How to make money from your varied interests
Itís important to note that you donít have to earn money from all of your interests. If you just dive in and pursue what you enjoy, you may be surprised to find out which interests help you generate income and which donít.
Most of my interests donít generate any income directly, and thatís perfectly fine. But a lot of them do, including hosting advertising on this website, writing a book, doing professional speaking, and reviewing and recommending products.
What earns me the most money right now? My income is fairly diversified, but the single most lucrative activity for me at present is reviewing and recommending products ó not blogging or speaking. You might think I earn the most money from all the writing I do, but that isnít how it works. Perhaps my writing is what creates the most value for others, but it doesnít generate the most incomeÖ at least not directly.
When I encounter something I really, really love and feel good about recommending, I work out a profit-sharing deal with the publisher in exchange for recommending and promoting their product on my site. This works great for information products because the profit margin is often 80% or higher, since the value is in the information, not the packaging. Usually I can also get them to offer my readers a better deal than if you bought from them directly. This arrangement is a win for the publishers because they gain many new customers with no marketing costs. A good product will do more than $100,000 in sales in the first 30 days if I recommend it. Itís a win for me because I get all the free products I could ever desire, and I earn six figures a year just from a handful of recommendations. Once Iíve posted my product review, I enjoy an ongoing passive income from ongoing sales, receiving commission checks every month. The benefit for my readers is that they get introduced to the best products I find ó often with a discount or bonus and always with a money-back guarantee so thereís no risk. Additionally, all the free articles and podcasts are basically subsidized by this arrangement, so I can afford to invest many hours writing new articles like this one without having to charge for the information. All things considered, I think this is an incredibly fair deal for everyone.
However, the honest truth is that while I enjoy reviewing and recommending products from time to time, I donít want to turn this single activity into my full-time career. I donít want my blog to become nothing but a product review site. What you may not realize though is that by deciding to pursue other interests, Iím leaving a lot of potential income on the table. If I really wanted to, Iím sure I could earn 5-10x more money from this websiteÖ virtually overnight. How to do that is a no-brainer. Instead of recommending just a few products per year, I could recommend a new product every week or two. I certainly have no shortage of products to choose from. But in order to get there, Iíd have to do one of two things.
The first option would be endorse more products, regardless of whether I thought they were any good. There are many products backed by slick marketing that sell well online, but the underlying information is worthless junk. I wouldnít even need to look at the products, so that would save me tons of time. Some publishers actually offer me pre-written endorsement letters, and all Iíd need to do would be to affix my name and send them off. Youíll encounter many Internet marketers who do this very thing, proudly recommending products theyíve never tried, just because they know it will make them money. I see the same endorsement letters Iíve been offered showing up in other peopleís newsletters. Donít worry though ó you wonít see me going this route. Personally I canít stomach the thought of doing anything like this. It isnít aligned with truth and love, and itís also the wrong polarity for me. Iím simply sharing that if my #1 goal was to earn more money by doing just one thing, I could certainly do it. But I think Iíll hang onto my soul for now.
Since I can summarily reject the first option, the other option would be to review a lot more products. Hopefully by reviewing more products in less time, Iíd be able to find more gems. If I did nothing but review and recommend products full-time, I could probably find 20-30 really good ones I could honestly recommend each year. But this would mean Iíd have to dump a lot of my other interests, and Iím simply not willing to do that, even if it means earning 10x more money. Iím happier earning less money while maintaining a good balance of activities I enjoy. So I have to reject this option because it isnít aligned with love.
My point is that you donít have to go after the option that makes you the most money. You can pursue many different interests and still find a creative mix that allows you to earn money AND maintain an abundant lifestyle AND be happy AND make a difference. Itís a huge mistake to pursue money at all costs, especially if you have to sacrifice so many of the things you love doing. Do what you enjoy, and leave the extra money on the table.
Iíve met a few Internet marketers who will pimp themselves to promote any potentially lucrative products they come across, milking their lists for as much money as they can, without even trying the products they endorse. They pride themselves on being able to manipulate emotions to get people to buy. They boast about how much money they make from promoting overpriced crap to people who are too naive to know any better. (I can attest to the veracity of the ďcrapĒ label because my office toilet is permanently stained from flushing many of the products theyíve sent me.) After conversing with such people for a while, I feel like Iíve been drenched in darkworker slime. What do I say to them? ďSorry, I canít help promote your products on my site because youíre evil.Ē Iím not sure how that one would fly.
Fortunately Iíve found a good way of responding to such people. I simply say, ďUnfortunately my intuition says no on this, so Iíll have to pass.Ē I really love that line because they have no defense against it, and best of all, itís the truth. If I say anything else, they usually pop into ďcounter objections modeĒ and try to turn me. But they have no means of arguing against my intuition because theyíre so out of touch with theirs. (If youíre one of the people who happened to be on the receiving end of this line from me, it doesnít normally mean I think youíre evil. Itís just one of many stock replies I give for business offers I must decline.)
If I try to challenge such people to realign themselves with truth and love, that sometimes has the side effect of making them want to light saber me. Eventually Iíll find a way to turn one of them. Such people are pretty well aligned with power, but what they donít yet realize is that if they could bring themselves into alignment with truth and love as well, theyíd become even more powerful. Theyíd also be a lot happier and more fulfilled. This may sound strange, but Iím actually thinking of offering consultations to such people to help them restore balance to their lives. Theyíre in a position to positively affect a lot of other people if they can get it right, so helping even one of those people can create a lot of leverage. But of course I couldnít do thatÖ because that would mean pursuing yet another interest. <- Yes, this is sarcasm! ;)
Now that was a fun tangent. UghÖ donít try to mix math and humor. * * *
If you aspire to be a one-hit wonder, by all means go for it. Otherwise, take note that historically speaking, people would develop a variety of skills to meet their needs. Overspecialization may be good for corporations, but itís not so great for conscious human beings. Even a farmer from the 1850s probably has you beat in the skills diversity department. Can you look out at a vacant plot of land and build your own self-sustaining farm and a home for your family with some basic hand tools? (If you can say yes to that, then come to Las Vegas this summer and prove it!)
The next time someone tells you to settle down and pick just one thing for your career, your college major, or your source of income, I recommend you reply as follows: ďI appreciate your concern, but since I donít share your dream of becoming a prized poodle, I must reject your advice as being utterly stupid.Ē
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