Lately I’ve become especially interested in learning how so many people around the world create great amounts of wealth for themselves. Well it’s actually something that I’ve always been interested in, but as a kid I always thought it would just happen to me. You know, I thought I was going to go to a great business school, get good grades, meet smart people, and just be successful. It wasn’t even a hope or goal, it was a belief.
And I did all of those things. I went to a great business school at Laurier, achieved my ‘good enough’ grades, and made a lot of smart friends. I even got a great job right out of school.
That massive success I thought I’d just walk into though… never appeared. I haven’t hit that same level of success that I imagined as a kid – and I don’t have time freedom. I thought I’d be able to buy whatever I wanted and not have to worry about money. Instead, I still remarkably hold off on the $10 late-night drunk food, and I spend the better part of my day working to cover my month-to-month expenses.
I think the dream is to create a lifestyle in which your primary activities each day aren’t done for the sole purpose of generating an income.
I know that even for some millionaires this day never comes, but we’ll talk about that in another post.
For now, I want to know how to at least put myself in that position. How can I shift my mindset and my behaviors to put myself onto the natural path of success that I once envisioned.
I feel like I’ve had a bit of an epiphany lately. One thing’s really become apparent in my head and it’s this:
Those who generate large amounts of wealth leverage other peoples’ time. Those who are stuck in the middle simply offer up their own.
Start thinking about all the wealthy people you know, and you’ll see how this applies to almost every situation.
Let’s go through an example.
Think of the Product Designer at Apple who makes $100k a year. Sure, they are doing absolutely well for themselves, but they still lack time freedom, and take a look at how much they are generating for Apple:
Nearly $2 million dollars per employee!
Ok, but maybe you’re not Apple. Here’s another one.
Joe Smith runs Joe’s Grass and Lawn Services in your local town. Joe lands a client for $100, and pays his two grass-cutters $20 each for an hour’s work.
Each grass-cutter has limited their income potential to $20/hr. Joe on the other hand, pockets himself the difference of $60, and doesn’t even have to commit to that one hour’s work. By leveraging other peoples’ time, and finding a way to add value on top (in this case finding the client), he’s able to create uncapped wealth for himself.
Bringing it all home
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you know I like to turn concepts into something practical. Here are three guiding principles that you (and I) can use as a framework to put ourselves on the path of creating wealth.
1.) Start looking for ways you can create or add value.
Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about being self-aware. Identify what your greatest strengths are (either through reflection or asking others), and think about how you can use them to help others. Forget about your weaknesses, and put all your chips into what you’re best at.
2.) Start thinking about who or what types of people can help you scale that value.
Now that you have an idea, think about who can help you. Who can help you carry out your idea, and who can help you make it better?
3.) Stop offering away your time.
This one’s easily the most difficult. By offering your time, you often receive an instant return (i.e. payment). But it doesn’t scale. While it might seem tempting now, future you doesn’t appreciate it. This includes working all day for someone else, spending an entire weekend raking leaves when you can hire someone else to do it, or dedicating a summer to watching Netflix and playing video games.
The big issue is that it’s tough to stop offering your time if you can’t afford to stop receiving the benefit it provides; like a salary. The only workaround is to build up a runway in which you buy yourself a few months, or start small, slowly cutting your time spend and slowly creating alternative forms of income.
This goes to further the point – these three things don’t need to happen right away. Just start thinking about them as you commit to projects or activities that consume your time. Is this particular use of your time going to one day generate the level of income you desire? If yes/maybe, go for it. If not, pass.
When I think about this framework, it all seems so simple. And I think it actually is. The challenge is that most people need to offer their time to initially fund their living, but then they get stuck in the trap. They start receiving more money for their time, but also start upping their living expenses. It becomes an endless cycle that’s difficult to get out of.
97% of us have probably already reached that point, but it’s ok. As long as we are conscious about these three principles, and consider them frequently, then we can start taking small steps to break the cycle.
A great way ingrain them deep into your brain is to write them down. I’ve made a super simple 2-minute worksheet that you can type out – it should help you keep them top of mind, and help you start thinking about where you can provide value.
I hope you enjoyed the read! Let me know in the comments below if this helped at all, or how you are planning to create wealth for yourself.