How to get rich (maybe)

Most days I take my own lunch into work. But if I’ve forgotten or not had time, and I’m not going out to lunch with anybody else, I’ll buy something. Sometimes it’ll be a burger. But most of the other times, I’ll go to a place in the Australia On Collins foodcourt which makes rather nice rolls, with roast chicken, lamb, or pork.

On Monday I went and got one. I found the people had all changed, as had much of the signage. The chicken roll had less avocado than before, the lettuce was rather sloppily placed, part of the tomato had fallen out, and the chicken was less plentiful and bits of it were a little tough.

I’m not sure, but I wonder if the people that used to run the place may have sold up and left. Let me theorise for a moment: they worked out how to run their business, got it running, built up goodwill… then decided to sell the business in its entirety: the shop lease, the equipment, and most of all, the methodology: recipes, customer service, the full bit. It’s only the implementation by the new people that hasn’t quite worked.

I hope they made a lot of money, and I’ll give the new owners another go, but it’s not what it was. Or maybe I’m completely wrong and they just happened to have different — sloppier — people working there that day.

Let me segue into my theory on how to get rich.

The easiest way to get rich is not to work yourself to the bone, but to have other people working for you — or at least helping themselves to your stuff for money.

And the easiest way to have other people working for you is to have good ideas.

The good idea might be a design for a thing, a way of working/running a business, a great artwork, or something else that’s highly marketable and preferably easily duplicated (but protected by law against unauthorised copying). It might be something you thought of yourself, or that you acquired somehow.

I wish I had such an idea. I’ll keep working on it. But brains, not brawn, is the answer.

In the mean time, I’ve been putting Google ads on my various pages. It hasn’t pulled in much money, just a little bit. But given my personal blog gets more visitors than just about any of my other sites, I might try it here too.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “How to get rich (maybe)”

Well, one thing that has worked for a few people was to do what they loved best: Case #1 was a mum who loved entertaining her daughters with videos of everyday things. So, she decided, with her husband to do a simple video, and call it “Einstein for Kids”, and marketed it herself. Due to word of mouth the “Baby Einstein” line of videos and toys was born, and then Walt Disney Inc. bought her out. She’s now a millionaire. Case #2 Dr. Kathy Reichs – loved her job, but people kept telling her “you should write a book about that case!” So, finally she did, at age 50(ish), making her heroine “Dr. Temperance Brennan” a forensic anthropologist like herself. She’s now an award-winning author with a heck of an audience, and a multi-million dollar publishing agreement. Still does her day job, as well. So, yes, you’re on the right track Daniel. The secret is to find out “what” will click and make people buy it. Good Luck! :)

Ah yes, leverage. Using other people’s time and/or other people’s money.

You want to develop some sort of self-sustaining system that makes money when you’re not there. It could either be a business or investment. And it could either build assets, income or both.

Then there’s the choice of industry.

If it’s an idea then ideally it must not depreciate. If you develop a good mousetrap then someone else makes a better one then your idea has gone from being valuable to worthless. It’s no use being the best Beta video maker in the world if everyone’s shifted to VHS.

Although people carry on about social change, etc, it seems to me that there is a small number of universal human cravings unchanged over the ages, eg beauty, health, sex, wealth and security. And for parents, the best for their children.

These are insatiable for as long there are people on this planet. Since the efficacy of many ideas that promote these can’t be measured yet the desire is so strong, there’s scope for quackery and thus money. No wonder why there’s so many self-help books, programs and seminars!

Is it slick marketing? Yes. Does it prey on human weaknesses by making you inadequate until you buy their product? Certainly.

It seems these days everyone’s in it, even respected institutions in society. My favourite example is how private schools market themselves to scared and status-conscious parents.

The ‘build a self-sustaining system’ idea works with investments as well. Unless you’re already rich, borrowing is required to speed the process. But the investment must return both income and capital gain.

My idea of such a self-contained investment is where its income covers borrowing and management costs. Given that a borrowed sum depreciates year to year because of inflation, all that is required is for the investment to appreciate by inflation to be ahead.

Investment income should increase roughly in line with CPI while payments remain constant, eventually there’s a cashflow. This can either be taken as income or reinvested.

Hence the portfolio grows so it’s an appreciating self-funding system that (financially-speaking) funds itself and interest on future acqusitions.

This sort of stuff is the nearest thing to perpetual motion that I know.

Speaking of new owners… Jaspers Pizza is under new management. Different dough, different pizza sauce. Ruined my favourite pizza shop… :-(

well liz.. i work at japers pizza and to tell you the truth the old owner used to keep the pasta in the fridge for weeks. and now the new owner makes everything on the spot. also the dough and the pizza sauce are completely 100% fresh and of better quality, next time pop round and you will see the difference.. the NEW difference.


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