7 Myths About Making Money


Last night, about two feet from me they were having sex. I know this because, using the scientific method, I cupped a glass against the wall, put my ear against it, and listened.

I moved the glass around the wall until the sound was the most clear.

One question: we spend $800 billion on killing children in Iraq but we can’t figure out how to bottle the sound a woman makes when my glass is against the wall of her room.

A man sounds like a grunting animal. I don’t know if this is sexist, but a woman is music.

They woke me up, but it’s ok. They are always welcome to do that. I’m in an AirBnB and today is my last day. I like listening to music.

Music shows that after all the hard work of living, there is some time and energy for a little pleasure to be enjoyed.

Many years ago I got this guy’s password, logged into his email and totally F-ed S up inside there. That would keep him busy.

He had been harassing people on a website I started. How should I describe “harass”?

With women, he was sending sexual messages and they were logging out. With men he was just arguing with them all the time and they also were logging out of my service.

I had written to him first. I said, “I’m trying to build something to support my family. Please back off.”

And he wrote back and said, “No. Free speech.”

I was storing everyone’s password who ever logged into the site so I looked up his. I decided to check and see if he used the same password for his email.

He did.

I logged into his account and read all of his emails. He had a few girlfriends. They didn’t know about each other. He had problems with his father, who was the CEO of a big company. They don’t speak anymore but “one day I’m going to get that money.”

Money is often a way to pay people to hate you.

After I took care of “business,” he stopped logging into my site for awhile. He had to spend a long time fixing things.

Was this good or bad or against the law? I have no idea. But my site continued to run and help a lot of people. And I fed my family.

I forgot about the whole thing.

Many years later I saw in the news that he had confessed to killing and burying someone in 1992. It was a friend of his. They were teenagers and he had hit his friend with a rock in the head during a disagreement. Then he buried his friend.

The crime had remained unsolved. But, as he said in court, he felt so guilty about it 20 years later he had to confess.

Crime solved.

Sometimes people are just “off.” Now… 20 years ago… 20 years from now. You can’t let these people stop you from feeding your family.

Claudia said, “Don’t write this,” because maybe this guy will get out of jail and track me down.

Here’s 7 pieces of BAD advice about starting businesses: let’s call them MYTHS

Myth #1: Focus on one thing.

The average multi-millionaire has at least seven different sources of income. You can’t have seven full time jobs. A “source of income” takes up much less time than a boss paying you to sit in a chair.

So, do the opposite of focus. Try to help people in many different ways. Then many different types of payment will come your way.

Be patient with yourself while this is happening. The path to calm starts with being gentle to yourself.

Myth #2: Get a lawyer and an accountant.

You don’t need those until you have ideas, customers, partners, money coming in. Once I started a company, built it up, and didn’t hire a lawyer until the week before I sold the company.

Myth #3: Don’t try more than one business at a time (I guess this is “focus” but I’m not very focused).

Try many ideas at the same time. And if you say, “but I don’t have time” then take a step back and ask where you are being inefficient.

Being an “entrepreneur” is a glorified version of this myth. Forget the word “entrepreneur”. Instead, help people succeed at their businesses, make many connections, do many things, and see what brings in money.

I haven’t been an entrepreneur since 2008 and I’ve had more financial success than ever. (I hate to say a good thing. Usually I write about bad things. But sometimes good things are ok).

Myth #4: Develop a product.

Too many people have an idea for a product and assume the customer will be there. This never happens. Ever.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Instagram, are all examples of companies that pivoted massively from their initial products.

First get a customer, then develop the product they need. It might just be a service. Or even better, it might just be an introduction. Or advice. Or something we haven’t thought of yet.

Myth #5: Hire a secretary. Hire anyone.

This becomes a fixed cost. Fixed costs are stresses. Why add to the stresses in life?

Delegate but don’t hire.

IMPORTANT MYTH #6: Underpromise and overdeliver.

People can tell when you are under-promising (i.e. lying). Don’t do that.

Better to over-promise and over-deliver. Then you beat out all the people who under-promised and over-delivered.

Over-promise to get the sale. Over-deliver to keep the customer for life.

This might seem hard. It is. It’s really hard. Just do it.

Oh. MORE IMPORTANT: MYTH #7: Have a personal brand.

“Personal brands” have been the latest fashion. “Branding” used to be ok with corporations. A Coca-Cola bottle really does have sexy curves. That’s a brand.

Real branding is when a farmer buys a cow.

He then puts an iron rod in fire until the metal shape at the end of the iron rod is orange hot. He then sticks it onto the side of the cow while the cow is chained down until the metal shape is permanently in the side of the cow.

Everyone seems so eager to brand themselves. Instead, here’s a better idea: You be the iron rod. Get red hot. Leave your mark on the planet.

You can tell if something is luck if it’s equally hard to lose as it is to win.

Business is not luck. It’s very easy to lose. It’s pretty hard to win. If you avoid the above myths, you increase your chances.

Winning is not about making money for luxuries.

You simply want to purchase your freedom from the regimented society all too eager to stick a hot iron rod into your side.

Maybe I should’ve just taken one of these topics and made a smaller post. But the brain doesn’t work that way.

And I was thinking about the room next door last night.

Eventually I couldn’t hear anything anymore. I put the glass down and went to sleep.

But here’s what’s amazing: maybe I listened to a baby being made last night.

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