Simple Rules for Making Money

Tim Denning

They can inspire your rules, and reduce stress + drama.
Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

Rules automate your decisions.

A lot of life is spent trying to make money. We need money to live, eat, sleep, pee, repeat. So despite what the critics say, who suggest we be happy and live in a tent on the side of a freeway, money is pretty important.

Just don’t let it consume you — cause, after all, money is digits that appear on your banking app. The hilarious thing is, governments can add more digits to everybody’s banking apps.

Money rules reduce stress and remove drama. Here are my money rules.

Has to be honest

I refuse to earn money from anything dishonest or illegal. But I also refuse to earn money from things that make me feel dirty.

Examples include: multi-level marketing, hidden affiliate links, product placements on Instagram, cold calling, sending spam emails.

When you sell your soul for money, it feels terrible. It’s hard to be good at something that makes you feel terrible every time you do it. Therefore, you won’t make money from it so, why do it?

No assholes

There just isn’t time. If I have to deal with assholes then the answer is no.

I remember being asked to consult to a recruitment company for a tonne of cash. I went to their office to meet the team. Every person I met was arrogant. The egos were dripping off the mahogany walls. It was a garbage dump of selfishness. I tried not to vomit.

Big wig: “So will you join us?”

Me: “Let me think about it.” *nervously smiles*

I never went back. Imagine getting paid to build people’s personal brands who don’t deserve it, so they can brag over a chardonnay at a dinner party about how many followers they have. No way man. That’s not even worth a million dollars to me.

Translation: good people make you a lot more money. Opportunities flood their inboxes because they’re gorgeously humble. Find those people.

If I listen to critics, I make zero

Social media is full of them. “You can’t do that here. You can’t park there.”

Honestly, critics have told me for my entire life that I suck at writing. It started in high school with the coordinator of my year level. He wanted to kick me out of the school. “The English teacher is wrong. You’re a dud.” The guy would walk around at lunchtime holding a golf club and swinging it everywhere.

He thought he’d use the golf club on a student, but he never did. He didn’t even play golf which made the habit even weirder. I ended up quitting his school. I found a school for musicians and excelled. I quit writing, though. Years later I took the creativity learned from making music and fused it with the writing skill school told me I didn’t have.

Then as I wrote online the literary critics came out of the woodworks. They applied editorial guidelines to indie writing. They didn’t realize that social media isn’t The New York Times. There are no rules when writing online — except don’t write boring jargon full of words people can’t understand, to look smart.

Thank god I didn’t listen to the critics. I’d be still stuck in a dead-end job with a boss baby whipping me and telling me to do his job for him. Nope. Ignoring the critics helped me escape and build a business.

And the big tech companies who wouldn't hire me because they said I was “too entrepreneurial?” They were absolutely spot on. You can make a lot of money from feedback.

Minimal gossip

Gossip is toxic. I don’t want to earn money with people who gossip. Or people who complain a lot about nothing. Life isn’t fair. There is never going to be a day where we all earn exactly $1000 per week and the global economy is run by utopian angels who want to hug us and make our lives better, equally.

When you get away from all the complaints, you come up with ideas to solve problems, instead of being the problem. And those who solve problems do pretty well financially.

At least 20% has to be invested

My material dreams are almost non-existent. I like investing because it helps me make money, so I can think about money less. Kind of counter-intuitive at first glance.

Every time money hits the bank account, at least 20% has to go into financial assets. An asset isn’t an Apple laptop, luxury car, or designer bag either. These are fake assets that go down in value. I’m talking about investing in real businesses that generate money and advance the human race.

Some investing has to be very high-risk

If all my money is in certificates of deposit, I’m not even keeping up with inflation. A few anti-Bitcoiners have suggested I make my banker rich.

No thanks.

Here’s what is missed:

  • Risk equals growth.
  • Volatility equals growth.

If all your money is in the safest option possible, then it’s not going to grow. The silent tax of inflation takes money away while you sleep in the form of trillion-dollar bills passed through congress.

You can still feel safe though. I simply add a few tiny high-risk assets into my investment portfolio.

My go-tos are bitcoin and ethereum. Why not other cryptos? Because I’m not a startup investor. I have no idea what a cryptocurrency that is less than one year old will do in five years. I learned this lesson in 2017 when I bought a bunch of unknown cryptos. Most of them are worth close to zero now.

I called it diversification. It was really gambling.

Bitcoin has been around since 2008. It’s proven what it can do. Countries even use it now as currency, would you believe? It’s volatile as hell, but it also has averaged a 200% year-on-year return. I’m happy with lots of ups and downs to get that kind of growth.

When you add high growth to a mostly safe investment portfolio, you get a much larger overall gain. Why’s that matter?

Inflation is high. You need higher returns to beat inflation. Therefore, Bitcoin and Ethereum are necessary evils in my eyes. Otherwise, I work until my 90s which hurts and steals time from the unborn grandkids.

Diversification is mandatory

More than one income source. Check.
More than one type of investment. Check

Putting all your money or time into one thing is a bad idea. Paradigm shifts are happening.

Build stuff people actually want

I own a business, which means I build stuff. Yay.

It’s important to build stuff people want. I don’t piss-fart around either. I definitely don’t guess. Nope.

I survey once. Survey again. Soft launch. Ask for feedback. Iterate. Pre-launch. Iterate. Full launch. Iterate. Repeat.

This process stops me thinking I know everything. I know nothing. I just ask people what they want, build the product, and give it to them and say, “Is this what you want? No. How about this?” If you ask questions enough times you learn what people want. Then they pay you money for it and you feel like a genius.

Questions. Ask them a lot to make moula.

Must be fun

It’s fun to goof around. I don’t like taking it all too seriously. I’m happy to make myself look stupid, because the truth is I have no idea. There’s no point me trying to make you agree or disagree with me. All I want to do is make people think deeply. If I achieve that … we’re blazing forward. High-five.

We’re not in this life game very long. May as well enjoy it. Plus, you make more money when it’s fun. Use fun as a compass.

Must invest in myself

I blow money on online courses like a sugar addict does on Subway choc-chip cookies. I can’t get enough. Books are even worse. The only present I ever like is an Amazon book voucher.

My rule is to spend money to read lots of books, so I can be friends with people I will never get to meet in real life, such as Nelson Mandela. Wisdom affects the mind differently when it’s in a book you can’t quickly consume in the same way you can a 15-second TikTok video.

Has to quietly inspire people

So many people want to nuke our dreams.

I want to do the opposite. It’s better to tell people “actually, you can do that.” However I make money, I have to inspire people. Because when I hit rock bottom there was nobody at my front door to inspire me. I had to figure it out by myself, so the process took a lot longer than it needed to.

In my 20s, I lived the other way. I was a full-time pessimist. I could always tell you why what you wanted to do was impossible. The people I needed to earn a living deserted me and I couldn’t work out why. Later, I figured it out.

Life is hard enough. People need inspiration. People need to be told that all the rules, including the ones in this article, are bullshit.

You can be and do whatever you want. Read that again.

My goal is to reduce stress, not buy a Lambo. That’s why my simple money rules enable creativity, freedom, and hanging out with interesting people. Hoarding paintings or bragging at dinner parties isn’t my style. That’s not my version of fun.

Fun is an excellent compass in life. So is work that gives you a little meaning. It makes life more valuable than money. Because you can’t take money with you to the after-life, where you might end up as an octopus.

They’re my simple rules for money. Now go write yours down.


This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship


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