curtis fisher.

monetize your skills - ikigai

- 4 Minute Read

You've heard the aphorism, "Money can't buy happiness." I think this is a pretty lame idealogy we've accepted as a society.

Ikigai Venn Diagram - What You Can Be Paid For This article is part of a mini-series on exploring Ikigai.

Of course money can't buy happiness, in the same way you can't build your way to happiness through friendships.

Before there was "money" there was barley and seashells and good old bartering. People exchanged myriad things through a web of reciprocity to get what they were really after. These exchanges were complex and constantly changing.

Money is an important tool. It provides a central system of exchange. There are things you need to survive, and those things can be acquired with money.

What do you really need?

All that being said, you don't need money to survive.

You can be paid for almost anything. Not all pay comes in the form of money though.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.


For example, I have friends who have spent their summers working on farms in foreign countries. The land owners provide them with a nice room and hearty meals in exchange for their efforts.

My friends get to travel the world. The farmers get an extra set of farm hands. Both parties are happy and get what they want with this non-monetary exchange.

Perhaps not all your problems can be solved working on a farm. Maybe you don't like chickens. Fair enough, I get that.

To put it simply, if you can figure out your true needs, you may realize that you require much less money than you think. You may even realize, like in the case of the farm exchange, that there is a more direct exchange to what you want that doesn't require an intermediary money step.

Before proceeding to the rest of the article, I challenge you to consider your needs.

  • What do you hope to obtain through money?
  • Do you really need those things?
  • Are there other ways to get those things that don't require money?

I don't care, tell me how to make money

Okay fair enough, money is useful, I agree. With that "figure out what you need money for" disclaimer out of the way, let's jump into different ways to make money.

Apply for a job

One of the tried and true ways of making money is to get a job working for somebody else. Ideally, get a job doing something you love.

You already know this though, so I'm going to skip going into detail here.

Create something of your own

The simplest way to make money on your own is to provide a product or service that a particular market needs. In the realm of business this is called "Product Market Fit."

I suggest your spend some time considering what you love to do, what you are good at, and what the world needs.

From there, you can consider how to monetize it.

There are plenty of examples of business owners who earn an income for what they love, what the world needs, and what they are good at.

  • The craftsman who sells his crafts on etsy.
  • The travel blogger who travels the world and earns income through affiliate commissions.
  • The chef who started a restaurant to sell her food to the world.
  • The executive coach who provides advice to others.
  • The gamer who live streams and earns money through donations and merch.
  • The YouTuber who talks exclusively about historic battles and monetizes their channel through ad revenue.

Okay, I could go on, but the point is you can monetize pretty much anything.

The trick is to figure out what you want to monetize. For that I suggest you read the other articles in the Ikigai series. The hard part is not the actual monetization, but having the courage to take the risk of creating something of your own.

So many people end up on career paths that they don't like because they are too afraid to try.