Why You Should Stop Looking For The Easy Button

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Lying on the beach while the money just keeps coming in is a lie.

We know this.  But we want to believe.  Because it makes it all seem possible. And believing something is possible is a necessary first step.

But we don’t want there to be too many steps. We want to find the easiest way to easy street. The straight path to profit. Declaring ourselves done with work and on to play.

If we could just find that magic formula………..

Hucksters use that desire. Easy sells.  Hard doesn’t.

But the easy button is bu%* s&!t.

If you want more than average, you have to be willing to do hard things. To give up good to go for better.  To take a risks that might not work.

I wish this wasn’t true.  But it’s a fundamental economic principle.

It’s the ideas of barriers to entry.  Anything that is super easy and/or super fun invites competition because, well, anybody can do it and everyone wants to do it.

 With lots of competition, prices drop.

That job that is super easy to do and requires no skills?…….pays crap.

That job that is super fun?……..that pays crap too.

That business that you can do with a few hours of effort per week might be true, but probably only after a ton of up front work (the barrier to entry).

You might get lucky and find an easy button.

If that happens, take the money and run because soon that button will stop working. As soon as other people see you pushing it and can duplicate it themselves, competition will take all the value out of it.

But that’s the good news.

Once you understand this, you can look for barriers. Ones that you are willing to traverse….or maybe already have.

It starts with an inventory. What do you have that the market wants?

This is what the market needs:

Labor – Mental or physical. Rare skills are by definition more valuable. If fewer people can do the job the market will pay up.  The fun part is that we don’t have all the same gifts.  What is easy for you might be super hard for me.  I’ll be willing to pay you to do the stuff you are good at…….even if it comes naturally to you.

Assets – good old fashioned capital.  Cash, buildings, equipment, machinery.  It isn’t just the capital assets, it’s how those assets can be used to create what people want.  Malls used to be valuable property.  Now, more people are shopping on-line for what they want.  That retail space is less valuable…….as retail space. Mall owners are getting creative about other uses for their mall real estate.

Ideas – James Altucher talks about the value of becoming an idea machine in his book – Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century.  Good ideas have value. Good ideas are unique, interesting, and useful. But it’s hard to come up with a lot of good ideas. You have to come up with a lot of crap ideas to find some good ones.

Learning skills, building capital, generating ideas all take time and great effort.  There are leverage points that you can use to speed things along the way.  But mostly, it’s hard.  And that’s ok.


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