How to Find & Build Skills That Earn You Easy Money

 In his best-selling book, The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster, Darren Hardy wrote you need to narrow down the three most important things you can do with your time and focus solely on those three things as much as you can.

For me, I figured there were three main things I should be doing:

  1. Write great content
  2. Create great products
  3. Sell those products

Once I clarified these areas, I started automatically building habits to help me get there: I began writing almost every day. I began spending all my free time studying and researching great products to sell my audience. Then, I spent a ton of time selling it — creating sales pages, reading sales books, and learning new selling tools.

After three years of this, my life has completely transformed. Before, I was a broke, no-name writer with no readers. But now:

  • Hundreds of thousands of people read my articles every month
  • I signed my first book deal (What Extraordinary People Know)
  • I’ve created multiple courses and products priced at $10 — $1,000 dollars, with hundreds of customers
  • I make thousands of dollars/month from my writing
  • I’ve gained 80,000+ email subscribers
  • I can charge $500 — $1,000 for one freelance article

As the old saying goes, “The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” When you focus on the most important things, habits become far easier to build.

What are the three most important ways you can spend your time?

Now — what are the habits you can start that align with those three things?

That’s how you build extraordinary habits that can make you easy money. Spend time discovering what the most important thing is, and then build habits around those things.

“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to get themselves there.” -Darren Hardy

Focus on Skills That Earn You Easy Money, Not Hard Money

“People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable.” -William Irvine

Money comes in two ways: easy money and hard money.

Sadly, most people are stuck making hard money. This is because most of the modern world is still operating in the archaic 9–5 job model created nearly 200 years ago. Dysfunctional management, layoffs, long commutes, and the removal of pensions and a secure retirement are just some of the reasons most 9–5 jobs are strictly hard money. You can make a living earning hard money, but you probably won’t ever make a fortune.

Easy money allows you to have fun, move at your own pace, and use your natural abilities to make a big difference, entering flow states in your activities because everything comes so naturally to you. Easy money isn’t common, but it’s extremely worth it to find and build skills that make you money this way.

Easy money is how you build a fortune — and enjoy doing it.

Finding skills worth building and owning is simple: focus on the skills that make you easy money.

Best-selling author and marketer Seth Godin once wrote,

We’re all so busy doing our work that sometimes we fail to build a skill worth owning.

If you invest 100 hours in a rare skill, you’re likely to acquire it. If you could learn to sharpen a tool better than your peers, organize a high-performance database, see the nuances in some sector of cryptography, know how to build a pretty-good WordPress site or really understand the arc of a particular writer’s career, you’d have something of value. Something that anyone who was focused enough to invest 100 hours could have, but few will choose to commit to.

String together a few of those, or dig deep and develop a 1,000 hour asset and now you truly have something.

Making easy money actually isn’t that hard to learn; you can start with simply putting in about 100 hours into an in-demand rare skill. 100 hours? If you’re really committed, you could put in that time in a couple months. Then you could start charging for your services, and probably make 5x — 10x more income per hour than you’re making now.

  • How would that change your life?
  • What could you finally do if you started making 10x more income?
  • What if it only took you a couple of months to learn how to do that?
  • What’s stopping you?

Today, anyone can learn a new skill in record time. You can “pay your dues” 100x faster than your ancestors because you don’t need gatekeepers anymore. All the knowledge you require can be found for free, online.

All you need is to do the work.

Rapidly Speed Up the Learning Process By Investing in High-Level Mentors and Tougher Competition

In his best-selling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell described a fascinating phenomenon in professional Canadian hockey leagues — a large percentage of athletes were born in January.

Since the school year starts in January, young boys who were born earlier in the year were more physically developed than boys born later in the year, even if they were the same age (10 months is a big difference between seven-year-olds).

All their young life, these January babies were always a little bigger and tougher than the rest of the team. The coaches tended to give them more attention, teaching them harder skills much faster than their teammates. Compounded over time, these January babies became some of the most well-coached, skilled hockey players in the country.

You can use this model to speed up your own learning process: hire high-level mentors and pit yourself against tougher competition.

Here’s an example, taking from best-selling author and musician Derek Siver’s full article here. It’s one of the most eye-opening stories I’ve ever read.

I was 17, and about to start my first year at Berklee College of Music.

I called a local recording studio, with a random question about music typesetting.

When the studio owner heard I was going to Berklee, he said, “I graduated from Berklee and taught there too. I’ll bet I can teach you two years of theory and arranging in only a few lessons. I suspect you can graduate in two years if you understand there’s no speed limit. Come by my studio at 9:00 tomorrow for your first lesson, if you’re interested. No charge.”

I showed up to his studio at 8:40 the next morning, super-excited. After a one-minute welcome, we were sitting at the piano, analyzing the sheet music for a jazz standard.

The pace was intense, and I loved it. Finally, someone was challenging me — keeping me in over my head — encouraging and expecting me to pull myself up, quickly. I was learning so fast, it had the adrenaline of a video game. He tossed every fact at me and made me prove I got it.

In our three-hour lesson that morning, he taught me a full semester of Berklee’s harmony courses. In our next four lessons, he taught me the next four semesters of harmony and arranging classes.

Then, as he suggested, I bought the course materials for other required classes and taught myself, doing the homework on my own time, then went to the department head and took the final exam, getting full credit for the course.

Doing this in addition to my full course load, I graduated college in two and a half years.

He taught me “the standard pace is for chumps” — that the system is designed so anyone can keep up. If you’re more driven than “just anyone” — you can do so much more than anyone expects. And this applies to all of life — not just school.

The standard pace is for chumps. It’s so that everyone — even the most unmotivated and lazy ones — that finish on time.

If you’re reading this, I know you’re not lazy. You’re probably very motivated and ambitious. Like Sivers said, if you’re more driven than the average Joe, you can go so much faster than the standard pace. There’s no need to go the slow, traditional path. If you hire a coach, you can learn in a few months what takes most people years.

Don’t go the speed everyone is going, just because that’s how fast everyone else is going. The truth is, mastery only takes as long as you want it to take. Speed up. There’s no speed limit.

By setting huge, absurdly big goals most people call ridiculous, you’re not acting crazy — you’re just finally going the speed you could go all along.

Pitting yourself against tougher competition rapidly increases your speed, too. In his book The Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss explained that he wanted to become extremely skilled in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. He was a total novice and enrolled in a fighting gym. Every morning, sparring partners were paired randomly. Sometimes, the most inexperienced fighters were partnered with the toughest guy in the gym.

By pitting himself against tougher competition, Ferriss was able to learn Jui-Jitsu in record time. In just a few months, he was entering tournaments and consistently winning bouts with much tougher opponents.

Most people stick with people in their own league and thus learn at an average, standard pace. But as you saw, the standard pace is for chumps.

It’s scary, I know. But it’s the fastest way to learn the skills you most need.

In Conclusion

You can make hard money or easy money.

Hard money is deceptively simple: get a 9–5 job, work overtime hours when you can, follow the traditional path.

Easy money is more complicated, but also very do-able in today’s economy. Spend 100 hours learning a rare skill, then start selling your service. Identify the three main activities you need to do to master that skill, then do them all the time.

Most people aren’t willing to do the work. But a couple months of extremely focused, efficient time can eventually earn you a ton of easy money — all you need is to do the work.

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