The 4 Intangible Assets

In Business & Entrepreneurship
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Go to a bank and ask for a loan — or to a condo and apply for a rental — and they’ll ask you about your tangible assets.

How much cash do you have to use as a down payment?

What’s your credit score?

Do you own any property you can put up as collateral?

Do you have a steady income that you can show us?

It makes sense for the banker or homeowner’s association to ask these things; they’re protecting their assets. And if we ever find ourselves without or with too little of these assets, we often assume there’s nothing we can do.

But there is.

The above assets — let’s call them hard or tangible assets — are real, and they do matter. It’s also true that sometimes we need to get shit done and we don’t have these hard assets to make use of.

Which is when we need to turn to the four intangible (and also real) assets that anyone can acquire and utilize at any time, simply by choice.


If you’re currently employed or have ever had a job, you’re utilizing your time as an asset (which is defined as, something that grows in value and/or can be used to put money in your pocket).

Work eight hours, five days a week, receive a certain hourly rate or a full-time salary.

Babysit these bad ass kids for 3 hours on Friday night, get paid fifty bucks.

Come to my ninety minute boot camp, pay $20 to get in.

Often we trade a bulk of our time — which is the #1, key asset of life — for money, or for the security of a steady income, then we come to realize that we can never have the very thing we wanted the money for — an enjoyable life — because we traded all of our time (and have to keep trading it) just to get/keep the asset.

If you have time, you have the most important asset. It’s the most valuable of all assets because with enough time, you can acquire any of the other assets.

None of the other assets can say the same.

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When someone says that their industry or job is very political, what they’re actually saying is, I don’t have the right relationships — and this truth is hurting my chances of career success.

Politics: people taking actions to further their own interests.

That’s all politics is. So when you see a politician lying, or only working to serve a certain elite group of people, don’t get upset — that’s what they’re supposed to do: further their own interests, and the interests of those who will help them further their own interests (the slick, indirect method).

Every politician — even the “good” and “honest” ones — do this. The interest of the “clean” politician is to look clean for an audience of people who will laud him/her for being different than the others. All in the name of self-interest.

Relationships (the positive kind — people who know, like and trust you) can do more for you than you could ever do for yourself — even if you’re the smartest, hardest-working person in town.

You have only two hands, two eyes and two ears. You can’t see and hear everything.

You can’t know or remember everything at the same time.

You can be in only one place at a time.

There is only so much work you can do by yourself.

Relationships multiply your ability to be informed, to get things done, to spread the word about yourself and your work, to solve problems.

Not having money, being unemployed, or being unknown are all problems that can be solved when you know the right people.

You’ve gotten jobs because you had friends who were already working there and put in a good word about you.

You’ve met girls because your male friend was dating her female friend.

You’ve sold products and services because your current customer recommended a new customer.

You don’t have to have a lot of money or great credit. Just know enough people who do have it.


The freelancer trades in knowledge.

Graphic designers.

Personal trainers.

Life coaches.

Personal shoppers.

These people trade their specified knowledge (and some/a lot of their time) for money.

Information — the raw, black-and-white, what-is of life, is now virtually free.

Knowledge — information that has been interpreted, understood, applied, and experienced — has a price.

You can acquire knowledge one of three ways.

  1. Be willing to pay with your time to get the experience and understanding that leads to knowledge. When you take an online course, or attend a seminar, you’re paying (with money and time) with the expectation that you’ll now have the knowledge and won’t need to come back again.
  2. Pay money to someone who already has knowledge, and hope they’re good at transferring it. This is the coach, consultant, or nutritionist that you hire.
  3. Continually pay other people who have the knowledge and don’t bother learning/applying if yourself, as your time is better spent in other areas. This is what you do when you hire employees.

Knowledge is exchanged for money every day. The skill of the knowledgeable person is being able to show people that you have the knowledge that’s worth their money, and getting them to agree with you — we call that sales.


The ability or willingness to do something that frightens you or frightens others.

Remember that TV show Fear Factor? They took this courage concept and gamified it. Lay in this tub and let live roaches crawl on you for ten minutes for $100,000 — unless, that is, the contestant on the other team can withstand the roaches for longer than you.

Most people in life are indecisive and overly cautious. Courage is your ability and to make decisions and act quickly, to jump into situations and get started while everyone else is still calculating their probabilities of success and failure.

Speed is worth money.

Express-mailing a package to arrive at its destination tomorrow, costs 5x more than sending it first class and the package arriving next week.

It takes courage to move quickly, because it may cost you time and money if you’re wrong. Most people are very insecure about losing money (even when they don’t have much of it), and most people waste time deliberating and calculating every possible outcome of every opportunity placed in front of them.

It takes courage to go first. The first company to put a product in the market can make a good amount of money, simply by the reality of having no competition. The first product doesn’t even need to be great to make money.

The first iPhone didn’t have copy-paste functions. You couldn’t change the wallpaper. Couldn’t send images. There was no front-facing selfie camera. The device was very limited. Everybody bought one, though. There wasn’t anything else like it.

Seeing opportunity where everyone else sees risk takes courage. Because sometimes there’s a reward at the end, and sometimes you fall on your face.

You scared?


Action steps

The next time you feel as if you don’t have the resources to do what you want to do, ask yourself:

  1. How much of my time am I investing in utilizing or building an asset?
  2. Who do I know who has the resources to help me — and what could I offer him/her in exchange?
  3. What do I know (read: I’ve experienced, understand and can explain) that other people need to know — and where are those people?
  4. Where can I afford to take a risk (or can’t afford — but I will anyway) to create an opportunity for myself?

Utilizing your assets is imperative in business — and we are all in business. Join me in the Game Group to turn your intangible assets into tangible assets that we all need to live.


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