We get weird around money, don’t we? We get a little uncomfortable talking about it when we make some. We are looked on as rude for discussing it at all. Very rich people never talk about their money openly. But oddly, to me, we have no problem complaining that we can’t pay the bills, or that it’s not stretching far enough. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd?
I get the sense that lots of us look at money as if it’s mystical, as if it’s somewhere up on a puffy cloud. I can understand this. Most employees don’t really understand where money comes from, how it filters down to their paychecks. Heck, when I took my first president role at New Marketing Labs, I went into a budget meeting where the first question was, “Well, what’s YOUR salary going to be?” I wasn’t prepared to answer. My two business partners looked at me and said, “Well, you’ll need to know what your salary will be if you’re planning out the budget for your company.” And like that, I realized that I was clueless. Thankfully, there’s a cure for that.
We don’t work to make money, but we do. Or rather, money isn’t enough. Work at any level has to be about feeling fulfilled. We have to think we’re helping others and doing good things for both our buyers and ourselves. Sure there are some people who don’t see it this way, but you and I see it this way. Money is important, but it’s not everything. With me?
The Rule of Thirds
In small business, there’s the rule of thirds. Spend 1/3 of your time prospecting for new business. Spend 1/3 of your time working on your existing deliverables and execution. Spend 1/3 of your time supporting your customer base and doing administrative work. What I see most times are people working on the 2nd and 3rd parts of this equation and forgetting the first, because they feel so overwhelmed with what they have. (By the way, this applies nicely to big business, as well, but it’s a lot more disassociated from most people’s perspectives.) But working on that first third is how you work money. Prospecting and finding new ways to build business is where the (NEW) (MORE) money is at. Yes, you have to satisfy your buyers. Yes, you have to work customer service and you have to handle the administrative chores of being who you are. But it’s that first third that matters.
In a way, we can fall back on the “time is money” adage. Money is time. If you want money, you have to make time for it. The problem we all tend to fall into is that we’re so busy working that we run out of time to work money. Money needs work. It requires your attention. It’s a lot like a relationship that way. Working money needs some time and attention.
Start With a Goal
With all things, the goal is everything. If you want to make another $10,000 over 12 months, then make that the goal. That’s $834 a month. That’s around $193 more a week. That almost seems do-able, doesn’t it? But make the goal clear and make it a real number, and write it down. Goals aren’t meant to be squishy and maybe. They’re meant to make us hungry.
Forget Jobs; Think Work
Working money requires you to think about work. Your job is something finite. It’s tied to a set dollar amount (most times). Instead, you’re looking for work. You’re looking for ways to earn money while you’re doing other things. What’s your work? That’s up to you. But it doesn’t have to be tied to your job, your role, your identity.
I mentioned the other day that I sold a lot of suitcases via this blog post, and someone said, “I thought you were a blogger and a writer.” I replied that I’m also a marketer and a salesman and that I have to stay current with tools and methods to understand what’s going to work and what isn’t. Selling some suitcases or whatever isn’t my role. It was work. And it doesn’t pay the bills, but it gave me a few steak dinners worth of extra money so that while I paid the bills, I felt like I was living the life.
That’s just it. Work is work. It’s hard, and yet it’s rewarding. Working money is that, too. You work on finding ways to sell something that will benefit others. That suitcase is excellent for travel. I’m proud to point people towards it. It’s a life-saver to me. Of course I’m happy to promote it.
Working Money Is Only One Part
Prospecting and finding more work and understanding your time and your money requires more things. It requires the sense to know when chasing a low dollar isn’t worth it. For instance, if you’re selling things on eBay and your cut will be around $20 per piece, does that really equal a good use of your time? You have to constantly ask yourself things like that. For instance, are you still working harder to book hours? Well, there can only be one use of your time per that hour. Can you book per project instead? Can you find things that will sell while you’re sleeping? These are the questions that you need to answer to work money.
Helping Others Leads to Making Money
I find that being helpful to others often leads me to money. When I consult, that’s helpful. When I create products that others can make money from themselves, that’s helpful. The more I’m helpful to others, the more that leads to money. The thing is this: it’s not always instant.
You have to know when to take the money and when the money is coming further downstream. And you can never make the mistake of seeking the money too far upstream, or make the mistake of never asking for the money at some point along the stream. And these transitions between free and not must be really clear and obvious to people, or else a whole new set of problems comes to bear. This is probably the hardest part of it all. What to charge isn’t hard. This part is hard. But work isn’t easy. They call it work for a reason, as Larry Winget said.
What are you doing to work your money? How are you finding ways to make what you want? What are you feelings, good and bad about money? Do YOU feel guilty talking about money? Let’s dish.
- Make Some Money
- The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working – Video Book Review
- The Inevitable Nonprofit and Money Conversation
- Timothy Ferriss Saves Your Money
- Money Buckets