Making money in the recession – a story and ideas

Recession Art

A long-time friend of mine sent me this email yesterday. I found it depressing, but that’s probably because we’ve been friends for many years.

Hi Phil

Listen. I want to make money online like you do. We need money. This recession in England sucks, everything is getting so expensive. You wouldn’t believe the price of some foods now, it’s more expensive in the shops all the time. And we were going to go on the Snow Train for a long weekend and go skiing but we just can’t afford it any more. At least we’ve had some great snow here so that’s been fun though I fell of the sledge on a big hill and grazed my nose (blush). Anyway I’m sick to death of being poor. It sucks and I hate it and life sucks when you’re poor.

And I’m sick of the stupid arguments it causes and I want a better life.

Please help me. But I don’t want to do it your way. Your way is boring. There must be other things we can do!

I don’t just want to build content rich sites and do whatever you’re meant to do with them. I want to do something unique that has the potential to make a lot.

There is so much but I’ve missed the boat on all of it. Social networking, dating sites… all doable, but the make squillions boat has been and gone and left without me several years ago.

There has to be SOMETHING unique we can do. Its a credit crunch… recession. What do people need in a recession that we can capitalise on? What would people be willing to pay for because they think it would make their lives better/happier/easier right now.

I don’t know, but there must be SOMETHING we could do.

All I know is I can’t cope with not having money any longer. I’ve got to do something. Please, please, please help. J___ goes on about why can’t I just be happy knowing that I’m coming home after work to be with him, but even though we both work we live in a little rented house in a horrible area with an old car we can’t afford to replace, and not being able to have or buy or afford anything still. And like I said it’s getting worse all the time because prices are going up, and who knows what will happen to our jobs. I hate to think about it. Even one of us losing it would screw our lives up bigtime.

Job losses in recent recessions

I need to do something to change that but I don’t have any ideas!!! The closest idea I had was a web site that helps people to find friends (as opposed to dating) but I found some that are free. Crap idea though really.


My Response.

J___ is right. For starters you should be happy with what you’ve got. You sound depressed, probably the winter weather 🙂 Not like you at all.

Or it’s the recession. ( I suppose, being in the UK, you’re both a bit tense about your job security, but yours is fairly secure, isn’t it ????)

Anyway, life isn’t all about money, and you should know that better than anyone. You married for love didn’t you? 🙂 You knew what J____ was like, and the debts he’d run up, before you moved in together.

Life’s about being with people you care for. About love, and laughing and smiling and smelling the flowers (unless you get hayfever 🙂 )

You want to make money? Write a best selling novel 🙂 You’ve got the talent. And don’t deny it.

You want to make money online? I’ve told you before… create products to sell because if the products are good and in demand and you’ve got a good sales letter, you’ll get other people selling them on commission (as affiliates) so, in a way, you’ll have a bunch of people working for you for no pay except when they make a sale.

In fact I gave you a great idea for one last year that you said was too much hassle. That dating product, about doing a collection of very <<< sorry but to protect the idea so that my friend can be the first one to create this product if she decides to I’ve had to blank out the notes for the idea <<< etc etc, etc. Then you could do one with<<< sorry but to protect the idea so that my friend can be the first one to create this product if she decides to I’ve had to blank out the notes for the idea <<< etc. In fact you could do a whole series of them targeted at different dating niches. And it’s probably an idea that can be adapted to numerous niches.

You must have got the email that I wrote you somewhere in your inbox. If you can’t find it, or remember what I wrote, let me know and I’ll dig it up and send it again ) if you show interest in doing it.

But that’s just one of zillions of product ideas, whizzing around in my head, that you could do. The way to get me to tell them all to you is take me to a pub the next time we meet and buy me a Guiness 🙂

There’s no point in my writing anymore about this (and I’m out of time because I’ve got to go into town) until you let me know if you’re interested in creating a product. Or if I’m wasting my time talking to you about it/helping you get it started????

phil x

Reply from S_____

Hi Phil,

thanks for getting back to me so quickly, but products isn’t something I can necessarily do. The dating thing I’m sure I can.


My Response.

The dating thing IS a product you wally.

So you’ve contradicted yourself 🙂

And if you reckon you’re good at doing videos, well that’s where a lot of information ‘product’ on the Internet is heading, it’s most likely where the info product future lies.

Nearly all internet marketing products, for instance, now have videos or audios with them, or are even all video with no ebook, or just a pdf transcript of the audio part.

So seeing you reckon you’re a poor writer (which you’re most definitely not when you put your mind to it) you can create products. And when you make some money you can even pay other people to create products for you (outsource).

I don’t want to try and ‘sell’ you something (you know that) but I just haven’t got time to help walk you through all the steps of creating a product. Sorry. You know how busy I am right now with those sites I told you about (they’re doing well btw)

So, ideally, if you have the money (and it’s not expensive for what you get) I suggest you get Kevin Riley’s Product Creation Lab private workshop/course where you get taken you through each step and you actually build a complete info product business. You get videos, transcripts and worksheets mailed to you, and a member forum where you’ll be able to team up with someone to support you through it all, and keep you accountable so that you keep momentum going and actually get on with doing it all. It’s just under $300 at the moment, I think.

(check out this youtube video from Maria Gudelis, who was a participant in the original workshop before Kevin expanded it into what you get now. It’s a sort of testimonial I suppose)

productrecipeIf that’s beyond you, or you’re not prepared to commit so much, you should check out his low-cost product creation reports (there’s quite a lot of them) on different ways of creating products quickly and other stuff.

He can help you a lot more than me because he’s a bit of a product creation genius 🙂

Reply from S_____

I want other ideas too!!! Please!!!

My Response.

if you’re going to do that dating thing (and it’s a good idea so you SHOULD do it) you should forget about exploring other ideas right now and get started on it. DO IT NOW.

You could also create several follow up products. For instance, one about <<< sorry but to protect the idea so that my friend can be the first one to create this product if she decides to I’ve had to blank out the notes for the idea <<<, one about <<< sorry but to protect the idea so that my friend can be the first one to create this product if she decides to I’ve had to blank out the notes for the idea <<< etc.

There are literally hundreds of niche video products you could create. Probably thousands if you think hard enough.

One off the top of my head which MIGHT work. I haven’t researched whether people would buy…

7 quick ways to build muscle using a Wii …. and video someone doing it on the wii, then sell it from a website for a small price like $7….then that gives you a mailing list of people willing to buy so you immediately email them with an affiliate offer about muscle building which pays you $30 a sale or whatever.

Another one is

<<< sorry but to protect the idea so that my friend can be the first one to create this product if she decides to I’ve had to blank out the notes for the idea <<<

Then sell it cheap and sell the buyers follow up products or affiliate offers.

Anything that SOLVES A PROBLEM someone is having. 🙂

how to save your job in uncertain times…

how to catch and cook squirrels ….Joke 🙂

But you’ve got to be getting it by now. Ideas are all around us. Use your brain. Listen to peoples problems, listen to people talking at work, or listen to people on the bus on your way to work. Just keep your ears open. Read newspapers. Ideas are everywhere. Then do some quick research to see if people are searching for solutions to those problems on the Internet. etc.

A quick way of seeing what ‘how to’ questions people are asking is to use It says just put one word in, but it works with more so try “how to” and also “how do I”. (warning, there are some quite unappetizing questions being asked) and also try the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Typing “how to make” into the Adwords tool shows you that there are an average of 21,800 searches a month for “how to make icecream” Think you can sell those people a how to book? And a collection of great homemade icecream recipes? Of course you can.

And amazingly (to me) over a 1000 people a week throughout 2008 are looking for information on how to make their own shoes.

Last month (probably because of the recession) that figure increased by around 250 a week. You could probably find an old public domain book on making shoes, convert it to an ebook and sell it to these people.

In fact I just did a quick look around and there’s a woman called Mary Wales Loomis making a very good income selling her “Make you own shoes” book online

And if you want to get into it even more you could buy, beg, or borrow the equipment and get some leather and video yourself making shoes. Then sell the video (s) too.

You could probably find an old shoemaker/cobbler in town who you could talk to about this, and ask him to let you film him making some shoes from scratch. Or there might be a heritage type centre nearby where they do things like shoemaking.

Looking into this idea a bit further I found a site linking to shoe resources like videos on shoemaking on Youtube.


My immediate thought is you could get your old sewing machine out (you do have one, don’t you?) and make some colourful Elf shoes, or copies of Viking and Medieval shoes from canvas and bits of leather (obviously the designs of old shoes like that are copyright free) and you could sell them at markets and country fairs. Make them colourful enough, and especially in children’s sizes and they should fly off your stall. Could be the start of a mega business for you.

It’s up to you. It’s going to be hard work. But just about everyone successfully making money during this recession puts in a lot of hard work. It’s unavoidable. It’s life as we know it.

Another way of getting ideas of what to create products around is to look on Ebay Pulse to see what people are buying right now. Just use the drop down category list to select a category you think you might be able to create something in, then click the category list again to drill down even further into that niche.

And if you still can’t think of anything to create after using these tools, or if you want to work on one of the ideas that I’ve already given you, then maybe you can find something of yours that you don’t use and you can ‘sell’ it on Ebay and use the money you make to get hold of Kevin’s Product Creation Lab 🙂