Live Long and Prosper

The Christmas season can be a time for thought and reflection, for taking stock of life and being thankful for the many blessings that the year has brought us. This must be great for all the happy festive elves, but in my case the changing of the seasons has quite the opposite effect.

The coming of cold, darkness and Christmas music transforms me from the sunbathing layabout of the summer months into a bitter, resentful creature of winter. Instead of being grateful for my loved ones and all the Maltesers they will bring me, I fixate on the awfulness of British weather and how much I would like to be freed from the economic requirement to leave the house until Spring. Based on my personality, I am destined to be part of the idle ruling class, and the only things standing between me and an all-caviar diet are a lack of rich parents or any particular talent.

Most people would look at their bank account, suck it up and resign themselves to working for a living. They would take a week off in December to dull their brains with mince pies and Wallace & Gromit reruns, and accept this as fair reward for a lifetime of toil. Unfortunately, I am allergic to hard work and tired of The Wrong Trousers, so instead of scouring the internet for thoughtful presents I spend the winter months searching for new ways to make big money with minimum effort. The power of technology means we live in a golden age of get rich quick schemes, so sooner or later I must be guaranteed to strike gold. Come the day I find that One Weird Trick to Make Million$ From Home, your present will be in the post. Until then, why not have a try at some of these yourself?

#1: become an online celebrity
The all-consuming nature of a 24/7 internet connection means that people now expect to be electronically stimulated the entire time they are awake, and so the web is hungry for the slimmest morsel of content that can be squeezed into the gap between games of Candy Crush and pictures of Kim Kardashian’s arse. Dream big and you yourself could be that morsel, and a lack of talent is no barrier. In today’s brave new world, you can become a global celebrity simply by virtue of having a funny dance, falling into a pond, or being an annoyed-looking cat. It’s incredible, because in the early days of the internet the only way to achieve fame was by charging money to take off your clothes. Now, you take off your clothes for free and hope that this enables you to “monetise your personal brand” into a sponsorship deal with a hip new startup that bills itself as “Uber for dogs”, whatever that means. If a pool of talking hairgel like Dapper Laughs can spin a series of seven second videos about sexual harassment into minor celebrity (and a gig in Jersey) – then the sky’s the limit.

#2: be a professional teenager
This is a subset of #1, but is such a low effort way to make money that it stands out in its own. Say what you will about people who get famous for singing badly or making awful comedy, at least there is some pretence of effort that goes into what they do. What is far weirder is that there are teenagers in the world today who have managed to become millionaires solely by uploading videos of things that teenagers would normally do: playing video games, having stupid opinions about music and obsessing about their appearance. As their audience is other teenagers, presumably surrounded by people doing the same stuff, the young YouTube millionaires are in the position of somebody who has got rich by standing at the beach selling people bags of damp sand. It’s genius, or at least it is until you try to watch a video with six million likes called “Ten Reasons Why Mum Should Leave My Room Alone”, and your brain turns into custard and dribbles out of your nose. The only downside to this approach is that I’d need enough money for three facelifts first.

#3: receive money from an
impoverished African nation
We all live in an international finance centre, so the odds are that sooner or later one of those plaintive emails sent from “Moses Attenborough, Your Friend And Former Finance Minister of Nigeria (Africa)” will turn out to be a genuine offer to supply us with a cut of some no-questions-asked US dollars. I firmly believe this to be true, so often spend my weekends replying to any such emails I receive in my Jerseymail inbox. I’ve yet to receive any actual cash, but have a steady supply of witch doctor curses, Thai Rolex watches and many charming pen-friends in downtown Lagos.

#4: do business on the “dark internet”
The JEP recently carried a terrifying story about “the dark web” illustrated with a giant scary iceberg. I think the aim was to frighten parents into spying on their children, but the actual outcome was to alert the paper’s retired readership to the possibility of buying prescription medicine and other nefarious services on that “world inter web”. Considering that this is an audience still using Netscape Navigator, it’s likely that a respectable amount of money is to be made just by registering search-optimised websites along the lines of “Discrete Jersey Viagra Sales”, “Intimate Massage In St Lawrence” and “Mother In Law Assassinations (West of Island only)”. I’m not suggesting that anybody actually deliver these services, only that you might score some easy cash just by setting up a PayPal account and taking speculative deposits. Failing that, there’s probably a decent living to be made just by becoming middle Jersey’s discrete broker of BitCoin services and detailed instructions for deleting your search history before the wife gets back from her bridge club.

#5: Make Thousands Each Week
like This Stay At Home Mom
The ultimate get-rich-quick scheme, which is so cleverly designed that nobody can tell you precisely what it is that a Stay At Home Mom does in order to make her undoubted millions. We are aware that doctors hate her, but also that she knows how to lose belly fat, and look twenty years younger, all without paying income tax. Unlike most people who got rich online, Stay At Home Mom shuns the limelight, so she has never delivered a pretentious TED talk or chaired a panel at SxSW. Perhaps she is worried that the dermatologists would seize the opportunity to strike? Instead, she prefers to concentrate her attentions in reaching out daily to every person who uses the internet without an adblocker, offering the endless and tempting promise of free millions for us all. I really want to have faith and click on one of her ads, but I tried once and something went horribly wrong – instead of being directly connected to Stay At Home Mom I found I’d signed up to give all my money to Tom Cruise in exchange for some wacky religious pamphlets about space monsters. Dermatologists hate him!