How to make more money
A sobering message that most do not want to deliver
“Get rich quick” content is abundant on the Internet. This content is normally:
Free for attention and to sell ads for the second point.
A funnel promising riches and costing more money than you will make.
There may be exceptions, but all in all I was not entirely comfortable with anything I found, and therefore I decided to write this entry, which is very central to the main point of the entire newsletter. It was about time anyway. I hope it helps to improve the average quality of the advice on the Internet, especially for the youngest people that may need it more. In short:
Be a student: Learn, with books and reliable sources.
Be an employee: Get a job that pays better than your previous job.
Be an entrepreneur: Create a job, and assets, e.g. a company. Grow them.
Be an investor: Own more assets.
Repeat every step until ready for the next one. Visually:
It is that simple, that unnecessary to explain, that hard, that boring,…1
The hard and boring aspects entice some people to skip some steps, which is the main cause for the abundance of “get rich quick” content. While for some people skipping steps works nicely, the risks are more than likely and painful. Let us go through them.
A job before studying
A job will take your time and limit your potential to learn and get a better paid job. Unfortunately, not everybody has the chance to study and reach their maximum value creation potential, often as knowledge workers. Societies should invest in solving this problem, and nobody should be pushed by economic reasons into a job before hitting diminishing returns in their time as a student. Bullshit jobs should get less capital allocated too.
Social commenting aside, you should take any chance that you may have to study and improve your earning potential, especially if you are jobless but also if you have a job. This is most important when you are young, as you have a longer life expectancy to get the returns of this investment in your earning potential.
You can find both good and bad options at any price range, from university courses in the 5 digits range, to free blog posts. You should invest your time, effort, and money wisely, but that is a topic for another day.
Entrepreneurship before a job
Remember that Larry Page and Sergey Brin tried to sell the Google algorithm before considering offering it as a service with their own newly created company. Entrepreneurship is more risky, and should be “the plan B”. It also requires:
Some knowledge that you can acquire while getting paid in a regular job.
Some knowledge that is contrary to the previous knowledge, and may make you unemployable.
Eventually you will be cursed by your knowledge. If you are not ready to quit at that time, you are going to be in a hard spot, work on that before. There are many resources about how to work on that.
Similarly to being a student, you are likely to get diminishing returns as an employee at some point. The salary that you will get at that point will depend on your skill tree of choice and location. You always have the option of jumping trees and moving or working remotely. As a rule of thumb, 6 digits is easy in a good sector in a good city, and 7 digits requires being extraordinary, which by definition most people are not.
When you hit diminishing returns, you should quit, but that does not mean you can. To be able to quit, the safe option is validating your entrepreneurship skills, and the best validation is getting customers and real money at doing what you are planning to do instead of your day job.
Investing before being rich
Investing is again “the plan B”. If you can use the knowledge gained as a student and an employee to create your own assets, you will have more control and get better returns for that investment than investing in someone else’s assets.
Some exceptional investors and some exceptionally lucky investors got rich by investing. For most people investing is a way to try to preserve their wealth from inflation, after they are rich.
For easy numbers: you need to be a millionaire to get to 6 digits with a 10% return on your investment, the average for the stock market. If you want to beat that, you will need alpha. You are likely to get better returns investing in your education, getting a raise, or starting your own business, i.e. the previous options.
When you hit diminishing returns at the previous points, you have no use for the money, and do not want to see it vanishing by inflation, is when it is time to risk it and possibly grow it with investments. If you are in that lucky situation, consider sharing your luck too.
Take it easy, move to the next step when ready, make wise investments as if you were going to live at least 10 years more, and enjoy the trip as if every day is the last one, because you never know when it will end.
Your mileage will vary depending on your starting conditions. Some are truly hard, which is more of a reason to not fool yourself, and make it harder. If you feel it is too much for you alone, ask for help, but keep in mind that the best way to get help is showing that you are doing everything in your power to help yourself.
“Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.” — Albert Einstein
Note: the paywall would go in the first divider (after the insertion point of this footnote), but I am not using paywall in this entry