03 Aug How To Escape A Slow Cubicle Death
If you have a 9-to-5 job, you probably have a target on your back. You may not even realize it, but here is what it says. “Fire me whenever you’d like and with no warning. I will probably be screwed when you do, but you don’t need to worry about it. Until then, I will be here doing whatever you tell me.”
You need to leave your job. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or next month, or even this year. But you need to start building additional sources of revenue right now. People get mad at me when I say things like this. That’s OK. All of my opinions come from a combination of what I have experienced, what I see and hear from my audiences and what I read. People, good people, are getting fired left and right. Even if they are good at their job, they are being let go. In many cases, they have no clue what to do next. This makes them stressed and anxious and depressed. They were lulled into a false sense of safety. But it’s just that, false.
Everything is being outsourced. If your job can be done by someone or something else at a lower price, you are gone. It is not even personal. I don’t think your boss is a bad person. If his or her job can be outsourced, his or her boss will fire them, too. But it is happening. And you need to be ready for it. Temporary staffing agencies are through the roof in revenues and growing. This further supports my opinions about the end of “jobs” as we know it. Why? Outsourcing + people not being able to find full-time work = temporary staffing agency revenues rising. If you disagree with me, fine. Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones that make it out alive. But for those that think there may be some truth to this, I am going to suggest a few (although there are hundreds) ways you can potentially make additional sources of income. You don’t have to leave your job if you don’t want. In fact, you probably should not leave your job until you start making as much on your side business as you do from your salaried position. But eventually, you should leave your job. On your terms. Here are some ideas or new ways of making money no matter where you are or what skills you have.
Become A Drone Operator: This week, during my “9-to-5″ I learned how to fly a drone. A friend of mine is shooting a video for Uber (we will get to Uber in a moment) and needed to fly the drone off my roof because I have great views of San Francisco. This thing flew 650 feet in the air and covered a mile wide radius. He paid $5k for it and learned how to operate it in a few months. He told me this has been a huge boost in revenue for his photography and video production business. He can charge way more, gets the most cutting edge projects and is now learning a new skill. Oh, and there is a city in Arizona that is testing drone deliveries. Once they perfect that and roll it out to the rest of the world, there is going to be high demand for drone operators. You could meet the demand by learning this skill now. I’d even borrow a drone for a few weeks. Or maybe you could buy a bunch and start a drone rental service. Once you get good, you could start a drone training school. Many drone operators need ‘spotters’ to keep an eye on the drone while the operator has goggles on or focuses on the remote. Or you could contact Amazon and ask them if they’d like to partner on your own drone idea. Prepare for takeoff.
Uber: You can drive for Uber. That’s obvious. But there is a bigger opportunity here. It is what I call the Uber-preneur. Use your car as a retail store for something you sell. Let’s say you live in New York City. You can create a discount or coupon book for the best deals in NYC restaurants or theatre or bars or whatever. Put a few of the deals in the pouch behind the driver’s seat, and at the bottom, tell them to inquire with you for a full coupon book. You sell the books for $10 on the spot. I am making this up, but you get the point. Last month, I had dinner with a guy in San Francisco who sold his custom designed jewelry out of his Uber. I asked him how much he made in 2014. “Almost a million dollars,” he said. Then we continued eating and I realized he was serious. Then we ate some more, had desert and he walked back to his “office” (his car). Just another day in the life.
My prediction–Uber will be the second trillion dollar company we’ve ever seen (Apple being the first). Let’s see if that’s true in 10 years, but if you can think of a way to piggy-back off of the success of this company, you’ll be in good shape. The worst case scenario is you get paid for the fare you earn by driving. Which is a better guarantee than any storefront property retailer in Soho has when they get traffic into their store. And you don’t have to pay $444,444 in rent every month.
Airbnb: This is one of my favorite companies. They are exploding. If you are not familiar with Airbnb, here is what it is: You can list spare rooms, entire homes or even couches for guests to rent. It’s in 30,000 cities in 190 countries. There are more Airbnb rooms in Manhattan than hotel rooms (not hotels, hotel rooms). Sure, you can rent out your space on Airbnb, but that is just scratching the surface of opportunity. If you don’t want to rent out your place or don’t like strangers drooling on your pillowcases, no problem. There is another opportunity that is ripe for development (and hardly anyone is doing this yet, so jump on this now). Putting your place on Airbnb is a process. You have to list your space, take pictures, write a description, handle inquiries and phone calls, then clean the place, hand over the keys to the guests and do it all over again. What a drag. It can get time-consuming and people are literally not putting their places for rent on the platform just because of that inconvenience. Here comes your business idea. You become an Airbnb property management company. You can start by going on padmapper.com and seeing the places listed, especially those located in a close vicinity to the best parts of town (added the bonus if they have been vacant for a while). You contact the owners and offer to do everything I listed above to get them up and running on Airbnb. You get to decide how you work out the fee structure, but it could be a one time fee or a percentage of their nightly sales. They don’t have to do any work but get all the benefit. This is a huge market. And you get to meet new people, and will probably come up with 10 additional ways to create revenue from this one business. My guess is you can be profitable fast since there are almost zero overhead costs to starting.
BioTech: This industry is exploding, too. We are figuring out ways to take liquid biopsies through urine samples. No need for intrusive and painful surgeries to remove the biopsy. I don’t know about you, but if I have cancer, I would like to know it right away and without surgery. Biopsies are scary and expensive and people delay getting them because of these reasons (among others). But here is the thing. No one knows how to value a biotech company. There are new companies popping up all over the place, but it is hard to keep track of them. If you were interested in creating a newsletter, or an information product about the current trends and happenings in biotech, a lot of people would benefit from the knowledge and access to information. Investors, everyday people, doctors, pharmas, the list goes on. And when people are interested and you solve their problems, they will pay you.
Take A Walk. Yes, you can make money by taking a walk. Here is how. Walk down the “main” street of your town and pop into every storefront property you see. Write down the name of their company, and ask them if they have a website and social media pages up and running today (the word “today” is key, as everyone is “working on it”). If the answer is “No,” (and it will be more than you think), make them an offer. Tell them you want to create them a website and social media stack for X dollars. Tell them in seven days, it will all be live. People like deadlines. Then you outsource the website to a developer and social media team for 25% of what you charged, and you have a business. Once you get the website and social media up and running, they will need someone to maintain it. If they did not want to build it in the first place, they will definitely not want to maintain it. This means residual income for you and very little work. You can create a Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram page for them in a week. Get five clients that week that will pay you $2,000 each, and you just made $10,000 in seven days. Are you making that at your current job?
I could write an entire book on this topic (maybe I will), but here is the thing. Human beings are designed to create opportunities and survive. We are far more creative than we give ourselves credit for. We can blame society or whoever we want for brainwashing us into thinking a “job” equals stability, but at the end of the day, we have a choice. We can let other people determine our future and financial freedom, or we can create it ourselves.
You can do whatever you want, and that is why this country is special. I saw the writing on the wall in New York City four years ago. I left a good job that was as “stable” as it got because I knew at some point, we’d end up here. Maybe I am totally off with these predictions, but I always encourage people to only listen to advice from people who are actually living the advice they give. I’m actually not even giving advice, I am just sharing my story. And here is what my current story looks like. Right now, on a weekday at 3 p.m., I will close my computer and go play with my friend and his newborn baby in the park. I don’t even need to use a few hours of “paid leave.” I don’t have to ask my boss if it’s OK. I ask myself. And I give myself permission to leave early. It’s hard work. I work twice as much now as I ever did as an employee. But it’s worth it.
Why? Because for the first time in my life, I’m in charge of my own bullseye. I fire my own arrows. I lead my own tribe. Some follow others don’t.
But I am alive.