Want to make money? Teach them how to fish

Want to make money? Teach them how to fish
Wendy Thomas - Wed Mar 24, 2010 @ 03:29AM
Comments: 14

I recently went to a networking event where it turned out the majority of attendants were middle aged unemployed people. I heard story after story of people who had worked at the same company for years, were laid off and have since not been able to find jobs.

One woman told me that a few months ago she was offered a job at half her previous salary. She scoffed at the idea and refused the opportunity. Now, she told me she’s kicking herself because that job was ONLY half salary and everything since has been even less. Teach them how to fish

I heard many tales of people trying to start new businesses in photography, travel, and even house sitting.

This current down economy encourages creativity. If you’ve lost your job and you want to work, then you need to figure out a way to work. It’s pretty Zen-like in its simplicity.

This is when some pretty extraordinary ideas are going to be birthed.

However, in order for those ideas to get off the ground they have to be tested against just a little bit of reality. People don’t have a lot of money right now (it’s kinda the reason there aren’t any jobs). They are not going to be taking luxury cruises or paying tons for their pets to be photographed.

If they spend any money, you can be darn sure that they are going to want their proverbial money’s worth.

In order to start a business or an idea that generates money it comes down to two things. You have to provide:

  • Value
  • Benefit

Not only do you have to provide this, but you have to convince your audience that they have fully received these. (McDonald’s hits you over the head with this concept by offering the “Value Menu”)

Advertising a tour through local towns where you eat at different restaurants may not get a lot of bites, but holding a workshop where local chefs come in to teach people how to make some of the dishes just might. Not only are the participants entertained but they leave with the benefit of a new skill.

Case in point, Jamie Oliver, a British chef, is doing that right now with his new TV show. He is teaching nutrition and cooking skills to a southern town but is in reality teaching this skill to all of America. He’s not advertising any product in the show, he is simply exposing and instructing.

Guess whose 35 dollar cookbooks are flying off of the bookstore shelves?

From a business point of view, the man is a genius. Even families where money is very tight right now are buying these cookbooks.


Because Oliver is giving his audience value and new skills. He is teaching people how to cook using healthy food.  He ties his message in with health benefits and the welfare of our children.

He is teaching his audience how to fish, ah and there’s both the value and the benefit.

There is money out there, there are even jobs out there, and there is certainly opportunity. But if you think you can provide a service that will make you rich quick forget it, you might as well pack it in right now. Right now it's not about you.  

Instead, if you can provide a service that will give your clients value for their money and undeniable benefit, then you’ve got a fighting chance.  


Comments: 14


1. Susan Nye  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 24, 2010 @ 04:00AM

Wendy - I love this little tweetmeet (or whatever it's called) application. I retweeted for you because I also like the blog entry. I have met quiet a few unhappy, laid-off, middle aged people in the last year or two. It's tough but also a perfect time to reinvent yourself and your life. BTW - I'd be happy to do a cooking class for you or anyone else - anytime ... Take care - Susan

2. Billy Mitchell  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 24, 2010 @ 07:33AM

Wendy, this is a optimistic yet realistic primer for anyone that's feeling their inner entrepreneur awaken while either stuck in a dead-end job or currently unemployed but ready to work.

Value and Benefits are vital provisions for any budding business but optimism, creativity, passion and persistence are also required.

Have a business plan, test your ideas the best you can before taking too big of a leap, and be ready to go hungry for a while. And stay hungry while "feed your business first" with long days and nights. It will be the most exciting time of your life.

Treat your new business as a living, breathing entity and like you say so well in your article, "...provide a service that will give your clients value for their money and undeniable benefit."

A fighting chance. That all a true entrepreneur needs.

Thanks for the great insights and letting an old gray-haired entrepreneur share his.

3. Wendy Thomas  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 24, 2010 @ 09:26AM


Thanks for the comments. Do you plan on going to any of the future 603 Networking events? Let me know if you need any information. There are a lot of local people who could learn from people like you who have experience.

Oh and just for the record, it's called a "retweet button" very cool little invention indeed.

4. Wendy Thomas  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 24, 2010 @ 09:33AM


Your comments are spot on. Thoughtful passion is needed in all we do for success.

I love also your comment about being hungry, just as it is for a starving artist, if you want something bad enough you should be willing to eat ramen noodles for months to achieve your goal.

If you're not willing to be hungry, the goal was never yours.

Thanks for your insight.


5. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Fri Mar 26, 2010 @ 08:17AM

Wendy - Love the piece.
I think it's true that adversity leads to creative solutions. When things are "good," it's so easy to just ride along - not working too hard to challenge yourself or your ideas about success. When things are hitting bottom, however, we start to feel like, "Hell, this time's as good as any to try something different."

I was a cubicle warrior for many years before I got up the courage, thanks to the birth of my daughter, to dip my toes in the entrepreneurial waters. Now that I've been at it for a few years, I doubt I'll ever go back.

There's nothing "secure" about a company position unless the company is yours. I'll take the ups and downs of being a small biz owner any day. At least I'm the one at the wheel.

6. John  |  my website   |   Mon Mar 29, 2010 @ 07:19AM

Its always the way, its way better to show someone how to do something than it it yourself

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