The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'The Mercenary Rule'?

Here's the Mercenary Rule: don't start a business for the money alone because it always takes more effort than you first expect.

Building or finishing anything is mostly a matter of starting over and over again, so you should find a market that interests you enough to work on it every day.

Don't ignore "boring" businesses - if you can find something that interests you, those markets can be very attractive.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'The Mercenary Rule'

Becoming a Mercenary doesn’t pay: don’t start a business for the money alone.

Here’s why: starting and running a business always takes more effort than you first expect.

Even if you identify a business that will largely run itself, setting up the systems necessary to run the business requires persistence and dedication. If the only thing that interests you about an opportunity is the money, you’ll probably quit well before you find the pot of gold at the bottom of the landfill.

Pay very close attention to the things you find yourself coming back to over and over again. Building or finishing anything is mostly a matter of starting over and over again; don’t ignore what pulls you. The trick is to find an attractive market that interests you enough to keep you improving your offering every single day. Finding that market is mostly a matter of patience and active exploration.

That said, don’t ignore “boring” businesses until you investigate them; if you can find some aspect of the work that interests you and keeps you engaged, mundane markets can be quite attractive. “Dirty” businesses like plumbing and garbage collection certainly aren’t sexy, but they can be quite lucrative because there’s a significant ongoing need combined with relatively few people willing to step up and meet the demand.

If you find a way to make a necessary but dull market interesting enough to pursue, you may have discovered a hidden vein of gold waiting to be mined.

Questions About 'The Mercenary Rule'


"Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil."

Henry Fielding, eighteenth-century novelist and satirist


From Chapter 1:

Value Creation


https://personalmba.com/mercenary-rule/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →