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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I’ve decided that I want to be wealthy. I want to have enough money to live virtually debt-free, buy cool things without thinking about them, support my growing family, and secure my children’s education and our retirement. In short, I want to be financially independent. So I’ve got the why and I just need the how. I know that retail isn’t the answer—well, it’s not my answer at least.

As I see it, there are only a few easy, ethical ways to wealth that don’t rely on natural talents. Oh, there’s definitely more than that but I’m looking for things that are within my sphere of interest and don’t require years of re-education and re-training. My goal is to get wealthy doing something I love that isn’t going to require a paradigm shift. I’m not afraid of a challenge or hard work, but I’m also too old to completely re-orient my life. Once I become wealthy, then a lot of possibilities for such re-orientation open up because I won’t have to worry about making a living at the same time. I’m just tired of busting my butt (or wasting my time) doing other work for other people for their benefit. As far as I’m concerned, it’s high time that the revenue Bill Brown generates goes back into the pocket of Bill Brown.

Looking around the world, it’s clear that there are plenty of really rich people out there. If you want to get rich, look at what other people are doing to get rich. You can then discount the people who are unique phenomena, whose experience isn’t readily repeatable. I don’t think it’s possible for me to break into car manufacturing, for example, or create the equivalent of Wal-Mart, for another.

My first thought is software, naturally. It’s what I know and it’s what I do. There are tons of opportunities for completely new products and even more for innovations on existing products and markets. I am learning Java apace and I’ve already got enough other knowledge to get something started. By fruitful cooperation with others, I think I could secure what skills I don’t have. The difficulty is coming up with an idea that is within my domain of knowledge so that I don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time filling my brain with the vital minutiae of a new industry. Unfortunately, my entire domain of professional knowledge spans financial services and academia, specifically history. The former is quite lucrative though heavily saturated and the latter is virtually unsaturated but unremunerative. I’ve got some ideas, but I’m not sure that they’re the best and most viable options available.

My next thought is screenwriting and/or movie production. I am thankful to Francine Hardaway of Stealthmode Partners for the latter notion. I have always considered screenwriting an option because of my writing interest, but her blog entries settled my mind about independent films. It had honestly never occurred to me that a low-budget film might be a wealth-building tool. I’ve got one screenwriting idea, but it could only be effectively done on a substantial budget by a major studio. I’ve got zero film ideas, but I think that’s because I only first considered the notion this morning. Of the two, I know that screenwriting is the most sensible and least risky unless you’ve created My Big Fat Greek Wedding or The Blair Witch Project—and I don’t have enough confidence in my fiction-writing ability to believe that I could come up with either or those out of the gate.

Finally, I’m considering writing in general. It’s very difficult to wrap my head around this one because it seems lucrative and not lucrative at the same time. On the one hand, J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England. On the other hand, how many famous authors have died penniless? I wouldn’t do fiction at first since it’s not really my field. I hesitate to even ponder doing computer books because the one language I know best already has a bunch of books of every conceivable stripe written about it. I could write articles, I suppose, but I seriously doubt that those represent a path to riches. I could write history, but how many history books have you purchased in the last year? Still, there are many wealthy writers who also have the satisfaction of having written books—a value to which I’ve always aspired.

For maximum wealth creation, I’d probably like to do a combination of the above. It would also diversify my wealth portfolio so that a faltering market for software would be subsidized by movie or book royalties. Okay, I’m dreaming a little bit here but you never know what you can do till you try. I’ve just got to sit down and brainstorm ideas along the aforementioned three lines.