If Baffles Me How Some People Make Money But I Respect It

In today’s day and age, if you can’t figure out how to make money, you’ve got serious problems.  I’m not talking about being a millionaire or a billionaire.  Those come with their own challenges.  But considering this new gig economy we’re in and social media, it’s nearly impossible to avoid finding some thing out there that can put a few bucks in your pocket. It’s truly unlimited.  Personally I believe there’s never been a time where you can make more money doing nearly anything than now.  But when you really think about it, this concept has existed for centuries.  It’s just so much wider now because of technology. Have you ever heard the story of the pet rock?  It’s actually quite remarkable.  Here’s the shortened version:

Pet Rock is a collectible toy made in 1975 by advertising executive Gary Dahl. Pet Rocks are smooth stones from Mexico’s Rosarito Beach. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes. The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. Although by February 1976 they were discounted due to lower sales, Dahl sold over 1 million Pet Rocks for $4 each, and became a millionaire. With his money, Dahl opened a bar named “Carry Nations” in downtown Los Gatos, California, a reference to Carrie Nation. Dahl continued to work in advertising; however, he avoided interviews for years, because “a bunch of wackos” harassed him with lawsuits and threats. Dahl said in 1988, “Sometimes I look back and wonder if my life would have been simpler if I hadn’t done it.

So yeah, back in the 70s someone literally made millions from selling rocks, which goes to show you that if there’s demand for anything, and I mean anything, you can make a profit from it.  This concept isn’t new but to this day I’m still amazed by all the people who almost get “angry” in a way at this concept.  It’s like they can’t accept that it’s possible.  Sure it may sound “silly” or even ridiculous to make money in some of these fashions, but it’s tough to argue that it’s working.  And it’s tough to not at least pay a level of respect to some of these concepts, no matter how crazy they might be.  That being said I want to bring up a couple of examples of exactly what I’m talking about.

Ryan’s World

If you don’t know the story of Ryan’s World then you need to know it to believe it.  When Ryan Kaji was only three years old his parents began recording videos of him opening toys and playing with them.  Today you might know this as “unboxing” which has become a popular term which essentially means the opening of things you just bought.  For some reason “unboxing” videos became a huge hit on the internet.  The Kaji family built up a massive following on Youtube which grew year after year.  Eventually the videos they were making increased in production value and an empire was being built.  Ryan is now 10 years old and last year the family raked in over $30 million.  You read that figure correctly.  The kid now has his own line of toys, apps, websites, social media pages, and God knows what else.  He also has two younger twin sisters so whenever he gets too old, they can keep this train running.  Why do I bring up this story?

Because I’ll never forget the time that my father once came into our house and saw Ryan on the television.  He couldn’t comprehend how glued my children’s eyes were to the screen.  “What the hell is this?” he’d say.  In my dad’s eyes these videos were about the biggest possible waste of time on the planet.  I mean look, I completely get it.  If you’re 72 years old this kind of stuff has zero appeal. And I’m sure there are 6,000 other professions that would completely blow my dad’s mind with regards to how much money they pull in.

But remember this folks, there was a time when owning a website meant nothing.  You couldn’t monetize a website like you can today.  There was a time when Exxon Mobil had the highest market cap of any stock.  There was a time when Ford had a higher market cap than Paypal.  I mean think about that for a second.  Companies like Square absolutely dwarf an auto giant like Ford.  Hell even the company Roblox is approaching Ford’s valuation.  Remember there was a time when being a Doctor, Lawyer, or Banker was the top of the top when it came to jobs?  Now they’ve got legit roles like “Chief Happy Officer” which can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Yes, Chief Happy Officer.

So am I surprised that a kid who got started by his family posting videos of him opening toys is now pulling in $30 million a year?  Not even remotely.  Let’s share another example and when we’re done with that I’ll explain what it all means:

OnlyFans – The success of Justine Jakobs

I’m not sure if you ever heard of Justine Jakobs, but I recently read a feature on her over at Business Insider.   Justine’s one of the higher paid creators on the adult platform OnlyFans.  Now, it’s no surprise that the adult entertainment industry makes a profit.  But at no time in history other than now are people truly becoming empowered at their ability to make money with their own adult channels.  It’s no longer a world that’s governed by a few high powered studios that set a specific rate for actors and that’s that.  If you have a camera and an internet connection, you can make money in the adult industry.  But to be one of the top, you can’t just take sexy videos of yourself.

In the aforementioned article, Jakobs goes into detail with regards to her daily routine.  Let’s just put it this way.  It’s not easy.  She’s up at 5am every day and she’s not closing her eyes until midnight.  I don’t care what you do for a living, that’s hard work.  Period.  But again, what’s interesting about her story and is that she never intended to be a pornographic actor.  It’s not as though Justine signed with some major studio and began producing movies.  It just goes to show you how much of an entrepreneurial time we live in.

I’m not here to judge the adult entertainment industry.  That’s got absolutely nothing to do with what I’m explaining here.  Again, the point is that you can make money doing anything these day if you simply have the drive and the right plan.

Two lessons here

Having just shared these two examples, these are just two examples.  Do you have any clue how many more stories are out there of things way more out there than these?  Countless.  The point is that there are two lessons I want you to gleam out of this.  The first is that you literally can make money doing anything.  The second is that if you really want to make it, it takes hard work and consistency, no matter what you do.  And no, I’m not talking about the Kardashians (because I 100% believe their fortune isn’t even remotely dumb luck).  And no, I’m not talking about Charlie D’Amelio and her 100 million plus followers on Instagram.   There’s a huge difference between dumb luck and consistency.  Sure, I get where the initial “luck” plays in.  Yes, the Kardashians are good looking and it got them started.  But you really think they lasted 20 years from doing nothing?  No.   And sure Ryan Kaji was “lucky” because he was one of the very first kids doing the unboxing thing so that put him at a competitive advantage.  But come on folks, getting to $30 million in one year is no coincidence and it never will be.

Bottom line: be informed, not ignorant

Did you invest in Amazon early on?  Did you really think the company was going to be that big?  Do you know how many people back then didn’t even give online delivery a second thought?  Did you really think that autonomous driving would ever be a reality?  Before you know it the next thing and the next thing and the next thing are going become realities.  You can either accept them as reality or you can simply let them pass by.

I’m not telling you to be a speculative investor.  I’m not telling you to try to invent anything.  But I am saying this: pay attention.  I can’t fault the Kardashians of the world for doing what they do.  They are playing the cards they are dealt.   And once they’re dealt, they then decide just how far they want to go with the hand.  That’s what we all have to do.  You’ll never get ahead by being so rigid that you refuse to believe something can or can’t be successful.  No more is that apparent than now.

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