How to Make Money Meeting People’s Needs.

We all have needs and wants. When a product or service can meet these we tend to buy. But what are these needs and wants? In general we think of the true needs as food and water and most everything else as wants. But why buy them? What do the products fulfill in us that makes us to want them? Well, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow has outlined some reason why. In a paper in the Psychological Review called “A Theory of Human Motivation” he outlined a hierarchy of needs. The most successful products will fill at least one of these basic needs.

 

Physiological

These are the most basic needs. These are food, water and air. The things the human body physically needs to survive as an organism on this planet. This need is so important that theme parks are able to charge $5.00 for a bottle of water. You’ll pay it because you need it. Grocery stores, farms, even the Coca-Cola Company meet these kinds of needs.

 

To make money meeting people’s physiological needs you will be selling food and water. Maybe air also one day. You don’t have to sell the bare minimum at exorbitant prices to make money. You could start a restaurant to provide special home cooking. In this country food is a commodity that is usually easy to come by. So to make money you need to sell to a lot of people, find a captive audience like the people at an amusement park, or offer something a little better like a nicer restaurant.

 

Safety

As long as a person’s basic needs are met they want to protect themselves. This includes physical security as well as things like health and money. This can be very broad and really comes down to helping people feel safe enough to sleep at night. A lot of products and services fall into this category. Gyms help people be healthier, home alarm systems, doctors, savings accounts and a college education can all fall into this category.

 

To make money meeting this type of needs requires you to find a way you can help people feel safer or become safer. This might mean helping them increase their own physical security. But it could also mean helping them set up systems to make themselves feel safer. This is some of what I try to do. I want to help people have financial security. That way they can be more protected if something happens. I try and do this through education both through this website and in person. So to make money you need to find a way to help people feel safer with education, products or services. Develop your solution and sell it.

 

Belongingness

Belongingness is the need to belong to a group. Most people’s first experience with this is their immediate family. This need is also met with social clubs, religious organizations, coworkers and any other group of people that a person interacts with. People want to be accepted as part of the group. As with the other needs there are a lot of products and services that meet this need. Many clubs and organizations are for profit organizations. There are also countless books, websites, and services to help people connect. Dating sites are one example. Facebook, Twitter, and linkedin are three examples of fairly recent major products to meet this need.

 

To make money fulfilling people’s need to belong you will be helping them connect with others and strengthen the connections. This can mean writing a book to help people connect with other people better like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, or facilitate connecting people like Facebook has done or by setting up an event.

 

Esteem

Once people are secure and comfortable in their lives they usually want to improve their standing in their community and improve their own self-image. Luxury products and services are one of the biggest examples of products and services that meet this need. People want to feel good about themselves and they want to look better to those around them. Many times this means owning a nice car or having an expensive suit. It’s not always frivolous trinkets though. This could also mean being good at one’s job or becoming an expert at something. Or solving problems for people. This is one of the reason that there are leaderboards for so many games. And scoring in general. It gives people something to strive for and a way to show what they’ve achieved.

 

To make money meeting this need you need to help people feel more fulfilled, or help them achieve more. Or even give them bragging rights. The first civilians to go into space, with services like Virgin Galactic, will be meeting this need.

 

Self-Actualization

This is where people want to achieve all they can. People want to reach their maximum potential. This is different for everyone, but there is considerable overlap between people. Once people have met their needs in other areas they frequently want to become an expert at something that is important to them. To reach that they will need the help of other experts. For example, someone that wants to reach the peak of physical perfection may turn to more extreme workout training like P90X. Someone that wants to perfect their skills at the violin will focus on music and training with accomplished musicians.

 

To make money here you need to help people reach their potential. Is there an area that you’re already an expert in? Help others achieve what you’ve achieved. Do you know experts? Facilitate connecting the people that want to learn to those experts.

 

All products fulfill some type of need. Otherwise people wouldn’t buy them. Even a weekend at the movies can fulfill a need. Many times the context determines what need is being fulfilled. Food may be bought at the movie meeting the first need. Maybe it’s raining. That would make the movie meet the second need. Going with friends can make the movie meet the third need. Bragging rights for going on opening day may make it meet the fourth need. Perhaps you made the movie and your ultimate goal was to get a movie into theaters meeting the fifth need. And all that is before even considering the entertainment value of the movie which could meet several of the needs.

 

You can’t always predict how your product will meet a particular person’s need. However, it is important to understand how your product or service meets the needs of your target customer. Develop it around supporting a need, and market it as a solution to that need. That way it’s easy for your customers to understand how it will help them.

 

Do you currently make money meeting people’s needs? What categories do you see as the best ones to target?

Creating Value for Others.

In my post From Zero to Millionaire I talked about 5 phases that you work through to go from nothing to having financial freedom. The exact order varies from person to person and the amount of time each person spends in each phase varies. The phases also overlap. But anyone that reaches financial security will pass through each one. The five phases are Make More Money, Save It, Pay Off the Debt, Invest, and Create. I talked a little about each of those, but there is a lot more. It would take books and books worth of information to truly cover each one well. Perhaps I’ll do that one day. Today I want to talk about the fifth one, creating value.

 

In a capitalist country creating value for others is probably the most common as well as the most respected way to make money. It is also the most common way to get rich. Creating value for others is a broad subject. While it can mean everything from teach kids a valuable skill to developing a lifesaving new medicine, for the sake of this post I’m going to talk about how creating value for others as a great way to earn money and develop a strong financial future.

 

Everyone has problems that they want to solve. Everyone wants to make their lives easier and more fun. People are willing to pay money to have their problems solved and to improve the quality of their lives. For example, people want to talk to their family and friends far away. So they pick up the phone. Someone designed and marketed that phone. They made money by selling that phone. Solving problems like this and developing solutions and options are how you can create value and make money doing it.

 

Most millionaires in the US are self-made. That’s because most millionaires in the US used their skills, time or money to create solutions to other people’s problems and then market those solutions. So how do you do that? There are two ways to approach this.

 

Look for problems to solve.

This is sometimes the most difficult, but usually the fastest way to make money. Here you look at problems that people have. Or problems that you yourself have. Then find a solution. Develop the solution and offer to sell that solution to help others. People will pay a fair price to solve their problems.

 

The most common way this is seen in the real world is when someone puts up a help wanted sign. They need someone to help them in their business. This can be a great way to start making money, but will rarely make you a fortune. A better long term solution is to find a problem a lot of people have and then find a way to solve it. This might be by developing a widget that you can sell to people, like the phone example above. Or it could mean finding a way to teach people how to do something better that will save them time or money, like when people write how-to books. This could also mean going in and fixing the problem for them like when you take a car to a mechanic.

 

Usually it is easier to start with something that already exists instead of trying to create something totally new. Look for a process that is inefficient, or a product that you think you can make better. Then develop your solution. Then market it to the people that are having the problem. As long as you charge a reasonable fee for your solution people will be glad to pay you to solve their problem.

 

Look at your skills.

This is usually the easiest to start with, but may be difficult to make money from. That’s because you have to find someone willing to bay for your skills. For this look at your skill set. Are you good at doing something like fixing cars? Or do you know a lot about a subject that others would be interested in? Or do you have access to a product that others might want to buy.

 

Look at what you already have and find people that have a problem that you can solve. If you’re good at fixing cars offer to fix your friends and family’s cars. Ask them to recommend you to people they know. Or if you know a lot about something offer to teach people that are just getting into the subject. This is one of the easiest ways to start making money from your hobbies. This could be continuing education classes, books, or one-on-one courses that you offer.

 

It doesn’t have to be serious.

Solving problems is the best way to make this work. People are always looking for ways to make their lives better. But you also don’t have to solve a specific problem that people are actively trying to fix. You can also develop something fun. Movies don’t generally solve problems, but they can make money. People want to be entertained. You can meet this by creating things that entertain or improve people’s lives in other ways. You could write a novel or even help people redecorate their homes. The point is that you don’t have to find a serious problem to fix. You can make money simply by finding a way to make people’s days a little better.

 

Why would people give you their money?

There are several reason people will be willing to part with their money for your solutions. Take these under consideration when you develop your solution. Knowing why people would pay for it can help you market to your customers.

Make it easier.

This is where most problem solving ideas go. Here you make things easier for your customer. This is one reason the microwave is so popular. It makes things much easier and faster to cook. It’s the idea behind products like the Swiffer and washing machines. They make it easier to do the things we already are doing. Do you have a product idea or a process that is easier than what people currently do?

Do it for them.

This is the idea behind pretty much the entire service industry. We need our cars fixed, our computers fixed, our mail shipped, our roads built, our houses cleaned, our bodies healed and countless other things. No one can do all of these things themselves. People pay others to do the things that they need done that they can’t do themselves. Even if they can do it themselves they may not want to or have the time to do it. This is a great place to come in. if you can do it for them you may be able to do it faster and cheaper for them than if they tried to do it themselves. For example, I can probably fix a plumbing leak in my house. However it would take me a long time and a lot of money on special tools and parts. Especially since I know I’d mess something up along the way. However, I can hire a plumber to come in and do it. The cost in the long run would probably be less and it would be much faster. If you have a skill that other people don’t have or don’t like doing you can offer your services to do it for them.

Do it better than the competition.

Most new businesses don’t start out doing something completely new or selling a completely new product. Many of the most successful ones start out doing the same things as their competitors they just do it better. An extreme example is when Henry Ford started making cars. Other people were making cars, but Henry Ford made them using an assembly line. That let him make many more cars at the same quality for much cheaper and much faster. Do you see a current business doing something that you could do better? Offer your better method.

Put them ahead of the joneses.

People want to improve. They want status. They want access to privileged information. They want to see and do things that others can’t. An extreme example of this is people that are willing to pay to get on a waiting list to go into space. Another example is someone that owns a ranch and charges people to go hunting on the ranch. Are you an expert at something that others want to know? Do you stay up to date on the latest information in a certain industry? Do you have access to something that other people would think is cool to check out? Share that access and give others some bragging rights.

 

Sometimes we don’t think of the things we have as special, but others do. For example, if you live on a lake you might not think it’s special to own a boat since most of the people around you have them. But tourists coming in might find that fun. You could charge for trips out on your boat. If you have access to information, locations or toys that others might not you may be able to charge people to have that access.

 

There are a lot of ways to solve problems. Solutions to these problems are valuable to people. Problems could be anything from a major medical condition to simply how to have an entertaining evening. Either way, if you have a solution you may be able to find someone that has a matching problem. You can use that connection to make a bit of money. If enough people have the same problem that you can solve then you could generate a lot of money.

 

What kinds of things to you see in your life that you can leverage to make money? Have you already, or are you planning to put a special skill to work to help you make more money?