a tremendous debt to Steve Jobs for something else. He was perhaps the greatest living example of ‘philanthropy’ in action.

While people like Warren Buffet are pleading with the government to raise their taxes and give away their wealth to sycophantic bureaucrats, Jobs showed time and time again that the best way to improve people’s lives is to create value and be productive.

Steve Jobs was one of the most productive human beings to have ever lived; he started several successful companies which directly employed tens of thousands of people. Indirectly, his businesses improved the livelihoods of millions across the globe, from Chinese factory workers to iPhone app programmers to Apple shareholders.

In building an empire and unimaginable wealth for himself, Steve Jobs enriched the lives and livelihoods of others by creating value. Not by forced redistribution. Not by giving things away. By creating value.

Ironically, just as I write this I am watching President Obama on Bloomberg Television trying to explain how many jobs his new plan will create– 1.9 million in his estimate:

“We’re just going to keep on going at it and hammering away… until… something gets done. I would love to see nothing more than Congres act… so aggressively.”

Politicians would do themselves and their constituents a great service by comparing their own track record for enriching people’s lives against Steve Jobs’ performance, and then kindly stepping out of the way. The path to prosperity is not paved in votes, but rather in freedom: the freedom to create, produce, risk work hard… and be rewarded for your efforts.

If you have the time, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes and read some of Jobs’ own words; there are boundless sources online that will praise his creativity, drive, and intellect, but perhaps no one is better suited to explain Steve Jobs than the man himself.

Below I’ve pasted in some key quotes taken from his 2005 Stanford commencement address, and an old 1985 interview with Playboy magazine that the folks at Zero Hedge dug up. Enjoy.

Jobs on -not- following the crowd:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma– which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Jobs on change and politics:

“We’re making the largest investment of capital that humankind has ever made in weapons over the next five years. We have decided, as a society, that that’s where we should put our money, and that raises the deficits and, thus, the cost of our capital.”

“I think it takes a crisis for something to occur in America. And I believe there’s going to be a crisis of significant proportions in the early Nineties as these problems our political leaders should have been addressing boil up to the surface.”

Jobs on charity… and the importance of failure:

“And that’s the problem with most philanthropy– there’s no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can’t succeed or fail, it’s really hard to get better.”

Jobs on careers:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. . . As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. . . So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Jobs on making it count:

Most of the time, we’re taking things. Neither you nor I made the clothes we wear; we don’t make the food or grow the foods we eat; we use a language that was developed by other people; we use another society’s mathematics. Very rarely do we get a chance to put something back into that pool. I think we have that opportunity now. And no, we don’t know where it will lead. We just know there’s something much bigger than any of us here.

Jobs on [the blue screen of] death:

“[D]eath is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

Well done, Mr. Jobs. Be thou at peace.

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Some legendary advice and thoughts (On Making Money)

August 9th, 2011 by shawn · 27 Comments

I found a really great post on The Fastlane Forums, posted by the user Snowbank. His advice was so good, I just had to share it here. Enjoy!

Thought I’d share some things that I see/notice people doing when thinking/talking about business ventures that might be helpful advice for some people here…

The first thing I’d have to say is to do something you enjoy. Too many people try to be followers when they see someone else making money at something. They’ll try to jump into markets they don’t know about and probably don’t enjoy because they see others having success there.(I used to do this a lot) Your thought process shouldn’t be, “this person is successful, how can I make money like them,” it should be “here’s what I like doing, how can I find a way to turn this idea/passion of mine into a successful business like this person has done with theirs.”

Don’t go into business trying to sell X amount of Y to try and make $Z. Too many people go in with the mindset of, “if I can just sell 5,000 of this product I should make $250,000.” When you ask about the demand/the market their response is, “well, even if they only buy 1,000 I’ll still make $50,000.” That’s thinking backwards about it. You can’t go into a business thinking about what it’s going to do for you, you need to first go into it thinking about what it’s going to do for the potential customers, and if after your due diligence you decide the demand is there for what you have in mind, then you can figure out your strategy for how you can make these sales. It’s at this point after you’ve done that where you can start crunching numbers to look at the potential of profit for your business venture.

When people want to start a business they often don’t know where to start. In my opinion there’s only two steps you need:

Step 1: How can you create something of value better than what’s out there?

Step 2: When you do that, how can you reach your potential audience?

It’s really that simple if you think about it. All the details where people want to think about complex business plans and all that is kind of pointless since if you don’t have 1 and 2 you don’t know if you have a business yet. Worry about the details later, until then it’s just noise.

Due diligence: Most of the times newbies aren’t doing due diligence. People who’ve had success did crazy amounts of due diligence. Plenty of things they did due diligence on they didn’t pursue, because after the due diligence they figured out that it wasn’t worth pursuing. Oftentimes people just sit around wondering if they should do something without looking into it. By looking into it I don’t mean asking a couple people if they should do it. I mean, really digging in and finding out whatever you need to know for you to figure out if it’s worth your while. Before I took a ‘leave of absence’ from entrepreneurism to play poker, and plenty of times during my poker playing, I can remember staying up through the entire night many times trying to learn everything I could about a certain business I was interested in. One example of one way back in the day was candy and vending machines. I remember thinking it might be a good way to get cashflow with very little investment since I didn’t have much money at the time, and I think within 1-2 days I’d read almost every single post ever made on candy/vending machines, read articles from authority people in the business, been in contact with a couple big vending/candy people who were willing to spend a few minutes talking to a kid about their business, knew what all sorts of different equipment would cost to get going and who to get it from, why I shouldn’t buy new, etc… By the end of a couple days I knew I didn’t want to be in the business because it was a ton of work for not the type of money I was aiming for. But without the due diligence I wouldn’t have known that. People don’t hear of the due diligence on things that don’t happen, so when someone starts a company and people see them doing well they think, “man, they’re lucky.” Often businesses don’t end up being worth the time to pursue but if you didn’t look into them you’d miss the one where you’d get “lucky” since you decided random ideas weren’t worth looking into.

Change your thinking: If you do things the way other people do them, you can only be as good as those people. Think outside the box. Stop thinking a-b-c. A crazy idea is way better than thinking along the same lines as everyone else. Think about it. You’ve got all sorts of people thinking the same way. Then you’ve got a few people thinking different and willing to be a little ‘out there’ with their ideas. Where do you think there’s more money to be made?

Ideas: Ideas only mean a little. Implementation is where it’s at. I didn’t understand that for a long time, but it’s real important. I don’t talk about a lot of my ideas on the forum, but as anyone who talks to me much off the forums can probably say about me is I love coming up with ideas/thinking of doing things in ways people just aren’t doing them that should drastically change the end result. When I was younger I’d have a ton of ideas and just never do anything with them because I didn’t know what to do. You need the two to work together, and you can improve both by practice. I didn’t know how to implement things because I wasn’t practicing implementation with my ideas. I always worked on coming up with crazy ideas and I’d put money up against anyone in an “idea contest”, but without ever implementing an idea it’s basically worthless. The same with people who know an industry and would know how to implement it/have the contacts or whatever to make it happen. They say, “well, if only i had an idea.” Chances are you haven’t practiced being creative with ideas. Both ideas, and implementation of ideas are ‘practiceable’ in my opinion. You’re not just going to wake up tomorrow and all the sudden be an “idea guy.”

Variance: You’ll have variance being an entrepreneur; get used to it. If you had a weighted coin and you’d win more than half the times you flipped, and someone offered to flip you for money for as long as you wanted, you’d never stop flipping the coin, and you’d end up being very rich. The thing with being an entrepreneur, some people take one or two “flips” and give up because the first couple didn’t go the way they wanted. Go in understanding the variance, and you’ll be mentally prepared. The funny thing in the game of entrepreneurism is the more you flip the coin, the more weighted the coin becomes in your favor since you’re learning as you play.

A lot of people get gun shy about pulling the trigger on deals that could end up being very profitable for them because of the variance involved. A lot of people don’t break it down logically because they become emotionally involved.

Example:

Person A says, “I can invest $20,000 and if it goes well I’ll make $100,000, but if it doesn’t I’ll lose $20,000. $20,000 is a lot.”

Person B, who understands equity realizes that they only have to be successful over 20% of the time to have the deal be profitable, and that a lot of times if it doesn’t work out like they had hoped, oftentimes they’ll return some of their initial investment anyways.” So if they did their due diligence and thought they’d be successful 50% of the time, they’d pull the trigger since they know their equity in the deal is at least a $30,000 profit. Person A would have never got that far because they were thinking emotionally and not logically.

If they pull the trigger on this deal and lose, they lose $20,000. If they pull the trigger on the next deal like this, and succeed, they make $100,000. They’ve made $60,000($30k/deal) because they were willing to “risk” it. If you just break down the numbers it’s really not risky, just math.

Start up money/cashflow: You don’t need a bunch of start up capital to start a business. Be creative. With the ease of starting something on the internet, “needing” a bunch of money is crazy talk. For the people who want to start cashflow businesses, I don’t know how people could ever consider saving up a $30,000 downpayment for 1 house so they can hopefully have $200/month in cashflow, where on the internet with $300 you could create the same $200/month cashflow.(You could also make $20,000/month) I didn’t know much about internet businesses and still have lots to learn, but if I could go backwards I’d have started a bunch of internet businesses by now because you can try ideas with barely any risk, and the potential is insane. The potential for a house is maybe you can charge an extra $25 on rent next year. Ceiling is insanely low. Get into things with high ceilings, and realize that a requirement for doing so isn’t high start up funds.

Time is money: Don’t spend a bunch of energy trying to program a $300 site if you’re not a programmer. Outsource it. By the time you programmed it you could have been testing 3 or 4 of your ideas. Ideas and your ability to market your ideas are how you make the money. Why do you buy your furniture from the store? Why didn’t you just make it yourself and save money? I know that’s an extreme example, because obviously the answer is it’d take you a long time to make it yourself where you could have been doing things that would have been more beneficial for you and someone else can do it better. Start to view your business ventures the same way.

This wasn’t in any specific order just wrote things as they came to mind. Just some advice I thought might be helpful.

 

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