Why Money Sometimes Does Grow on Trees

“Here, Terra, put these on and look at the tree!”

The four of us were snuggled under a warm blanket, proudly admiring our masterpiece – the freshly decorated Christmas tree.  My friend’s adorable daughters, Chuck and Miss Fairy Wings, clearly knew the drill.  All other lights were turned off as the girls reached for a set of 3D-looking glasses and giggled.

Then it was my turn.

I put on the glasses and all of a sudden our tree was covered in rainbow-colored DOLLAR SIGNS!  (Even better, they danced when I shook my head back and forth.)  For anyone who is out of the loop like I am, these are called holographic glasses and they transform bright points of light into any number of fun images.  With the glasses on, I saw dollars everywhere.

Dollars everywhere.  Sounds like a business owner’s dream, right?

Actually, it’s much closer to reality than you might think.

You Can Make Money Doing Anything

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a budding entrepreneur say, “I know what I would like to do, but I can’t make any money in it. “  Usually this statement is followed by some incoherent mumbling about growth industries, a weird reference to the founding of Facebook, and a long soulful sigh.  They are convinced that business success is like treasure hunting where the gold can only be found in few select spots.

Let’s be honest, they aren’t making this up out of thin air.  There are plenty of books, articles, and blog posts full of cautionary tales – poor, naive folks with big dreams that resulted in big, bankrupting failures.  If only they had picked a more lucrative idea, they would be swimming in a money vault like Scrooge McDuck and invited to speak at TED.

But it is all a big, fat lie.  Don’t believe the hype!

The reality is that you can make money doing anything.  The idea is just one part of the business equation.  In fact, the execution of your idea is the real differentiating factor between no dollars, some dollars, and a butt-load of dollars (yes, those are all very technical finance terms). I’m not saying that every venture will make you millions, but you would be shocked at all of the strange and interesting ways that people find to pay their bills.  Here are a few examples:

  • Cultural attachéBrad Grossman had a natural ability to quickly learn information and easily teach it to others.  He built his reputation as being a “human Cliffsnotes” into a business that is considered a secret weapon by some of the top executives in business and entertainment.
  • Chicken rentals – Yes, you read that correctly.  What happens when environmental trends meet the slow food movement?  You get lots of clueless people apparently trying to raise chickens in their backyards.  If you are feeling a bit nervous about diving whole hog into being Old McDonald, Rent-the-Chicken is a great place to start.
  • Cat toilet training – Umm… wow… I can’t.  OK, I’ll just let you read the title of the article “The woman who’s set to make $1million from her cat toilet training kit.”
  • Corporate yoga or meditation – Nirvana may be closer to your cubicle than you think!  While many yoga teachers may be setting up shop in fitness studios, don’t be surprised to learn that some are selling big corporate contracts.

The list goes on and on.  Honey, you, can make money doing ANYTHING!

Rather than stressing over the next hottest idea, if you already know what you would like to do, just start there.  As you do the hard work of market research and business planning, you’ll start to notice the ways that your initial concept will need to change to be viable.  As you start executing you may still find the need to pivot and adjust.  That’s the normal cycle of business.  Why complicate the matter by chasing an idea that SOMEBODY ELSE wants?

Here, try putting on this new perspective and look out at the world around you.  Do you now see dollars everywhere?

OK, for giggles – can you share other strange businesses you’ve stumbled across?

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