What it Really Takes to Make Money

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You don’t need a college degree. You don’t even need a high school diploma. You don’t need to be famous. You don’t need an investment. You don’t need to be good looking or have a lot of friends. You don’t need a shiny computer or a new car. You don’t need to come from a wealthy family.

What it really takes to make money is the ability to add value to other people’s lives.

It’s that simple.

If you want to make more money, then you must figure out how to add more value.

When I first started buying and selling appliances I was adding very little value. I was cleaning them up on the outside, but that was about it.  Below are six ways I started making more money by adding increased value.

1. Delivery. Having an appliance delivered saves people a lot of time and hassle. Most people don’t have a way to transport an appliance as well.

2. Installation. Many people have never installed appliances nor are interested in installing them.

3. Cosmetic touch ups.  Many appliances are scratched, have rust spots and are generally dirty. I started cleaning them up inside and out and touching up the paint. An appliance is worth a lot more if it looks nice on the outside.

4. Removal of old appliances. We happily remove people’s old appliances for them, which is one less thing they have to worry about.

5. Great product at a great price. Because I keep overhead so low, I’m able to beat the competition on price by a significant amount. People value a great product at a great price.

6. Fixing the appliances. I learned how to fix the appliances. This adds value to the appliance itself, as a fixed appliance is worth 5-10 times as much as a broken one.

Each one of these steps increased the value for the customer and increased my profits. To continue to grow I simply need to increase volume or find additional ways to add even more value at the existing volume rate.

Where should you start

Start with the skills or knowledge you already have. Ask yourself which of those skills are in the highest demand and which of them add the most value. Sweeping floors is a skill, but it’s not as valuable as installing a floor. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sweep floors. Maybe there are far more people willing to pay for you to sweep their floor than there are willing to have you install a new one. Skills, without a demand for them, are worthless. If there isn’t demand for your skills, then learn new ones.

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Don’t I need a college degree?

A college degree, we were told, was supposed to be the golden ticket to a life of happiness and riches, not unemployment and poverty. We were lied to and were duped into debt up to our nostrils to pay for this golden college degree.

The purpose of college needs to be restated. A person should only go to college if it’s absolutely necessary in their specific quest to add value to other people’s lives. Far too often young kids charge off to college to get some sort of further education thinking that the education itself is valuable. It can be valuable, depending on what they’re learning. But as millions of kids between the ages of 18-25 are learning, all education is not equal in worth or demand! The millions of former college graduates that are unemployed or underemployed are sadly demonstrating this point.

In the world of entrepreneurs, you don’t need a college education. You need a proper education. Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad

What is a proper or relevant education?

It’s different for each person. This is an area that makes me want to climb up on a table and jump up and down. A barista does not need 16-20 years of education! They need 16 days of education! (if that)  What’s sad is that most college graduates right now can’t even get a job as a barista because they are competing with 400 other applicants.

What you need is an amount of education that it takes to do the job. Nothing more and nothing less. Telling everyone they need 16 years of school to be able to add value is insane. The college degree has become a god and everyone has been encouraged to worship it.

While a college education is being deified, all other forms of education are being labeled “alternative”. When school districts are faced with budget shortfalls, these alternative programs are the first to be cut.

Mike Rowe, of Discovery channel’s show Dirty Jobs testified before the senate a few years ago and had this to say:

“In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.

In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of “higher education” to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled “alternative.” Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as “vocational consolation prizes,” best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.”

What should you do now?

Figure out how to add value to other people’s lives. Be willing to work for cheap at first. The more you learn, the more value you are able to add and the more you will start making. If someone is teaching you a trade, the information is far more valuable than some piddly little wage.

Then encourage the younger people in your lives to think in these terms as well. You could save them from wasting years of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars. If we don’t encourage them to rethink their approach to learning, work, and adding value, we are going to have generations of young people overburdened with debt, stuffed with useless information, sitting around waiting for the world will offer them a job.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great Advice for the young, but also really relevant for retirement age individuals or people later in life that may have just lost a job that are looking for extra income as well!

  2. Thanks for inviting us over from the “Gotta Make Money Support Group” 🙂

    Great piece – and I totally agree! When Natalie first mentioned you on the boards I bookmarked your blog – I’m sure I’ll be back!

  3. Great article Ryan!! This is something my dad tried to tell me when I graduated high school. And here I am now 38 yrs old paying back tons of student loans but finally getting it. Better late than never. Keep them coming! Very inspiring.

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