Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How to earn a fortune

The way to earn a fortune, is to earn it. That’s not a deliberate play on words, it’s a reflection of reality. Everything of value is earned, from trust and respect, to admiration and yes, money.

  • There’s a massive difference between building and earning. For example, you can build a Twitter account with 100,000 followers, using software, but you can’t earn a Twitter following using software.
  • There’s a massive difference between getting and earning. For example, you can get the attention of 100,000 people by sending them spam email, but you can’t earn their attention by spamming them.

None of the top blogs you read became successful because of some plugin they used. They earned it, over time, through consistently showing up and doing work that matters. The business leaders you admire, never achieved their success through a quick fix. They earned it over time, by consistently showing up and doing work that matters. See the link there?

  • Put in the hours.
  • Show up regularly.
  • Do work that matters.

Let’s look at those in a little more detail.

Put in the hours

It takes time to earn anything of value. Malcolm Gladwell’s point, about the top people in any area needing to invest 10,000 hours in their craft, is a good one. I have discussed this with everyone from Grammy award winning artists to business leaders and international sports people and found in every case, they had put at least 10,000 hours into developing their area of expertise.

Personally, I had easily invested 10,000 hours into learning my craft, by the time I started my marketing business in 1995. It wasn’t the instant success my friends suggested. I’d worked and studied for a long time to be an overnight success.

Show up regularly

If you want to remain relevant, you need to regularly offer value and (if you’re brave enough) leadership, to your marketplace. The best tool I’ve ever known for this is a blog. Blogging allows you to reach thousands of people as regularly as you want to, with your ideas and insights. Your blog content is searchable, shareable and allows you to become a regular part of a growing slice of your marketplace.

Do work that matters, rather than work that pays

I explain this in detail here, in one of the most popular pages on this site. The best kept secret in business, is that the best paid people don’t do it for the money. They do it to make a difference, and because people who make a difference are so rare, they earn a fortune. It took me a few years to truly understand this but when I did, it changed my whole life.

Ironically, it’s entirely probable that the best way to get ahead as quickly as possible is to not waste your time or money on quick fixes.

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  1. Thanks Jim,

    I enjoy coming back here for the great insights.


  2. I absolutely ascribe to the idea of practise being important. Even more so when we are talking about quality practise – junk hours don’t help. But … (you knew there was going be one right?) … the whole 10000 hours thing really doesn’t stack up. It is too simplistic for my liking and doesn’t take into account all sort of variables.

    What I want to research are those people who have achieved “greatness” in a significantly shorter period of time, to find out what they are doing differently or what the important variables are.

    New York Times piece here for the sake of balance:

    • @Jim Connolly – Props to you for allowing that comment to be published.

      @Glenn. I guessed your profession just by reading your attack, which took the air out of it.

    • Hi Glenn and John. Interesting ideas.

      Firstly John, I didn’t see Glenn’s comment as an attack. He was making a point, fairly and from his own perspective.

      Glenn, I’m not sure what your disagreement is, as I never suggested that anyone putting 10,000 hours into anything will automatically become a success. Of course there are other variables: Many, many variables.

      How about the lottery of birth?

      Bill Gates was raised within walking distance of an extremely rare computer – Had he been born into a poor family in a developing country, different story.

      Seth Godin’s father is one of the Factory Owners he writes about and Seth was educated at one of the world’s finest business schools. Would he have bee such a great writer, without the education, talent and connections JUST by studying for 10,000 hours – Not a chance.

      No, 10,000 hours is not *it,* however, in my experience, very few people at the top of any profession got there without matching their talent with years worth of hard work. Interestingly, I discussed this an hour ago over lunch, with the Managing Director of one of europe’s biggest retailers. He says it took him 15 years!

      Thanks for widening the original post, Glenn.

  3. Thanks Jim.

    Apologies for any misunderstanding but my point wasn’t to deny the hard work side of things at all. Quite the opposite. It’s just that the 10k hours is a) a bit too convenient for me. It sort of smacks of bad science and b) can in itself become seen as an obstacle to success i.e. It has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy which may be inhibiting to people even starting the journey.

    I’m certainly not attacking anyone, least of all you, I’m just sharing my thoughts on the premise.

  4. It is a very interesting point that you make about doing work that matters. There are no easy ways to getting great results in any part of life. I am trying to help change people’s lives in fitness through a blog platform and have been getting ok results. How do you consider what is work that matters?

  5. The distinction to me here is Do work that matters, rather than work that pays.

    An ex-client missed us after they got someone else to replace us. She told me that we were underpaid when that company didn’t meet her expectation.

    If we are to do it for her this year, we will be paid 3 times more than the past.

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