There are really only three approaches to making money online or offline. The trick is figuring out which approach you are cut out for. No, I’m not talking specific actions to produce revenue. I’m talking big picture approaches. But it does boil down to three.
1. Create Original Content
These are artists and artisans, musicians, moviemakers and writers. Your content is so unique, so valuable, that you can simply publish or produce it and the masses will buy. This group of people are gifted, unique and rare.
The chances that you are one of these are very slim. I’d liken it to a high school athlete making it to the major leagues or top professional levels of a givens sport — about 1:1,000,000 will find this level of success, though many, many more will try.
The benchmarks for this area of money making are Stephen King, Brad Pitt, Banksy, Frank Gehry, Jack White and, yes … I hate to say it, Lady Gaga. All they do is produce content that people flock to purchase.
2. Build Original Things
These are CEOs and entrepreneurs, inventors and engineers. Your ideas become reality because you have a dogged pursuit of seeing them become reality. You have a vision and clear the path for that vision to become a reality.
The chances that you are one of these aren’t as slim as the content creators, but they’re not great, either. You’re looking at roughly less than 10 percent of the population who can build something — a company, a product, a service — and see it to fruition. Many will try to be builders, and most will fail. But there is merit in trying. Many don’t get it right the first several times, then the plan comes together.
The benchmarks for this area of money making are Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, Kia Silverbrook, T. Boone Pickens, David Geffen and Elon Musk. All they do is build things. And make money doing it.
3. Create Content Based On Other’s Work
These are the marketers and the educators, the storytellers and the salesmen, the coders and the office staff. Without great content or products themselves, they have to work for someone else. Or they have to reposition someone else’s knowledge in a unique way, almost pushing them to the No. 1 entry, but not quite.
Most of us fall into this category, including me. Sure, there may be some original content in what I do, but if you boil me down, I’m taking content based on the stuff invented by No. 2 and trying to help people understand it. That doesn’t make me unoriginal or bad. It’s just an honest look at what a marketer or blogger or author of business books does.
The benchmarks for this are successful investors, marketers, doctors, reporters, teachers, accountants, talk show hosts and so on and so on.
To better define how you’re going to make money on- or off-line, first explore which approach fits your vision of who you are. Then act on it.