Business

Profiting from Solving Problems

Your Money

With Cherryl Hanson-Simpson

Thursday, July 17, 2014    

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As a money coach, I frequently get asked the question, "What can I do to make some extra cash?" Currently, a lot of Jamaicans are admitting that they are suffering from the effects of the economic crunch, and that they are looking for simple and practical ideas to help them increase their earnings.

Some persons can effortlessly think of money-making ventures, and they are always seen selling some type of product or service to their peers. Most people, however, often find it difficult to envision themselves doing anything outside of their regular jobs to earn extra income.

The good news is that creating independent income is a money skill that you can acquire, just like budgeting or investing. Once you are determined to learn the steps required, you can eventually become quite efficient at the process of generating extra money whenever you need to.

As I have discussed in previous articles about income creation, one way to make money on your own is by solving people's problems. One constant feature of our imperfect world is that people suffer from painful issues, and they will always look for ways to get rid of their problems.

Become a problem-solver

Entrepreneurial-minded persons thrive in challenging times, as they know how to create marketable solutions that address the difficulties that other people only complain about. What you need to do is to learn how to think like a problem-solver and use innovation to design answers to various issues.

One way to sharpen your problem-solving skills is to think of your own situation. Do you have a complaint that just doesn't seem to have a resolution? Instead of wishing that someone else would fix the matter, unleash your creativity and think what you could do on your own to make it better.

Very often, the problem you are encountering may be affecting many other persons as well. If you can design a workable solution, then you have an opportunity to help change the lives of numerous people, by packaging your product or service and offering it for sale to the public.

Money problems bring opportunity

My own experience with money problems demonstrates what is possible when you try to find answers to your concerns. In 2001, I was broke, in debt and tired of my situation. I began to research how I could improve my finances by reading books, surfing online and speaking with wealthy people.

As I discovered some of the basic principles of money success and implemented them in my life, I realised that I saw great improvements in my financial picture. Recognising that many other people had the same money problems as I did, I started sharing what I learnt with others.

Eventually, I determined that I could actually earn an income from packaging what I knew about personal finance in various ways that would satisfy different target groups of customers. Today, I am grateful that my money woes allowed me to find a satisfying business niche that helps many people.

No problem too small

Even if you think that your problem is relatively insignificant, finding a simple solution may have the potential to generate a lot of income once others find it useful. Let's look at a dramatic example of how one ordinary lady changed her fortunes by using her creativity to rectify her own shortcomings.

In 1951, Bette Nesmith had a problem. A secretary living in Texas, Nesmith was not an efficient typist, and the new electric typewriters made a big mess when she tried to correct her errors. Figuring that she could cover her mistakes instead of trying to erase them, she experimented with some white paint.

With her bottle of paint and a little brush, Nesmith found a workable solution to make her job easier. Before long, other secretaries began asking her for bottles of her correction mixture. With the help of some chemical experts, she refined the formula and began bottling 'Mistake Out' in her garage.

Increase problem-solving capacity

Within a few years, she patented her product and renamed it 'Liquid Paper.' A timely mention of her ingenious product in a 1958 trade paper led to a major order of 400 bottles. Nesmith was actually fired a couple of years later for using her own company's name when she was typing a letter for her boss!

After devoting her entire time to running her business, Nesmith experienced steady increases in production and profits. By 1970, Liquid Paper was selling 5 million bottles a year. In 1979, a year before she died, Nesmith's company, created from her simple solution, was sold for nearly $48 million.

So, if you want to develop your problem-solving skills, look inward at your own challenges and think of some options to tackle your issues. If you find a solution that works, consider other persons who may need similar help; you may just end up with a product or service that can generate income for you.

Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Read more on money and business matters at financiallysmartadvice.com and entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to cherryl@financiallysmartonline.com.

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