Personal finance · · 6 min read

How to Make Money Young: Start a Business, Invest, Take Risks!

As I turn 40, I discuss about the mistakes I made when I was young and how to make money early on by taking risks, starting a business and investing.

How to Make Money Young: Start a Business, Invest, Take Risks!

I’m 40 years old. Most probably I’m way older than you watching this. I may not have your youth, your energy or your charming looks. Most importantly I don’t have the time. But I have the experience to tell you how to make better use of that time and avoid some of the mistakes I made while trying to make money early in my life. And as a result, I bet you’ll end up much better than me.

In fact, betting was all I did in my twenties. Betting on sports, betting on cards, betting on stocks. And I did good but If I could turn back the time, I honestly wouldn’t have done any of that. Before I tell you what I would do to start making money 20 years ago, there’s still a lesson to be learned here from my betting. And that’s…

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Taking risks

You’re young. You’re not expected to run an empire by your thirties. In fact, expectations are usually restricted to getting a degree and finding a job. And even if those don’t work out, you’ll still be accepted by your friends and society. What if you’re still spending your parents’ money? Who doesn’t? Ultimately speaking though, you are normal, very few people in their twenties have had success. And that’s because you can afford the one thing older people such as myself cannot.

You can afford to fail!

I began by counting cards at the blackjack with two thousand dollars that I had saved as pocket money. What if I failed? Still had plenty of time to recoup the losses. A normal job by my thirties would make it up in two months or less. So I took the risk to possibly lose my pocket money. Good for me, I did make money. And given the risk was big (losing my entire capital), so was the reward, as I made ten times more! Small capital, big risk but the return looks huge percentage-wise.

Then I tried sports trading with the money I had made from blackjack. Again, what if I failed? I would have lost 20 grand in the worst scenario. Probably I would have quit earlier, but for the sake of the discussion let’s suppose I burnt into all that money. I was still 25. I could return to my studies. I could get my engineering degree and join the workforce. A year’s work as an engineer living at my parents’ home would easily net me 20 thousand.

And let’s pause at this moment and let’s admit something: EVERYONE and their mom expected me to FAIL. My own dad told me that I would lose money in the casino as so many people do. My friends didn’t believe me that I was making money by betting online. They thought I would fail and go back to university.


Fortunately for me, I didn’t. But you can. You can try all kinds of things to make money and no one will have hard feelings for you, unless you lose their money which I would strongly recommend against. Try to make it on your own.

And another thing I would not recommend is any kind of gambling. Perhaps I’m the worst person to convince you for that. But I believe making money by betting or playing cards in your twenties may seem like lucrative but it’s one of the riskiest things to try. True, the reward can be exponential given the small capital young people have access to as I demonstrated earlier. But there is another path I would follow to make money if I were young again. And that’s…

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Starting a business

Preferably a web business. We live in a great time where the playing field is leveled more or less. If you have internet access, the world is your oyster. You can build anything you think will make you money. Anything that will produce a profit. Will create a profitable, sustainable business.

What if your first attempt fails? Try another. And another. Each time you fail you gain the one thing I have that you don’t. Experience.

And eventually, something will work out. Something will bring revenue, will cover your costs and begin making you money. And then you go to sleep and you wake up with money that was made while you were sleeping. And that will be your a-ha moment.

And then you delegate all that boring stuff you do for your business. By outsourcing work that you used to do yourself, you buy something that has begun running out for you.

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You buy time

Time to improve your business. Time to refine details. Time to meet partners and discuss expansion. Time to start another business. Time to live your life the way you dreamt to.

Eventually, you’ll discover that a phrase you have already heard in your teens is a lot more meaningful in reverse. Time is money, right? Well, most importantly though, money is time.

As you’ll be approaching your thirties or forties and certainly much older, you run out of it, because there’s something that you have an abundance of right now. And that’s health. And as health will deteriorate as you’re aging, that translates into time on planet earth. Time to enjoy it.

So money will buy you that invaluable asset comes the time (pun intended). So here’s another tip.

Don’t spend your money!

Again I’m the worst person to be giving this tip. What did I do in my twenties when my risks were paying off? I bought an expensive car. The worst depreciating asset. Guilty as charged, I made the worst use of my money.


I still have that car. It still drives me wherever I want to go in an elegant way. Have I enjoyed it? Certainly, although I’ve driven it for just 60,000 kilometers in the last 15 years! But there hasn’t been a single day all this time that I didn’t have doubts or regrets about spending the money to buy that car.

But, what should you do instead?

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat

Invest your money

Now that you have failed a couple of times and gained experience in the process, managed to build a profitable business and bought time for yourself to learn new stuff with your passive income, it’s finally time to invest your money. And given you have both time to learn investing and money to invest you’re in a much better and stress-free position to make smart investments.

Compare that to investing your last two thousand dollars on blackjack when you were 23 and suddenly everything makes sense now, right?

So by the time you are my age, you’ll have a business or two generating cash flow and profits, along with plenty of investing capital to provide for your expenses. You can now retire peacefully and go and play some cards to find out if you would have made it. I bet you won’t even try since you’ll be too busy enjoying your last 40 or 50 years of life. And as for me and I guess for most people in their forties watching this, retirement still looks a long way from home. Yet, it’s never too late to follow the entrepreneurial path to make money. Just don’t fail!

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