Cash In On Your Passion

Part 1: Why You MUST Create Value Outside of Traditional Employment

Each of us has that activity we love doing. That topic we enjoy reading about beyond any other topic. The conversation we have with friends that always seems to steer us in the same direction. For some people it’s one thing they devote every free minute too. My passions come and go in phases.

One day I’m downloading plans to build a hovercraft and learning everything there is to know about propulsion systems, construction materials and frame designs. A couple months later I’m spending all my waking time reading about poker and playing micro games online. Then human psychology, motivation and desire has my attention. I become obsessed with some exercise or nutrition regimen.

Our passion is the activity we default to doing in our best of moods. Time seems to slow down and speed up all at the same time. We would pay to participate in our passion and often do. But how awesome would it be to have that passion PAY YOU?!

Today there are more economic opportunities for you to be you, follow what you love and cash in on it than ever before. Information is the new gold rush. There are more tools than ever before that we can leverage and use to cash in on our passions. To enjoy economic freedom we never before thought possible.

A couple extra tweaks (Details to come) is all you need to start cashing in on your passion. Not only is right now the best time in history to monetize what you love doing, it’s the most crucial time to start creating value outside of traditional employment. That is if you want to improve or maintain your current lifestyle and not lose everything you have. Let me explain.

History of the Job Market

For the past five thousand years the control of production and distribution has been in the hands of a small minority of gate keepers. A few masters who understood how violence, religion, communication, debt, currency and class warfare worked together to manipulate and control large segments of the population.

The first light to shine through this “information prison” came in the form of Gutenberg’s printing press around 1440. It allowed people to begin breaking out of their bubbles of ignorance by sharing ideas and information across large distances. This resulted in a wave of change. The Renaissance, The Protestant Reformation and then enough discoveries in science to give life to the Industrial Revolution.

This changing tide of economic opportunities struck full force in World War II. 16 million American men left the workforce to fight overseas and women stepped up to keep the country running. These women liked making money and the independence it gave them. When the men came back the women no longer wanted to just stay at home.

We went from having single-income families to two-income families in a booming postwar economy. America had money for the first time in about 30 years. Lots of it. American industrialization was spreading throughout the time of the war. Before long the US controlled the global economy.

For the first time in decades there were plenty of jobs and people to fill them. The double income of families brought more money into homes than ever before. The idea of the American dream became deeply ingrained in our culture beginning in the 1950s.

What is the American dream?

It’s more than just the hope of a big house and a white picket fence. People started moving out of the cities into the suburbs. Big yards, swimming pools, cookouts and neighborhood gatherings to blow things up on the 4th of July.

People drove their cars to work on big four lane highways. They shopped at strip malls and went to drive through movies. They had picture boxes, then colored TV with extra time and extra money. Kids started going to college in greater numbers so they could get better jobs and live in even bigger houses. But it was all based on a lie. A false paradigm of unlimited growth.

The ‘American Dream’ was developed by Fannie Mae to convince Americans with newly filled pockets of cash to start taking out mortgages. A brilliant advertising scheme that created a $15 trillion mortgage industry. Just like De Beers sold us all Diamonds by making us think they had value and were an essential part of getting married. Or how the fast food industry has disillusioned us into thinking being fat is healthy and desirable. All ideas planted in our minds by the people who most benefit. And we fall for it, hook line and sinker.

In the 1960s a stock market boom gave us the marketing slogan “The Great Society.” When the market stalled in the 1970s we saw massive inflation to keep incomes going up. The term “Keeping up with the Joneses” was introduced in 1976 to keep us continually racing with our neighbors for an increasing number of material possessions.

The boom of the 1980s leveled off and we used junk bond debt to keep the cash flow going. When Asia Crashed in 1997 the Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan artificially pumped more money into the system. Everyone’s spending money and living the high life despite the fact that median earning for male workers had been decreasing since the 1970s. We’ve been propping ourselves up on debt and it is only going to get worse. Think I’m just flappin’ off at the choppers? Here’s the data.

Median Annual Earnings

This downward trend is impossible to prevent for multiple reasons. Increasing efficiencies, globalization, and technological innovation. Despite your ability to create more value you will be paid less and less. Those companies need that revenue for their shareholders.

Then the internet crashed. Alan Greenspan responded with ‘Turn down for what?’ He printed more fiat currency notes and flooded the housing market. Housing prices tripled, U.S. prosperity artificially hit an all-time high and consumer spending increased right along with it.   People were allowed to leverage their homes as equity to back their credit cards.

Credit card debt went from $700 billion in 2005 to $2.5 TRILLION in 2007, lol. But now everybody was stacked deep with all the finest consumer goods livin’ the high life tryin’ to get on MTV Cribs.

Until 2008.

The stock market took a deep dive. The government’s only move was increase its debt. It saved all the banks and began paying interest on their assets. Artificially propping up the financial system. The government will always institute policies that increase inflation. Deflation is not an option because when people can wait and get things cheaper they stop buying things. Just look at the data. I wish my poker graph has that kind of consistency.

inflation trends

In prior boom and bust cycles America’s technological innovation was able to slightly buffer the effects on the middle class. That period is over. There are no more boom we can latch on to. The smartest graduate students from overseas are staying there. The ones that come here for school are returning home after graduation rather than founding companies in Silicon Valley and creating jobs and wealth. Investors are making their money by investing overseas where they can find cheaper capital per technological development.

As prices continue to go up, the above trend in median earning will continue to go down. On top of that, you’re replaceable. We’re not far from the time robotics and artificial intelligence will replace a MAJORITY of the work force. Think it can’t happen to you? Thank again.

College tuition payments are rising, the rate of return of a college degree is decreasing and the soundness of the student loan industry is under threat by increasing default rates. College students who are unable to find employment at the level needed to pay back their loans in a reasonable amount of time have been compared to the debtors under sup-prime mortgages whose homes are worth less than what is owed to the bank.

employment data

In order to negate the effects of a dying middle class burdened by overwhelming debt you will need to find extra ways to increase the value you’re able to provide outside of the traditional workforce. The beauty of it is, that with today’s technology it only takes a couple extra tweaks to the things you already enjoy doing in order to get the snowball rolling for yourself. A snow ball that will turn into unique opportunities, high quality friends, new income streams and the ability to do what you want with your time.

A shift in mindset

New economic opportunities are all around you. As you shift the way you view income generation and acquire the tools you need to get started you will begin to see them. Once you realize it’s possible to put your income on autopilot, achieving true financial freedom becomes well within your grasp.

This is not a get rich quick scheme. It will not bring in thousands of dollars over night. But with a little extra sharing, a little more learning and the willingness to put yourself out there and help others it’s not a matter of IF you can earn extra income doing what you love, but only a matter of WHEN.

The mindset in our culture is beginning to shift. The idea of getting a job, working your way up and sticking with a company for 40 years until retirement, is dead. Companies are much more likely to hire from a temp agency for the short term and keep their pennies.

When you are employed by someone else your compensation will be less than the value you provide the company. Jobs aren’t out there like they used to be. They don’t have the same structure they used to have. The days of our parents, work your way up mindset, are over. Something way better has taken its place.

Changing the way you think about making money

Making money doesn’t have to mean trading your time for it, working a job. Instead view life as a series of economic opportunities. Think not about what you can get but instead how you can be of value. Who could you help, what can you share? Figure out how to give 10,000 people $100 worth of value and charge them $1 for it and you’re winning.

There is no better time to cash in on your passion than NOW. Each of us has a perspective completely unique to anyone else in the universe. A time when Information is the most powerful commodity. When acquiring it and sharing it have never been freer of gatekeepers.

The internet is FUCKING HUGE. Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection. The first billion people was reached in 2005 and at end beginning of 2015 there are over 3 BILLION USERS. That’s potentially millions of people who enjoy the same things you do. That’s hundreds of thousands of people who are already involved in communities in the same niche as your passions.

If you’re passionate about something. If you’re able express yourself in some shape or form. If you read books, follow internet chat rooms, have friends on Facebook, like going on Pinterest or any number of things, I’m telling you, you can absolutely cash in on your passion. It doesn’t even have to be something we know better than almost anyone else. Its value comes because it’s filtered through your eyes. If you share it and refine it long enough, people will come.

1000 true fans

All you need to support yourself doing what you love is 1000 true fans. 1000 internet friends who enjoy your perspective. 1000 people who you can share stories with and give value to. With 3 billion people on the internet 1000 really isn’t that many. Some people are already closer than others. But anybody can build those first couple of fans. Then repeat and improve upon that process until that magical 1000 fans is reached.

1000 fans is a tangible goal that is within reach for any would be artist entrepreneur. It’s that stepping stone that almost anyone can attain. At which point you have the momentum to move your brand forward at breakneck speed.

I bet you could already name 5 people who have enjoyed conversations with you about what you’re passionate about. I’d be hard pressed to believe there aren’t some amount of people that have asked you how they could do something better. I bet you’ve gotten friends to like some project, photograph or paintings you’ve done. And I’ll give you my arm if you can honestly tell me you couldn’t teach the person you were a couple years ago something new.

The thing is, you’ve already started. You’re already doing what you love doing. You already have something you love learning about. You’re already talking to friends about what you’re passionate about. YOU ALREADY HAVE FANS!

If you’ve got 10 you could get 100. If you get to 100, nothings stopping you from reaching 1000. Just keep giving value and trickle them in. Specific details and strategies will follow but for now I’ll keep it simple. Acquiring fans comes down to one thing: GIVING VALUE.

Giving Value

Giving value doesn’t have to be complicated. Value could be as simple as a one off idea, unique spin, a positive emotion, smile or laugh. It could be as simple as sharing your perspective of the world or helping people who are new to what you do, acquire knowledge. Hell google gives value by connecting people with other resources that give them value.

If 1000 fans doesn’t sit well with you start looking for ways to give $20 worth of value to 100 people. Charge them $2 for it. In the beginning maybe you don’t charge them at all. Realize that everything you give away will come back to you.

The internet is opening up communities in any niche you could think of. It’s connecting people minute by minute with new social networks popping up every day. Allowing the ability to leverage existing networks to capture guaranteed traffic. It’s breaking down barriers and opening up our lives whether we like it or not. So we might as well get in the boat and enjoy the ride.

Bye-Bye Gate keepers

The gate keepers are gone. You don’t need to go to auditions and impress recruiters to make yourself an actor on YouTube. The camera on your phone can be enough leverage to position yourself as a photographer on instagram driving traffic to your store. You don’t need a major publishing deal to make money writing books and self-publishing them on amazon (or ibooks, or scribd). And you don’t need to get into a store in order to sell your jewelry on etsy.

Transparency and Authenticity

There are always the people who will judge you for putting yourself out there. Often seen with the older generations some kick-back might come in the form of ‘being private.’ The hording of your life from some fear based reason. There are still those people who want to remain private and hide their flaws and insecurities beyond judgments reach.

I don’t know how else to say this so I’ll just say it… That’s pussy shit

Some self-esteem issue bubbling up to the surface. Allowing you to pretend like ‘you’re not good enough’ so that you don’t have to put the uniform on and face the unknown. The illusionary risk. Uncertainty, failure, sucking and looking stupid possibilities at every turn. Taking continuous action that stretches the comfort zone and forces you to learn something new.

The sooner we embrace the fact that our lives are on display the sooner we can let go of this illusion that our privacy somehow protects us from the world. Good luck with that.

The credit card companies know all your purchasing decisions. They know where you like to spend time, how likely you are to eat at McDonalds this week, and can even guess what your income is. The Internet know everything you’re interested in, who you talk to. It could tell what mood you’re in, how much time you spend on different information, who your closest friends are. The internet knows you better than you know yourself.

The artificial intelligence that’s collecting all this data, organizing it and determining exactly who you are and what movies you’re making next. The one that hackers break into to find any celebrity nude photograph that’s ever touched a digital device. That has all of the snap chats you used to send that girl you met on tinder. Naughty naughty snap chats. Have fun trying to keep your job when starts selling hacked files for $5 a pop.

This machine that has your data is constantly refining your likes and dislikes. Improving its ability to find things you’re likely to purchase, enjoy seeing or spend the most time on. The people who attempt to hide themselves from this data mining are going to be left behind. Like the 2012 doomsday preppers who are still sitting in a bunker in the mountains.

The people who use this information age to connect and align themselves with the niche of people and ideas on the leading edge of their passions will make the greatest strides forward. It will Increase ones ability to surround themselves with likeminded people of similar direction. Naturally forming masterminds that allow your groups to take off like a rocket in any direction.

Over time this snowball will build itself. Your momentum will propel you forward into any life you can imagine. If you want to connect with more people you will move in that way. If you seek more challenges you will move in that direction. If you goals are for great riches that is what you will find. Quickly and easily you will be able to sort out the ingredients that you do not want to add into your pie.

People who open themselves as early adapters will share the heap of the benefits.

Less hiding, more sharing

There is no better time than right now to share your ideas, incites and experience. The content of our minds will become increasingly public domain. This isn’t a scary thing, its liberating. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all have flaws and insecurities. We all say dumb shit, get sad or get way too angry.

Our differences are what give us the contrast to know what we want and know what we don’t want. They allow us to combine in beautiful ways and expand with each new interaction. This shift in mindset has to do with liberating yourself from the fear of being different or standing out in some negative way that will allow others to ridicule you.

You are enough

Look at reality TV shows. People love watching people even if they are only pretending to be themselves. Think about where this trend is going. We already follow celebrities like it’s the most important thing going on in our lives. People love checking in on other part of the hive mine. It’s not an excuse anymore to think you have nothing to say. If you build it, people will come.

We’re really not far from a time when people just stream themselves 24-7 like pandas at a zoo. I highlight these extremes to put things into perspective. You are enough. .0001% of 3 billion is still 3000 people. 3 times the amount you need to make a living doing what you love. To, as James Altucher puts it, choose yourself rather than trading your time for money inside some company that spits you out at the new retirement age of 85 with nothing to show for your life but weekends and a week of paid vacation every year. You’re better than that. Your life means more than that. And with a little extra sharing, a couple solid techniques and a continual effort you will be able to do what you love and earn residual income for the value you provide. Which is so much more rewarding than trading that money for your time.

How to Start

My next posts will focused on the how-to. The second post will be about how to create a personal brand with steps you can apply before you’re even done reading. You can begin right away to enhance your personal brand and begin to monetize it.

Post three in the series will be about how to leverage an already existing brand and bring them into the digital economy. How to create excitement and have the hive mind spread your mission organically. It will contain an example of business with tweaks to reach more people, send a better brand message and establish new streams of income. It will apply not only to a company you started or work for but the tips will also be valuable to those who are correctly starting to view themselves as a brand.