Was having lunch today with a friend of mine who is a fantastically entrepreneurial, smart, skilled, massively hard-working, and has done some amazing things in his life.
But lately, his cash has dried up.
We talked about it, and it turns out he's doing something mentally that I did quite a lot in the past -- often to my detriment.
I was focused on doing "very high value activities" -- by some abstract standard of my own -- and often neglected to get what seemed like small amounts of cash.
My friend is doing the same thing. He's looking for "streams of income"; not "just getting some cash."
I used to think this way. But now, I'm almost 180 degrees in the other direction.
I really think that most streams of income are discovered by hustling around and trying to get some cash, and then building around that.
That doesn't mean neglecting long-term assets or big opportunities. But thinking there's a huge abstractly-constructed project that will lead to a big win without throwing off small wins is...
...well, it happens. Just, the variance on it is much higher. And most entrepreneurs get their ventures wrecked by either their will breaking or running out of money.
Getting money, even small amounts, is good for the will and morale. And obviously, being cash and cashflow positive means you don't run out of money.
I don't think getting some cash here and there seriously detracts from what you're doing, especially if it's at all related to your core idea. If it's the same market, customers, or skillset, you will learn some amazing things. And getting cash is fun.
The guys that built AirBNB into a billion-dollar company once sold silly breakfast cereal branded with Barack Obama and John McCain to get some cash. It's fun, and it keeps you going. It's not antithetical to getting bigger stuff happening; actually, the small getting some cash plays probably lead more frequently to big wins than abstract grinding away for a big stream of income.
I concord. My experience went like this. I was dried up and unemployed. I thought to myself, if I can't do this with what I have right here right now (skills in front of a computer).. then WTF? So, I started a stupid little project that brought in $10 at a time. My maximum cash-flow for that business was going to be $1,000 / month (that's all I could imagine at the time). In the making of that, I met the right person. Two months later, we had co-created a product that was cash-positive from day 1 of launch and every day since then.
Summary: In the getting of money, you'll meet people that see you as a valuable money getter (possibly a skill they lack). Many people need / want a money getter in their orbit - including many people who are excellent at doing something but know little about how to monetize.
Ramit Sethi is often ranting about kids looking to make passive income. I seen a video with his brother where they basically go head-to-head over the issue. I agree with both Ramit and you on this one. I earn about 1,000 dollars a week working 20 hours on the small Caribbean island of Guadeloupe translating contracts from German to English for Swiss banks. To most people, it would be mind-numbing hell, but to me it gives me 140 hours a week to play with sans money problems.
It was never anything I dreamt I would do, and it was very much something I stumbled upon by chance, but I glad I went this route rather than the lawyer in law firm route
Hell yes. At a higher level, people also seem to fret about building high-margin, scalable businesses with steady, recurring cashflows -- which often fail. They could have spent their time working on low-margin, niche businesses with low retention -- but which bring in some quick cash.
It's like when Dell started outsourcing their production to Taiwanese manufacturers. Dell was happy because they could focus on "higher-value", more profitable activities like branding and marketing. The Taiwanese were happy as they received piles of cash. A few years later, Taiwanese manufacturing companies like Acer and Asus realised they could sell direct to customers, and Dell was f*cked.
Edit: I gave up on financial goals in late 2011 after some huge financial and artistic wins... money shouldn't be taken too seriously. For the record, they were all basically on track, some were being massively exceeded, others were a bit behind schedule, but were all happening.
I set my next 10 years of financial goals on June 28th. That was exactly a month ago.
1 year - Critical Thinking [my first book] out. Blog income trickling. Some info products. Some freelancing. Something else, some X-Factor thing bringing in cash. Net monthly income positive. Health insurance. $50,000 in the bank. Expenses = income per month minimum.
3 years - 3 to 5 books out, many products out, blog income robust, some working on big exciting deals. $10,000 per month total, $5000 passive at least. First property owned. $300,000 in the bank.
5 years - 7-10 books out, many many products out, many passive income internet properties, working on big exciting things, $50,000 per month total, $40,000 passive at least. $1,000,000 in the bank.
Today I donated money to a politician for the first time in my life. It was only $100, but I expect that I will donate the maximum $2300 soon. Who was the lucky recipient of my somewhat-hard-earned-cash?
Ron Paul, of course.
Ron Paul is amazing. Unlike every other modern politician I've ever heard of, he is principled in a way that reminds me of the founding fathers. He has his positions and he sticks to them no matter WHAT. He is probably the ONLY person in Congress who has always voted consistently every time.