As my dad would explain, "It's OK to work eight hours a day for someone else. Just work eight hours a day for yourself too, and twelve hours a day on the weekends.
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Selling your time by the hour will not get you ahead. Human resources departments know to the dime what they have to pay per hour to acquire requisite talent. Even if you have a degree from a prestigious law school and catch on with a leading firm and can bill at several hundred dollars an hour, by the time the expenses are extracted, you'll be lucky to be grossing a third. Even if you work yourself into an early grave by billing out 3, hours a year, you're not, by that effort alone, putting yourself on a track to get wealthy.
Probably the first insight you need is that you are out to get wealthy, not financially wealthy. Financial means pertaining to money, but you'll need to recognize that money is simply a "parking place" for past production. The economy runs on "you buy the production of others with your production.
Getting Rich on a Small Salary
Money is just a convenience for wheeling and dealing. Here's what you need to understand if you want to not miss the turn that gets you to the intersection of Luxury Lane and Big Bucks Boulevard. Knowing what you are after. Having a big operating budget is not wealth.
41 Things No One Told You About Starting A Retail Small Business
You can be "churning" millions of dollars a year, but you are only getting wealthy to the extent you are profiting on that churning. A lot of churning with little profit is actually worrisome. A huge house of cards falls just as fast as a small one. Financial leverage also known as other people's money. A business acquaintance mentions he needs reciprocal capacitors or whatever to keep his production line going.
2. Rent the runway
You could double your money! Even better, you can get your acquaintance to pay in advance and clear an even bigger cut without putting your money at risk.
Labor leverage. At one point in my retail career, I took on a new window washer. I started seeing his associates around town, at least three different ones. I idly started calculating what he could potentially make with three window washers under him while he concentrated on selling and coordinating--maybe there could be a little money in cleaning glass.
Spotting opportunity. The productivity cycle that creates all the goods that actually represent the economy begins when an enterprising person looks to the future and sees the opportunity to make a profit. Think how easy it would be to start a window-washing business. So, why then do 99 percent of all casual window washers go about it all wrong by doing all the work themselves? Understanding how to spot situations that can be turned into profit-generating opportunities is an acumen that must be cultivated.
Most people don't start their own business; they create a job for themselves in addition to which they have to function as boss, secretary and marketing person--four jobs in one, a burnout track rather than leverage. Making money with money. Was it by increasing their hourly wage? When you add on data, a snazzy smart phone, unlimited texting, more data, additional lines… it can add up to hundreds a month. Third, having money in the bank is the best stress reliever that there is.
Back in my big spending days, I would often come home from work with a ton of stress on my plate. I was often irritable and I had trouble sleeping, too, because the worries of our finances were constantly present in my life. Over time, as we turned around our finances, I came to realize that my stress level was dropping through the floor. My irritability drastically reduced and I started sleeping better. The period of and was easily the most stressful period of my life. It was also the period where our finances were in the worst position mostly due to our poor spending practices.
Fourth, life is absolutely loaded with enjoyable free things and extremely low-cost things that we often overlook. If I listed the ways I enjoyed spending my time in — things like golf and collecting vintage baseball cards and collecting DVDs — I mostly would have been listing ways to spend a lot of money. Sure, I enjoyed those activities, but they also contributed to our overspending. What changed? At the very least, you end up learning something new about a particular activity. Try doing new things. Try lots of them, especially free or cheap things. Why not? Ever been to your local library and actually checked out a book?
Ever tried out a book club? Ever volunteered to coach youth soccer? Ever walked the trails at any and all state and national parks within, say, fifty miles of you? Ever made a loaf of homemade bread from scratch in your kitchen?
More by Michał Sołoducha
I can keep listing options like this over and over again. The recipe for saving for the future on a small salary actually turns out to be a pretty simple one. Cut back on your most frivolous spending.
Live in a smaller place. Drive a used car. Try lots of free activities instead of engaging in expensive ones. Try doing things for yourself.