This morning I read in one of my business magazines that it costs the government 1.67 cents to make a penny. Somehow that struck me as totally absurd. How could they possibly justify making pennies when each one costs them 1.67 cents? Now you and I are not the US government. We have to make our businesses make sense. We can’t just tax our customers more to cover our mistakes and inefficiencies.

(I might add here that even if you are an “employee,” you are in business for yourself. You must provide a valuable service for your employer or you will not continue to be paid. If it costs your employer to have you around, he should release you to go bring value somewhere else.)

Another way to “make” money is to use sophisticated copy machines to reproduce counterfeit money. Of course, that’s illegal and will land you in prison.

Actually, we don’t “make” money – we “earn” money. When you hold a dollar bill in your hand you should see it as a certificate of achievement. You provided a service or product that someone valued more than that dollar. There is nothing shameful about it. You had to serve someone to receive that dollar.

So it appears there are numerous ways to get money:

  • You can make money the way the government does – going in the hole on each penny you make. Or just take it from someone who has gotten it honestly.
  • You can make counterfeit money – and risk going to jail.
  • You can beg for money or expect luck to bring it your way – expecting free money from the government, the lottery, good fortune, or the charity of those who earned it.
  • Or you can earn your money by providing a valuable product or service to someone else.

Governments and churches re-distribute wealth; they don’t create it. Giving people money they did not earn only destroys their self-esteem and leads them to an unhealthy dependency. The only real win-win solution is to teach people how to earn money. Earning money creates wealth for all involved. Earning money is a privilege – and in the process we have obviously provided a service for a boss, customer or client.

Don’t try to “make” money. Just be clear on your unique value and people will gladly give you their money. If you understand this principle you will understand that wanting wealth is not greed – it’s looking for more ways to be of service to those around you.

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 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month ia his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com.