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Money


I’ve been looking into the topic of money a lot recently and have been coming up with some interesting conclusions.

One of the most prominent seems to be, it isn’t that hard to get rich.

Now, let’s get this straight starting out. I’m not rich. I teach English freelance and do some other stuff such as write on Constant Content, and feel grateful that I can at least do everything in a self directed manner and sleep in most mornings. But I’m not rich rich.

It just seems to me, reading certain things, that really getting rich can’t be that hard.

For instance, a blog called Dividend Monk woke me up to the potential in stock investing. If you set aside a certain amount of your income per month to invest in stocks, if you do it right it seems pretty inevitable to end your life as a millionaire.

Not to mention other simple tricks. Why is it that so many people rent a house rather than get a loan to pay for it? Loans seem dangerous things but in certain situations are no brainers, and I think getting a house is one of those situations. Instead of paying every month for your landlord’s holidays, you could pay every month for your house (and your banker’s holidays too for sure, but they will be shorter ones). At the end of your life you will own a considerable amount of capital just from this.

Getting Rich

I’m not really interested in getting rich for its own sake. I’m mostly interested in the freedom that money brings, particularly the freedom not to be enslaved to a deranged boss, and secondarily I’m looking to expand my ability to serve people. The more money I have, the more good I can do with that money.

It seems to me that most people choose not to get rich because they block themselves. That was certainly the case for me – not that at 20 years old I can seriously say I’ve been blocking a vast amount of wealth growth, but for a good few years my internal blocks held me back. Things like:

  • I don’t deserve to be rich
  • Money is hard to make
  • I can’t make a product or service people would want
  • I’m at the mercy of bosses to give me what I need – so long as I do things their way.

Nowadays I earn my living doing something without a boss, just like I always wanted, and the future looks bright. I can identify my progress so far as due to heavy work on my internal blocks.

Recently, things have been picking up. I’ve been thinking more long-term about how to earn money, and I’m starting to ask the question which prompted this post: why aren’t more people millionaires, if it’s as easy as it is?


Making Money is Easy

I have a very simple business plan which works for me. I stick up lots of posters about my English classes, then I do English classes. I don’t have much in the way of “job security” but then I can earn lots of money so I could just set some aside in case things don’t go so well. Currently I’m earning about 1000€ a month while working no more than 3 hours an average day. I intend to ramp that up a bit as time goes on.

People earn less money because they submit to employers. In principle the money earning potential of having a job seems good: you brown-nose enough employers for long enough and you can double, even triple your salary. However, compare that to being self directed: UNLIMITED potential earnings. You just need to make sure you’re working in a sector which has enough demand and a low enough competition.

With English classes it’s like an awakening. There’s enough demand, and a low enough competition in this market that I can earn four or five times the necessary amount for me to live on. Money really can be easy and not enslaving.

What’s even more freaky is that I’m almost the only person doing what I’m doing. By that I mean: sticking up posters and getting all my clients personally. What most people are doing is getting clients through an agency. They are paid a flat 14€ an hour for that, even if they are teaching to groups (a group of ten could fetch me 75€ an hour potentially).

People are using agencies not because it’s the best way, but because they are desperate to have someone take the pressure away from them of having to think like an entrepreneur. (And heck, it’s not that hard to do so once you’ve got the swing of it).

It’s like they’re begging to be controlled. They just love having to follow the whim of an external authority. And they don’t like money much, it seems.

Liking Money

Now let’s talk about liking money.

A lot of people don’t actually like money!

I certainly didn’t use to. I tried to avoid thinking about it much, but when I did I mostly wanted to know how I could do away with it. I even slept on the streets for a short while as a sort of experiment.

Some people think money is the root of all evil or at least most of the evils in our society. I beg to differ. Money is money. It’s a resource. Now, *misuse* of money is rampant in our world and a source of a heck of a lot of unnecessary suffering. But that’s not something intrinsic in money itself.

If you don’t like money, how could you possibly get more of it? You would obviously block yourself from more – you’d get just enough to survive, or if you were really extreme you’d try sleeping on the streets like me. (Extremism is a great way of exposing the inconsistencies in your ways of thinking).

What’s more, if you don’t like money it seems only natural for me that you’d go into dodgy business practises or crappy jobs to earn more. Negative goes with negative, so to get a negative thing you’ll do a negative job. And then you wonder why money always seems to bring suffering.

However, if you see money for what it is, I think it’s only natural to want more of it – to an extent. When you’re coming from a healthy place, it makes sense to build structures and accumulate reserves until you’ve reached your desired level of freedom. This could look like a million dollars, five million, or a website with enough residual income to have you set for life, though I doubt it will look like much more than this.

So long as you take the business road rather than the employment road, and are smart about identifying opportunities and doing things right, this sort of money is very possible.

Let’s look at two things that doing things right entails: risk and responsibility.

About Responsibility

In a job, you only have to please the boss. In real life a.k.a. being an entrepreneur, you have to make a product or service which people want and make sure people get it at a fair price.

In a job, you can be sheltered from the reality of what money really is and what really makes money. For an employee, money is obedience. But in the real world, money is a resource that is traded for things of like value. (You could say that being an employee is rather like being a BDSM prostitute, as you are being paid to cater to your employer’s domination fantasies. But be aware that you are probably charging rather little for your services as a prostitute).

An entrepreneur has to do things that make sense for their business and thus, their customers and they themselves. Employment, on the other hand, causes huge of wastage of resources because most people are playing BDSM games rather than doing real work.

About Risk

Being an entrepreneur as well as investing in the stock market involves risk. Most people think that that is a reason not to become an entrepreneur.

Actually, risk is neatly covered by the law of probability. If you take on many risky investments, over time the risks and failures will even out into a fairly predictable gain.

Risk requires you to take enough risks that the law of probability can start taking hold, and not to take risks where you can’t cope with the worst case scenario.

Really, once you take the fear element out of it, “risk” basically converts into “probability”. An entrepreneur can’t predict everything that will happen to his or her business, so they’ll have to remember to play the numbers a bit.

If you start up a business with a lot of capital, you might lose that capital. But if you did this ten times, you would gain more than you’d lose. If you never start up a business with more capital than you could comfortably lose, you’ll never have to deal with the sort of tragic situations that scare most people away from entrepreneurship.

My capital for teaching English classes? About 20€ per 500 posters photocopied, an investment that pays for itself in a week max. That’s less than most people in my field who took the employee route, as they invested in a redundant English language teachers’ course, and I didn’t.

Money is Money

I don’t think making money is difficult or even risky. I think it’s about being informed and knowing what you want – and if you are conflicted about what you want, resolving your internal conflicts. Finally, it requires a certain amount of long termism and accepting that you might need to invest for a while before you see returns. But all that is okay, and I think the benefits of making lots of money more than outshadow the costs.


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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Jonathan Manor November 16, 2010, 8:35 pm

    Definitely loving this post. It gets really into the nitty gritty. Thanks for the link to Dividend Monk. He seems rather useful. Will be back for a reread.

  • Sophia Gubb November 16, 2010, 10:17 pm

    Hey Jonathan, thanks a lot, I’m glad it helped.

  • Daniel December 9, 2010, 9:24 am

    “It’s like they’re begging to be controlled. They just love having to follow the whim of an external authority. And they don’t like money much, it seems.”

    About that one, you got it right. And even when I understand this, I also know the feeling of not knowing what to do next. It’s a fear that refrains you from taking another step, because you just don’t know in what direction, or if any direction will take you back to feeling safe.

    It is definitely the way to go as you start learning about yourself, overcome fear and experience life 2.0, but it might be a pain in the ass to get in terms with yourself on this.

    Great post, Sophia

    Daniel.

  • Alban December 9, 2010, 10:40 am

    Definitely agree with this post ! I started by giving English lessons in exactly the same way as you do, and it worked ! (I have now evolved and give English lessons 100% online cause it gives me more freedom while allwing me to teach to more people).

    I have no doubt you will earn more in the future, good luck to you !

  • Jack Christopher December 20, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Thorough, intelligent article. :) But one thing concerns me: what about other ways of exchanging value?

    I’m not opposed to money. But I do prefer different systems of exchange. I want to move more towards gift economy and local/alt. currency, say, as steps to change the world. So I necessarily view making money as having downsides. My current solution is to wean myself off the old system, embrace the new, and subverting it using one of it’s means (money).

  • Sophia Gubb January 26, 2011, 7:07 pm

    Thanks everyone. Sorry I took so long to reply here :)

    @Jack I’m unsure about alternative ways of value exchange. I’m open to the idea but so far haven’t seen anything that’s convinced me. Personally I’m wondering if the main problem with money is just that it’s used badly. As such, it’s not bad in itself – and replacing it with something else won’t stop the misuse. The root cause is somewhere else if you get what I’m saying.

    I have the feeling – it’s just a hunch, but I have it – that a lot of alternative currency projects come about because of people’s sense of discomfort with money. I tried living only on donations (of money, food and shelter) for a while. It felt like a really “resisty” path.

    Love n light

    Sophia

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