It’s been hard for me to understand the popularity of TIm Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Take a closer look and you’ll see he’s advocating creating a money machine so you don’t have to work much at all and can spend your money on fun. Despite it’s self-employment slant, it’s just a new variation of “Everybody’s Workin’ for the Weekend.”
This philosophy puts “fun” on one side of the room and “money” on the other. (Most people have been too polite to point out that Ferris spends way more than four hours per week promoting his book and himself.)
To be truly Joyfully Jobless, fun and money need to be partners in the enterprise. “Fun is fundamental,” Sir Richard Branson reminds us. That’s the antithesis of all those business mottos which sound more like Fun is Forbidden.
How can you earn money by having fun? There are numerous ways, but the essential thing is to begin by creating a business that’s so much fun for you that you can’t wait to get at it every day.
Then you can heighten the fun—and build your entrepreneurial thinking—by creating small projects where you get paid to do things you normally pay to do. You won’t get rich with any of these ideas, but your life will be noticeably richer in fun.
Do You Love…
° Classical music? Usher at your symphony hall and get paid to listen. The same goes for theater and other entertainment venues. Sometimes these are volunteer positions and sometimes they pay a token amount.
When I do seminars in Las Vegas, I build in a performance by Cirque du Soleil as part of the event. Of course, I wouldn’t think of sending my seminar participants all by themselves.
° Giving your opinion? Sign up with local agencies that put together focus groups to evaluate new products. Some of the groups are prosaic, but others can be lots of fun. I once participated in a focus group for an airline and we were pleasantly surprised at the end of the session to learn we could be paid $70—or receive a roundtrip ticket to Europe on the carrier.
° Having a day at the spa? Schools of massage need bodies to practice on and sometimes they they even pay to use them. Then there’s the woman who evaluates spa services for a hotel chain. She conducts her research by posing as a client, trying out as many services as she can squeeze into a visit. That’s an idea that could be turned into an independent business.
° Doing research? Ah, those closet detectives among us are the folks who love digging deeply into a subject. One fun possibility here is to create an independent research project and get it funded. Millions of dollars in grant money goes unclaimed every year. And, yes, there are grants for non-academics.
° Travel? Of course, I have dozens of suggestions for getting paid to travel in my How to Support Your Wanderlust classes. One of those ways is to organize a tour. I met two delightful women from Australia in a London restaurant who told me about a tour they’d taken to the US to visit quilting museums and workshops. If you have a passion you love sharing with other people, this could be a wonderful way to get paid to spend time with kindred spirits.
Create your own Money for Fun exercise to wake up your imagination to new possibilities. The options are endless, but not automatic. As the late comedian Danny Kaye pointed out, “Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint on it you can.”
Got something you’ve discovered to add to the list? Let us know by adding a comment.