I’d like to dispel a common myth – not every self-made millionaire is an entrepreneur or business owner. Many of them made their millions working for someone else.
Eighteen percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study became rich working for some employer as Big Company Climber Millionaires.
Typically, these employers were large, multi-national corporations whose stock was listed on some stock exchange.
In my research, I discovered that these self-made millionaire-employees were always the first in line for raises, bonuses and promotions.
They Built Strong Relationships With Their Competitors
Sounds almost treasonous, but one of the smartest things you can do is to get to know your competitors – intimately. When your employer knows you have strong relationships with powerful people within your industry, they look at you differently. They place a higher value on you because they see you as a power broker within your industry. So, how do you become a power broker?
- Join a Trade Group – Most industries have trade groups. Many trade groups function at both a local level and a national level. If they do, it will likely take some time for you to work your way up into a national trade group but when you do, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the major players within your industry. Being actively involved in an industry trade group puts you on the cutting edge. You will gain knowledge of things that are happening within the industry long before that information becomes common knowledge at your company. Plus, by working on various committees, you will be building relationships with other individuals within your industry. Some of those relationships will become leaders within the industry, or power brokers. The more power brokers you know within your industry, the more valuable an employee you become to your employer.
- Volunteer at Non-Profits – Most big companies encourage their employees and management to join non-profits. By giving back, this makes the employer’s organization look good. Ask senior management at your company if they volunteer for any non-profits. Call your competitors and ask what causes they support. Then volunteer your time by joining various committees within the non-profit. Over time you will develop strong relationships with the board and other committee members.
They Took Risks
Take on a project that forces you to grow in skills and knowledge. There is an inherent risk in doing this, however. If the project does not go well, you will be associated with that failure. Conversely, if the project goes well, you will associated with its success. Success requires taking risks. All successful people take risks. If you succeed, there is an added bonus – you will have developed valuable skills and knowledge that others in your company do not have.
They Constantly Grew in Knowledge and Expertise
Many large companies offer in-house training and development programs for employees interested in developing skills that will benefit the employer. Marriott International offers a variety of on-line or in-person training programs to employees. The training offered helps employees develop leadership skills, management skills and other important skills.
Many companies, such as HBO, offer partial or full tuition coverage to their employees that allow them to go to school at night. Getting an advanced degree is some discipline will make you more valuable to your employer.
Many of the self-made millionaire employees in my study devoted 30 – 60 minutes a day in self-education. They read everything they could to help them learn more about their job and the industry they worked in. This daily Rich Habit helped them to become experts not only within their company but also within their industry. Their employers rewarded them with raises, bonuses and promotions, in order to keep their knowledge and skills in-house.
They Stayed Happy, Positive and Upbeat
Individuals who make a habit of being happy, upbeat and positive make more money. According to my Rich habits research, 71% of self-made millionaires said optimism was critical to their success. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that positive individuals earned more income by age 29 than others.
Positivity is contagious. It infects everyone within your work environment. People like working with positive, upbeat people.
They Took Ownership of Their Jobs
The highest paid employees take ownership. They are the CEO’s of their job. As a result, they are viewed as reliable and trustworthy. This means less stress for their supervisors. Less stress means happier supervisors. Happy supervisors will do everything in their power to stay happy and that means keeping you happy by giving you raises, bonuses and promotions.
They Have a Vision
Self-made millionaire employees have a very clear vision. They know exactly where they want to be ten years from now. They not only share that vision with their supervisors, they get them to buy into it.
When you have a vision about where you want to be, it’s much easier to create goals around your dreams. Goals are the construction crew that helps build your dream career.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, “Effort-Less Wealth”, “Change Your Habits Change Your Life”, “Rich Habits Poor Habits” and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”