Are you making money?

This morning I read in one of my business magazines that it costs the government 1.67 cents to make a penny.  Somehow that struck me as totally absurd.  How could they possibly justify making pennies when each one costs them 1.67 cents?  Now you and I are not the US government.  We have to make our businesses make sense.  We can’t just tax our customers more to cover our mistakes and inefficiencies.

(I might add here that even if you are an “employee,” you are in business for yourself.  You must provide a valuable service for your employer or you will not continue to be paid.  If it costs your employer to have you around, he should release you to go bring value somewhere else.)

Another way to “make” money is to use sophisticated copy machines to reproduce counterfeit money.  Of course, that’s illegal and will land you in prison.

Actually, we don’t “make” money – we “earn” money.  When you hold a dollar bill in your hand you should see it as a certificate of achievement.  You provided a service or product that someone valued more than that dollar.  There is nothing shameful about it.  You had to serve someone to receive that dollar. 

So it appears there are numerous ways to get money:

  • You can make money the way the government does – going in the hole on each penny you make.  Or just take it from someone who has gotten it honestly.
  • You can make counterfeit money – and risk going to jail.
  • You can beg for money or expect luck to bring it your way – expecting free money from the government, the lottery, good fortune, or the charity of those who earned it.
  • Or you can earn your money by providing a valuable product or service to someone else. 

Governments and churches re-distribute wealth; they don’t create it. Giving people money they did not earn only destroys their self-esteem and leads them to an unhealthy dependency.  The only real win-win solution is to teach people how to earn money.  Earning money creates wealth for all involved.  Earning money is a privilege – and in the process we have obviously provided a service for a boss, customer or client.

Don’t try to “make” money.  Just be clear on your unique value and people will gladly give you their money.  If you understand this principle you will understand that wanting wealth is not greed – it’s looking for more ways to be of service to those around you.

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14 Responses to “Are you making money?”

  1. Peter Says:

    I could be wrong about this, but I think the cost for making a penny is somewhat justified by the fact that it remains a penny for as long as it’s in circulation and coins last quite a bit longer than bills. It’s still not the best deal and the government is looking into lower-cost materials to make coins now (at least I think I read that). I agree with the general premise of making money through work – just wanted to comment on the justification for coinage.

    Also, it always costs an employer to keep someone around. The question is whether that person brings value for that cost.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  2. Paul - Make Money Life Says:


    I really like the classifications you made in this article. I have tried explaining similar thoughts to friends of mine, only to have them fall on deaf ears. While I don’t like to hang on words as they tend to be taken too literally, the concept behind your explanation of “earning” money is great. Thanks for the article.

  3. Nicky Mann Says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thank-you! I enjoyed your blog and it made perfect cents (sense!) excuse the pun! We are rose growers in Australia and as an employer and business owner I couldn’t agree with you more – that employees need to add value to a business (or earn their keep as I like to put it) otherwise they need to move on. Labour is 65% of our costs here in Australia whereas in Zimbabwe where we used to produce roses until our farm was taken by the Zimbabwean government – our greatest cost was freight where as labour was very cheap. In a first world country – it definitely seems to be a lot more difficult to earn money than in a third world country – doesn’t that seem to be quite ironic!

  4. inbodyexperience Says:

    “Governments and churches re-distribute wealth; they don’t create it. Giving people money they did not earn only destroys their self-esteem and leads them to an unhealthy dependency. The only real win-win solution is to teach people how to earn money. Earning money creates wealth for all involved.”

    I have to respectfully disagree to some extent. Some hard working people find themselves in hard times because of circumstances that are beyond thier immediate control. Accidents, illnesses, hurricanes, an extreme increase in your homeowners insurance if you live in Florida, etc. pop up and surprise you just when you think you are getting ahead. A hand up, not a hand out, is needed in some of these instances.

    A true hand up helps people get out of the circumstance they are in and in turn they usually are willing to help those people who may end up in the same circumstance.

  5. ablurd Says:

    hello,well i read ur post but somethings should be looked upon that is the area were u said government and churches dont creat wealth but reproduce it is not interpreted that way as far as i am concered.the churches here in Africa teaches wealth procedures just as u have said and also establish the fact that the prosperity of the members is what there aim is centerd with.i dont have much time time i should have discuse more i just said i should stop by.but u have a great article here.bye

  6. Peter Says:

    @inbody – I think that’s kind of what Dan was saying, even if he didn’t finish the thought. People need to earn money and sometimes they need help getting started. However, after they’ve gotten started, they should move towards personal responsibility rather than keep asking for more and more. That’s something we need more of in our welfare state – getting people up and out of the system rather than keeping them there.

  7. Ben Says:

    While I agree with the intent of your message, I’m not sure I completely agree that money can’t be “made.” While it is certainly true that money is “earned” through typical employment or through the payment for work performed or in exchange for a good or service, money can be “made” (as opposed to earned) by receiving a return on investment. For example, if I purchase a piece of real estate, pay someone for their time and labor to make improvements to the property, and the property is then worth more than the combination of the costs, money and value has been created. In addition, if I invest in the stock market and the price per share of a company increases, no actual work has been performed for the money to be created. Obviously a sale would have to take place in each of the two examples cited for the money to be realized, but it did not take additional action from the initial activities for money to be “made.” Anyway, thought I would throw in my two cents. Thanks for your always insightful thoughts and God bless!

  8. MartinfromOz Says:

    Like Nicky I too am from Australia but unlike him I was born here rather than migrated here. Good to see other people from outside the US here too.

    My background is in accounting & I run a small business bookkeeping franchise. The Accounting equation within the Balance Sheet of Assets less Liabilities equals Equity or put another way all debits & credits should be equal. In accounting terms one person’s income is another person’s expense. This applies whether the money is earned, lent or donated. A Profit & Loss Statement & a Balance Sheet is a snapshot of a business at a given point in time. It has little to tell you apart from giving balances of the business’ cash position. Cashflow is more important than these snapshots unless the Profit & Loss reflects cash in & out only. Accrual accounting includes the cash received & paid out but may also include income earned but not received & payments owing but not made. Those who understand accounting know that this doesn’t mean that expenses & income are necessarily accounted for twice but is a common mistake to make which is why bank & other account reconciliations are common procedures to highlight & correct these errors.
    I could make further insights but due to time constraints I won’t.

  9. Wendy Says:

    Thank you for the very significant reminder that wealth is not greed. . . it is the love of money that is the sin. That is what scares me. I am afraid that I will be too much like I have always been when the Lord blesses me with money (which I am hoping one day he will bless my business). Now, I know that donating money to good causes is wonderful and I am a ademant tither. . . giving is always better than receiving, but earning money is better than making it. This message truly hits home while I am trying to develop my business. . . I need to understan my worth so I can earn what I deserve. Thank you Dan as always!!

    Love, In Christ!! Wendy

  10. Josh Williams Says:

    I really enjoyed the part about work isn’t a bible curse. But I do have to inform you of the PENNY!!! Though it does cost the Mints 1.67cents to make a penny the Mints are the only government ran agency that is ran on its own profits(NO taxpayer money). The reason being: Quarters, dollar coins, other minted coins cost very little of the face value of each to manufacture. In fact the mints make an annual profit of over 10 billion dollars. Though the penny may be losing money there still in fine shape.
    Thanks Dan for your books & blog

  11. Candi Says:

    Thank you for this little article. After owning our own business for 14 years, profitably so, we moved to another state, sort of a change of seasons. When I landed my current job I was so thankful and felt immensely proud to have skills and a work ethic that would benefit my employer. Even though I’m a former business owner I was grateful someone recognized that I had something to bring to their business.

    Having been on both sides of the desk, both have their advantages and disadvantages but both require ethics and discipline to be able to do an excellent job. The fact that I’m employable, grateful to have work for my hands with the ablity to bring excellence to my position increases my self-esteem and brings peace to my sleep at night.

    Though sometimes it’s necessary to “hand out” help when help is due, I’ve also seen so much abuse. Many need to learn when and when not to help. Many need to step up to the plate and help themselves.

    Thank you, Dan, for your wonderful newsletter. I am always encouraged by it!!

  12. Vick Says:

    “Just be clear on your unique value and people will gladly give you their money”

    That’s what you think. I serve people all the time especially my family. My sister is the only one in the family with money to pay for my services. I have no job at present and she rips me off almost every time I do something for her. She always wants me to paint, trim, do her hair or something and sometimes I have to even borrow gas money to get to her house but it is the only means I have to pay bills at present.

    I have several gifts and give freely but I also have to make a living. I trust the Lord to provide and He wil usually come through in another way but people “gladly giving me their money”…….that has happened only a few times in my lifetime.

    I have given people money for no reason at all when I had money to give but that statement is not the rule in my life.

    OH, by the way I have never been on welfare and I am a very hard working conscientious worker, getting paid or not I do a good job because I feel I am also working for the Lord.

  13. No marketable skills Says:

    I have no career-related experience (two long-term menial dead-end jobs) and no marketable skills, and no money to go to school to gain skills.

  14. Chad Says:

    Simple but powerful. Funny how something like that can really change your perspective.

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