Money Making Ideas: how to have lots more of them so that you’re more inspired to go and make more money? Before I share with you 14 ways to get more free, frictionless money ideas, one word of warning: don’t try all 14 or at least, don’t spend so many hours coming up with million money ideas, that you actually don’t implement any of them.
I supposed the one downside to what I’m about to share with you is overwhelm. Be careful not to be overwhelmed, because if you spin too many plates when it comes to revenue generating strategies or vehicles of wealth, then you end up getting nowhere. But I’m often asked a lot, how do you come up with more ideas for making money, how do you come up with ideas for your podcasts, your books, et cetera? I wanted to give you some easy ways, because I think sometimes people think “oh well, some people are just good at ideas, or they have not got that kind of brain”. I completely disagree. I think there is actually a pretty simple process of coming up with good ideas. Actually, most of the good ideas I come up with aren’t mine. They are hybrid, or I was inspired by something, or something was sold by someone and I watched it, or it was feedback from a customer, a client, a follower or a fan.
This is a big myth, that you have to come up with these unique and original ideas all the time. I mean, I’ll give you a good example of this. Rage Against the Machine, I don’t know, if you’re into that band. You don’t have to be into that band. You probably know who that band is, if you’re like 30 or over. The singer, Zack De la Rocha was quite hip-hop in the way that he sung. But of course, their rock, almost metal in their music sound. So, that band is a hybrid. If you look at all the cars that are out there, the Mercedes GLA or CLA, it’s a hybrid of a hybrid. You had a normal car, then an estate car, then you had a 4X4. Then you had a car that’s a cross between a 4X4 and an estate. Then you had a much smaller version. So, actually a lot of the best ideas are hybrids. Apple, who have many great technologies actually, buy or patent or borrow those from other companies, and then give them a better use or utility, or improve the usability and the functionality. I want to get it out of your head, that you need to be an inspired genius, and oh, you need to be a big picture of thing to have ideas. You don’t.
Here are 14 ways you can have a lot more money-making ideas, that you can implement:
1. Engage in online communities
That could be LinkedIn groups probably the best one at the moment although that may change, or Facebook groups. So, anything that you’re interested in, passion, profession, hobby, vocation, join all the groups. If you’re an entrepreneur like I am. I mean most people who listen to my podcast and follow me are entrepreneurs.
If you searched in Facebook, entrepreneur or business, I’d reckon you’ll find 30 or 40 good groups. You’ll find 40 or 50 other groups that are, either too small, or just spam fest or whatever. Join them all, watch them. Scroll through and see how many comments each post has. Put a test post in each one, see the response that you get. Then engage in those communities, because people like you are going to be talking about the things that you’re interested in. They are going to be having new ideas. They are going to be jumping on certain income streams. I’ve got one called The Disruptive Entrepreneur Community, which is for followers, and listeners, and subscribers of my podcast, The Disruptive Entrepreneur. In there, there are people who love e-commerce.
There are a lot of people who follow me on Instagram who are in the fitness business. That makes me think, ah, isn’t it interesting that a lot of people that follow me are in that space? Maybe I can create content or a product in that space.
It’s very important to engage as well. So, ask questions, engage on people’s threads. Try and draw out information people’s problems, pains or experiences. (By the way, you can join The Disruptive Entrepreneur Community. Just search, The Disruptive Entrepreneur on Facebook)
2. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
Audiobooks are obviously great for information. I like non-fiction educational or autobiographical audiobooks. I like audio, just because you can do it on the go. It’s quicker leverage. But of course, when new books come out, that is a sign of new trends, or spaces, moments in time that could be monetised. But I don’t just listen to audiobooks for the information in the books. I listen to audiobooks and I look at the charts all the time. What are the people writing about? What’s trending? What’s in the top of the charts? Why is it at the top of the charts? What problems do those books solve? Why is that book number 1 all the time? It might be, because the author is massive, or it might be like the Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. It’s always up there, and you think, why is that up there? What is it about that book? Because it can just be his fame, because he’s been there for years. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or How to Win Friends and Influence People or Think and Grow Rich. There’s something in that content, which is evergreen and stands the test of time.
Sometimes, it’s more wise to create a product, or have a money-making idea that stands the test of time. But maybe, it’s a bit of a slower burn than something that is really faddy. I remember when I was a reseller on eBay. Ed Hardy hats with The Rage and sold lots of them, but only for about a year. Then nobody wanted Ed Hardy hats anymore. So, there is that way of doing it with spotting the trends. But the problem with that is it can come and it can go.
3. Talk to successful people
Successful business owners, millionaires, billionaires. I’ve had 2 billionaires on my podcast. Well, I say I’ve had. I’ve got one coming up in a week or so in the next 2 weeks. Of course, those conversations open your mind. You’re able to ask things like, what’s the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire? But you can only ask billionaires. You can’t ask millionaires that. So, talk to successful people, business people, wealthy people, people who understand trends, people who work at Google and Facebook, who are into analytics and algorithms, and understand what’s going on in the world.
4. Have mentors and be in a mastermind group
You have an idea. You’re not sure about it. Then as the Americans say, you spitball that. Like you get a hot potato and throw it to someone else who adds to the idea. Then they throw it to someone else and add to that idea, throw it to someone else, add to that idea. Now, by the time you’ve gone around the whole 12 of you, your idea has probably changed into something much better. It’s been stress tested. The parts of it that are flawed have probably been tuned. What’s left is probably worth doing, because you’ve got the collective minds and the experience. Make sure you get yourself in a mastermind.
Have mentors that you can call up and say, hey, I’ve got this idea. I just need to run it pass you. Now, by the way, this is important. When you have mentors and you’re in a mastermind, what you mustn’t do, is, dismiss what they say, or just have them to get them to agree with you. Why have a dog and bark yourself? I have mentored a few people, who didn’t really want to listen to what I had to say. I feel quite a lot of pressure as a mentor, and when I run masterminds, because people can take something I say, they can then go and do that thing, or not do that thing based on what I said. Then that can influence their life.
So, if I’ve got something to say that is critical, or challenging, or they want support, and they are really excited about this idea, but actually I feel like, it needs some stress testing. That can sometimes, put a dampener on their passion and enthusiasm when in reality, it’s a smart thing to do, because they could be wasting their time and money. So, if you’re going to have mentors and be in masterminds and get advice from people, don’t take the advice personally. Just see it as a stress test. Disassociate the person of who you are with what they are criticising, which is just your model. They are doing it, because they care. So, you don’t take it personally. If I’m going to pay a lot of money for mentors and being in mastermind groups, I’m going to take their advice, or I’m not going to ask them. If I’m absolutely committed to doing this, and I just don’t want to be talked out of it, don’t tell anyone. Go and do it.
5. Watch documentaries
I love watching Netflix and autobiographical documentaries. There’s series like the defiant ones. Then there’s the wealth series. There’s a titan series. There’s loads of successful people Vivienne Westwood, her documentary just came out. There are many great fashion designers, billionaires. Warren Buffett’s, Becoming Warren Buffett. There’s so many of them. You get a real insight into their story, what makes them who they are, their decision making and thought making processes. I think that that is really useful.
What you do find though, is, they all seem to make money in lots of different niches, in lots of different ways, which proves to me you can pretty much make money out of anything. There is a business partnership, who bought the license to the Yellow Smiley Faces, and then Have a Nice Day under it. They made I think 15ish million quid in 18 months, just putting them on plastic bags, and anywhere they could sell them and stick them. Then the sort of fad died off in the late 70s. Then they built the business back up in the 80s, and sold it for half a billion from Smiley Faces and Have A Nice Day tag lines. I don’t know, if you’ve ever heard of the Beanie Babies, the sort of the bean bags with all the sort of made up of the animals, or that guy, I think he’s worth a good billionaire. I forget his name off the top of my head. It’s something like, Ty, it’s Ty someone, T-y. So, you can make money out of pretty much anything.
Do you remember those Slinkys that used to go down the stairs like that? Well, they sold loads of them. Do you remember the Furbys, those bloody annoying little pet animal robotic things? Yeah, you can pretty much make money out of anything. It’s how you do it, not what it is often.
6. Be naturally curious
Do you walk down a shopping centre with your head down or on your phone? Are you looking at the buildings and looking into all the shops, and looking which shops are really busy, and where everyone is pandora, really, really busy? At the moment, I just noticed when I went down the shopping centre in Peterborough that Rolex aren’t in in one of the big retailers anymore. It might be Goldsmiths, or Leslie Davis, or someone like that. So, it looks like Rolex have pulled themselves out of that retailer, which tells me that’s interesting. It probably means they are trying to elevate their brand and their positioning. So, if you go down with your head on your phone all the time walking into people, you don’t notice what’s going on out there.
7. Talk to people
Every time you see people, talk to them. Instead of going, weh weh weh, my life weh, weh, weh, verbal chanting, blarrrrr all over them, you could ask them, what they are doing? What problems they are having? What’s working well in their business or their life? What are they watching? What are they interested in? Because, if you’re naturally curious, you will find the answers hidden in plain sight before most others do.
8. Compartmentalise some time for your ideas
A lot of people have great ideas, but you can’t have great ideas when your brain is full. You have great ideas when your brain is empty. There’s been a lot of scientific research into this. Why is it that you have your idea on a long walk, or in the car, or in the shower? Why is that? Because your brain is emptying. You’re not putting anything into it. You’re not checking emails or on social media. Your brain is starting to empty itself. You can only have ideas when your brain is more empty, not when it’s full of what I’ve got to do in the day, what’s stressing me out, et cetera.
You actually put 2 or 3 hours a week for thinking time. Steve Jobs was famous for this, a lot of thinking time. He used to go out on a lot of long walks. Most of my work is with my brain now, not my hands, which is, why when people say, hey Rob, you look like, you work really hard. I can’t say. I don’t physically work very hard. But I do think really hard. One good idea is worth 1, or 5, or maybe 10 million to me. So, I mustn’t be busy on small tasks. Don’t let the menial get in the way of the meaningful. I’ll try and say that more poetically. Don’t let the menial get in the way of the meaningful.
9. Talk to customers
Talk to people who are complaining. Talk to users of your products. I’d say about 5 to 10 times a week, I speak to customers on the phone. I remember listening to a podcast, and a businessman gave me an idea. He said, at least twice a week, just randomly go into your software, and pick out a customer, and call them, and just talk to them. One, they will be blown away by your sense of personal touch and that you care. But if you just talk to customers every day or every week, they will tell you what they love, what they hate about you and your competitors. I always ask people about my competitors whenever I can. If anyone has left a competitor, I’ll try and have a chat with them and see what’s going on, what intel I can get. Because again, most answers are hidden in plain sight.
10. Dealing with complaints
See your complaints as a gift, as a way for you to solve a problem, to find out what was wrong. Disassociate you taking it personally. Endeavour to solve it. Work out what was wrong with them. Work out why that went wrong. Fix that. Then overdeliver on the service so you can make them really happy. Then put that into your future products and services to increase the value of it.
11. See what’s trending
You can go on Google Trends. You can go on Twitter Trends. You can pretty much search what’s trending. You can get updates from Google on what’s trending, and just work out what’s trending. Now, sometimes that does mean that your business model is a fleeting one. It might last 6 or 12 months, as long as you’re aware that, that’s the case, and you’re not banking your whole life on it. But a lot of e-commerce sellers I know who make millions. Essentially, they just find out what’s trending, they go and buy a few of a lot of products. They test them quickly and then once sells, they scale up. Then they don’t restock what doesn’t.
Whereas a lot of people go, oh, I love to bake cakes. I’m going to bake cakes my way. I don’t care what anyone says. I’m baking cakes my way. Hey everyone, come and buy my cakes. But no one buys the f**king cakes, because no one wants cakes like that. So, you’ve got to listen to the world and the markets what they want. It’s not just supply. It’s demand too.
12. Research different niches and different industries
Now, you think, don’t you, you look at your competitors, which actually I’ve not written down. But looking at your competitors, and what they are doing, what they are up to, what they do well. Sam Walton was famous for being in all the other retail shops all the time as a sort of like, a mystery shopper or pretend customer, what’s working, what’s not. What can I borrow? What do they do well? What are people buying? What are people not buying? Should I buy this retailer? Because obviously, they made a lot of acquisitions. So, that’s something that you can do.
But in addition to that, which is probably just as useful, is, why don’t you go and look at what other industries are doing? Watchmakers, Hi-Fi companies, car manufacturers. What do really good disruptive companies do? There’s a new company, fairly new, really disruptive company in the sort of clothing space called Gymshark. You should go and check what they do, if you’re a retailer, I supposed to checking Nike as well. There’s a sort of new social media company that’s quite disruptive called, Social Change. You should go and check out what they do.
13. Borrow things, and hybridise them into your niche
So, different industries mean you can borrow things, and hybridise them into your niche, and create something new and exciting for your customers, clients, followers and fans. That’s often how fashion develops. I’ve got a zip-up top, which is bloody expensive. It’s got those holes designed in, where you put your thumb into the hole. Now, that came, because people when they were cold, did this with their hands and covered their hands. Overtime, they sort of just forced a hole in, and they put their thumb through. Now, they actually designed that into clothing. So, you can look at what your user is doing. Sometimes the user is using your product, not as you intended it to be, but in a different format and way. Maybe, that’s how the product should be better.
A lot of smartwatches are being used to track people’s heart rate, not just for like our exercise and stuff like that. But now some of them can send immediate warnings, if there’s irregular heartbeat. So, if people’s heart stopped for like a few seconds, it can actually send messages out. It can diagnose in real time. I think that’s a better use for an Apple Watch, then just have a watch that you’ve already got a watch on. So, it might morph into a different function.
14. Have a real desire and hunger to solve problems
Then the final thing I’m going to say, is, have a real desire and hunger to solve problems. Don’t shy away from them. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t be the ostrich, which is tempting to be. Actually, have a hunger and a desire to solve bigger and bigger problems. Now, when you do that (1), is, you’ll get paid more money. (2) you will have more customers. You will be a leader, because people perceive that you solve big problems. Because they are a bit scared too, they will follow you. You will be the disruptor, the innovator, the trail blazer. But then what it will do is it will bring bigger opportunities, which also have bigger problems to you.