Money Matters. And It Doesn’t.

Money Matters. And It Doesn’t.

Which of these would you rather do?

  1. Strip down to your undies and take public transit into the city.
  2. Twerk on live television with Teddy Ruxpin.
  3. Have your financial statements leaked online and then analyzed by experts on CNBC.

Actually that last one might actually happen. Thanks NSA.

Money is a sensitive and important topic. Before I go any further let me say this. I have lived at both ends of the money spectrum. As a poor foster kid in Oklahoma unsure of where my next meal would come and today as someone named to Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30 list of fancy pants entrepreneurs.

(Note from the editor: it’s true, Josh has been on both sides… don’t let the twerking with Teddy Ruxpin fool you. This guy’s been there, done that.)

The point is this: how you think about money profoundly affects how you act toward it and around it. Too many of us have myths about money floating around in our heads… and they’re harming us.

This is especially true of idealistic and creative folks that I know.

Money Myth 1: I don’t care about money, I care about the product.

This sounds nice — and I hear it a lot (mainly from good-hearted, well-intentioned people starting businesses centered around providing a genuinely helpful service).

It sounds good. It is en vogue to say that money is evil. It is en vogue to say that money is not my emphasis. After all, who wants to be in the 1 percent? Bane will destroy your Bat Cave and kill you.

The fact of the matter, however, is this: money matters.

Money is neither good nor evil. It is neutral. It is amoral. Like wood, or steel, it’s a resource. You can use that resource to build a variety of things. A bridge, a school or a tank. But you need that resource.

And it takes money to get your product out into the world to make a bigger impact. So if you really care about your product, you’ll care about the money side of things from that perspective.


“Money is not evil. It is amoral. Like wood, or steel, it’s a resource.”
  or copy + Facebook

Money Myth 2: More money will solve my problems.

To misquote Notorious B.I.G., some entrepreneurs think “Mo money, No problems.”

Some people think that if they could just have more money, all their problems would go away and their business would begin thriving immediately.

This is patently false.

Businesses grow because of disciplines and systems. They don’t grow because of money. Money is simply a magnifier.

It makes your brilliance shine brighter, or your foolishness look colossally stupid.

Here’s why: a lot of times you can compensate with money and use money to make problems appear to go away. I say “appear” because the problems are still actually there. The underlying business model has not changed. Your underlying business systems are still sloppy. The way you obtain and retain clients is still flawed. Money is just a superficial Band-Aid that hides the real problems with your business model.

Money won’t make you better. Training – frameworks – structures – accountability. Those are the kinds of things that make you better.

I learned this lesson most profoundly by listening to NPR’s This American Life with Ira Glass (Note: I am only using this example because it makes me seem erudite and classy to say I listen to NPR… I kid, I kid.)

In his program titled Nice Work If You Can Get It, Mr. Glass interviewed multiple lottery winners and asked them if their life was better or worse. Shockingly, nearly every single one said worse and they wished they had NOT won the money.

It would seem like having untold millions would automatically make your life better. But it doesn’t. It just exacerbates and magnifies who you are: what structures you have in your life, where you’re going and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Given to the right people, money can be an incredible magnifier of talent, dreams and vision. But given to a person with the wrong structures and paradigms and frameworks – it can be positively destructive.

Money is like a shovel. You can use it to build a bigger mountain, or dig your own grave. Uplifting, I know.


“Money is like a shovel: build a bigger mountain or dig your own grave.”
  or copy + Facebook

Money Myth 3: If I just do good work, the money will come to me.

Some lovely people believe if they just create a great product, it will sort itself out because the marketplace will value their creation and people will flock to it in droves.

Look. Mountain Dew is not qualitatively a better product then say, that generic “Mountain Mist.”

But it sells 10 times more.


Because it’s not just about having a great product. It’s about building and leveraging a platform. I have found the best way to ensure that I make money long-term is to figure out a way to insure that I am genuinely helping more people.

The key to making more money is to make things that are more valuable to more people.

For example, if you are an author, and you figure out how to write a book, and sell it to 10 people, and those 10 people to read it, then that’s good. 10 people have the power of your information and you have $100 or so in revenue.

But then, think about if you were able to get that book into the hands of 1,000 people. An economist might say, “Hey, that’s 100 times the money.” Which is true. But put another way, it’s also 100 times the impact.

imact and income science graph about money

Cash is merely a byproduct of the number of people you have effectively helped.

The bottom line is this: Money matters. And it doesn’t. Help people and make something you care about.


“The key to making more money is to make things that are more valuable to more people.”
  or copy + Facebook

Which money myth have you struggled with and what’s your mindset about money? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Meg Sylvia

    Great post! Life would be easier if money really did solve problems, but I think you are spot on about money being a magnifier, for better or worse.

    • Josh Shipp

      Agreed. It’s more about our thoughts/habits with money..

  • Jason Leake

    Thank for this article. I love the bit about money being a magnifier. I never thought about it that way, but now it seems so obvious and evident. Back when I was a teenager and of the mindset that money was evil, my mother told me money is just stored energy. You can used it how you want to.

    I like making (relatively) lots of money now. I don’t look to it for happiness, but I do love the freedom and choice it provides. I can put it back into the business, help someone, travel the world with my family, pursue a hobby, implement more decisions faster, whatever. But it really has had little effect on who I am as a core person.

    • Josh Shipp

      @jasonleake:disqus Great words man. It’s always good to hear from folks who are doing well and can share insight from that perspective as well. I like what Ziglar said, “Money won’t make you happy, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”

  • Josh Shipp

    @kimanzi:disqus You’ll learn a lot of that from these Fizzle Fellas™. May your goal be a truly brilliant product with superior marketing.

  • Paul Brodie

    I like it. Money certainly isn’t the problem. Not having any can be difficult, and having more than you are prepared to manage can likewise be difficult. I write because I enjoy writing and thinking and discussing ideas. I’d love to get paid to write, so I work towards that end. There is a cultural trend towards hating wealth and thats the pendulum swing of hating poverty. Society can’t make up its mind what it hates more, poverty or wealth. I think these myths are important to acknowledge and the simple analogies offered helped defeat the irrational, but common, way of thinking about money. Thanks, I find it helpful.

    • Josh Shipp

      @paulbrodie:disqus Great thoughts, no wonder people pay you to write :)

      • Paul Brodie

        Thanks, Josh. Unfortunately not enough people are paying me to write…yet!

  • refinedself

    Also consider the studies showing how happiness correlates with income. If I remember correctly, once once gets past USD$75 or $100K, the line levels off.

    We should keep in mind that extremes of income inequality in the U.S., along with great uncertainties in employment possibilities, create a lot of anxiety for people in the 99%, and encourage them to think that having a lot more money would in fact solve their problems.

  • Jason Love

    I think the hard part is I am starting to impact people, but having a hard time making money from it.
    On a side note, I am posting a great video below on motivation and people. At one point it talks about well paid skilled people give up their time to create open source projects. Why? There is no money and they could make money with that skill. Instead it is about impacting other people’s lives and being creatively free to work on those projects.

  • Joey Augustin

    This is by far, the topic that weighs most on my mind. I’ve worked so hard on my skillset to get to where I am, but debt hangs heavy over my head. (same old story, right?) I feel I am at a critical point in my life financially, and if I don’t mindfully start implementing systems, I will be on the month-to-month path for the rest of my life. What types of financial systems or habits do you feel most people don’t follow, but should?

    • Josh Shipp

      Hey @fizzle-09fb05dd477d4ae6479985ca56c5a12d:disqus I beg you to read the book “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. Very conservative, but as a guy who grew up with ZERO financial education…this book was a game changer for me when I was in debt/broke and continues to be my manual today.

      • Joey Augustin

        Thank you very much.

      • Evan Forester

        I second this resource, an extremely helpful tool! He also has a course called Financial Peace University that is quite helpful – doing it in a group makes a big difference as accountability always helps.

  • Chase Reeves

    Oh wow, you’re right!

  • Josh Shipp

    I concur!

  • Evan Forester

    This is a great lesson for a lot of the world’s governments – if you aren’t improving and changing systems then money will never solve the problems. I interned for a federal agency once and was shocked by how much money they were throwing at systems that didn’t work. Great post!

  • Gretchen Behnke

    #2 just blew my mind. I was really good at earning money working for someone else. In that world, someone else created the structures and frameworks — all I had to do was follow. I wasn’t happy but I knew what to do. I’m no lottery winner but I earned a lot and saved a lot before quitting my job. Now, that cushion is allowing me to stay stuck and is magnifying my lack of structure and discipline. Do you think it’s possible to over-prepare financially before striking out on your own? Or maybe it’s a symptom??

    • Josh Shipp

      @fizzle-faacbcd5bf1d018912c116bf2783e9a1:disqus Great question. You are clearly great at the discipline of budgeting/saving/etc. I would now encourage you to unleash your discipline (RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!) on educating yourself about setting up your own financial structures and frameworks. THEN as quickly as possible hire a money pro to hold you accountable to those structures you’ve setup. You can still be the biz owner AND have external structures of accountability.

      • Gretchen Behnke

        I have a money pro, Bob. But I never thought about using him this way! Thanks for this. And the Kraken thing.

    • Joe Commodore

      Gretchen, our family has done it both ways….once with and once
      without cushion. Our current adventures are with the cushion, however
      slight it may be, and the “cush” is still allowing us to scale like
      never before. (or is it the previous experience/mistakes…idk)

      A simple quick idea for you to find out if it is the cushion holding you back:

      “burn your own boats” and become really committed….
      take whatever part of your cushion you need to make it “not-a-cushion”
      and move it off limits and out of sight (2nd account, etc.) of your daily activities.

      Press PLAY on a new day tomorrow and see what happens…

      way, the only thing we all have is NOW to do something different than
      we did yesterday and find out where it leads tomorrow (I don’t about you
      but that is the most fun and exciting part).

      Best wishes and thanks Fizzle for this article, support, and the platform!

      Joe C.

      • Gretchen Behnke

        Thanks, Joe. Combining “burn the boats” with what Josh said about using a pro for external accountability sounds like a good plan.

  • Mark Insight

    Thanks for catching that quote Adam.

  • Nikoya

    Money is elusive. It was created for man to keep track of their talents, time and impact. You are right on it when you emphasized how it is important, it matters, but yet it doesn’t.

  • kentsanders

    Everyone wants to make something valuable, but the trick is, how do you know what people will value? Isn’t that really the crux of the whole thing–figuring out your niche and doing/creating things people will pay for?

    I can vouch that having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily help people long-term. True story: In 1999, my in-laws won $3 million in the Illinois state lottery. They made a lot of improvements to their house, the whole family took a couple of nice vacations, but in 2008 they lost pretty much everything in the financial crash. Both of my in-laws have passed away the last few years, but in the end I would be hard-pressed to say that over the long haul winning a lot of money made their lives better.

  • Intuitive Leadership Coach

    One of the biggest myths I’ve been hearing is “do what you love and money will come.”

    Huh, no, it might not.

    Doing what you love is a good thing, yes. But unless you have some kind of a business plan or at least a faint idea on how you’re gonna go about making money from your passion, money will not come.

    In this world where money is a necessary commodity, learning the art of money will help tremendously.

  • Kimberly

    Oh my goodness, this is terrific! And such awesome timing, I might add. : ) I started a daily abundance meditation practice about 9 days ago that I plan to do for 30 days. I thought I’d long since left behind the money beliefs of my childhood — such as Money Myth #2 here, and also that there’s just enough, or sometimes not enough, or that earning money is a struggle, and wealth (the green kind and otherwise) is not meant for everyone, but apparently I have still have some work to do, hence the specific abundance meditation practice.

    I realized the way I’ve been approaching my freelance writing business was all about limited beliefs around abundance, i.e., that I must work 10-12 hours a day, must market like a crazy person, must turn down all invitations to socialize until I fill my client calendar each month, etc. Very limited scarcity thinking, that. Not to get too woo-woo (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but when I focus on the enormous amount of benefits, resources and advantages I enjoy every day, the scarcity thinking usually evaporates.

  • David Pita

    I know right! I screenshotted that one and wrote it down :) That quote got me examining my business and the value I offer.

  • Will Lenzen Jr

    YES! This is fantastic. Thanks for spelling it out so clearly, Josh. You’re firing on all cylinders there! Too many live with the lie that “money is the root of all evil.” When we love money over everything else (like helping people) is when it starts to destroy us. While I firmly believe money is a tool, I have found myself slipping into the mindset of “build it and they will come” at times. Especially as I write my first book now there are moments when I have to literally stop myself from thinking it and remind myself to focus on the larger strategy focused on serving people. Good stuff, Josh. Cheers!

  • Paul Turner

    Some really great points here. Thanks.

  • Deb

    Many great insights or reminders! I really appreciate all the efforts you put into giving quality to your tribe. This is one of a few places that is true quality and specifics not just follow another link, buy another product. Thanks! I had, maybe have the three myths but are working hard to lose them or keep them lost. I agree with all these posts and thank you for the reference to The Money Makeover. Thanks for the down to earth advise. It is really true that “follow your passion and the money will follow” isn’t true if you don’t have other things in place and the correct attitude about money. If you aren’t producing quality or providing for a need or solving a problem.

  • Patti

    Every day I’m hustlin’, hustlin’…

  • Melanie Richards

    Great one guys! This book is a must read for anyone who is self employed Teaches you how to organize your finances so you can stop having those highs and lows and can stop stressing. So valuable!

  • Jade Nagaraja

    I would vote for it as well. Great point made.

  • Kulwant Nagi

    I used to think, “money is everything.” But here I came to know about the real importance of money.

  • Alina

    What about if you’re passionate about what you do the money will follow? Myth? Great article overall. Money is important, but it is a tool.

  • Teresa Capaldo

    I’m stunned by the number of successful people online telling newer emerging entrepreneurs “it’s not about the money” “don’t make it about money” That’s bullshit! Of course, most people have good intentions with their pursuits and care about what they make and work hard. The truth is, we all need it to survive and care for our kids.
    I have a son headed for collage in 4 years, damn straight I want and need money!
    Good article and I appreciate the notes about adding value to more people!

  • Thiago Toste

    Totally agree!
    Great article.

  • Dorian Monroe

    I have always believed that the impact that your product has and how much money you make are correlated. People have quickly become almost immune to buying into crap products, and they are able to detect a false product like a fox these days. Hence people will never see growth in their earnings unless they learn to produce high quality products.

  • Benj Tabby

    In my opinion having more money can either make or break you. If you are like the lottery winners you are likely to lose all of your winnings due to not being prepared or at least knowing what to do with the money you now have. However, if you are smart and know exactly what you want to do with your money, then I believe that you can make having large quantities of money a good thing.

  • Rayner Gorden

    As you said, money is just a resource that can either be used for good or bad. In most cases people who are given money without doing any work often do not appreciate what money can do for them, and they blow it on things that they do not necessarily need. Although, people who have worked hard for the money that they’ve earned, have a tendency to spend it much more wisely.

  • Willy Kerr

    It makes me laugh when people say that money is the source of all evil. Money in itself has no real properties… it is just a resource. How we choose to use that resource can be evil however.

  • Rebecca Frederick

    Money for me has been a great problem solver and generator. It seems that when I discover a new way to make money that involves fairly little stress, something comes along and complicates things massively. Mo’ money mo’ problems for me

  • Jess Jayden

    For me personally, money has never really brought me any problems as such, but challenges that make me aware of how to better look after what I have earned through hard work.

  • Tamera Louie

    I never have understood why people take part in the lottery. The chances of winning are so small and even when they do win their lives are often much worse than they were prior to winning…

  • Sawyer Mandy

    I think that people really underestimate the the power of actually selling a valuable product. Trying to sell a piece of junk will always be much more difficult than selling a product that genuinely helps people, as you cannot get repeat sales with junk, but you can with high quality products that work.

  • Grayson Thane

    My experience with money has been fairly strange… I used to want to do anything and everything in order to get enough to purchase my desired products, but once I did accumulate enough money to do so I no longer felt that it had any true value.

  • Glenn Lynnette

    Great points made in this article. Money will not make you better, training and frameworks will.

  • Thorburn Vera

    I used to think that money would be the ultimate solution to all of my problems, but when you actually have money you realise that in fact money is definitely not everything.

  • Gabe Heaven

    Since I was very young I have always wanted to make a lot of money, as I thought that it would mean that I would have an easy life. However, I now realise just how wrong I was…

  • Geena China

    I think that your message with this post is spot on. Money both matters and does not matter. But the most important thing is to help people wherever you can, and provide high quality products instead of trash.

  • Josh Shipp

    Goodness No :)

Up Next:

How You Feel About Money Impacts Your Earnings (FZ040)

In this episode Corbett says, flat out, “the way you think and feel about money is affecting how your business is performing.” Listen along as we each reveal our own thoughts about money. Be gentle, I’m actually embarrassed by my own answers… don’t know why.

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