The most common question asked on this blog, interviews, and emails I get is always “if I had to start over tomorrow with nothing what would I do”. It’s a hard question for me to answer. There are an extraordinary amount of opportunities to make 100$ per day. I mean I can think of probably 50 off the top of my head. The problem is those just don’t work for us anymore. I am not a one-person operation anymore. We now have a large office with 5 employees, our own server racks, and many other expenses so that we have to make thousands per day just to break even. So messing around with things that make 100$ per day just no longer works for us.

It actually gives me a warm feeling to think I could go back to the days of working a 9-5 job during the day and look for these opportunities to make a few hundred a day in profit. Course if I was actually in that position again I would probably want to jump out of a window… as I did during that time. Just seems like such a easy position to be in.

The stresses of knowing many people depend on my ability to earn money are pretty intense and something I am still trying to get used to. But at the same time its very nice to be able to leave the business for a few days and know that I have very good people to keep everything going.
Within a year I hope to make this same post only whine that I have to make 10’s of thousands of dollars per day just to break even. The opportunities at that level I know will be even more competitive and challenging.

This post was inspired by listening to Warren Buffett talk a few weeks when he was asked why they don’t invest in smaller businesses anymore. His answer was pretty much that even the best small business just does not move the needle enough for it to be worth it to them no matter what margin of profitability. He said for them at this point that they need to buy a company worth 5-10 billion dollars to really move the needle at Berkshire Hathway. He also said that those opportunities are very rare and come along perhaps once every couple years.
So while I am not Warren Buffett or have the enormous pressures of 80,000+ employees I can relate to what he is saying. The more success you have in business the less opportunities are available for you.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

68 thoughts on “As Success Grows Opportunities Shrink”
  1. I’ve heard Buffett make that comment several times in the past. For now, my web projects are fairly small and part time, so it is hard for me to relate.

    However, as my investment portfolio increases in size, I’m starting to discover some of the small arbitrage plays that I make in tender offers and going private transactions hardly make the needle on my portfolio move. Thankfully, I still profit from those transactions by sharing my research with my subscribers. I wonder if eventually I’ll get some employees to take care of these research tasks.

    Shoe, when did you decide to start taking on employees?

  2. You could always look to add another person or two to act on your 50 ideas, thus bringing in an extra $5000/day that you are leaving on the table.

  3. I love posts like this, great points. You have to move the needle, or as a friend recently told me, remove the ceiling on your opportunities. Many of us get involved in projects or industries that have a ceiling, we just don’t see it in the beginning. That’s not to say that we can’t take profits from one endeavor and invest them in another (make money as a plumber and invest in real estate). With more success you may have less opportunities, but you also have a foundation of previous experience that can be more quickly applied it to your new endeavors.

  4. An extremely different way of thinking. I do this same thing sub consciously in my life, but not realizing it, or rather not thinking out loud.

  5. Did Buffet say he wouldn’t invest in small businesses anymore or just not in businesses that he felt weren’t scalable? Of course he would invest in a small business if it had the potential for huge growth, like Google in it’s early years (when it was a small business just breaking away from Standford). Look at a business that’s exploding now, like Twitter. Would he have not invested in that at the very beginning if he had choice?

    I don’t think it’s a matter of a business just being small. I think the point he was making was that he wouldn’t invest in small things that don’t look very scalable.

  6. Do you mind sharing some of those ideas on how to make $100/day?

    I think for Buffet, he is referring to the fact that even if a small business scale and makes 100% profit, it will still be peanuts in comparison to what he is looking for. Of course, companies like Google are extremely unique in which they create/dominated a new market with a new technology.

  7. Buffett wouldn’t look at any business right now with a market cap less than 10 billion. It’s just not worth his time anymore, even if the company could scale up. The potential for high growth is just too speculative for his investing tastes. I think he would only make an exception if he was certain a company would develop a global scale durable competitive advantage that led it to become a monopoly and also the company would have to sell at a ridiculously cheap price. A combo that is likely never going to happen for a hot young company.

  8. We have been hiring people for as long as I can remember. Just hard to find the right people… Ive literally hired probably 80 people in the last 5-6 years only 3 have made it. Generally I know in the first week.

  9. Its about time that you need to start some real ventures and businesses than “make money online” kind of projects. I am sure you are working on building ventures like AuctionAds.

  10. I don’t like to think in terms of “what would I do if” or “if I did it all again, what would I do differently” because they always end up being a mind f@#k. I don’t know if it’s really productive. I learned from my past and I’m in a different position today. That’s the only thing that will really give me a realistic view of what to do next.

  11. I can relate this with a site I have that markets and sales Screen room DIY Kits. It costs the same amount of time and effort to do a small screen room kit (less profit) as it does for a large job that has a higher profit margin. Like Buffet said, the large do not come around all the time, so we have to do the small screen room kits to keep it going. Maybe one day we can tell the customers that your job is to small and we will have to charge you an extra fee so we can make enough money as our large job……NOT………….. 🙂

    Nice Post Cheers

  12. here’s how to make money:
    Provide a good and/or a service that people need and/or want.
    Do it better than the competition.
    Get it in front of their face.

  13. This might by my first or second visit over here. But I kept hearing this “shoemoney” name. Glad I came in on this post. Just yesterday I posted about how I’ve finally gotten up to a $100 a day.

    So at the expense of sounding New Age; your words are inspirational. It ain’t really “reach for the stars” but it’s in that vein.

  14. Great post Jeremy, moving the needle indeed! The nature of the business beast is such that growth = more employees to handle the added workload. Having handled numerous small businesses over the years, from a car audio fitment centre through to a signage business through to an organic farming startup I have to say that this is where the real challenge lies. Employees will seldomly be as inspired, motived or driven as oneself, and transferring that energy is the challenge. When one is involved in more creative and less physically demanding endeavours it is easier to build a team spirit. Rewarding employees for good performance and a pro-active management style also helps here.

  15. Those $100 ideas might make a difference in somebody else’s existence, how about a biz idea brainstorm of the week? Or an internet auction of some of these ideas, sort of a random lucky packet?

  16. This post has a point; however, a couple of the comments are latching onto the wrong thing. The ideas are not the important part. Ideas are virtually worthless, there’s no reason to pay Jeremy, or anyone else, for them.

    Look for your own ideas and opportunities, then pick one and execute it better than anyone else can.

  17. so just to say, if you’re gonna go back to those old days wherein youre trying to find ways of making hundred a day, how much could be your startup cost?

  18. I would say opportunity’s widen when you have more money at your disposal and people running your stuff in the background you can always work on something else

  19. “The more success you have in business the less opportunities are available for you.”

    This is really a good qoute.

  20. If i was Buffett, damn it i would be investing in small businesses that i see got great potential!

  21. if you could post some of these $100 bucks per day ideas, it would be so so great!

  22. Thinking of the past always makes us to think more about the future, thinking how big we can become later, and actually yes, online business is not right now working with people. You have to think something big than having the ideas of making a few dollars a day.

  23. no not really! online business is still working only if you focus and and besides with the small change you make daily you can one day use it to develop the big project you want!

  24. Great post! One of the best for a while.

    From reading the comments, I can’t help but think some people are missing the point though… Just because Shoe can rattle off 50 ideas that would make $100/day doesn’t mean – at all – that they would be easy to implement. And that’s kind of the point — they still require time and effort to execute successfully. Now Shoe’s situation means he needs to take those same work hours to generate larger incomes, that will meet the demands of a larger organization. That’s why the opportunities are less common. So, if you’re looking for the $100/day ideas – just open your eyes – seriously they’re everywhere – but don’t for one minute think that that means they’re easy to implement and won’t require a lot of work. 😉

  25. MOST people who post here, or most places HAVE NO IDEA about the pressure of owning a business and having to make enough to cover “the nut” (payroll, taxes, insurance, rent, etc etc etc etc) each week/month/year. There is NOTHING like that pressure and stress. I have owned multiple business and it can be a crushing feeling some weeks, while also infinitely rewarding others.
    I would say that as you grow opportunities don’t necessarily “shrink”, but your ability to pull the trigger gets more and more cautious, because you have so much more at stake to lose (including the lives of others you employ)…..then just your self.
    I would say the biggest lesson I have learned (through failure) is to not grow beyond your current levels or to expand to quickly. You need to really have a plan and stick to it. Most failures are due to poor management and businesses that overextend themselves and have no operating capital for the slower times. If you are operating week to week, and barely getting buy, chances are pretty good that you will not make it. You just do not have the fall back money to cover unexpected situations that WILL occur and always do.

  26. You’re missing the point, Shoe. The question is not how would you start from scratch today to support a bunch of employees and a server farm. If you needed to start over today, and a hundred a day looked real good, what would you deem to be one of the most profitable paths to take. Game Facebook for ringtones? Adwords? Adsense? Clickbank?

    I assume if you had to start over the employees would be gone and you’d be back to shared hosting.

  27. I don’t think that is something you’d really want to think about…”Starting over with nothing”… I’m sure you’d be able to start from scratch and build it all up again though. It may take a different path than it originally took.
    ~Terry

  28. Great point! 🙂 And I think with that we always say that it is better to be at the second or third spot to always have room for improvement.

    Otherwise, if you are number 1, then there will be no more room to improve, less opportunities follows.

  29. DamnSmiley, am actually referring to those offers which tell you that you can make a hundred a day, but they dont work for long.

    Do you really think that people would imply those ideas to make long term money?

  30. Terry, time isnt the same as before. It is not at all possible to start up with nothing now..

  31. Sounds like you have an issue with your screening & hiring process if your hit rate is that low. Particularly as you scale up, it’s more & more possible that you’ll be hiring people who relocate to Lincoln to join your company.
    It’s pretty rough to get a job offer, move yourself & your family to a new location, start work, and then find yourself on the street.
    Job interviews are a dance, I understand that … the applicants oversell themselves, the employer makes the job sound exciting and challenging … there’s an artificial element to the whole process. But particularly for technical positions, surely you can put applicants through a real grilling to see if they’ve got what it takes before the hire.
    Many of the best companies have a very low turnover rate … Google and Microsoft are prime examples. That’s partly because they put applicants through the wringer first.

  32. Great points, those small ones are the roots and should never be forgotten though. I like to have a few smaller ideas lying around as a fall back… or if I get bored.

  33. Hello Mr Shoe, could you please do a post call it : “50 ways to make $100.00 a day online ” oh and thanks for all the good work you do.

  34. I really thought he was looking at it the wrong way. There are thousands of new opportunities that present themselves everyday now. Without money you can’t really do anything. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized” is the real motto…

    I could go dig ditches for $20 an hour or I could make $5,000 a day doing what I do, does not seem like a great arguement shoe… If you are not seeing the opportunities multiply you are looking in the wrong places. Being able to open a kiosk vs. being able to open a mall (hmmm….).

  35. Agreed, hostgator, 1and1 or whatever would be the first stop along with cj and godaddy. i guess he would have his wish and have 100 opportunities for $100 a day. Even being able to capitalize on ten of these is pushing a nice 6 figure salary…

  36. Of course it’s possible. It’s harder than it was – but definitely still possible.

  37. Thanks for always inspiring and lending your expertise!

    Peace & Continued Blessings

  38. I’m surprised by the positive response to this post – I found it quite depressing! You’re not happy that you’re in this position? I believe that you’ve achieved so much and you don’t want to throw yourself out of the window anymore so that’s got to be a good thing; right?

    I’d love to be in your position 🙂 …one day ‘Add An Image’ will take me there 🙂

  39. Hi Shoe. I think that the numbers dont get less, they are different. As you said more staff means more expenses, yet more expenses means more resources. And yes its really hard to find staff, most of mine have been with me for more then 7 years.

  40. You start out with little expenses, then it starts to grow, mabye you should go back to what you were. No, i don’t think you would, just keep improving. Mabye there is something there you missed.

  41. Warren is right. When you are small, you are nimble and can react quickly to changes. Conversely, when you become a giant, less opportunities abound.

    However, grabbing those couple of chances is good enough, moving the needle a little bit for Berkshire translates to a lot of profit (in absolute terms) for bit players like us.

  42. It can be a quite difficult to reach the 100$/day mark, especially for international webmasters ( Non- US )

  43. Shoemoney, I can’t stand you because I usually think that your posts don’t lead to anywhere. But this one is part of the very few that are insightful…

  44. Buffet is very smart in letting other people do all the work. Why work at bringing up small companies when it’s better to see which one gets to the point where its worth buying them? It’s a big waste of time for him to coddle businesses that have “potential”.

  45. What can i do that my Internet Project are growing up and i get more visitors on my website.

    Can you give me Infos what can i do for my website.

    Thanks Hans.

  46. As connectivity and cross-connectivity grows, the more complex and difficult it will become in the domain of online marketing.

  47. boy, luisana, that was one hell of a back-handed compliment! I’m sort of impressed.

  48. I would agree with you Goran, makes sense, If I free up my time by having staff doing what I do then I can do other stuff instead. There is so much I wish to do yet I just dont have the time to do it. Shoemoney, cool post.

  49. There are people making hundred an hour(a bit rare though) so its very possible to make hundred dollars a day for any international webmaster who is focussed with his plans.

  50. I agree with Chromate. And just because one person can make $100 with an idea doesn’t mean it’s right for you. You have to find someone you are passionate about and go with that. Everything is a lot of work and if you enter something just for money you’ll end up hating it and drop out before you make money.

  51. This is one of the best posts that I have read on your blog. Business related inspirational speaking really moves me. I hope that you continue to grow and that I know that you wish the same warmth for your visitors here.

  52. that’s kinda harsh to reply to that comment like that. He is obviously just making an observation. It must be nice to be at a point in life where you can respond to comments that you deem idiotic in a less than nice way. I know we all love the ShoeMan, but, the readers of this site are the reason this site has been so successful. I think the more successful people become the more arrogant they are. I don’t know you personally, and to make a judgment based on comment reply is unfair. Your readers usually make comments about the stupid comments left here by people that are not in the know. So, should it be up to you to make the snappy comment? I have always enjoyed your posts. I make no money online. But if i was trying to I think I would follow your lead. Keep up the good work. I am glad you have had so much success, just don’t forget most of your readers can only dream of achieving what you have accomplished, myself included. But with out dreams no success can follow. I am sure that I will get follow up comments… bring it on.

  53. I think that one of the messages here is that you should always think twice before turning a one-man-show into a business with employees. With employees you always have to run a bit faster just to pay the bills. It does not mean you make more money at the end of the month.

  54. Dats a very emotional & full of inspiration article, thanks Jeremy,,,Keep inspiring your Readers…..

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