Original question from Quora:

What is the single most effective piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?

My Answer:

There is more bad advice out there than good advice, but there is one particular bit of knowledge that is more valuable than most.

There are two sides to money - making it and keeping it. However, if you ever want to have a significant amount of it, you have to learn how to make a significant amount of money.

There is one key to making vast sums of money that makes it far easier than you might imagine to do well.

Imagine you want to start a restaurant. You know, cook and sell food for a living. What advantage would you want to have?

If you could have any possible advantage to sell, let’s say hamburgers, what is the thing that would make your food business succeed?

If I had to guess, you are probably thinking a high quality burger, a great location, or maybe great advertising and marketing.

I don’t want any of those things.

I would want a large crowd of starving people to sell hamburgers to. I’d take that over location, quality, and advertising any day. Why?

Well, imagine you are at a college or professional football game. It’s a hot afternoon game. 70,000 people have been sitting half the game and halftime rolls around.

What happens?

Probably 50,000 of those people get up all at once and go to the bathroom and buy food. You’ll see $4 hot dogs, $8 cheeseburgers, $5 drinks, $10 beer, and so on.

The quality of the food is mediocre. The advertising/marketing is almost nonexistent outside of the venue. The location sucks unless there is an event happening. None of the workers are trained sales people.

Yet, in a span of minutes hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent on overpriced food and drink because a large crowd of people is starving for something to satisfy their appetite.

Find a starving crowd and feed them something.

That is the best financial advice I’ve ever seen because it applies to any time you make or spend money.

At various times some careers are in demand and some aren’t. Some jobs get paid more than others. Doctors get paid a lot more than janitors, yet both work the same 40 hour weeks. Why?

When you have cancer you will pay almost any amount of money to not die. You are literally starving for a cure. Out of the 6,000,000,000 people on the planet, a very small percentage are cancer doctors.

When you need to sweep the floors and empty the trash, it’s much easier to find someone who will do that.

At different times in life various things are in demand. That could be skills, property, or information.

The thing about starving is, once you eat you aren’t starving anymore. Not all demands have an unlimited appetite in terms of quantity or duration.

Blacksmiths used to be highly in demand. With technology and industry, there is nearly no demand for blacksmithing. A few hundred years ago, people couldn’t imagine a world without blacksmiths.

So, whether you want to be incredibly wealthy, or just have steady work and financial stability…

Understand the dynamic of starving crowds and how that impacts your ability to make money. Pay attention to where money is spent and where people are “starving”.

Find a way to serve a starving crowd and financial success won’t be far behind.

-Brian

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