3 Ideas to Help You Supercharge Your Income

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How to find work that has the ability to grow exponentially with zero or low upfront costs, that will help you better save for retirement.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The recent pandemic delivers a wake-up call. Millions of workers around the world were forced to work from their living rooms. What was thought to be a temporary measure continued for more than a year in many parts of the world. While the many benefits of working from home are obvious, we cannot forget about the older generation that made the switch but couldn’t keep up with the computer skills needed, unable to churn out a more productive workflow, they might find themselves forced out of their job.

Imagine – You’re 40 & will be jobless in 2 weeks, claiming unemployment benefits, unable to repay outstanding loans. What would you do? I was fortunate/unfortunate to be put in this position, very early on in life applying for a dishwashing job. Without a degree, I’m “unfit” for a white-collar job. So what should we do? The world is changing at a rapid pace, and we must learn to move with the times in order to keep a competitive edge or be left behind. In this article, I will share some nuggets of concepts that I’ve picked up from different authors, compiled and turned into a special concoction to enforce my and supercharge our income and retirement.

3. Moving closer towards “Zero Marginal Cost Society”

We are not there yet, but already experiencing the benefits of “Zero Marginal Cost Society”. What is marginal cost?

What is the cost of taking a photo in the year 1989? You first need a camera & a roll of film. Compare to today, anybody with a smartphone can take an unlimited amount of photos. The marginal cost of producing a photo in the year 1989 was higher & in year 2021 it’s free/zero/low. It is the same for many things we take for granted today. Free email & cloud storage by tech giants of the world. A social media platform to market yourself/company to reach a wider audience in contrast to traditional radio or television segments. What about consulting firms? The cost of acquiring a client, the cost of hiring a team to execute and serve a single customer. These costs stay roughly the same for each client and when the project is done. The entire process & cost repeats itself, consulting firm has a very high marginal cost and it stays high. The goal is to find an industry or do something that have a low marginal cost or the potential of lowering the current marginal cost.

2. Remove Linear & Welcome Exponential

We are used to linear thinking, especially linear sales projection in a corporate environment. Sales in January is 2000, therefore sales for February should have a projection of 2200, a 10% increase. If you’re not getting exponential results, you’re not challenging the norm, you’re not thinking differently. Peter Thiel mentioned “you need to create a monopoly”, to be honest when I first heard that, my reaction was “yea right & frowning”. Doubtful until I found out he’s stated a big data analytics company. Now there are alot of big data analytics companies competing out there, but what he started is definitely a “monopoly” with exponential results. He’s working with the “CIA”! Check it out if it tickles your curiosity.

1. Anti Fragile Everything

Familiar with the saying “LOW risk, HIGH returns”?

Anti-Fragile Curve (Image by Author)

The chart above illustrates “Low Risk, High Returns”, to make it simple, let’s call this “Anti-Fragile” curve.

“A” represents – Maximum Loss, disappointment period, time spent…

“B” represents – Unlimited Gains, profits, opportunities…

Let’s take a look at a “Fragile” curve, “High Risk, Low Returns”.

Fragile Curve (Image by Author)

“C” represents – Maximum Gains…

“D” represents – Unlimited Loss…

Just by understanding both Fragile & Anti-fragile concepts, we can easily apply it in our daily life. Try to overlay what you’re doing into the graph. Once you’ve stacked the odds in your favour, you’ll feel more secure to move forward with confidence.

For health, instead of riding an elevator, I avoid them completely and choose to take the stairs. By doing this I “anti-fragile” my health, what are the potential losses? Time spent, dehydration. What about the gains or benefit?

For business, hospitality is a very “fragile” industry. If a hotel capacity is only 100 rooms, there is a limit to their earnings “C” and unlimited losses “D” if uncertainty arise like virus outbreak, terrorism, political instability of a country, the cost of maintaining the property, the costs will accumulate and surpass any gains.

Mixing & Applying the 3 ideas

What can we as individuals do to supercharge our retirement & income? Simply by turning them into questions.

Is it Anti-Fragile?Does it have the potential to grow exponentially?Does it have a low/lower/zero marginal cost?

This platform, for example “Medium”;

Is it Anti-Fragile?

Yes, “A” – Time & effort spent on writing ends after publishing.

“B” – Potentially unlimited gains, might even be able to connect to more light minded individuals.

Does it have the potential to grow exponentially?

Yes, if other readers find it interesting they might share the article or profile. If after posting, with zero traction, there’s still a possibility that 6 months later or even 6 years later someone might stumble upon it.

Does it have a low/lower/zero marginal cost?

Yes, creating a new article have zero marginal cost.

Youtuber

Youtube as a platform is anti-fragile with zero marginal cost, but it might not be exponential. It depends on the content, if you’re posting a review of the latest smartphone, you might be able to get exponential traction for a short period of time & repeating the entire process again when a new tech is released. Posting a timeless content that anybody will be interested in 10 or 20 years down the road might be a better option.

Venture Investing

Elon Musk with a net worth of $194 billion, investing $1 million in 100 companies might be anti-fragile, exponential & low marginal cost. Any of the 100 companies might become the next Facebook or Google. Therefore the scale of anti-fragile depends on one’s capability.

Venture Investing Curve (Image by Author)

Investing in individual company

Apple as a company is considered “fragile” because they only sell physical products that have a “high marginal cost”, similar to Nokia.

What has Apple done to “anti-fragile”, “exponential” and “low marginal cost” their revenue?

Introduced app store – they now take a cut in any in-app purchasesIntroduced cloud storage – charging $0.99 per month (monthly subscription, money is coming in every month without incurring any customer acquisition cost) “Revenue for services as of Q3 2021 $17.5 Billion”Utility bills for the data center is high – switch to 100% renewable energy like wind & solar.

Netflix used to be very “fragile” with a “very high marginal cost”- shipping physical copies to customers.

Introduced an app – Every movie is available instantly, timeless content “Back to the future, Jaws, Titanic”Monthly Subscription model

Tencent Music is similar to Spotify, but for Chinese mainland market, they have taken “exponential” to a whole new level.

Similar to Spotify they have a monthly subscription modelSubscribers purchase digital versions of individual music and share it with their friends. Every purchase will be rewarded with a “token”. Whenever there is a concert, these tokens will be pulled together & draw at random. The “lucky person” will be able to meet & greet their idol before the concert starts. The more tokens you have, the higher your possibility of meeting your idol.

Retirement to most might be far away, the majority will ignore and unwilling to put in the time and effort to build the foundation. If you are willing to work towards a better self, just know that there many out there just like you. Join a Facebook or Reddit group and see what others are doing, “financial independence, retire early”. If you’re in sales, what can you do to “anti-fragile” and “exponential” your sales? Think out of the box, Michelin introduced “Michelin Guide” to rate restaurants with 1,2 or 3 stars with the intention that their customers would drive and explore food thus translating to higher tire sales.

If you want to understand more about “Anti-fragile”, “Exponential Organizations”, “Zero Marginal Cost Society”, I strongly recommend you to YouTube or read the source/book.

Reference

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, (2014). Antigragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Random House Publishing GroupSalim Ismail and Michael Malone, et al, (2014). Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours, Diversion BooksJeremy Rifkin, (2015). Zero Marginal Cost Society, Griffin

3 Ideas to Help You Supercharge Your Income was originally published in The Startup on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Startup – Medium

growth-hacking, low-risk-investments, antifragile, retirement, side-hustle

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