TDW #012: The 4 Ways To Get Paid

The 4 Ways To Get Paid

If you only get paid for what you do, you’re probably thinking too small.

There are four main ways to get paid as an entrepreneur:

A.) Paid For What You Do
B.) Paid For What You Know
C.) Paid For How You Do It
D.) Paid For Who You Know

Most folks stay stuck in A. But the real opportunities come when you take a step back and look at the big picture. You know more (stuff & people) than you might think. What’s common to you is novel to someone else. And that’s where the opportunities lie.

So let’s take an in-depth look at the four ways we can get you paid.

Level 1: Paid For What You Do

If you’re in the workforce, you’re getting paid for what you do. This is the “clock-in-clock-out” — and it’s the starting point for everything else. This is where 98% of most people stop. Which is why most people are broke. 

Show up. Push buttons. Pull levers. Leave.

As a young entrepreneur, I got caught up in getting paid for what I did. It was the whole “hustle and grind” mentality. Had to be working 24/7 to make ‘dat money!

Then I had a wise business mentor pull me aside and say something I’ll never forget:

You don’t have a job—your job is to make more jobs.

You exist as an entrepreneur to make opportunities for other people to get paid for what they do.


  • Pushing buttons
  • Pulling levers
  • Any situation where you trade your time for money

Level 2: Paid For What You Know

You build up a certain set of skills when you get paid to do something. Be it making a latte, coaching college baseball, or underwater basket weaving—knowledge accumulates. That knowledge is valuable to a certain group of people.

When you get paid for what you know, you tap into your accumulated knowledge base and convert it into transferable skills.

I took a cooking class with my wife a few years back. The instructor had been on a nationally-televised cooking competition. She didn’t win, but she placed in the top 5.

She showed us how to cook gnocchi, make our own pasta, and create sauce from scratch. She knew how to do that stuff. We didn’t. So we paid her $100 for the evening and she showed us how to do it.

I want you to think about different ways you can take what you know and productize it. How can you put handlebars on your knowledge? Make it so others can learn how to do what you do in half the time?

Examples include:

  • Consulting packages
  • Coaching packages
  • Digital courses

Level 3: Paid For How You Do It

This is where things get fun.

We’re stepping up a few levels. Getting paid for how you do something is a branded, proprietary version of Level 2. It’s your unique imprint, viewpoint, or process with regards to your niche or industry.

I had a client once who helped aspiring authors outline and write their first book. When I asked her, “what’s your secret sauce” she gave me the answer most people do… there’s nothing really special about it, it's kind of like what so-and-so does.

So I asked her to draw out her entire process for me on a whiteboard. 

Yes, there were elements of Mr. So-and-So’s process. But what she showed me was a completely different, unique spin on her process for taking someone from wishful writer to published author. It was incredible.

From there we were able to define her unique process, brand it, put handlebars on it, and offer it to potential buyers. 

The results?

  • Before: struggling to sell $97 seats to her all-day workshop
  • After: went to a waiting list of aspiring authors willing to pay $10,000 for a 2-day session

Absolutely incredible. And the power of getting paid for how you do what you do.

It was the exact same information as before. The only difference was she owned her process – how she did what she did – claimed it as her own, branded it, and delivered an outcome only she could provide.

Out of everything on this list, this area is where entrepreneurs, CEOs, founders, and owners have the most potential.


  • Certification programs
  • Franchising your business
  • Training programs built on your proprietary process

Level 4: Paid For Who You Know

Getting paid for who you know is like cheating.

You’ve heard the saying, “your net worth is your network”? It’s cliche. But true. When you get paid for who you know, you’re leveraging your network (or net worth) for the benefit of others.

Sometimes this is informal. For instance, just this week I connected a dear friend who’s looking to publish a book with another friend who’s a literary agent. In this example:

  • My book writing friend wins by making an important connection to get his idea off the ground
  • My agent friend wins by potentially signing a new client and representing his killer book idea
  • I win by connecting two smart, motivated, good people with similar values and watching them thrive

You do this, too. No money changes hands, sure. But value changes hands.

But there are formal and structured ways to get paid for who you know.

My friend JK has a Slack marketing group people pay to be a part of. He brings in special guests every month to teach on their expertise. JK’s network grows as a result. So do the networks of his group members.

One client has a paid newsletter where she makes recommendations for the best products to buy for your dog. People trust her so much they’re willing to pay $9 every month just to hear what she thinks. Incredible.

I have dozens of referral and affiliate relationships set up with service providers and SaaS companies. I use the company. Like what they do. Then I tell others who need the same solution to use these companies as well. If they do, I get paid. (And even if I didn’t get paid, I’d still make the same recommendations!)

There’s a million different ways to get paid for who you know.

Sometimes it just takes a little creativity to make it happen.


  • Affiliate marketing
  • Newsletter sponsorships
  • Paid community/membership

Final Words

Anyone can get paid for what they do. Fewer will get paid for what they know. A select group will get paid for how they do it. And the creme de la creme will get paid for who they know. The goal is to stack up as many streams as possible.

On your side—see you next week!


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