The last step resides in the concept of contribution. Even if you have no money, find a way to contribute to others. Look for opportunities where you can help those around you. Whether they're in need or not, this mindset will drive home the point that you have more than you need, even if you physically don't. Search for ways, every single day, where you can contribute either your time or your money to those who might be less fortunate, because that's the true essence of success in every form.
Become a dog walker if you live in an area where they are in demand. You can walk dogs for people who own dogs but who are too busy to walk them. However, this can be a demanding job, especially if you end up walking a few dogs at once or if you are walking dogs throughout the day, so ensure that you have the physical stamina for this type of job.
Spend your tax refund wisely. In 2007, the average American tax refund was $2,733. That's a lot of money! Can you use that money to pay off debts or create an emergency fund instead of blowing it on something that will lose half its value the second you buy it? If you invest nearly $3,000 wisely, it could be worth ten times that much in as many years.
But, let me conclude by emphasizing some obvious restrictions. I'm sure all of you are already thinking to yourselves, "But, but, but, he's forgot — but but but...."— Yes, let's go back to those but-but-buts. One restriction is, I mentioned at the beginning, "all other things being equal". Obviously the best organization is not going to help with an idiot as a CEO, and the success of Microsoft certainly depends, at least in part, on the unusual qualities of Bill Gates, as well as on the unusual organization of Microsoft.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
Now let's finally apply these lessons to comparing different industries or industrial belts within the United States. I mentioned that when I was growing up, Route 128 outside of Boston led the world in productivity for an industrial belt, but Route 128 has now fallen behind Silicon Valley. Since my book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" was published, I've spent a lot of time talking with people from Silicon Valley and some from Route 128, and they tell me that the corporate ethos in these two industrial belts is quite different. Silicon Valley consists of lots of companies that are fiercely competitive with each other, but nevertheless there's a lot of collaboration, and despite the competition there is a free flow of ideas and a free flow of people and a free flow of information between these companies that compete with each other. In contrast, I'm told that the business of Route 128 are much more secretive, and insulated from each other like Japanese milk-producing companies.