My Thoughts on Money Making Opportunities
By Steve Gillman
I'm convinced that despite some obvious problems with the
economy there are more ways to make a living than have ever existed
before. Of course many money making opportunities are presented
as "easy" or "instant," and very few (if
any) of them actually meet those criteria. But we are tempted
What's more, when we chase after supposedly "easy"
money we often encounter two very negative consequences. First,
we might act against our own true values and interests. That
can mean doing something we hate just to make a buck or even
doing something that is unethical. The second, and very common,
negative consequence of going for the easy cash, is that we waste
a lot of time to get nowhere. That's time which could have been
spent on developing a stream of income in some way that is more
likely to succeed.
Easy money isn't always easy then, but if you aren't looking
for a way to snap your fingers and get rich there are plenty
of ways to do the work necessary for financial success. The various
opportunities fall into several different categories. Based on
my own experience (and a bit of common sense) I have something
to say about each of these...
Although jobs are not my favorite way to make money, they
can serve that purpose. If I could be the star of The Daily
Show and have Jon Stewart's $25 million annual salary, I would
be happy to be an employee. But most of my dozens of jobs have
been a little closer minimum wage (not too close, fortunately).
On the other hand, they did pay the bills and allow me to save
the money needed for future investments and businesses.
Don't settle for a lifetime of jobs you hate, but on the other
hand, don't underestimate the power of a job or two to move you
towards your goals. Unless and until you have the perfect job
(and if you never do that's okay too), see them all as temporary
vehicles that will take you someplace more interesting. It's
all about how you use them. If your current job just pays the
bills and nothing more, start looking for a better option. But
if you can learn to live below your means, you can use a job
to save for starting a business, or to start investing in real
estate. Also, consider whether there is a job that you might
truly love. It happens I hear, and if the money isn't great you
can always start a small business on the side.
You can get rich by investing in stocks. But it takes a long
time to make much money with passive investments. Warren Buffet,
who is perhaps the best stock picker in the world, has averaged
double digit returns during his career. That's great, but it
will likely take years to achieve his level of knowledge and
skill, and even then many years more to build your fortune if
you are starting out with a few thousand dollars.
You have to be honest with yourself about whether you'll enjoy
this kind of investing enough to stick to a plan. And will you
sleep at night when the market drops 20% in a week? The daily
ups and downs are too stressful for some people. On the other
hand, if you have a decent income from another source and you
invest in decent mutual funds regularly (without the need to
live on that money now) you'll probably have a nice chunk of
There are other forms of investing. You can loan money to
businesses, for example, or buy and sell art. If you don't want
to be active in a business you might invest as a silent partner.
The list of ways to invest your money is long, and includes our
Real estate is as much a business as an investment. The inefficiency
of the market and the creative ways in which one can invest make
for some great money making opportunities. You can start with
nothing, for example, making offers and then selling your position
in accepted offers to investors with money to properly invest
and profit with a property. I once talked to a man who sold several
contracts every month for about $5,000 each. All he ever risked
was a few hundred dollars for the earnest money deposit.
I personally love to talk about and write about real estate
investing because it can be so creative, and I love numbers.
But I don't really enjoy investing in it. I've done so in several
ways over the years, and the condo we bought and sold last year was the
closest I've come to having fun with the process, but it was
still stressful. It just isn't one of my favorite ways to make
It is difficult to sustain the enthusiasm and work required
when you really don't want to be doing something. That's probably
why my real estate investments have been infrequent. On the other
hand there are those who love the business of real estate, whether
that means being a landlord, subdividing land, or flipping fixer
uppers. You'll have to determine for yourself if you can get
excited enough about the "game" to work through the
many problems that you'll encounter with every real estate deal
Business is where you generally can get the biggest returns
in the shortest amount of time, unless you want to count lottery
tickets (not a good plan). Can you get rich quick? Maybe. But
a major commitment is usually necessary to make a business succeed.
I've seen people work 60 hours weekly for many years just to
build their income up to $50,000 annually. Usually these are
people who could make that from more relaxing job.
On the other hand, you might build the kind of business that
can be expanded and managed for you, or sold for millions. It
might be worth years of hard work up front to eventually build
a self-sustaining large income stream. If you go this route see
my page on choosing a business. Who knows? There
might be a business that you will truly enjoy. I like ours, which
brings us to the last of these money making opportunities.
Although there are many ways to make money online, there are
a few that allow you to make money while living or traveling
wherever you wish. That's what we were after when my wife and
I started our first website. Our particular model is to build
websites on subjects that we know something about and preferably
enjoy. We then use these informational sites to attract visitors
who either click on ads (we get a percentage of the revenue generated)
or on links to products we get a commission on. We also use our
websites to sell our books.
I hated computers when we started, and don't much care for
the technical part of the business now. The income is also unpredictable;
it has dropped more than 80% for us in the last three years.
But I get to spend most of my time doing what I enjoy: writing
articles and ebooks and pages just like I am doing right now.
We are still able to leave the business alone while traveling,
doing nothing more than checking email a few times each week,
and the revenue keeps coming in day and night, even if at a slower
rate now. When times were good we left for a month and the business
kept growing all the time we were gone.
That is one example of the many ways you can make money online.
Some allow you more freedom to move than others (avoid businesses
that require you to ship products if you want to travel much).
Some are more creative while others are more about doing the
same things over and over. My latest venture is my
freelance writing service, which has the disadvantage of
the revenue stopping when I stop working (no automated income
stream). But then I love to write, and I appreciate the easy
ten-second commute in the morning.