How to Make Your Boss Work for You

Many are surprised to hear that my job played an important role in achieving financial freedom. It goes against much of what I’ve written about building wealth; namely that it’s done through business ownership and investing in revenue producing assets.

While my opinion remains unchanged, being employed at the right company did have its advantages. It gave me the experience I needed to be an investor and entrepreneur, without some of the risks. I learned important skills, like how to sell, read contracts, understand the law, write articles, conduct due diligence and be a good manager. I also worked with abled colleagues who taught me a lot about their respective industries.

In fact, by the time I left my job I was already financially independent. Going out alone was a far less-daunting undertaking than it is for most. If my ventures failed, I could still rely on my passive income investments for support. For all the talk about risk and reward, the path I chose was quite safe.

To build wealth, you’ll at some point need to own a company or invest the capital you have. It’s difficult to get rich simply by being an employee. But that doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or drop out of school today. You don’t need to go to extremes. If you’re risk-averse like me, you can take a more balanced approach: find work at a firm that will develop the skills you need to learn in business. After you’ve learned the ropes, you can choose to leave and create your own path.

Why it’s hard to get rich with a job

This article discusses how the right job can help you get rich. But before we delve any further, it’s important to understand why most won’t. Below are a few reasons for why banking on big salaries and pay raises won’t get you much closer to your goals.

#1: Employees build wealth for owners

Employees are there to build wealth for shareholders. They are assets that cost money each month and are meant to generate a return on investment. On a fundamental level, employees are there for bosses to get rich, not the other way around.

#2: Employees pay the most in taxes

Investors and entrepreneurs receive various tax incentives as a reward for the risks they take. They come in the form of tax-sheltered accounts, tax credits, tax deductions and carry-forwards. Salaried employees have few of these at their disposal. As such, business owners generally keep much more of what they earn. It’s not uncommon for well-paid employees to pay 50% of their incomes in taxes.

#3: Jobs can’t be duplicated or sold

Businesses grow through duplication. For example, a company should theoretically earn more money with additional sales staff, because there are more people selling its products. A business with five sales reps would probably produce less than one with 500. Each salesperson added is another duplication.

The goal of an entrepreneur is to create a revenue model that can be replicated and leveraged multiple times over. It could eventually grow to where she can leave the business in the hands of managers or even sell it. However, employees neither duplicate their jobs nor sell them. While a business owner could walk away from a systemized company, an employee who doesn’t show up for work would be fired. Entrepreneurs build assets, whereas employees trade time for money.

#4: Jobs are less stable than they once were

Applying for a job is obviously less risky than starting a small business. But job security has declined as companies increasingly rely on technology and automation. After all, why pay for staff when computers can be cheaper and more efficient?

Until the early 2000s, it was common for companies to make long term investments in their employees. They paid for skill upgrades, provided generous benefits and contributed to a pension plan. Fewer firms do so today in a slow-growth and unpredictable economy. Multi-decade employment at the same company is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Having a job isn’t as safe as it once was.

Use your job for experience and networking

In spite of the disadvantages, there are a two primary benefits to employment as they relate to creating wealth: building valuable experience and establishing a network from which you can later draw. You should try to work for a firm that can give you a combination of the following:

#1: Sales experience

Sales is the most important skill in business. That is, the practice of finding prospects, building relationships and selling a product or service to them. It’s the ability to create revenue from nothing.

Learning to sell is a precursor to having a successful company. A business can’t survive without revenue, so developing the skill is key. You’ll also quickly discover how hard it is and why most firms fail within months. If you master the craft of selling, you will have covered more than 80% of what you need in business. Being a leader, learning to manage people or implementing systems all pale in importance. None of that matters if you can’t create income.

Note that standing in a store and receiving interested buyers, or taking incoming phone calls, is not sales. The key is to find the customer yourself. That could mean making outbound phone calls, knocking on doors or cold-calling a directory. You’ve got to take the prospect through the entire cycle: locate her, build trust and monetize. It can take months to close a single deal.

Be forewarned, salespeople are some of the highest-paid employees. But it can take time before your earnings accumulate. Don’t get into sales unless you can stick it out for at least a couple of years.

#2: Industry experience

Sales may be crucial, but it’s not the only skill. It’s also important to know the ins and outs of the business you hope to be in one day. Employment can also teach you the tools of the trade. For example, if you plan to develop and sell properties, it would be useful to work for a company in the real estate business. If you want to become a stock trader, it might make sense to work for a brokerage. You can not only cut your teeth there, but you can also learn from the mistakes that your colleagues make. If you’ve got a vision in mind for the future, try to find a business that can help you get there.

#3: Networking opportunities

The power of a good rolodex cannot be overstated in business. Who you know can often be as important as what you know. A job that expands your network can help set the stage for your future. If you choose to leave the firm, your relationships won’t automatically expire. You can use them to bolster your companies and investments later on.

It doesn’t all come at once

It’s important to realize that few companies will immediately give all three of the above benefits. You shouldn’t expect an employer to instantly teach you to sell, while simultaneously providing industry-specific skills and access to a great network. However, the right firm will have potential for those opportunities to arise in the future.

Features and attributes of useful employers

What type of company should you work for to gain wealth-building tools? Obviously, each one will come with different pros and cons. Some are larger than others. The company I worked for – my first and only job – was a medium-sized business that grew quickly, shrunk suddenly and nearly imploded because of legal issues. It was fast-paced and had plenty of opportunity for those willing to assert themselves. The tumult opened doors that often don’t exist in others. It rewarded problem-solvers and performers.

The ups and downs of that firm were stressful, especially for someone in their early 20s. I often worried about losing my job (which motivated me to increase my passive income) and thought, “Why don’t I work for a normal company?” But the knowledge I gained was invaluable. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change the environment (though I would change some of the decisions I made).

Here are some attributes your employer should have:

  • Small enough for thriving employees to be noticed
  • Talented leadership that is willing to share knowledge with staff
  • Potential for upward mobility
  • Lack of bureaucracy
  • Encourages entrepreneurship
  • Expanding

Conclusion: use your job to build skills that can make you wealthy

Notice how I never once discussed salary? How much you earn is relatively unimportant. Few jobs will directly make you a millionaire. Employees who do become wealthy often are often shareholders, like lawyers or accountants who eventually rise to partnership level.

For an aspiring investor/entrepreneur, a good job is one that develops the right skills. It’s an environment where initiative is encouraged, salesmanship is taught and industry knowledge is refined. Employment is an asset, not from the income earned, but in the experienced gained. It’s a stepping-stone towards financial freedom.

Download my free eBook to discover how I became financially at age 26.

About The Author

Alexis Assadi

Alexis Assadi is an investor, entrepreneur and writer, who advocates for making high-performing income investments and the lifelong pursuit of financial intelligence. He is a shareholder and director in three companies that provide funding to small businesses, entrepreneurs and real estate projects. His most recent venture is a firm called Pacific Income LP.

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2 Comments

  • Mai

    Reply Reply January 24, 2017

    It doesn’t seem possible to view the comments on your blog posts for some reason? You should provably do something about that. I would love to see what others are saying too

    • Alexis Assadi

      Reply Reply January 24, 2017

      Hi Mai, the website logs links to the article as comments. All user comments are visible.

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