Economically Valuable Skills

Do not go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing – it was here first. Mark Twain, great American novelist.

If you want to improve your value as a businessperson, focus on improving skills directly related to the Five Parts of Every Business.

Not every skill or area of knowledge is Economically Valuable, and that is okay – there are many things worth pursuing for the sake of relaxation and enjoyment alone.  You may enjoy whitewater rafting, but it is very unlikely anyone will pay you to shoot the rapids unless you apply your skills for the benefit of others. Make the leap from personal enjoyment to Products and Services (discussed later), however, and you will find yourself getting paid – plenty of adventurous souls are willing to pay for rafting equipment and guides.

As Michael Masterson suggests in Ready, Fire, Aim, do not expect skills that are not related to the Five Parts of Every Business to be economically rewarded. Find a way to use them to create Economic Value, and you will inevitably find a way to get paid.

Any skill or knowledge that helps you create value, sell, deliver value, or manage finances is Economically Valuable – accordingly, these are the topics we will discuss in this book.

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Value creation

Make something people want … There is nothing more valuable than an unmet need that is just becoming fixable. If you find something broken that you can fix for a lot of people, you have found a gold mine.  – Paul Graham, founder of y combinator, venture capitalist, and essayist at

Every successful business creates something of value. The world is full of opportunities to make other people’s lives better in some way, and your job as a businessperson is to identify things that people do not have enough of, then find a way to provide them.

The value you create can take on one of several different forms, but the purpose is always the same: to make someone else’s life a little bit better. Without value creation, a business can not exist – you can not transact with others unless you have something valuable to trade.

The best businesses in the world are the ones that create the most value for other people. Some businesses thrive by providing a little value to many, and others focus on providing a lot of value to only a few people. Regardless, the more real value you create for other people, the better your business will be and the more prosperous you will become.

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