When you were in school, did anyone ever teach you what making a living really meant? I bet not.

Did your parents ever pull you aside and give you any advice on the subject? Again, I’m betting their advice was limited.

Instead, you probably heard things like:

  • Get a job
  • Get a degree because you’ll earn more money
  • Go for that promotion, it suits you

Or any one of dozens of other phrases that led you down the path and to the position you are in today.

In today’s society, we don’t teach what the concept of making a living really means. Instead, it’s a hidden concept that we assume kids will pick up as they move from school to the workforce, and “fall” into a position that pays well enough to be able to get the things in life they desire most.

But how many people “fall” into the right position? Not nearly enough.

For example, a recent study showed that 36 percent of Gen Xers have trouble paying their mortgage or their rent. Just over 42 percent of this aging population has less than $50,000 set aside for retirement. And when it comes to happiness, a recent Gallup poll showed that only 13 percent of workers state they are fully engaged and happy with their positions.

That doesn’t sound like we’re making headway with the “making a living” concept.

So we dream.

What if we make a fortune instead? We all know we can do that in a variety of ways.

  • Win Powerball
  • Start the next Facebook
  • Invent the next “pet rock” sensation
  • Marry a millionaire

Reality check.

Powerball creates around 500 new millionaires each year. Only a handful of people will ever create a business of the magnitude of Facebook, or invent something with the same sensation as the “pet rock” craze. And while some people marry into a family worth millions, those are still the stories princess movies are written about; they aren’t the norm.

Which leaves the rest of us dreaming of making a fortune and not doing a very good job at making a living.

What should you have been taught about making a living when you were little? What should we be doing instead?

What You Learned About Making A Living Is All Wrong

Discover what you want to do

Instead of putting your energy on where you currently make money today, put your focus on what you enjoy doing instead. I run across a lot of people that they say they have no idea what they’re passionate about. So I start asking a few questions.

Would you like performing heart surgery on a patient?

I usually get a “no way” and a detailed explanation of how they could never get past the blood. Okay, on to question two.

Would you like to be the captain of a boat, crab fishing in Alaska?

Again, the “yikes, no way, that has got to be the scariest job ever” or something similar will spill out of their mouths. They relive the latest episode from the Deadliest Catch in great detail as they explain why they would never do that.

Great. Now we have two things you don’t want to do. Tell me something you truly like to do instead?

All of a sudden people begin seeing their likes and desires in a new way. Because when you see all the things you can eliminate from your “no” list, your “yes” list starts looking pretty good. And chances are it’s not very far from where you are today.

Quit dreaming about big payoffs

“I would love to start a new company but I have no idea how to start the next Google. Where would I get funding? How would I get investors to like what I do?”

I hear all kinds of stories that follow this line of thinking. And here’s the thing; for every one Google currently in business there are millions of small businesses doing very well for the people running them.

If you are currently earning a $50,000 salary from a job you don’t like, what would your life be like if you created a $100,000 lifestyle business that allowed you to work from your kitchen table, and do business that motivates you and makes you happy every single day?

By dreaming about the big payoffs instead of focusing in on improving your current lifestyle, you’re missing out on a world of opportunity. Because in most cases it wouldn’t take a huge amount of work to replace what you’re currently doing, and do something you can really enjoy instead.

Figure out what you really need

I need money. I need someone to guide me. I need a business name. I need a tax id number. I need equipment. I need a website. I need…

A lot of things hold people back from developing a six figure business. And its usually things that can be found quite easily when put into step by step format, and budgeted into your current lifestyle.

For instance, you can head over to a place like GoDaddy and buy into a system that will help you develop a site quickly. If you want it a little more customization, you can head over to WordPress.org and start designing your own WordPress site. Buy a domain name for around $10, add in hosting for around $10 a month, and you have your very own website that you can control and help you build and grow into the future. Not sure how to add a theme or customize it? You can hire a designer to help you with the details, and you won’t have to pay more than a few hundreds dollars for a look that’s unique to you.

I need a website is vague. Purchase a domain name is a checkable to-do item that can easily be completed in a matter of minutes. Instead of leaving things vague, convert them into things you can actually do, and you’ll quickly find yourself moving forward

Learn how to make it so

Look, none of us are born with an entrepreneur gene. But that doesn’t make starting up a business and building it to a six figure level a difficult thing to do. You just have to have the desire to do it more than other things currently in your life. Like watching television at night. Or working overtime on Saturday’s for a job that may or may not be there a year from today.

The easiest way to start is by doing one thing at a time. Define what’s next on your to-do list as narrowly as possible – you should be able to complete a task in a relatively short period of time. And ask questions along the way. If you don’t know something, that’s okay. There’s always a whole bunch of people around you ready to help you and guide you along the way.