What Is Personal Services in Think and Grow Rich?
In his classic personal development book Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill devotes most of the chapter on Organized Planning to the marketing of personal services. Exchanging your personal services in return for money is described as the primary means of becoming rich, or at least as the way to get your journey to wealth started.
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But what does “personal services” mean?
We don’t typically use that term today. It’s kind of vague. When I first read that chapter, I was like, “What is he talking about PERSONAL SERVICES? It sounds a little slutty.”
What are these personal services that Hill refers to?
How to Make Money Selling Personal Services
Napoleon Hill never specifically defines the term personal services in Think and Grow Rich. But fortunately, he does give some ideas in the book of what he means. For example:
- Edwin C. Barnes sold the Edison Dictating Machine (Ch. 1 Introduction)
- Blair Hill (Napoleon’s son, born w/o ears) demonstrated and marketed hearing aids (Ch. 2 Desire)
- Charles M. Schwab convinced multiple business owners to form the massive United States Steel Corporation (Ch. 3 Faith)
- A grocery salesman started a mobile bookkeeping service for small businesses (Ch. 5 Specialized Knowledge)
- A typist began a premium resume and headhunting firm to help job seekers market personal services (Ch. 5 Specialized Knowledge)
Hill also mentions job positions of salesman, personal secretary and business management as additional examples.
So it seems that personal services can refer to just about any type of job or business. It’s nothing mysterious.
But the way that Napoleon Hill suggests getting these jobs is the interesting part.
The traditional method of job seeking is to just look for classified ads or “help wanted” signs in the windows of local business and take what you can get at the pay rate set by the employer.
The modern method of job seeking is just as passive and unexciting: scroll through hundreds of job listings online at sites like Monster.com or even Craigslist to see what kind of work is available and click on a few listings to apply.
Instead, Hill recommends that you take the initiative. You choose the type of work you want to do. You pick the company. You decide what position you want. You set the salary. And you go after it with a burning desire that no employer can resist for long.
But this requires motivation.
This requires research.
This requires skill and knowledge.
And this requires tenacity.
This approach can launch you halfway up the ladder to success without having to claw your way up from the bottom. But to succeed in this approach, you’ve got to become a person who has a lot to offer, and then you must convince your potential employer that you are worth every dollar that you are asking for – and perhaps even more than that.
What personal services do you have to offer to potential employers or business partners?
If you were to launch a small business in the next 90 days or offer personal services as a freelancer, what would that look like?
What value can you bring?
Or what skills can you develop, what ideas can you come up with, that can push your life and career to a new level?