February 15, 2019
I had a great conversation with my 13-year-old daughter Masha the other day.
She really wants a new $4,300 necklace that happened to be on sale for only $2,200.
It's a nice necklace, believe me.
After I got over the unexpected transition from a new Lego set to a new necklace, I told her a few things I wish someone had told me before I came up with them on the spot.
I thought I'd share these with you.
First, I told her that I don't think it was my responsibility as a father to buy her the necklace.
I mean, I might consider it as a gift but it's not something that she should expect from me as a given.
The second thought came as we were brainstorming how she could generate enough cash to make the necklace happen.
She immediately came up with two “shortcut”options.
She suggested that she would sell off some of her old toys.
Then she suggested that she could borrow from us against her allowance for the months to come.
This, to me, was the perfect teachable moment for why shortcuts never work in the long run.
I told her we'd have to come up with something completely different.
"What?" she asked.
I said, you need to acquire a skill that enough people will want to pay you for.
—And how would I go about doing that?
—It's three steps really.
—First, you need to figure out what is it that people are looking for help with. Then, you need to acquire the skills that are necessary for you to offer them this help. Third, you need to get your skills on the path of people who are searching for them.
—And that's your secret of success?
—Well, yeah, if you think about it.
—And how exactly does it help me get my necklace before it bounces back to the full price?
—It doesn't. Any skill that people may want to pay you for will take some time to acquire.
—Well, so, that's kind of my point!
—And my point is, by the time you come up with something else you really want, you better be equipped with a high-income skill.
—So what's the plan?
—Like I said, three steps. Why don't you go to a website like UpWork and see what gigs people are posting. What they need help with. Go through a few hundred gigs and try to pick up a pattern. Find 5–10 most common requests and see what skills you need to have to deliver such gigs. Then find a way to start learning these skills—even if it's through YouTube or For Dummies books. And after you start seeing a little bit of progress, decide if it's something that you like doing. If yes, keep learning. If not, drop it and move on to the a skill.
My mentor Dan Lok always teaches that the best business is not the one that offers the best product or the best service. It's the one that services a hungry crowd.
It's infinitely harder to create demand for something people are not looking for vs. give people what they are ready to buy.
I built Trademark Factory® because I'm passionate about intellectual property.
You know my story.
But there were certainly much easier ways to make good living.
For someone who is not sure what they want to do with their life (like I was until my father caught a radio station stealing his music) the 3-step plan I laid out, could come in handy.
P.S. In case you're wondering, Masha is still bitter about the missed sale and is still trying to come up with new shortcuts. But she already picked up a book on Photoshop. We'll see if that's her thing.