5 Money-Making Tips From Historical Business Geniuses


Need to make some money? History Hustle has got you covered with 5 money-making tips from the men and women in history who were excellent at doing just that.

1. Start a business – Benjamin Franklin

benjamin franklin

He just looks like money. And not just because his face is on it.

Benjamin Franklin was an exceptional man who many call the “first American entrepreneur”. Many of us think of Franklin as simply one of the founding fathers of the United States, but looking at his remarkable life, it’s easy to see why it’s his face on the hundred-dollar bill.

When Franklin was a young man just arriving in the new world, he took a job helping out in a print shop. He became known for his instinctual work-ethic that made him a valuable asset at the print shop. Being a social kid, Franklin knew some high-up people, including the then governor of Pennsylvania, who gave young Franklin the idea to start his OWN print shop.

And it was this spark that made Franklin realize ‘what am I waiting for?’ and at only 18, he returned to London and acquired some of the basic supplies necessary to print. After a few years, and when Franklin was settled in Philadelphia again, he printed paper currency to be circulated in the local economy. He earned enough money to purchase a local newspaper, which he also turned into a very successful enterprise.

Take-away: Franklin combined hard-work with grabbing opportunities as they come, to be one of history’s business geniuses. Make connections, develop useful skills and a strong work ethic, and never miss an opportunity! Then turn it into profit, just like ol’ Ben Franklin.

Sources: Biography.com

2. Create/add value – King Croesus

king croesus

Dude had it made

Croesus was the King of Lydia, a kingdom in ancient Asia Minor, who ruled until 546 B.C. He is known for being the first to actually mint currency, in the form of gold coins. His outrageous wealth is the reason for the old saying, “as rich as Croesus”.

The lesson to learn from Croesus is that he took something that already existed (metals), and added additional value by turning them into standardized coins that could be used for trade. He created huge value, not just to society by creating an efficient method for trade, but by attaching himself to it.

croesus coin

If you see one of these on the sidewalk, pick it up!

Take away: One can add value to a blank white tee-shirt by printing words on it. There are so many ways that we can take things and think of them in a different way to create something novel and valuable, just like Croesus did.

Sources: Wikipedia, Ancient.eu

3. Fill a specific need – Madame CJ Walker

madame cj walker

Lookin’ good

Born in America in 1867 from recently freed slaves and then orphaned at age 7 when her parents died, Sarah Breedlove, who would later become “Madame C.J. Walker”, found herself working odd jobs for years to make whatever money she could. She found work over the years, but was far from financially fit as a young woman.

Breedlove had long suffered from hair conditions that forced her to develop home remedies to treat conditions that affected many African-American women. This, and the fact that she acquired knowledge from working in a barber shop, put her in a perfect position to serve the hair care needs of African American women.

After her marriage to a man named Charles Walker, who worked in advertising, she was able to market her product to the African American community across the country. Breedlove, who changed her name to Madame C.J. Walker for promoting the business, would become a millionaire, not an easy feat for an African American woman in the early 1900’s.

madam cj walker

Take-away: Adapt your knowledge to an under-served, specialized market. Are you good at taking pictures of your dog? Become a pet photographer! There are countless specialty markets to offer your services for.

Sources: Wikipedia Biography.com

4. Save, invest, repeat – Andrew Carnegie

andrew carnegie

Growing a white beard might help you make money

Andrew Carnegie came to America from Scotland in the 1800’s as a young boy and worked many different odd jobs. A true self-made man, Carnegie read to educate himself and worked hard at his jobs landing better jobs as they came. With the money he made, he saved and saved, then would reinvest that money wisely into growth opportunities like the railroad industry, which would make returns for him that he could then reinvest.

As an investor, Carnegie also had the opportunity to shape the businesses he invested in to reap more profits. He also had knowledge enough to understand the difference between a good investment and a bad one.

It’s a classic way of getting rich in modern times, and Carnegie did it better than just about anyone.

Take-away: If you have any savings, consider opening an investment account. They’re easy and low-cost these days, and will give you the opportunity to put your money to work. If you’re good at understanding the market, you can make serious money.

Sources: Art of Manliness

5. Apply the magic of marketing – P.T. Barnum

pt barnum

The original Don Draper. But not handsome.

P.T. Barnum is widely known as one of the most famous and successful showmen and businessmen to ever live. He is credited (incorrectly) for the quote: There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Long before founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus, for which he is probably best known, Barnum developed the ability to smooth talk his way into a sale, while working as a shopkeeper.

He would move on to build many businesses and entertainment shows, employing clever marketing methods to bring in business. His biggest venture, the Barnum & Bailey Circus, didn’t even begin until he was 60 years old, and by that time, he was a well-seasoned showman and marketing genius.

pt barnum

How could you not buy this??

Take-away: A little “B.S.” goes a long way. Whatever you do, remember that people often make decisions based on emotion, and understanding human nature can help you discover ways to use people’s emotions to generate income – through a business of your own, or maybe just talking your way into a job or a raise.

Sources: Wikipedia

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