Aug 30

Make money by being different

Did you know you can make money by being different?

Frankly, I think that ‘being different’ is an essential quality in most of the people who have made lots of money.

They’re not the usual run of the mill. They’re often eccentrics. They’re certainly not the sort of people who are too bothered about what other people think of them.

They do their own thing, make their own minds up and often go against the flow.

So, do you feel like a misfit and you just don’t belong? Good. You’re halfway to making some serious money! Here’s how.

Sometimes it takes a bit of courage and the willingness to wait to see the results but generally being different (even being eccentric which we Brits are supposed to excel at) brings the best rewards.

Here are just a few of the ways in which you can make (and save) money by being different.

Do you have any of your own? Great, let me know in the comments below.


Invest in stocks and shares

Stocks and shares app

When it comes to investing you can definitely make money by being different. In fact, you could say it’s the best way, particularly when it comes to investing in stocks and shares.

Actually, the very act of investing in stocks and shares is a ‘different’ thing to do in this country as the vast majority of people are too scared to touch the stock market. Daft, I say.

The way most people invest in the stock market (if they do at all) is to copy everyone else. They buy when everyone else buys (when the investment is at it’s most expensive), and then they sell when everyone else sells…in a panic…when the price has dropped through the floor. Not surprisingly they lose money.

The best thing to do is to read up a bit about investing (here’s a place to start…and here) and then put your money regularly into an easy, cheap, simple product like index-tracking funds. When you see the stock market plunge, while everyone else is panicking and selling, see if you can put extra money in right there and then because that’s when it’s cheap and you’re going to get more for your money.

The ideal is to buy when everyone else is panic-selling and sell when everyone else is buying and the price has gone up. If you can do that then you’re laughing (Warren Buffett, second richest man in the world tends to do that). But even if you don’t have the time or knowledge to watch the markets constantly and time your buying and selling right, you can do the next best thing by just regularly putting money in every month so that you get both the ups and downs of the market.

Importantly, though, don’t sell just because the market has dipped or even crashed. If you hold on while everyone else is panicking you will be all right.

See here are what index-tracking funds are and how you can invest in them. You can do it online or just phone them up with your credit card details any time. It’s easy but surprisingly few people do it. Go against the crowd – put your money into a stocks and shares ISA rather than a Cash ISA and leave it there for years. It should gradually grow more than your Cash ISA would have done.


Put your money in peer-to-peer lending platforms

Sending money via smartphones

I am a Zopa lender even though many are scared of the concept.

It’s a ‘peer-to-peer’ lender which means that it puts money directly from lenders like me into the pockets of borrowers like…well, me.

In other words, it does the same as the banks (they take money from savers, give them a tiny bit of interest and then lend that money out to borrowers at a much bigger interest rate), but there’s less of a difference between the amount that savers make and the amount that borrowers pay.

From what I can see, the returns are far better than average savings accounts. Generally they’re more around the 4% mark than the 0.5% you’re going to get with high street lenders.

There is risk attached to it, though. The peer-to-peer lenders like Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle are much, much smaller than the high street banks, with far lower cash reserves which means that if we have a big recession and thousands of people take their money out,that could be disastrous for them.

The money you put into these lenders is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) while it is waiting to be lent out, but as soon as it is lent out it is out of that scheme.

However, Zopa has a ‘slush fund’ which will compensate you if someone reneges on their payments. Also, the money you put in is spread among many, many borrowers so that only a small amount goes to any one person at any time.

It’s worth checking out at least. See our article here on peer-to-peer lending or ‘social lending’ as it’s also called to see if it’s something you would like to try with a small amount of your savings.


make money being different – Set up your own business

Young florist

When I graduated it was pretty unusual to start your own business from the off like I did (I’ve never had a proper job…just did my own thing the whole time).

Now, though, loads of graduates are doing it straight out of college. Mums at home are setting up their own business and third-agers are getting a new lease of life by running their own thing and putting two fingers up to ageist employers who say they don’t want to employ them.

Running your own business can be hard but it gives you great independence, freedom and satisfaction as well as a variety of activities. You do need to be able to go your own way and, yes, be different!

We have lots of ideas for businesses you could start in our Make Money section and we have lot of tips on how to run your business here.

You can do it the easy way and just start it as an extra-curricular activity that you do in the evenings and weekends, only turning it into a full-time business once the money is clearly rolling in. Or you can go mad and just set it up from scratch like I did and then do a few money-earners on the side to keep you going until the business itself makes a profit.

Find out about 15 strange ways to make money here


Be a model

Male model

Do you look at bit different?

Do you have wrinkles on your wrinkles or studs on every orifice? Do people laugh when you smile?

Good. Sounds like you could be a model! There’s a good way to make money being different!

As you can see in our article here about how to make money as a model, you don’t have to look like Kate Moss to make money with your looks.

People who look unusual, odd, old, pregnant, fat or just plain ugly are in demand for all kinds of modelling jobs. Model agencies like Ugly are always on the look-out for unusual, and ‘different’-looking people for their books. Give it a try.

Another thing you can do – particularly if you look a bit ‘interesting’ – is some life modelling…that is if you don’t mind getting your kit off. You can get work in art colleges and art groups around the country, generally for an hourly rate. It’s not huge money but not bad cash just for sitting around as you can see in our article here about being a life model.


Follow your passion in your 80s

Senior woman playing guitar

Speaking of being a model, what’s to stop you…yes you…becoming a model for the first time in your 70s or 80s or 90s?

Take a look at the Fabulous Fashionistas, a selection of women in their 70s-90s who cut a dash fashion-wise. Two of them at least are models, one became a model in her 70s.

What’s to stop you doing something you’ve always wanted to do? Convention? Family? The voice in your head that says you’re not good enough?

Throw it all out. It genuinely doesn’t matter what age you are, it only matters what your interests are and how willing you are to pursue those and ignore whatever, or whoever, would try to dissuade you.

Look at the Cuban-American artist, Carmen Herrera, who was painting for more than six decades before she sold her first painting at the age of 89. Now, at the tender age of 101 she has an exhibition dedicated to her work in a major New York museum and her paintings are in collections around the world.

If she can do that at that age, what could you do? You can make money being different from the boring types who just sit at home watching TV.

Read about 7 more weird ways to make money here


Get winter things done in the summer

Plumber fitting new boiler

You can definitely save your self a packet by going against the season and getting things done in the summer that people usually only think of in the winter.

So, for example, when the sun is blazing (not sure when that is, given our usual British summers, but you know what I mean), that’s the time to think about getting the boiler fixed or replaced. If you wait until December when it’s freezing and you want the boiler on 24/7, the price will shoot up because the plumbers are all in high demand.

In the summer, though, because most people aren’t bothered about pipes or boilers, there are really good deals around for plumbers’ time and for boilers and other heating elements. Check out our article on how to save money by getting winter things done in the summer.

You will find that companies like British Gas and nPower offer discounts on installing boilers in the summer so it’s worth seeing what the deal is. Mind you, it’s often even cheaper to go to a local plumber (one that is recommended by a friend or neighbour) and seeing what deal they can do you if you buy your own boiler and just pay them to install it. That will probably be even cheaper.


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3 thoughts on Make money by being different

  1. It does though depend on the clasification of lender you choose to lend to. They are classified from A*, A (low risk) through to C (higher risk) and Y being the young market. You have some control over this in that you can choose for instance A, A* market but at lower interest rates.

  2. That’s probably the worst case! However, it’s highly unlikely because only about £10 of your money is lent out to any one person so if you put £1,000 in it’s unlikely (though possible) that all 100 people would be bad debtors. In the four years that I have been a Zopa lender I have only had one debtor fall down on me so I lost about £9 on her.


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