Nothing makes me cringe more than hearing someone say “you need money to make money”. Simply put, this is a load of crap. For many of the people who say this, it’s purely as an excuse which they try to pass off as a reason. However that’s all it is, an excuse. It’s an excuse so they don’t put themselves out there in a world where failure is a definite possibility. Its an excuse to not have to put in any effort. Most notably is an excuse to themselves as to why they are where they are and why they are not happy. People feel validated by this excuse and keep reminding themselves that having no money is the reason they are unable to achieve their goals. It’s the easy way out.
In my experience the amount of money that I have spent on starting and growing a business has had very little effect on its profitability or success. I have spent $50k developing a mobile advertising network which although has proved successful, has not netted me anywhere near what I was expecting. Yet on the other hand, I created several mobile sites, each one under $100 and they have taken off, in fact they have produced more of a profit than my 50k project! I wouldn’t call the 50k project a flop, as it works great, but I would call the smaller projects huge successes and examples of how I didn’t really need money to make money.
The level of success of my businesses have been completely disproportional to the amount of capital invested, however totally proportional to the amount of value they provide. In later posts I will go through the various options but for now I wanted to share a few examples. Firstly, so that you can stop thinking that you need money to make money and secondly to start thinking about how value, hard work and determination creates money.
1. Plenty of Fish: Markus Frind started this dating site with nothing. It started as a hobby when he was trying to learn ASP.net programming and decided to practice on a dating site. He worked on it a few hours a night and did it because it was a challenge to his ASP.net skills. But what he created was immense value. Value in that all other dating sites around the world charged members to talk to other members. Markus didn’t charge a cent for this service and this was value according to site members. The sites popularity spread massively to where it is today, a 1.5billion page behemoth making anywhere between $5-10 million a year in AdSense revenue. All he did was create a simple service that others would charge for, charge nothing for it and make money through advertising. Simple.
2. Shoemoney: Started the now famous Shoemoney blog. Started off struggling to hold a job. Found out how to turn images into wallpapers for a mobile phone. Told others how to do it and got a great response. Set up next-pimp.com and used Google AdSense for revenue. Then moved into the ringtones industry and made more money with AdSense (leading to his famous $132,994.97 AdSense cheque) until he got into the subscription/membership revenue model. He had 70,000 members paying 19.95 every 6 months and generating over 3 millions dollars for that year as a recurring income. Once again the fact he had no money to start with didn’t mean he couldn’t make money.
3. J.K. Rowling – Do I need to explain? Born in Bristol, England into a middle class family. Hit hard by the death of her mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, and left for Portugal where she married and had a daughter. Returned to Edinburgh a single mom; lived on welfare while finishing her first Harry Potter tale. (Forbes). She went from living on welfare becoming one of the richest woman in Britain in the space of a few years. The 2008 Rowling’s estimated fortune was £560 million ($798 US million).
4. Steve Jobs – Adopted and could not afford to stay in college so co-founded Apple in his parents’ garage. Has has been monumental in how we use personal computers today and has changed entertainment forever with the introduction of the category and history killing iPod. Once again, starting with nothing but an idea, created a remarkable product and value… now the rest is history.
5. 2/3rds of the worlds billionaires – not a person or a company but more an institution. 2/3rds of the worlds billionaires started out with next to nothing. It was determination and drive that got them to where they are now. These are people who faced adversity many times over and yet still overcame the difficulties to become extremely successful in their field.
This is why whenever I hear that dreaded saying I cringe. People who were in much worse situations than you and I have been able to overcome barriers much worse than simply start up capital problems. We are talking about prosecution, famine, war and other situations which many of us have been fortunate enough not to have been exposed to. It’s not that the doubters don’t have the money, but rather they don’t have the determination, drive and passion when it comes to following their dreams.
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