Are You Letting Money Rule Your Life?

Are You Letting Money Rule Your Life?

“Money rules my life, and I’m okay with it.” – Kevin O’Leary, Dragon’s Den

I have a bit of a problem with certain advice flying around these days, specifically the type of stuff that gives you backpats about hating marketing and sales. I think we’re all too supportive of people who dislike pitching and promoting – we should get a little more cold-hearted about things.

We should slow down on reading the stuff that discourages you from becoming true money-hungry marketers. There’s nothing wrong with marketing to make money. In fact, we should read more about how to be a little more greedy and rake in the cash. Forget the advice that teaches you how to build warm fuzzies with your audience – it isn’t getting you very far.

That’s not to say warm fuzzies aren’t useful. I’m all for building good relationships, of course. If people don’t feel good about you or your business, they won’t buy from you. Fail.

But I think we’re being led astray will all this soft back-patting that tries to avoid true marketing and that focuses instead of feeling good about business. I think we’re walking down the wrong path. I think we’re spending too much time trying to avoid the truth about what we really need to do:

Make money.

Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den says it best: “Money rules my life – and I’m okay with it.”

He’s not concerned about hurting feelings. He doesn’t let squidgy emotions about marketing get in the way of what he wants. He focuses on cold, hard cash, and making more of it.

He lets money rule his life – and that’s smart.

When you let money rule your life, the whole game changes. You focus on improving your bottom line. You cut expenses and stop wasting time. You move forward with your plans and chase wealth – which is ultimately, freedom.

With money, you do great things. You invest. You make mistakes. You learn. You get better at your game. You improve your life. You improve the lives of others. You create impact and build legacies and change the world.

You can’t do that if you’re feeling guilty about making money.

The true beauty of letting money rule your life is that you take control of it. You don’t let the bills get the best of you. You get smart about spending and bringing income your way. You make better choices. You gain the confidence to say no to bad ones. You learn that there’s high-level value in chasing the almighty dollar.

And in mastering it.

The more money you have, the more goals you can achieve. And the more goals you achieve with the money you have, the more you can help other people achieve their goals. You accomplish everything you set out to accomplish…

Without worrying about money at all.

I think that’s fantastic. When O’Leary uttered those words, I grinned. I wrote them down. I even started to plan a tattoo… but then I decided that’s just a bad decision. Buying the tattoo shop and making it rock was way smarter.

(See how that works?)

So all this talk about guilty feelings with marketing, having difficulty selling your services, hating to pitch your products… I don’t know about all that. None of it seems a logical, business-minded way of creating wealth, freedom and success. And wasn’t wealth, freedom and success the very reason you got into business?

No? Oh. Maybe it was just to create a bunch of warm fuzzies. Carry on.

There’s truth in what I say: Look around at people who aren’t marketing or who soft-pedal it. They focus on making their audience feel good instead of working to convince them to hand over dollars.

Are these non-marketers rich? Are they wealthy? Do they have true freedom, the kind that gives them all the time in the world? Do they create businesses that truly change lives in a meaningful, impactful way?

Maybe some do. For the most part… meh.

When I look at successful entrepreneurs who are the top of their game, I don’t see any of them feeling awkward or shameful about marketing. They use their cool, calculating mindsets. They focus on business – whether it’ll turn a profit, whether they can cut expenses, and how much revenue they can bring in.

They don’t hand out daisies and hugs. They don’t care what anyone thinks of them. (In fact, I’m pretty sure Kevin O’Leary is a hated hardass.)

(But damn. Is he ever rich.)

Successful entrepreneurs value money – highly so. They understand that money brings them everything they could want and more. They know that money brings them freedom and the ability to create change in the world. They understand that money is a key factor in the entrepreneurial life. It’s everything.

The Dragon’s Den guys? They freakin’ love money.

Think about what money can do. It sustains, supports and stimulates economies. It creates jobs and lets people learn new skills or apply ones they already master. It solves problems and builds legacies around the world. It improves the quality of life for not just one person but many, all through a beautiful domino effect that comes from dollars spent and dollars earned.

So why be ashamed of making money? Why undervalue its potential? Why feel guilty about working hard to create it? I say let it rule your life. Want it. Value it. Desire it. Love it. Lust for it. Chase it. Protect it. Create as much of it as you can.

And set aside the silly “I don’t like marketing” squidgies. They aren’t useful. In fact, they’re a bit silly – they get you less of what you want and more of what you don’t. (Unless you like being poor, that is.) It’s silly to scorn sales and marketing, because all that does is prevent you from achieving wealth and your goals.

So turn that on its head. Embrace marketing. Exhalt in sales. Love money. Forget about worrying over what people think of you and your efforts to create income. Stop focusing on warm fuzzies and start building up your bank account.

Let money rule your life… and be okay with it.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. No, and I feel that I am a better person for it. “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    • I have the urge to continue that saying with, “And by the love of poverty may you be blessed,” but then that’d be a little pretentious of me. Especially considering I’m responding to this comment on a computer worth a small fortune…


  2. I am absolutely a capitalist and I’m okay with it. I know I’ve made friends uncomfortable by asking questions about their money process (don’t care about amounts, but the *how* of their money). I particularly pick at people at nonprofits — in my opinion, nonprofits need to make more money than anyone else, so that they can easily afford to turn around and put that money where it will do good.

    There is no shame in letting money rule your life.

    • Yeah, it’s very interesting to see how others set up processes to earn income. There’s a non-profit I work for and it’s VERY interesting – they totally hate to ask for money and then nearly have to beg three times a year for funding.

      If they were more firm and businessminded, they wouldn’t have to beg!

    • I love Thursday’s reply. I am a true capitalist at heart too but I was seriously all about the money – and never ashamed of it – but I gave up too much when I worked for the corporate world because of money. I am not willing to do that anymore (but I still LOVE money!). Now I want the money but on my terms. Money IS not the root of *any* evil just as religion is not and neither are guns. PEOPLE make decisions what to do about their attitude and actions about money, religion, guns and everything in between so money in and of itself is SIMPLY a tool. Period. We do with it as we fit. And it quite simply brings much comfort and security to all of our lives and we all know it, whether we admit it or not.

  3. Hallelujah to that!

  4. James

    I agree with you – up to a point. Your blog is a part of your business – and you’ve got products and services to sell, and that’s totally cool. And I think that’s the message that you really want to give out – that you should create products and services that you’re proud of, and be upfront about selling them.

    Taking the ‘Let Money Rule Your Life’ to its extreme though becomes potentially damaging. When you start employing questionable tactics to make extra sales….or the combination of using questionable tactics with low quality products.

    There’s a balance that needs to be met IMO. Sadly the ‘make money online’ space is filled with people who do let money rule their life – and their marketing is all about making the sale. And with little focus on quality. It’s no surprise to read that the refund rates of these guys is pretty high.

    Bottom line – create quality, create repeat buyers, don’t be ashamed of selling quality. My two cents.


    • There’s no way I advocate unethical practices – that’s a whole ‘nother ball game completely. What I do advocate is being smarter, more efficient and less emotional about making money… in a pleasant, ethical manner 🙂

  5. Wow! Thanks for putting this so boldly into perspective. I am in an emotional market, but you are so right. As much as I want to help people, there is not much I can do without money to support my cause. Being more aggressive about making money will generate the revenue I want and need to be able to do the good things I want to do.

    Well said.


    • “Helping people” often gets in the way of making money, but money can help people far more. It’s a bit of a catch-22 that I think many entrepreneurs and businesses need to realize and come to terms with!

      • That is a great way to look at it. I agree. Part of success of providing great solutions to those that become your customers, but the reason most people start an online business is to make a profit.

        You can help those that purchase your products by making their lives easier as well as using the money you make to help those around you as well.

        I think it’s possible to have a win, win, win mentality for you, your customers, and others, but I’ve also seen people who think marketing and selling is evil.

        How many people can you help if you don’t make any money. The answer is probably not many including yourself. Thanks being so open in your post. I feel it is needed more often in our field.

  6. Thank you, James. I’m a health care provider and I want to help people AND make money. If my business flounders, I can’t pay my bills and I close my practice and go work for Starbucks…not helping anyone that way.

    And lately I am seeing the same angst you mention above about people not wanting to sell. There’s a lot of ‘feeling’ they express about selling. Like, “I don’t feel my clients want me to be salesy,” “My sense is that they won’t want to get 3 emails a week..”

    To spin a phrase, “There’s no feeling in marketing…” Meaning, building a business based on how you feel about it is a quick path to nowhere. I tell folks to test their hunches and go from that data..only to get eye rolls and more stories of struggle…

    As you said in an earlier post, you either have a business or a hobby and businesses make money….

    • You’ve been an interesting entrepreneur to watch, especially because of your ‘helping’ career! I’m very glad you’ve been able to differentiate business from emotion… and look at how many fellow practitioners you’ve helped build and grow THEIR careers!

      Now that’s helping one another, I’d say!

  7. Do you really think advocating greed is the way to go? Do you not think our society isn’t self-centred enough? The challenge with the “$= awesome argument” is that as a society we have decided that money is the way to be happy, when many recent studies have shown that a North American who makes $50k per year is no less happier than one who makes $300K per year.

    Make as much money as you want, but be clear on what you think it will bring you. After winning, lottery winners are not much happier than they were before they won.

    Change the statement to “I love money, I love what I do and I love using my wealth and skills to make things better”.

    • Hey Trevor,

      It might be good for you to reread the post again (and again), taking your time to see what I actually said. A quick skim makes it seem I’m advocating greed without heart and that money is happiness.

      But someone who actually spends time reading the post carefully will see that happiness isn’t money. Money can help you BE happier by freeing up your worries and concerns over paying the bills so that you can go do more fulfilling things with your life.

      Also, the 50k compared to 300k on a happiness basis is a bit of a straw man and red herring – happiness isn’t simply about how much money is in the bank, and I never said that 🙂

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. “Do what you love and the money will follow…” How many have followed that mantra and are still waiting… (and frustrated, angry, stressed and rationalizing their meager existence!) No doubt balance is required– there is that sweet spot between O’Leary’s greed and begging for alms — but for most of us the hardest words to utter are “Do you want to buy my product?” We cloak that question with so much confusion it’s no wonder most people haven’t a clue of what we’re really selling.

    • Yeah, I agree that doing what you love doesn’t always equal money. For sure, if you can turn your passion into a real business, then you’re rockin’! But otherwise… just a hobby.

      What kills me is the people who invest tons of money on learning how to have Friends, Followers and build communities… when they really should be building their business. Make money first. Friends later.

      (Within reason…)

  9. Hi James,

    Thanks for writing something that goes against the current trend. I’m a big fan of Dragon’s Den and your post is a great good reminder to get to work and keep my head down to create the wealth I am capable of.


    • Ha, I always write stuff that goes against current trends. Nothing more fun than thinking, “Huh? Wait… that makes no sense…” and then writing about it to turn everyone around!

  10. What a refreshing point of view, James! When I first read the headline, I thought you were going to be proposing that we all go for the sackcloth and ashes approach, and that money was the root of evil. I totally agree with the philosophy that, the more money you have, the more wealth you can help to generate for others – and if you want to achieve that through your own business, you need to market yourself. I used to feel nervous about “putting myself out there” because it didn’t seem a very British thing to do!! But having done poverty (relative), I’ve got over that now, as I realised that nobody would be able to benefit from what I can offer, if I didn’t tell them about it! And, as you say, you can still build a relationship with people through marketing.

    • I hear you on the cultural difficulties. Canadians are loud, but … usually when beer and hockey is involved, not marketing and sales.

      The best way I’ve found to keep myself nicely conditioned towards banking up is to remember that I’m not trying to avoid poverty… I’m trying to chase money. The first keeps you JUST out of debt, and the second keeps you in the cash 🙂

  11. Hi James,

    I find this post interesting, controversial and tricky. Well honestly, I’m quite the emotional type myself. I genuinely agree at some point but there are other points I cannot agree. Many factors to consider and I have a different point of view, that’s why. But to cut the story short, I get the message your’e trying to send and amazingly I “feel” your intentions are pure (your intentions why you came up with this “controversial” piece). More importantly, I would also want to impart that for me, all these thoughts can basically boil down to one essential idea. Balance. I read one comment post mentioning this and generally we have the same thing in mind. And another comment mentioned above was “quality”. I can also relate this to responsibility. How can a person prosper in terms of money when he does not know how to be “responsible”? Therefore giving “quality” products or services are the best ways to be responsible or accountable to ones business. Plus being responsible is NOT being greedy. 🙂

    Other than that, I cannot let money rule my life. However, I can rule the money I have in my life (multiply it, generate more of it and etc) because I know its value and importance.

    Anyway, this is a very “stimulating” post! Everyone just cannot resist posting what they think. 😉


    ps. can I place my name as Floricel @ Starting an Online Business. I really hope that’s okay with you. Thanks so much James!

    • We all define vague terms like “quality” in various and specific ways, so I get where you’re coming from.

      And it’s great you’re ruling the money you have! May you have much more of it in the future!

  12. Hi James,

    Money is always a controversial topic. And asking for money even more so.

    Once I aligned my own personal X-factor with my service, it started selling itself. I show up, take a keen interest in potential clients, listen a lot, be myself, show examples of my classy design work and most everyone says they want to work with me. And the post sale feels just as good to them as the pre-sale. I don’t get weird on clients.

    Most folks are not in touch with their personal x-factor. Without it they don’t know what they’re really enthusing about. To me, marketing is just being enthusiastic about my x-factor. Many people see marketing as trying to sell people something they do not want.

    The money conversation gets complicated because how much is enough? More than money, folks need a reason to get up in the morning.

    Good topic, G.

    • Heh, how much is enough? I’d say there’s never enough! I used to believe that I only needed “so much” and that was fine enough for me… until I realized that once I had everything I wanted to be happy, I would’ve liked some extra to do other things in life.

      So yeah! The more the merrier!

  13. This is a great kick in the rear and so true. We needn’t shy away from the desire nor need to make money. There was a time in my past before I become one of those money-driving marketers that I was an aspiring commercial photographer. I invested A LOT of energy, time, and yes, MONEY to hone my craft and get it out so people could buy it. But more often than not, people looked at photography as something I wanted to do for FUN so I wouldn’t mind doing it for FREE (or very little) for them since they didn’t have the budget.

    My response was “great – how about you tell my bank that I can’t pay my mortgage because I’m doing this FREE job for you.”. That usually created a very awkward silence.

    The flip side, is if you give your value away for Free, that’s how much people respect and value you it. Sure, you need to demonstrate the value you offer – and free offers play a role (see Chris Anderson’s book FREE) but the exchange of money also places importance on the product / service for both parties.

    Thanks for this post!

    • Yeah, being proactive about charging is a very GOOD thing. “Happy to do this, and I estimate X dollars.” That usually saves everyone from an awkward moment and shows them where you stand!

  14. Ok, so here is a question for you, or perhaps another topic altogether.

    What is your take on someone who is very good at what they do, but they know without a doubt they are completely hopeless at the marketing and sales? And networking is not in this equation, that I am very good at.

    I know, from a few years experience, that I will probably never grow a pair large enough to excel at marketing and sales. So my thoughts are to hire someone who is. I suck, I know I suck, and those who have been able to negotiate me down know I suck.

    The short of it, if you can’t handle this piece yourself with any success what are your thoughts on bringing on someone who can?

    Very curious.

    Great post. Not at all what I thought it was going to be.

    • The challenge with a lot of entrepreneurs, business owners, creative-types is that they’re very good at what they’re good at, and lousy at a lot of other things. Marketing and sales isn’t an after thought to being in business; it is how the business remains in business… so you better be good at it. But the ‘you’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘you’. In fact, if you suck at it then it shouldn’t be ‘you’.

      I’ve learned that the hard way… trying to learn sales and marketing, getting good at the theory but still sucking at the delivery. Then I started hiring S&M types… only to discover I was hiring clones of myself disguised as S&M pros.

      Just just because you’re good at building relationships doesn’t make you sales person. And just because you can sell retail, doesn’t mean you can sell outside of the comfort of a retail environment.

      If S&M is the lifeblood of a business and you suck at it, then get someone who is good at it to do the hiring for you. They know what to look for.

    • My first gut instinct would be to say, “Why do you feel you’re lousy at sales and marketing?” Sales and marketing is just a skill set, after all, so if you learn the skills, you can ace it!….

      …but that takes confidence. So my second instinct would be to suggest talking to someone like Peter Shallard (the Shrink for Entrepreneurs), who can help smash those false beliefs (“I’m lousy at this”) and help you replace them with USEFUL beliefs!

      Cheaper to pay once to fix the confidence issue than to hire someone long term! 🙂

  15. From experience in sales, whenever someone walked in the store, we’d get into a conversation with them. Sometimes it ended up in them just browsing the store looking at the stuff. Other times we’d swap stories because they were a fellow scuba diver already and just needed new gear. And newbies would drink the stories we’d tell and get all the gear they needed. Ka-ching.

    Most of it had to do with just conversing with the person, finding out what they needed and meeting that need. It’s a lot easier in person. But yes, money does rule because whenever you create a goal, it usually has something to do with money. Nowadays it has to because we all have to live in a house, pay for groceries, gas, and deodorant. Everything is based around money and some relationships fail if there’s not an adequate supply of it.

    • I like to set goals beyond the house and groceries. That way, you have a series of goals to meet to get to the mortgage and groceries… and once you achieve them, you STILL have awesome goals! That way you’re not left thinking, “Well, what next?”

      Conversations are useful, btw. For all the reasons you listed 🙂

  16. How very anti-Jerry Maguire.

    Of course, your ideas are quite inline with Rod Tidwell’s money philosophy.

    Was I the only one perplexed by the mixed messages that film sent out? Renée Zellweger beats out Kelly Preston? Seriously? In what universe?

    Good article. Makes ya think.

    (For the record, I’m in the Rod Tidwell camp too. Show me the … something or other.)

  17. Your post made me recall this book on the laws of attraction, that you have to love money to have money. I think that people have a love-hate relationship with it because we’ve been taught by different dogmas that ‘money is the root cause of all evil’ – and simply put, money = evil. This should not be the case as having the money to build a successful business is not evil and you’re even helping other people earn a decent living…so they can become like you as well. Of course, anything extreme is bad and if your business runs on the cost of slave labor and other nightmarish stuff, that’s when you can say that money is indeed evil and perhaps, the one running such business may be the ‘devil incarnate’ himself ( just a metaphor ).

  18. In my experience, people who say that money isn’t important, or that it shouldn’t be your main goal, or that they just want to help people feel good, haven’t lived without money. Money *is* important to happiness because it allows you to pursue interests, become educated, and all sorts of other things. It is possible to be happy without money, but having a little (or a lot!) sure does make it easier.

  19. Hells yes! Finally somebody with the ballz to stand up and speak the truth. And he’s a WOMAN!!

    That feel good don’t worry about money crap creates more suffering than we can even imagine.

    Awesome article.


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