Google “how to make more money” and you’re hit with 845 million results. That’s a lot of information.
If you’re like me, you’ve done your fair share of clicking through link after link after link searching for some income generation path that resonates with you.
And if you’re like me, you’ve noticed that you keep running into the same handful of suggestions over and over and over again. Aren’t you sick of it? I know I am.
If Google’s algorithm is to be trusted in pulling the most helpful and relevant information to the top of search results, it would seem you and I have about ten “best” options for creating income for ourselves:
- Building and monetizing a blog
- Building and monetizing a Youtube channel
- Building an affiliate sales site
- Building and monetizing a niche/authority website
- Driving for Lyft/Uber
- Sell on Amazon/Ebay
- Rent out a room/house on Airbnb
- Rent out your car on Turo
- Start an Etsy store
- Sell services on Fiverr
I’m aware you can find many more options scattered throughout the ridiculous amount of search results, but the vast majority of the time you’re going to be running into a combination of the above.
You know I’m right. You’ve seen it too.
This is a problem.
We’re not drones
Let me take a quick step sideways to make a comparison. Bear with me.
We, as a society, are (very slowly) coming to realize that our school system is not built on a foundation of promoting individualism and creativity among our youth.
Our school system is built to pump out two things:
- compliant, complacent office workers, or
- highly-skilled specialists like doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc.
Champions of the new wave of education that are challenging the status quo like Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame), Ryan Carson (founder of the alternative education company Treehouse), and Salman Khan (founder of Khan Academy) make a strong case against the traditional idea of secondary education.
To summarize their collective stance on education:
We’re all unique individuals with unique interests, talents, skills, resources and reasons for doing what we do. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all four-year degree comprised of very limited and rigid course schedules is a detriment to most students’ effective contribution to society.
Our school system has treated us like drones for decades and we’re finally starting to buck the trend.
Why, then, are we falling into the same trap with our approach to entrepreneurship?
Find your why, not your what
Nobody dreams of driving for Lyft or Uber. Nobody dreams of renting their car out every weekend.
I highly doubt anyone dreams about blogging, building niche websites, or selling on online marketplaces either.
These are all channels for business, not foundations for business.
Just as a college degree has oft been viewed as the necessary component for securing a steady job, so have these “business ideas for entrepreneurs” been put on a pedestal as the starting point for anyone looking to get out of the rat race of corporate employment and join the throngs of entrepreneurs making it on their own.
The problem is, just like with the four-year-college-degree model of secondary education, there’s too much focus on the mechanism and not enough focus on the underlying drive that is necessary to power the mechanism.
Don’t fall into the trap
I’ve read too many stories about people that have gone to school, earned a degree, joined the workforce, and discovered in a year or two that they don’t enjoy what they do. They did it because it was “safe” or because the money was good.
They always regret the choice.
Deciding to embark on your own as an entrepreneur offers a similar threat.
If you do not become completely clear on the why of whatever it is you choose to do, you will quickly get burnt out.
So I urge you to ignore the lists of “101 side hustles to make money” and instead focus on self-awareness and discovering who you are and what your life purpose is.
Money is nothing, purpose is everything
Something I know to be true 110% is this: anything can be monetized.
Any skill, any interest, any product, any information.
Discover why you are here first, then figure out how to monetize it.
I’d love to hear if you’ve discovered what your passion is in the comments below!