Scalability: Work Smarter Not Harder

Scalability: Work Smarter Not Harder

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Creator at Fly to FI
Cody is a personal finance junkie who constantly tracks his net worth with Personal Capital.

He also runs a Side Hustle Course that teaches others how to make $$$ outside of their day job through freelancing and blogging.
Hit me up!

There are two types of people in this world — those who control money and those who are controlled by money. If you identify as the latter, my goal is to transform you into the former by the end of this article.

This simple principle is the reason why the rich become richer and the poor remain poor.

This content may contain affiliate links. See the Privacy Policy for more information.

Human Capital

One of our greatest, yet least discussed assets is our human capital. Basically, human capital is our ability to do things to make money. If you’ve been reading my blog or listening to my podcast, you know that I’m obsessed with collecting new skills… and for good reason!

Once you understand how to synthesize human capital and new skills, your financial future will be bright, to say the least.

However, “doing things to make money” is not always the best route. We all know the guy or gal who tirelessly works 80-hour weeks, yet never seems to move forward financially. Do you know why?

Because they are trading time for dollars.

The most successful people have figured out a way to manipulate this equation so that they can earn money in perpetuity by front-loading the work.

Time Spent Working ≠ Money Earned

So how exactly do you build these systems to pay you in perpetuity you ask? The key is scalability.

The Art of Scalability

Learning how to leverage your human capital is easier said than done, but it certainly IS possible. Instead of rambling on in a philosophical tangent, I’ll outline some real-world examples of how this is possible.

Create an Online Course

No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, I would wager that you have a skill or possess information that a majority of the population doesn’t. I would also bet that there are curious people who are interested in learning your skill/knowledge. One of the best ways to capitalize on this is to create a course!

There are three dominant mediums in the course creation space: (1) Video, (2) Screen-capture, and (3) Text. Don’t worry, you can combine all three as well!

(1) Video

You can literally create a video about anything as long as there is demand for your skill. This could include playing the piano, fixing a bike, singing, installing carpet, and the list goes on forever. This is where front-loading the work comes in; you need to create the best video you possibly can.

In 2018, it’s easier than ever to create production-quality content at reasonable prices. Most of the newer smartphones have amazing video quality and uploading the videos to your computer is easy. However, if you want something a little better without breaking the bank, I’d go with the FHD 1080P. At the time of this writing, it costs $110 and comes equipped with a quality external microphone and a remote (useful for solo recording).

For editing, these are the best two FREE options, depending on your computer.

Mac: iMovie

Windows: Windows Movie Maker

(2) Screen-capture

While a video is great, it’s certainly not ideal for capturing on-screen tutorials (imagine someone recording their computer screen with a video camera…). This is where screen-capture software comes in. Screen-capturing is ideal for courses/tutorials on any type of software or online program. This could include Excel, WordPress, Audacity, etc.

My favorite screen-capture software is ScreenCast-O-Matic. Not only is this program extremely easy to use, but the basic plan is FREE. If you need additional features (e.g. longer videos) you can choose their Deluxe Plan at $1.50 per month or their Premier Plan at $4.00 per month to unlock them.

(3) Text

This medium has the lowest barriers to entry, which ultimately results in the highest levels of competition. However, there is still room in this space to make money, especially when text is combined with other delivery tools (video, pictures, etc.). Text-based courses could include academics, how-to guides, and more.

Almost everybody knows how to write, but creating a marketable product is the tough part. Use apps like Grammarly to check your spelling and grammar, format your content for visual appeal, and think about hiring an editor off of Fiverr or some other freelance site.


Depending on which medium you chose (Video, Screen-capture, or text) there are several different ways you can monetize your product.

Course-Specific Platforms

Believe it or not, there are websites dedicated to delivering useful courses! My personal favorites are Udemy and Teachable. I will quickly highlight the pros and cons of each.

Udemy – This is currently the #1 platform for connecting course creators and students. With 15 million users, you have access to people of all ages, backgrounds, and countries. Although you’ll have access and free marketing to a much larger audience, be aware that Udemy takes a ~50% commission. Sign up here!

Teachable – Unlike Udemy, Teachable does not have a thriving user base of 15 million users. If you want people to take your course, you will have to do your own marketing. However, Teachable will only take a maximum of 10% per transaction (depending on your plan). Sign up here!

Udemy is free to upload your courses (makes sense since they take 50%) and Teachable has tiered subscriptions (although a bare-minimum free plan is available). Decide which is best for you and start making money!

You can get other people to promote your product by creating an affiliate link! Read “A Step-By-Step Guide to Building Your Online Business” for more information.

Create Your Own Website

If you create your own website, you don’t have to worry about anyone taking cuts of your profit!

Please note that it will be much more difficult to create a course as “pretty” as a Udemy/Teachable course on your own… but certainly not impossible. Creating your own website is ideal for branding, dynamic product packages, and control.

Also, if you want to bring in sponsors or advertisers related to your course, having your own website makes this process seamless.

You can find a complete guide to setting up your own website here.

Other Platforms

Although I think the course delivery methods above are ideal, there are certainly other ways to make money.

YouTube – Fun Fact: You don’t need 1 Million subscribers to make money on YouTube. You just have to deliver quality content that users interact with. Of course, you can still earn money on a per-view basis by ‘Enabling Monetization’ on your YouTube channel but explore other options as well.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Find companies in your niche that want to advertise on your channel.
  2. Promote affiliate links in your video description (e.g. Link to the drill you’re using in your DIY shed video).
  3. Get Sponsored! If your content is good enough and specific to a certain company/product, they may consider a sponsorship.

Build an Online Business

I won’t go into too much detail here since I already published a massive post about this, but building an online business can be a powerful wealth-building tool. The first few years can be tough, but if you strategically build out systems to run your business, you can eventually eliminate the nitty-gritty and only focus on the big picture items.

For example, I’ve been putting in countless hours into my disc golf company for the past two years. Although we are doing all the nitty-gritty work now, we plan to scale and outsource things such as blog posts, fulfillment, and some tournament promotion.

Believe me, those “grind” years are not easy to endure and you may not be profitable, but eventually, your efforts should pay off. Since you focused on something scalable, your income can multiply while your working hours decrease.

Compare that to someone working 80-hour weeks at minimum wage. No matter what they do or how hard they work, the best they’ll receive is a $0.50 or $1.00 raise!

The Bottom Line

So why do the rich become richer and the poor remain poor? Scalability … Learning how to break the “Time Worked = Money Earned” equation. I hope that this post opened your eyes to all of the different ways to earn a scalable income online. Front-load the work and ride out the benefits in perpetuity!

I love helping people build businesses and learn how to control money. If you have a specific question please don’t hesitate to email me at flytofi [at] gmail [dot] com. If you’re not a robot you’ll figure it out 😉

Good Luck!

If this content helped you, please share! Website traffic helps to keep the lights on and allows me to keep producing helpful content.

Note: I am not a financial advisor or fiduciary. All the information presented in this article reflects my opinion. I am not liable for any financial losses incurred related to this content. My content is always written with the readers’ best interests in mind. I believe that my content is helpful and well-researched, but it is not professional financial advice. For more information, read our Privacy Policy.

8 thoughts on “Scalability: Work Smarter Not Harder”

  1. This is really getting my wheels spinning! I have thought of a solid two ideas just during the time I spent reading this! Thanks for putting out this amazing content, you’ll be the first to know what comes of this!

    • Thanks Cap! This post is right down your alley. I hope I inundated you with useful resources. Can’t wait to see you start raking in the passive income after you create some DIY videos! See you soon.

  2. Great post Cody! I appreciate the transparency. As someone just getting started in a few of these mediums, this will be a great reference post as I look into monetization and scaling up.

    • Thanks Cody (damn that’s a good name)! I’m glad you got some value out of this post. That’s why I do what I do! Let me know how everything goes and never hesitate to reach out for help with anything. See you in a week at FinCon!

    • Thank you for checking in! It’s honestly mind blowing to think of all the possibilities when you scale up. I hope you make it up to the next level! Keep crushing it.

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