Category Archives: 101 Alternatives

Making Money with CafePress

Did you know you can easily get into the t-shirt business?

I really don’t want to, but I want to test it out… and Cafepress makes it easy for me to have this “business” without doing anything more than getting an account.

Here’s the post you must read about how much you can make.  Honestly, it’s not a lot.  But the alternatives include (a) get an inventory or (b) buying the stuff to have a t-shirt making factory (my friend has one in his basement).  With either option you have to worry about sizes, colors, styles, etc.  Seems like you could get a big warehouse of shirts and you’d still have someone ask for something you don’t have.

I’ll choose cafepress for now 🙂  Here’s my shop.  Here’s my first design… can you tell what the text stands for?

Now, if you’ll excuse me while I go look at some yacht and jet websites so I can plan on what do to with all the money I’ll make 🙂

Seriously though, this might be a way for people to make a few hundred (or thousand) dollars a month.  And that’s what 101 Alternatives is all about 🙂


Serial Micro Entrepreneur

I am working on 101 Alternatives to a Real Job and including another suggestion from my cousin Jordan.  Jordan is more entrepreneurial than I am.  He’s made money in a bunch of different ways, and while writing about him today the phrase came to mind:

Serial micro-entrepreneur

I googled it, sure that I’d find thousands of blog posts about it, but I really didn’t find anything.  Wierd, huh?

Here’s a breakdown of the phrase:

  • Serial: Does a number of them, one after another, or at the same time.
  • Micro: does stuff at a very small level.  Not anything that will become the next Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, but many small things can provide healthy streams, if combined with others.
  • Entrepreneur: you know what this is already 🙂

That’s the phrase that came to mind immediately… and it is the perfect way to describe Jordan 🙂

Seth Godin (The Dip) vs. Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann (stay with it)

I reviewed Seth Godin’s The Dip book a while back. One of the major messages is that if you are going down the wrong path, stop, turn around, and do something else.

I agree with what Seth says… don’t keep doing bad stuff.

The art of doing that right might be recognizing when you really are on a bad path.

Bad != hard

I think too many people are on a very hard, long and seemingly torterous path, and they don’t get the results they think they should get, and they say “I’m must be on a dead-end, bad path,” and they quit.

Right before they could have been successful.

Pinterest is the lucky (luck = when opportunity meets preparation?) overnight sensation (overnight = they started years ago, and drudged along for a long time before they were an overnight sensation).

Check out this awesome, inspiring writeup AND short video interview with founder Ben Silbermann at TechCrunch: Pinterest’s Unlikely Journey To Top Of The Startup Mountain

I am a little hesitant writing this post because some of you should quit, and move on… but maybe you shouldn’t.

101 Alternatives to a Real Job, The Guinea Pig (me)

Did you know I’m writing a book titled 101 Alternatives to a Real Job?  One of the alternatives seems really easy and fun, and has potential to make good money.  And, I can involve my kids!

Yesterday I went on a 1.5 mile walk and all but one house needed this service.  It was a nice day (even though today I’m looking at snow outside!!), and I was convinced I was ready to try this out.  Who knows, maybe I’ll try it out as long as it’s nice – through October.

This morning I bought a kit to start a business spraying numbers on curbs.

I didn’t check with the city yet… but I’m pretty sure it will be okay.  I might have to get a license to solicit door-to-door.  I also have no idea how the competition is… maybe this is a saturated market. I’ll never find out, though, until I get out and knock on doors.  I’m sure I’ll recoup my $200 investment (I haven’t bought the paint yet, which should be about $50).

The kit I bought (the biggest: Master Kit) from Express Your Address. It includes a ton of stuff (except the paint):

I got a 10% discount because of a current special they have, plus free shipping (since it was over $50):

From what I read, I should be able to make that up in a day, easily.

Now, the fun part. I’ve recruited my two oldest kids (11 and 14), and I’m sure the 8 year old will beg to go with us… My goal is to see if, together, we can have a $500/day.  They say we should be able to clear $300.  I’m not sure how many hours that is.

This weekend I’ll try and pick up the paint (I’ve gotten instructions on which paint to get, which colors, and the estimated price).  And then we’ll start knocking on doors.

Cool, huh?


From Lendio to Inc to License123: Small Business Tools

I’m on Lendio’s newsletter, and they sent me to this article on Need an Idea for a Killer New Business? Try This.  Great article that talks about how came about… if you are interested in owning your own business, check out License123 (in beta)…

I haven’t dig deep on it, but it seems like an awesome resource!

Why Write a Book?

I got an email from a friend this morning and she was talking about the books she has inside her that she has thought about writing.  She’s wording about the process: writing, editing, revising, etc.  She didn’t mention PUBLISHING, which should be at the top of her list (although easy to resolve).

In my response to her I said:

“The bigger question is, why do you want to write a book?  Is it to sell the book, or get speaking engagements, or to be known as an expert?”

Let’s break that down:

To make money selling books: Everyone says you don’t make money selling books.  I’m here to tell you, that is not accurate. People make money selling books.  I’m one of them.  Over the last 4ish years my royalty checks have surpassed one year of what I used to make as the general manager of a software company. It’s not enough to live on, but it is a great supplement to my other revenue streams.  I’m expecting the book I’m working on now, 101 Alternatives to a Real Job, to sell a lot.  Each sale will be profitable. I will make money selling books.  And then I’ll get the benefits of the other things listed below.

To get speaking engagements: I told my publisher I had no interest in speaking (or consulting).  Then, a few weeks later, I was offered $5k plus expenses to sit on a panel interview at a conference.  In less than one second I decided that HECK YES I was a professional speaker! Since then I’ve been paid a number of times to speak at conferences, do training for companies, on webinars, etc.  I don’t know the exact figure right now, but since I started speaking I’ve made more than six figures as a professional speaker.

To be known as an expert: I had no idea that writing a book on LinkedIn would make me a “LinkedIn Expert.”  Sounds silly, I know, but that’s not why I did it.  I did it to get exposure for my company (  That worked, but a major side-effect was that I was known, world-wide, as an expert and authority on LinkedIn.  Will being known as an expert help you, somehow, in your career, even if you don’t care about book sales or speaking or consulting?

To just get it out of her mind, and off her bucket list: This is more of a vanity play than anything else… not that that’s bad, but there’s no real reason to do it, other than to say you are an author?

If you have a book in you, and it is just nagging at you to get out, why do you want to do it?  Is it one of these four, or something else?

Career Dreams vs. American Dream

I’m busy working on my 101 Alternatives to a Real Job book.  Two days ago I was on the phone with someone and I said something like this:

“We are so busy chasing our career dreams (meaning: the traditional job) that we are giving up the American Dream.”

I thought that was profound, especially as the elements of the career dream has changed so much in the last decade.  Before, it meant steady, secure, pension, benefits, safety.  Today it doesn’t have much more meaning than what you might get as an unattached contractor.

The American Dream, though… ah, the images that conjures up!  Hope, freedom, prosperity, reward for ideas or work… have we lost sight of this American Dream?

Before all the American Dream haters come out, I’m not saying that big corporate greed, or small corporate greed, is part of the American Dream.  I’m saying that a chance to earn a reward, whether it’s on your one acre farm, or on your family’s 20k acre property, is yours for the taking.

The American Dream is not about “what I was born with, so I’m limited,” it’s about opportunity for everyone, if they only want it and work for it.

100% Communication. Job Search, Entrepreneur, whatever…

I have convinced myself that the job search is 99% communication.

Owning a business, or managing a team, is also all about communication.

Here’s an article that will help you communicate much, much better:

The 5 Words That Kill Potential Sales

Whether you are in sales or not, the impact of this article is profound.  The author presents a word, and then says what to use instead.  The meaning changes significantly…

Do you realize how powerful your words are? They are not “just words.”  They have a meaning… whether you intend that meaning or not.

Aside: my wife was talking to me about something Will Smith said… I googled it and haven’t verified, but think this is it… something about “your thoughts and words have physical power…”