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August 16, 2010


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Though I don't always agree with everything Ramit has said, I am nevertheless a big fan of his. He strikes me as a younger version of Dave Ramsey in that, in the end, he wants you to Just Do It.

And we all should. We should all work on a side business or two somewhere somehow. If you're just doing it little-by-little on the side, what have you got to lose?

However, I do want to add that your "business" does not always have to make money. I think it is just as admirable if you prefer to focus on charity or volunteer work. If your idea of a side business is working at an animal shelter on the weekends, what's wrong with that? Perhaps you would rather work with your church's Boy Scout troop. Or, perhaps you would rather grow your own garden and bring in more fresh fruits and vegatable to your table.

That also helps to alleviate the pressure of knowing that most businesses do not always become profitable within the first several years. Whatever makes you feel good, gives you a sense of purpose, and even bring in some profit, is a good "business" to get into.

I agree that the right idea is the biggest barrier. Beyond that, though, knowing what to do with ideas when you have one is what I've notices stopping the people around me - and me sometimes. I had this with my blog. For years I wanted to write about personal finance and related issues. I had an idea (not unique in and of itself) but didn't know what to do with it (because I am totally not tech savvy). Then one day I dedicated a few minutes to researching easy blog sites and my blog was born.

I'm not doing it to earn a ton of money, so I wouldn't say that it is exactly apples to apples, but the concept is similar. I had an idea. I didn't know what to do with it. But with just a little search and a decision to just jump on in, my blog was born.

I started by doing 10-20 hours of programming on the side, which led to a 5 month contract from the company (a startup) with a guaranteed lead developer position at the company after the 5 months if we get some customers.

To take the contract I had to go from 40 hours a week to 20 at my full time lower-paying job.

Is it a risk? Sure, but staying at my old full-time job full time was a risk too. The economy isn't fantastic and who knows if I would've been let go from there or not?

Also, I helped offset the risk by saving up minimal living expenses so that if the startup fails AND I get laid off from the now part-time job I will have 6 months to find a new job before starving and missing payments on anything.

The longer I blog, the more I can see that throwing yourself into a venture is the only way to ever make it work. I'm not making thousands yet, but I can see potential in my 6 month old blog. If something as simple as blogging can bring in more than $900 dollars in the first 6 months, I can only imagine what a full-out business could provide. You just have to go for it sometimes...

I might be a minority here, may even be a unique case. My biggest barrier - we can't earn money... by law.

(I am an immigrant working on a work visa for the company that sponsored me and waiting for my permanent residency. We are expecting to stand in the line for our green card for at least 5 yrs. First of all, I am not whining. This is the law of this country that was established to save the jobs for the citizens of this country I respect it and follow the law. So I am hoping immigration won't overshadow the question that I have)

With that out of the way, my question is what can I do NOW to position myself better when I become eligible to earn money? So even if I have an idea and a plan to execute it, I can't try it out and see how it works, what I should change, etc. I have been taking classes related to my idea to increase my knowledge. I have also been gathering information about non-profits (that is what I would like to do with the money I earn) and volunteering to understand more about the area that I would like to help with. What else could I do? I read all the material about Earn1k when it was introduced, as much as I would like to use the program to better myself, I am afraid that "using" the techniques and improving based on feedback would be a major part of the success. I can't try any of the method now, so I am stumped on how to proceed. Ideas?

I agree. With me the starting was the hardest part!

I started out 4 years ago by selling eBay merchandise. I was luck enough to find a product in demand, and a seller online that was selling units cheaper than what they were selling for on eBay (with a 50 to 100% profit margin).

Next, I used that money to fund/start my blog (11 months old). I'm not making much money ($5 in the first 5 months), but it's fun and it's a hobby that I enjoy.

I think that you have to have the right idea at the right time. I made a huge mistake getting into selling merchandise online without much research. I jumped into it and lost a ton of money. I had the right idea but it was the wrong time. Now, I've readjusted and gotten into a niche that is starting to be very profitable. I think before all of this I would have agreed with Myth number 1 - it takes a ton of money to make money. In this day and age it's just not true. I think if you're an entrepreneur you're already full of ideas - it's having the right idea at the right time that's the key to success IMHO.

Great article. The part about "the more competition the better" resonated with me, although he doesn't explain that thought completely. If you are starting a business with no competition, that could mean that your idea is so unique and novel that you are bound to make money. However, it is more likely that the reason that there is no competition is that your idea just isn't very good!

you are often your own worst enemy - and Ramit is right when he says this applies for most aspects of life, if not all. the fear lies within the self often times and it's just a matter of getting started. for those that do not know, Ramit has a Psychology background from an educational standpoint, and he is able to connect the psyche behind money matters to human behavior (individual personalities). a lot of what he preaches can be tied to the 80/20 rule.

Don't overlook the time aspect. Time put in equates to profit coming out. But that's a lot easier when you're selling something you already do full-time. If you go off in another direction the time will be even more.

My parents always used to say "we wouldn't want to earn more because we'd have to pay more in taxes". Of course, I always found that to be so strange, but I think it was simply a justification for their current earnings, and not a well thought out strategy. In any case, time, money, and education should not be a deterrent from making more money. The only roadblock for most people is simply, desire.

Kris - Not to get off subject, but you're parents were right. At least in some respect.

MasterPo has considered getting a second job for some time. Just $20/hr/wk at $9/hr would be helpful.


The amount of additional tax MasterPo would have to pay on that piddly little amount (as well as probably push MasterPo into the AMT range) just doesn't make it worth it.

I'm an Earn1k'er and I can tell you that its worth every penny. The first thing I learned when I started was that I was focusing on all the wrong things: starting a Twitter account, starting a website. Ramit really knows how to boil things down to the basic tactics and cut out all the garbage. Plus the community he has built up is incredible.

What a great article. I really like your comment with regards to procrastination. I have read many stories from many successful people that they actually have a few ideas running at the same time. If one fails there are others that have the potential to succeed.

I guess the most important thing is to take action. I write a lot about it in my blog. Take action, think about it , plan it, do your risk analysis but take action. Don't sit around waiting. Don't wait for the opportunity, make the opportunity. Thomas Edson said the before he invented the light bulb he found 1 million ways of how not to invent the light bulb. He took action and keep going despite the failures. A lesson for all of us.

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