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If you Had to Make $500 by the End of the Week, How Would you do it?

02/24/2015 05:23 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015

A few weeks ago, I tried a new method of making money. I built a simple, 21-day course containing quick, daily actions anyone can take to build stronger connections and then put it up for sale. More than 700 buyers later and I was completely floored. I did not expect such a response.

That little experiment reinforced something I've always known, but often forget: Most of us are sitting on a gold mine of useful ideas and skills that could quickly be turned into cash if we were motivated enough to do something with them. In fact, it's almost impossible to get to adulthood without learning something you could turn into a business if you were so inclined.

But, of course, our lives are usually filled to the brim each day with other thoughts, responsibilities and daydreams. When things are comfortable, it's easy to ignore opportunities to improve.

That's why, years ago, I created this little game for myself. Whenever I find the time to think about money, I ask myself: "How could you make $500 by the end of the week if you really needed it?" The answers range from "Why aren't I doing this right now?" to "I will never do this, but it's good to know I could if I had to."

You can play, too. Here are the rules.

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Image courtesy of Kristina Alexanderson

Imagine a scenario where all your money is gone/inaccessible and you desperately need to make $500 by the end of the week for... something.

Also imagine you're either too proud to ask someone to just give/loan you the money or you don't know anyone who could just hand it over it to you.

What could you do to earn $500 in the next seven days? What skills do you have that others would pay for, and how would you get those skills in front of people who could pay you?

Right now, as I do this exercise myself, a number of things come to mind. I could...

  • Create a new mini-course and sell it.
  • Offer business consulting and sell it to my list of contacts who own small businesses.
  • Do freelance web design for my friends who need websites or advertise on Craigslist.
  • Do minor car maintenance/repair, iPhone/computer repair/tech support for friends or advertise on Craigslist.
  • Start giving guitar lessons and pre-sell a package of lessons.
  • Buy some concert tickets on credit and re-sell them at a higher price when the show sells out.

There are probably more if I wanted to be more creative.

I'm not going to actually do most of the things on that list. You probably won't do most of the things on yours. That's okay; it's not the point of the game. The point is to make the list and recognize the opportunities.

If you've always felt like someone else is in control of your income, this game can be incredibly liberating; it forces you to write a new story about what you're actually capable of. It's harder to make excuses when you know they aren't true.

I made my list. What's on yours?

Tyler Tervooren founded Riskology.co, where he shares research and insights about mastering your psychology by taking smarter risks. For more, join his Smart Riskologist Newsletter.

This article was originally published at Riskology.co.