It’s not about you.
Yes this is one of the most fundamental lessons you can learn about The Art of Making Money.
Most people think only in terms of themselves.
“I want to be rich.”
“I want to make money.”
“I want to buy that brand new Porsche / Tesla Roadster.”
“I hate my job so I want to make enough money to quit / escape.”
“I want enough money to travel the world and live a mobile lifestyle.”
Nobody cares about what you want…
If you want to make money the first thing to do is don’t think in terms of yourself or what you want to get, achieve, or accomplish.
Nobody cares about all that. This may sound harsh but the reality is no one cares about what you want. No one cares about making you rich. No one cares about your dreams of retiring by 40. No one cares if you want to buy a new car.
The market doesn’t care about all that. The market only cares about the transaction. That is an exchange of value whereby both parties win. It’s got to be win-win otherwise there would be no transaction if one party derived no value out of it.
The market is the market is the market.
Think about a simple transaction — you go to a restaurant to have dinner. The value they provide to you is a complete meal service — you don’t have to worry about buying groceries, preparing, cooking or cleaning. In exchange you pay a sum of money equal to the cost of providing the service plus a premium, that is, the restaurant’s profit margin.
When you go to a restaurant for dinner I think it’s safe to say you are not thinking about how you could enrich the restaurant owner, help him retire young or help pay for her kid’s college fees.
And that’s okay, that’s normal because…
Self-interest drives the modern economy
People are generally motivated by self-interest. This is so universal that it’s a core tenet of modern economics — arguably the single largest motivator of economic activity is self-interest.
In his classic book, The Wealth of Nations, Smith puts it more eloquently:
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
This sentence captures the heart of capitalism and the market economy.
Add value and positively impact others
Knowing that people are motivated by self-interest and will only transact if there is value for them in doing so, what should you do?
Nope. It’s not a trick question. That’s right, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce the next logical step.
And lots of it.
Wealth, riches and money is simply the byproduct of making a difference and impacting the lives of others. It’s all about adding value.
The most succinct way I’ve seen this put is by MJ DeMarco in his perspective-changing book The Millionaire Fastlane. He calls it The Shortest “Make Millions” Article Ever Written. It’s just two words long.
Add value and then the money will follow
When you start thinking in terms of “how can I add value to others” or “how can I help improve the lives of others” instead of “how can I make more money” or “how can I retire young” the seemingly counter-intuitive will occur — you will start to make money.
Life is ironic sometimes and this is an example — after you do this the ironic thing is the money will come. It’s all about adding value and the market will reward you.
On a final note, I will add that this principle has wider application than just business and entrepreneurship. It even applies to jobs and your working relationship with your employer (if you have one).
The employer’s primary concern is not your well-being but rather what you bring to the organization. What value can you bring to the table? And only if you can prove that you can bring demonstrable value then there will be an exchange of value back in the form of your paycheck.
I hope this article encourages you to shift your way of thinking from self-centric to value-centric.
How are you going to start adding value to your customer/audience? I would love to hear your take on this.