Making and having money is certainly a good thing. It opens doors and makes the world go around. As the saying goes, “money talks.” Focusing solely on money, however, leads to a one-dimensional and shallow existence. It results in a lack of purpose, unfulfilling work and living for the weekend.
Aspiring and current business owners know this. Here’s why no one talks about making money anymore:
Because they’re designing a life they love
In Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week he described the “old rich” compared to the “new rich.” The old rich work solidly, often to the detriment of their health or family life, in order to defer enjoyment until retirement. Retirement is where they will live their dream life. The new rich method involves taking mini retirements throughout an entire lifetime, incorporating automation and smart working in order to facilitate this.
There are over 10,000 products available on Amazon for the search term “guided journal,” suggesting a focus of self-assessment and self-awareness. Individuals are carefully considering what makes them happy and how they want to spend their time and becoming intentional about making it happen.
Recruitment website Escape the City describes itself as “a global community of +450,000 talented professionals who believe that life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to you and the world.” The roles listed on their site prioritize factors associated with enjoyment, including working from home, making a difference and yearly volunteering days. Working less doesn’t have to mean earning less, by any means, but if forced to choose, many would prioritize living a life they love.
Because they’re focused on adding value
The best companies obsess over improving their offering, up-skilling their teams and delighting their customers. They keep an eye on their balance sheet, sure, but not to the detriment of what really matters.
Online conferencing software company, Zoom, are dealing with a 20x increase in traffic right now, and according to Seth Godin are “not missing a beat.” The net worth of Zoom’s founder Eric Yuan has reportedly increased by $4 billion, to $7.9 billion. But he doesn’t care. In an interview with the Associated Press he said “I can tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter. So the stock is up, it’s good for our investors. If it’s down, we keep working hard.”
Writers are adding value to their audience by creating bonus content, weekly newsletters, and hosting live social media sessions. Making money is secondary to building a community of like-minded people, listening carefully and serving their specific needs. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, maintains a weekly 3-2-1 newsletter containing three ideas from him, two quotes and one question for his audience. Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Super Attractor, is currently recording guided meditations specifically to help people going through a tough time. Pat Flynn, author of Superfans, hosts live daily Instagram chats on building an audience through uncertainty.
Because they’re focused on making a difference
According to the Environment Journal, 75% of Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable products. By 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce in the U.S. These consumers, buying for themselves and their companies, will increasingly scrutinize ethical working practices and sustainable materials.
Today’s entrepreneurs care about making the world a better place. In 2015 all United Nations Member States adopted the 30 Global Goals For Sustainable Development, for a better world by 2030, and organizations are setting up specifically to make a difference on a global scale. 4ocean runs ocean clean-up operations all over the world, removing over 8,000,000 lbs of ocean plastic and other harmful marine debris since 2017. Aquapak is creating alternatives to traditional plastic; products created from water-soluble polymers that safely disappear and reduce water pollution and landfill.
Aside from marine life, many new apps, companies and services have a cause at their heart, and that’s the story that wins them loyal customers. A commitment to eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, helping people become healthier or just making them feel happy with amazing coffee and brunch are all ways that businesses are operating with a clear mission at their heart.
Because they don’t need that much of it
In the Scott Rieckens book Playing with FIRE (financial independence retire early), Rieckens carried out an exercise where he made a list of the top 10 things that bring him happiness, and another list of his family’s top 10 biggest monthly expenses, then compared the two. He found very little correlation. Furthermore, most items on the first list were completely free.
In Money for Happiness: The Hedonic Benefits of Thrift, Joseph Chancellor and Sonja Lyubomirsky found that “whatever the time period, success in commercial business does not always translate into success in the business of life.” Moreover, they also found that “happiness attracts wealth,” with self-reported happiness predicting subsequent increases in income. It makes sense. You realise you don’t need money to be happy, so you become happier, you choose to work on projects you believe in, you attract more customers because of your enthusiasm and passion, and you have more cash to show for it. A relaxed and happy salesperson who genuinely believes in their offering is much more compelling than a pushy one under pressure to meet targets. Your vibe attracts your tribe and, by extension, your customers.
Requiring less can mean an increase in freedom. There are alternative ways to be rich. Money isn’t fun when you’re a slave to consistently acquiring it.
Because making money is not a priority right now
So far this year we’ve experienced changes on a colossal scale. A global health crisis is changing how people live and how businesses operate. Some are thriving and some are going bust. Some are caught in the middle working out how to thrive in a crisis.
Many of the businesses positioned well in such extraordinary circumstances are working out how they can help those less fortunate. Zapier is making its plans free for small business customers. Adobe are giving subscription breaks to those who need them, as are Teamwork and Proposify. Food companies such as Grenade are donating thousands of protein bars and food items to health service workers and celebrities are donating proceeds from their new projects. Many are adapting their business models to serve their audience in different ways. Whilst these companies might be taking a hit right now, it will reap rewards in the future in the form of loyal customers and a reputation for kindness.
Focus on making a difference, focus on changing the world, focus on living an extraordinary life. Focus on being remembered, if that’s your thing. Put everything you have into surprising and delighting your customers and being amazing to be around. The money will follow.