I have worked nearly every day of my life since the age of 18, although I had some part-time jobs before that, so I actually started working when I was 13. All told, I have already worked, in some form or other, 31 years of my life.

When I first started working, I was earning two dollars an hour. My first job was pulling weeds in soybean fields, and after that I worked my way up to picking rocks out of farm fields, and then to shoveling and cleaning out pig pens and chicken coops...a very stinky job.

At the time, I thought two dollars an hour was a lot of money. This was back in the late 1970s, and two dollars went a lot further back then than it does now. I could see a movie at the local cinema for 50 cents, and a can of Coke was only a quarter.

As I got older, I started working a series of jobs which paid me a salary. No matter how many hours a week I worked, I was only going to make a certain amount of money, and it was the same amount every single week. The only way I could earn more money was to either beg the boss for a raise (a demeaning process) or work another job on the side. Since the industry I was working in had notoriously low pay, I usually ended up working another job on the side. That is when I made a crucial discovery.

I was making just as much, if not more money, by working for myself on the side. One of my first "side jobs" was working as a DJ at wedding receptions. I owned my own equipment and earned about $400 for four hours of work, about as much as I was making working all week at my "regular" job. Of course, I had expenses and had to split the money with a partner, but the money was still good.

The first time I was ever laid-off (fired) from my "regular" job, I was unemployed for six months. There were times I didn't know where my family was going to get its next meal. I no longer had my disc jockey equipment, so I couldn't even rely on a "side job". This was during the Recession of 1991. I vowed I would never again rely solely on an employer to give me money. I would always have another way of earning a living, even if I lost my full-time job. I have always had something going "on the side" ever since.

I learned something important working in my previous career. As I pulled into the parking lot of my job in my rust-bucket of a car for which I paid $500 at a used car lot, the boss had a BMW parked in his reserved spot. When I asked the boss for a raise, I would get the response that "times are tough" and the business "couldn't afford to give me a raise", yet he would buy himself a new car each year, and he lived in a large house on the lake. My family couldn't afford to buy a house, much less one on waterfront property. We rented an apartment.

Back then, I was a slow learner when it came to matters of money and personal finance, but the crucial discovery I made after working for years for someone else (who always had more money than me) was this: You'll Never Get Rich Working for Someone Else. Those who own their own businesses gain the most from their employees' labor. Employees earn more money for their employer than they earn for themselves.

You might point out that famous actors and sport personalities make a lot of money, and they do. However, the people they work for still earn more than they do. The celebrities are are the most well-off are those who have an entrepreneurial mindset and have created a "brand" from their name. The rapper P. Diddy is an example of this. He's not just a rapper collecting a paycheck from a record label. He's also a business man, and it's safe to say he is a business man first and foremost. He doesn't rely solely on his recordings to earn his money. He also produces other acts, and he has his own clothing line. Arnold Schwarzenegger is another example. You may think the Governator made all of his money from bodybuilding or acting, but the fact is he earned his business degree from a college in Wisconsin and became a self-made millionaire long before he became a famous bodybuilder. He made his money selling nutritional supplements and making investments in real estate.

Those with an entrepreneureal mindset are the people who make their own money, make more of it, and don't need to rely on an employer to earn a living. Very few people get rich working for a paycheck. Those people usually live paycheck to paycheck. That's what I was doing.

For the record, I am not rich, and I don't own my own business. I do work a regular, full-time job. However, a good chunk of the money I earn is based upon my performance. The more sales I make, the more money I earn. As a result, I approach my job as if my client list were my business. My ability to satisfy them and sell them more product directly affects my bottom line. On top of this, I still have my "side" ventures. A substantial portion of the money I earn comes from the freelance writing I do for my own blogs and for other web sites and blogs. The more I write, the more I earn. I determine how much I do, and when. It may not make me rich, but in a sense I am working for myself on my "side job" and earn more-per-hour/project than I would at my "regular" job.

At some point in time, I may completely work for myself. As I mentioned, I'll never get rich working for a paycheck from someone else. Not everyone can strike out on their own, of course, so there will always be "employers" and "employees", but everyone does have a talent that they own and possess. I believe that everyone has a skill set for which someone else will pay good money. What is yours? Do you have a hobby that would help you produce goods that someone else would buy? Do you possess knowledge, such as web site design, that you could use as the basis for your own business? What is your "brand?" What do you do really well? What would you do if you weren't chained to the "rat race?" Once you determine that, you have taken the first step toward developing a way of making your own money, rather than relying on someone else's salary.


  1. Corey // November 30, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

    i stumbled across your article today and have to say that everything you have said is absolutely correct. no one will ever get rich working someone else. you will live comfortably but if you want to be rich you have to make your own money and make your money work for you not work for your money. thanks for this great article

  2. Shane // September 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM  

    I stumbled upon it today too. I graduated with a bfa in graphic design and for months have had no job opportunities. I had to take a job for minimum wage with weird hours and no hope of climbing any sort of ladder. So, being depressed today i googled: ill never get rich...and came to your site. I believe you are absolutely correct. As long as i work for someone else i do not see getting anywhere in my future other than paycheck to paycheck. So i guess ill have to lace up my boots and start something on my own today. Thanks for your encouragement. :)

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