Tiny Advantages

There was a time when I made a significant portion of my income by designing and building websites for clients.

That collection of skills was once vital to my financial well-being, but today it’s more of a tiny advantage: nice to have, but not fundamental to my ability to pay the bills and buy groceries.

Which isn’t to say it’s worthless; far from it.

Such tiny advantages add up, and take many shapes. Over time, in fact, I would argue that these tiny advantages can make a person more capable of building any number of things, pursuing any number of lifestyle choices, because of their size and non-prominence.

Web development has allowed me to quickly attempt a variety of business models without becoming overly monetarily invested in them, over the years. Some of the upfront costs inherent in starting a small business or building a product or service have been reduced to nearly zero, at times, because of skills I had left over from a previous incarnation of my career.

Design skills, similarly, have allowed me to design my own book covers, my own podcast logo, my own branding elements for touring or column-writing or whatever else I might try my hand at.

These sorts of advantages often take the shape of some kind of skill or knowledge or bundle of connections—having a diverse and/or deep network can prove massively advantageous in some situations—but that’s not always the case.

Being able to create a small income stream on the side, for instance, can give you the revenue you need to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.

Having an additional $100 coming in each month may not seem like life-changing money, but if applied to debt that you otherwise wouldn’t be denting, or if spent on a class or tool or even things like a gym membership or other health-centric, inward-facing venture: that can be massive. That can be the difference between feeling good and not feeling good. It can be the difference between learning the skills you need and not being able to learn them.

All of us, as a consequence of living any amount of time, already have a small collection of tiny advantages, even if we may not see them as such. Simply recognizing these assets for what they are can help us to more frequently and appropriately leverage them to achieve what we hope to achieve.

But it’s also possible to go out and accumulate more mini-assets of this kind, over time building a large, flexible stockpile of advantages that we can utilize in different ways and in various combinations to amplify our efforts—no matter what our goals might be in the moment, at a given point in our lives.

Advantages needn’t be life-changing in scale to be life-improving in nature.

As you walk the path toward your larger ambitions, don’t lose sight of the small upgrades and investments that might, in a variety of ways, help you get where you’re going.

This essay was originally published on Patreon.

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