For the longest time, I believed that you can only make really good money if you produce something. I’ve had jobs where if I wasn’t producing revenue, I wasn’t going to get paid or promoted as much or as quickly. And my colleagues who were in the back office weren’t getting paid very well and most of them were overworked, underpaid, and unhappy. They might as well have worked in a different industry they loved with less hours and probably the same pay.
Other reasons why I believed that it takes being a producer to earn money are if I don’t publish consistently as a lifestyle and personal finance blogger, my readership will not grow. And I’ll never make money as an author if I don’t write a book. Plus I’ll never become a wealthy entrepreneur if I don’t dedicate the time and energy every day to grow my business at a fast face.
But since I finally had enough of being constantly stressed out and started actively looking for a new job lately, it’s brought me some new perspectives. There are a lot of rewarding jobs that pay 30% of what I’m making now, and others that pay 60% more. There’s a huge range in compensation out there, and rather endless job listings. It’s a hot job market in the Bay Area, but it does take finesse and knowing the right people to land the best jobs.
Sam wrote an thought provoking piece, If Your Produce Nothing, How Do You Expect To Make Any Money?, and now I want to talk about the other side. What I’ve learned lately about not having to produce anything and still make solid incomes has made me even more bullish about the economy and the futures of the up and coming generations. I’m already rather bullish because I agree there’s a massive generational wealth transfer happening, which will enable adult children from all over stress less about their financial futures.
How To Make A Lot Of Money Producing Nothing
Let’s take a look at a few ways that people are doing well for themselves without having to produce anything on their own. For all you writers, painters, inventors, entrepreneurs, and hustlers out there, try not to lose your motivation for all the hours you’re grinding to produce after reading these examples.
1) Manage the producer. I’ve learned that marketing departments often outsource their creative work to another creative ad agency. For example, the famous “Smell Like A Man, Man” ad campaign for Old Spice was created not by Old Spice, but by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. Surely Wieden+Kennedy made a lot of money from Old Spice as the producers. But guess who also gets the accolades and the big bucks as well? The marketing communications director from Old Spice who manages the relationship with Wieden+Kennedy! S/he doesn’t have to create anything independently. All he has to do is ensure Wieden+Kennedy continue to produce good stuff, and he will get paid.
2) Preach the producer. Public Relations is an interesting job whose main purpose is to get other major players to write and talk about you. As a PR person, if you can get your product or boss on TV and interviewed by the New York Times on a monthly basis, you are a superstar! Your job is to consistently send out pitches over e-mail and telephone to the media in hopes that someone will pick up your story. The job requires hustle and relationship-building skills. If you can’t do anything more at the margin to get your company or boss noticed, then what good are you? I also noticed that a decent number of companies outsource their PR, so those PR managers are even further removed from the producers.
3) Direct the producer. How can we forget the financial meltdown. The people who got fired first on Wall Street were the non-producing managers. In other words, the Managing Directors who ran teams, but didn’t have direct client relationships to produce trades or consummate deals, were quickly let go. The people who never got fired were the ones who brought in the actual revenue. But I’ve learned that in departments all throughout various industries, there are managers who only manage and do not produce. The bigger a company gets, the more managers they need to direct the producing worker bees. What a nice job to sit back, delegate, and give out instructions all day.
4) Whip the lead generators to produce. I’ve learned that affiliate marketing is very relevant online to businesses, because what’s more powerful than having an independent authority speak and write about your product? As a blogger, if I don’t produce, I’m not going to get any affiliate earnings. But instead of spending hours and hours understanding a product, writing product review posts, and incorporating affiliate links into relevant posts, one can simply be an affiliate manager instead. How tempting it sounds to work for a company as an affiliate manager and whip the product’s affiliate partners into shape by making them write and convert more. And then you can take the credit for how well the lead generation business is doing even though all the producing was done by other folks. My fellow blogging buddies know, especially in regards to credit card affiliate programs, if we don’t produce a lot of relevant content to keep affiliate managers happy, they will quickly pull the plug on us. So it’s interesting to think about what it’s like to be on the other side.
If you want to write great review posts, check out Personal Capital review and Motif Investing review posts by Financial Samurai. He is an authority affiliate as he not only uses the products, but also consults with them in their offices every week.
So What Does This All Mean?
If you think you are hot stuff because you are an actual producer, surprise, think again! There are plenty of people who don’t produce anything who likely make much more with more impressive titles to boot. Perhaps they had to spend years grinding things out and producing on their own before rising to their lofty perches, but definitely not all the time.
Constantly producing something new is a very, VERY tiring endeavor. I’ve definitely suffered from burnout, as I’m sure a lot of you have as well. So a goal to keep in mind is to get to the point where you can hire, manage, preach, and direct all-star producers to produce for YOU, so that you can start to take it easy and get all the glory. But of course be careful not to take your producers for granted because they are the ones who are making you look good. And if you don’t properly compensate your producers, they will probably quit and you might end up having to finally produce something on your own! Now that would be a disaster. 🙂
START YOUR PROFITABLE WEBSITE TODAY
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I’ve been blogging since 2010 and it has allowed me to break free from the corporate grind to travel, work from home, consult for companies that I like, and do so many more things I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t. The income is relatively passive as posts I’ve written years ago are still being found through Google and generating income. What’s better than making passive income and creating a valuable asset you can one day sell for a multiple of annual income? There’s not a week that goes by where I’m not thankful for starting this site!
Updated for 2016 and beyond
There’s a lot of buzz about entrepreneurship and creating but the reality is that those who support these creators are also necessary. A person can also make money helping producers and often time have a better quality of life.
That’s so true. I was reading about a Q&A Zuckerberg had recently and one of the questions was about entrepreneurship and how you can make it. And his answer was basically not to be afraid to get help and not feel like you have to do everything alone. While that isn’t always practical or affordable in the very beginning, I think there does come a point where getting a partner or a support team really make the difference to taking a startup to the next level. And some of those people who get in early may not be creating anything themselves, but they are contributing in their own way and have the potential to make a ton if the startup takes off.
In a sense, my entire career has been that of a non-producer. I work in administrative operations (also called business operations). I do nothing that makes money for my department, but I do manage how the money is spent. I make sure the paper work is completed with i’s dotted and t’s crossed so that there aren’t hold ups or fines.
For me, I’ve never considered being a producer. Instead, I consider the value my work brings to my department (and our customers), even if it doesn’t “produce” anything.
I like biz ops. While like you say, your job may not “produce” anything it definitely carries an important role. And managing how money is spent is a critical responsibility for any business!