"The Knack for Getting Money" was a very popular post yesterday. In it, we looked at the success of two people with a real knack for making money - Judd Weiss and 50 Cent. I invited both of them to comment, and Judd kindly wrote this up. Here's Judd:
The Knack for Getting Money is a broad matter that cannot be fully understood from a sound bite, but I can say a few things.
I don’t know what a hangup for making money is. I try to offer something people will willingly pay for, and then they pay for it. What’s to be hungup about?
After years of pushing people (and my employees) to get out there and do more and become greater; perhaps the most significant trait that I’ve noticed, more than intelligence and skills, is that they’re genuinely excited.
It’s helpful to look at abnormal achievers in other fields. Sports always serves as a quick visual example. Why did that basketball player bother to get so good playing a game? Why did a body builder put so much muscle on his body? Why do some men consciously work to sleep with a ridiculous number of women? Why do some guys knock it out of the park with their income?
I’m going to assume basketball players don’t do it because they necessarily enjoy the physical act of jumping and running. That body builders aren’t always loving the pain and strain. As enjoyable as sleeping with women is, dare I say that those who are high achievers in this regard aren’t simply after the physical genital rub. And dare I even suggest that as fantastic as having a pile of money to spend is, high earners might not be primarily motivated for that.
No, I say they’re all after accomplishment. And they’re excited to achieve it.
We have plenty of wood, plastic and glass in our life. You can look at a trophy as just another piece of wood, plastic or glass. But that would be missing the point.
Who doesn’t like the cars and property and perks? But I believe with many achievers, earning money is actually more a form of self discovery.
How do you know what you’re really capable of until you accomplish something? How do you know that you’re still capable if you’re not still accomplishing?
People want to accomplish things while they’re on this planet. Some are more excited to do that than others.
When you’re excited to do something, you’re a lot more willing. Willing to spend time, energy, money, resources. Willing to learn and suffer setbacks and keep charging forward. That is focus and drive.
Everyone is excited on a powerful roller coaster. Some can’t handle that rush and want off right away. Some never get on. Some only tolerate it up to a moderate point. Some want to go balls to the wall.
There’s people that don’t wait until they’ve learned everything they can before beginning, teaching them kind of gets in their way of getting out there. By starting on their path, they pick up their “knack”.
By “knack” to make money, you’re referring to the “ability” to make money. There are many important characteristics to develop to improve that ability. Chess masters weren’t born with a strong ability for chess. Olympic medal swimmers weren’t born with a strong ability for swimming. Your ability is developed. It helps when you are excited and driven to build it.
Brilliant stuff. You can read Judd's blog at hustlebear.com - a good place to start is his About page, or perhaps "How To Handle Lawyers Threatening You" - just note Judd swears a lot. More than me even! But there's definitely some brilliant business/achievement insights over at Hustle Bear.
To expand on this a little bit more... some advice to aspiring achievers out there.
You can’t get to the land of milk and honey without passing through the dark forest. Be willing to eat shit and take abuse. It’s not easy, but you’ll soon realize you left behind almost everyone who couldn’t handle it.
Some good discussion in this thread at Hacker News about how to evaluate people with a business skillset if you've got technical skills already.
I reckon "a knack for getting money" is probably the most key thing to look for in a businessperson. Some people have a knack for getting money.
All the business skills in the world without the knack for getting money doesn't fly. Well, maybe for employee #7,632 once a company's made it. But not for starting something up. You need to hustle and get money of some form real fast early on. A business guy who can't get money is probably worse than useless - if he wasn't on board, you'd be worried about solving the money problem yourself. But since he's supposedly the business guy and seems to be doing business guy stuff, you think things are cool. But things aren't cool. Go long enough without money, you die.
So, where do you get a knack for getting money? We're not born with it. It's acquired through action somehow. What's it take?
I live in LA at the moment, and the amount of wealth discrepancies and also just the level of wealth certain individuals have just blows my mind. I am not really a fan of the city in general terms, but the weather is so great I love spending time here compared to other popular college towns.
I wrote a post a while back where i recorded why I wanted to make money, what my outlook on life is and why. I thought about it a great deal, in fact it was more like a culmination of pent up thoughts, ideas and emotions regarding what I wanted, where I wanted to be, and what kind of experiences or life excited me and really made me feel alive. Ever since around 10th grade that had been travel, and adventure, coupled with the occasional downtime playing video games, catching up with movies and tv shows and hitting up friends and family. I defined that my main goal making money was for freedom, to expand my decision making matrix, and lower the opportunity cost of doing what I wanted. the more you make/have the lower the opportunity cost of doing what you want is because at some point diminishing returns and marginal costs take grasp. if your making 200k a year, its probably gonna be a lot harder to start making 400k than it is to go from 20k to 40k. Sometimes it might be easier, but then you have to take into consideration diminishing returns in purchasing power. form 200k to 400k you might be able to buy twice as much, but will you really buy twice as much?
Anyways the point is for me money and success in general comes from devising and applying a strategy in which I achieve the most freedom to pursue the things that excite me and allow me to pivot or change decisions. I don't want to be tied down anything because of expenses, bills, comittments, or compromises. If I commit to something it will be out of my own will and largely sell motivation to achieve something, not because of comittments that are outside of my present control. e.g. having a long-term lease on a nice apartment instead of a more flexible lease on a smaller apartment, I am willing to pay for fliexbility because I value the ability to change my decision in the future. In fact Freedom to change or redecide is one of the most important things for me. I keep my expenses very low. I don't spend tons on clothes, or accessories or just random crap and the thing i do buy go through the motto tynan said once, ethier buy a high quality expensive product (e.g. rolex) or a crappy, but usuable, disposable, inexpensive one one (e.g. a casio). The only thing i splurge on is food and coffee, and occasionally going out, and this is because those are the 20% of things I derive the 80% most satisfaction from.
At the same time, I find there are people who really want to create something big. They don't really care about their own freedom or attaining wealth/financial independence so they can go pursue their own adventures without having monetary or business/transactional stuff come in the way. These people really want to have an impact on the world or a specific sector. Sometimes its very specific like being the best program for HDR photography, sometimes its more broad like being the go to place for all travel information. Overtime these people become more involved in what they do. A lot of the time these people aren't luxury seeking, albeit they do sometimes enjoy from time to time. To them money and success isnt about power or luxury or quality of life per se, and also not about influence, rather its more about their real effect on the world, not their ability to influence it or tis event, but their ability to provide a better way of doing things ethier through their innovation or ability o organize and manage a business that can do so.
Then there are the people who are almost the same as the one described above, but instead, really want influence and power. Think the Koch brothers. these people want money so they can influence The world and truly change or shape the world in the way they want. These people aren't just merely providing a service or product, they are imposing there view of the world on reality. These are the people who view money as a means to exert influence. If the government doesn't want to build a railroad, they do. If they see an industry is lagging or not being competitive enough, they get in and change that industry and force others to pay attention to them. In this way they not only lead and influence other companies and people, but really bring about their view of reality.