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Many people like to think that in order to make money, you need to have some sort of job, where you work for a boss and then get paid. While this is true to some extent, this is very small and limited view of how money works. First, it is beneficial to understand how exactly the current economic system came about.
In the general case, people are exchanging services and/or resources, and money is just one particular type of resource. Therefore, when you agree to work for a boss for money, you are actually exchanging your service of doing what your boss wants, for the resource money which your boss has. Holding this view is very useful in that while it is true that your boss is hiring you, you are also hiring your boss! That perspective will help you a lot when asking for a raise, or looking for a job in general, but that is a subject for another article.
So what exactly is a service? Well, in essence, it is your time + your knowledge of doing a particular task (which is actually also a form of your time). Hence, to be even more simple, you are essentially trading your resource of time for your boss’ resource of money. So how do you spend your time to get money? Here’s a couple of steps:
- Go with the opportunities that are already available for you. These are generally options you have with the current skills you already possess. For example, you may already know of a McDonald’s opening, which pays you $8/hr between the hours of Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Or you may know of a publishing company which likes your articles, but it pays $50/hr but available once a month.
- Spend time finding the opportunities above. This may involve networking, going to job conventions, speaking with entreprenuers, thinking up good business ideas, etc. The point here is to develop options for particular time slots at a particular hourly rate (or expected hourly rate if it’s a high potential thing). For example, you might come up with playing poker, which yields an opportunity which gives you $20/hr of expected value any time you want, or you might get a job offer which gives you $30/hr for 40 hours per week.
- When you are looking for opportunities, you will find that a lot of them have prerequisites. That simply means they want your time in a different form. For example, if your job requires that you have masters degree, that just means your boss wants your time converted to the form of a masters level of knowledge for the job at hand. This is actually something very useful to keep in mind when you are interviewing for a job.
So now that you have all these time slots with dollar values and prerequisites (which you can convert to either time or dollar values), it becomes a scheduling problem. Just try to figure out the easiest way to fit these opportunities into slots that maximize your value. If you have trouble doing this, you can use a standard scheduling algorithm. Doing this, you can figure out how much each hour of the day is worth to you. For example, if you work at a job, your hours of 9am-5pm is worth say $30/hr, but if you do nothing afterwards, your 5pm-12am hours are worth $0.
To take this further, you can assign a dollar value to everything you do in life. This is purely arbitrary. We automatically assign a value to doing some things in life anyway. For example, we like to eat ice cream and don’t like to die. If we’re going to measure these things, we need some scale. If we use a different scale than dollars, then everything (including your hourly rate), would have to be converted to that scale. I figure it’s easier to use scales that already exists – $ and hours. That way, using the scheduling algorithm above, you can completely optimize your schedule based on weights ($ values) you assign to each task.
Obviously, there’s a lot of fuzzy areas. What expected dollar value should you assign to “thinking about new business opportunities”? Also, there’s all sorts of constraints like eating would not be a good task to perform 3 hours in a row, or swimming would not be a good task to perform at 4am. However, like most real life problems, if we use some assumptions, this is still a very useful way of optimizing your time and converting it to money if you so desire.
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