Nearly every entrepreneur-themed post I read on the internet is focused on revenue.
They always have titles like “I made $3,913 with writing, here’s what I learned” or “How I turned a dropshipping business into $10K passive income per week” and stuff like that.
Some people are talking about how to make money doing what you love… but many others talk about doing whatever boring value-less crap you can, including selling your soul, just to add more zeroes onto your bank account.
Yet, nearly all of us know about the famous study showing that once you reach about $70K USD per year income, your happiness and quality of life does not get better with more money (Kahneman, D., & Deaton, A. (2010). High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(38), 16489–16493).
There is essentially no reason to believe that a person making $10mil per year is enjoying life more than someone “only” making $70K per year. That’s just over $5,800 USD per month. That’s all you need!
And if you’re smart with money, you’ll need even less. I provide for my family, including eating out and hobbies and travel to multiple countries every year on less than $3,000 per month.
Never before have we had so many billionaires, and yet most of the mega-rich work way more than 40hrs per week, meaning they sacrifice their family, health, hobbies and downtime to work hard — usually just to turn their money into even more money.
And most of us know about the famous Harvard study that showed over a 70+ year timespan it’s clear that authentic relationships are the key to a happy life, not work or money or status (Vaillant, G. E. (2012). Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study. Harvard University Press.).
The data is clear.
Focusing primarily on making more money is something you will end up regretting. Unfortunately, as shown in Bronnie Ware’s work with dying patients in hospice care, you probably won’t figure this out until you’re too old to correct it, and you’ll die feeling like you wasted your life.
So why is it that you’re still focused primarily on adding dollars to your account?
If nothing else, this isn’t even a good strategy for making money!
Bill Gates isn’t rich because he tried to get rich — he’s rich because he was obsessed with computer programming at the right time. Oprah is rich because she relentlessly pursued her passion of talking to interesting people. Richard Branson is rich because he’s obsessed with solving interesting problems.
Financial success is actually more guaranteed by motives other than trying to achieve financial success, so even if you can’t get rid of your neediness and greed for money, you must know that pursuing money directly is one of the less effective methods for achieving it.
For every BitCoin “investor” success story, there are thousands of people who just lost money. Don’t be fooled by survivorship bias — most people who chase money never catch up to it. The successful ones rarely acknowledge how much of it was down to luck.
If you ditch the “get as much money with as little effort as possible in the shortest time” strategy, and choose something more meaningful and focus on a better goal than getting money, you’ll not only have a more rewarding (and lower stress) life, you’ll probably make more money anyway.
Instead of trying to make money as a writer, try writing in a way that brings joy or success to your audience. Instead of trying to make money as a coach, try focusing on changing people’s lives through valuable service. Instead of trying to make money with dropshipping a product that you know is crap, make your own thing and sell it yourself.
Sure, you probably won’t be hailed as the next big thing and come up with some trendy, viral hit that explodes into millions of passive dollars every year. You might not be remembered as one of history’s great pioneers. But you have to understand: you wouldn’t even enjoy it that much anyway, at least not for very long.
There’s a reason most lottery winners end up broke again — they waste their money because it didn’t give them what they were searching for anyway, which was a more meaningful existence.
If you learn how to be excellent with spending, budgeting and investing, and then combine this with patiently and sensibly building a business based on a solid valuable product or service that you believe in and enjoy doing, then you can make a valid living from it over time. You can get to $70K, or a lesser but equally reasonable amount eventually so long as you’re persistent and don’t get distracted by quick financial win “opportunities”.
And you won’t have to sacrifice your health, your loved ones, your enjoyment of the process, or your integrity.
Sure, you’ll occasionally feel pangs of jealousy or panic when you see others online claiming to be making easy passive income from doing some bullshit thing that you wouldn’t even enjoy doing anyway (and most of them are pretty misleading about how easy it was). But you can get through those feelings by realising that you’re not homeless, and you spend quality time with your kids, and you workout every day, and you haven’t burned out pursuing the fiction of an effortless life.
The best my coaching business has ever done financially is when I played the “90 day service game” with a couple of friends. For 3 months I focused entirely on serving people with no strings attached. It reset my mind away from neediness for money and toward making a difference in a few people’s lives. Ironically, in the months that followed, the money just rolled in like divine intervention.
Whenever my business is struggling, I play the game again. Not to make more money (it doesn’t always go that way), but to remind myself of a better reason to live.