How to make money doing whatever you already do anyway

Just kidding, you probably can’t, but everyone has googled that phrase at some point in their lives, and I want to give all those people googling it some advice.  Here’s a fairly exhaustive list of the things you already do that you can make a living doing: disposing of garbage and cleaning your house.  So the question is a bit misguided.

Even though we all want to magically discover that some inane skill we already possess is actually a moneymaking machine, we know it’s unrealistic.  We aren’t surprised when Google fails to tell us how to turn our everyday routine into money.

What we ought to be asking is: what enjoyable, profitable thing can I learn to do?  Asking this does a couple of useful things.  It encourages self-improvement and it solves the practical problem of acquiring currency.

Ideally, everyone in college is here because they’ve answered that question and are now working towards realizing their answer.  I’m going to assume that’s the case, for the sake of my own optimism.

But just in case there are some people out there who don’t know what moneymaking talent they want to learn, here’s some advice.  This advice has, ostensibly, worked for me and a bunch of other slightly-less-directionless-than-before young adults.

In daily life, be on the lookout for those things you do that wish you could make money doing.  While you probably can’t do those actual things for money, there’s an adult version of most activities that you can make a living doing.  For instance, if you find some furtive joy in balancing your checkbook, accounting is out there.  Or if you’re always doodling in the margins of notebooks, realize that everything manmade needs to be designed by someone with a pen and an idea.

But, you say, I don’t enjoy doing things.  I enjoy freedom.  You can, in some sense, do freedom for money, but there has to be something else attached to it.  For instance, technology and new management theories have made self-scheduled work common—Google’s 20% time is a famous example, and other companies are implementing similar ideas.  Freelance writing and other loosely structured jobs have an element of forced freedom, so maybe that’s your thing.  Or you can choose a career with regular hours to ensure reliable time ‘off the clock.’

Mainly, finding out what you want to learn to do takes effort.  Unfortunately, Google isn’t going to tell you how to make money doing things you already do.  But you can do something better, if you put enough effort into it: you can make money doing something you’ve always wanted to do.

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