Do you feel restless? Do you feel unsatisfied? Do you feel there must be a better way when it comes to your work and the way you make your living? The good news: There IS a better way, but it’s different than what you were taught in school. Let me explain. As I travel and speak around the world, I like to play an audience participation game. I ask people to help me create the ultimate business and to tell me specific things they’d like to have in that business and things they’d like to avoid. It always makes for a very interesting list. If we were face to face, I’d do the same thing with you now. But since we’re not, let me summarize what people from over 30 countries have told me while creating what I like to call “The Perfect Career List.”
Now, you might add some attributes of your own, but wouldn’t you agree that’s a pretty good start? Imagine being able to enjoy a career with all those attributes!
Here is the Wikipedia definition of blue-collar.
“A bluecollar worker is a member of the working class who performs manual labor.” My definition is someone who labors to fix something, make something, clean something, build something, or service something (or someone).
In my life, I’ve worked many blue-collar jobs. And, for anyone who’s ever engaged in this line of work, there is a certain satisfaction in a job well done.
But here’s the big question: Can blue-collar work deliver on The Perfect Career List? The obvious answer is no. Sure, it can deliver on some of the attributes. It might have a great product and a low start-up cost or any number of other individual items on the list, but if you really look at it, blue-collar just can’t get you where you want to be. Not “The Perfect Career.”
Here is the Wikipedia definition of white-collar.
“The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor. Typically white-collar work is performed in an office or cubicle.”
My definition is a person who is employed by someone else to do work other than manual labor or sales.
Many people choose a white-collar career, as it is one of the most socially acceptable of the options available. It has long been viewed as the safe and secure option. Recently that has changed. The implied contract that, if you are loyal to the company, the company will be loyal to you, is long gone.
I’ve also been a white-collar worker in my career. In my experience, there are two types of people who do this type of work: Achievers and Hiders.
Achievers are the people who want to perform at a high level. They are ambitious, motivated and energetic. They are full of ideas and want to move up the corporate ladder, which are great attributes to have. But there is a downside for the Achiever.
The moment a person decides to be an Achiever, they become a target. Their boss sees them as threatening to their job, so they start to hold them down or take shots at their reputation. Their peers see them as a person who will either embarrass them or keep them from getting a promotion, so they start to do what they can to undermine their accomplishments.
So, to remain an Achiever and survive in this hostile environment, a person must become good at one thing that has nothing to do with their productivity—and that’s politics. They must learn how to navigate the political world by diminishing their enemies and strengthening their relationship with powerful people. In fact, some of the most successful people in the corporate world aren’t Achievers at all. They are pure politicians.
So if you decide to work in the corporate environment and to be an Achiever, you must accept the fact that you must become a good politician also.
Now, let’s talk about the Hiders. These are the people who HATE politics, but still need a job. They learn not to be the ambitious Achiever. They don’t stand out. They don’t speak up in meetings. They don’t bring new ideas. They HIDE. They keep their heads down and do as they’re told. They do just enough so that they aren’t talked about negatively. They survive.
And this has worked for decades. But in the New Economy, it’s becoming much more difficult to hide. And people are running out of time.
So, back to our Perfect Career List: Can a white-collar job deliver on the list? Again, the clear answer is no—certainly not in very many areas.
Some people choose to get away from being an “employee” and get involved in a sales career. This is certainly more adventurous because typically salespeople are paid on their production instead of by the hour.
I’ve known thousands of salespeople. There is a common theme I’ve noticed over the course of my career. The typical salesperson will have a period of time where everything goes perfectly. Everything they touch turns to gold and they make some really good money.
As soon as that happens, they almost always set their lifestyle to that level of income. They buy a new house, get new cars, put their kids in better schools, purchase a vacation home—the works. Everything is great for a while.
And then something changes.
The company changes the compensation plan, their territory gets reduced, a competitor shows up, they lose their best customer, the economy goes into recession, new technology makes their offer less valuable, or government regulations change their industry. These are just a few examples. There are hundreds more reasons why the salesperson’s world could (and probably will) get more complicated.
When that happens, with the big lifestyle they’ve developed, now 40 hours a week isn’t enough to pay the bills. So they go to 50 hours a week. And then 60. And then 70. And then their life gets very small. Yes, they have the stuff, but they don’t have time to enjoy it.
The other challenge for the sales career is, no matter how a person does, they still start at zero the next day. It can be tiring to live under that kind of pressure over a long period of time.
Can a sales career pay the bills? Sure. But can it deliver on The Perfect Career we described earlier? Again, the answer is no.
Some people opt for the big dream—building their own business where they are the boss and they call the shots. It’s an exciting idea, isn’t it? Here’s the reality for most people:
They use their life savings, take on new debt, and many times borrow money from friends and family to get started.
They take on more debt in the form of leases and personal guarantees in just about every direction.
Now instead of focusing on what they are good at (let’s say they were great at sales and decided to start their own business), they have to be all things to all people. They act as attorney for legal matters, accountant for financial matters, babysitter for employee matters, negotiator for purchasing matters, and collection agency for accounts receivable matters. They even get to take out the garbage. They are doing EVERYTHING but selling, which is what they were good at in the first place.
They struggle. Instead of owning the business, the business owns them. They are the first person to work and the last person to leave. And after everyone else gets paid, they might be able to take home enough money to pay their own bills, let alone reduce the debt they incurred to start the business in the first place.
They succeed or they fail. They either hit a point down the road where the business is successful, or they fail, many times filing for bankruptcy and falling back into a corporate or sales job. And even if they are successful, that usually means a lifetime of long hours and stress.
Sounds romantic doesn’t it? If you haven’t started your own business before, ask friends who have if this description isn’t accurate. Most people who start their own traditional business aren’t worried about getting a return on their investment. They just want a return OF their investment. It’s pretty clear that traditional business ownership can’t provide the Perfect Career as we’ve described it.
The last category of ways to earn a living in the world today is to be an investor. And what do you need to become an investor? Money, right? If you don’t have a lot of money, it’s going to be very difficult to earn a living from the return on your investments, especially if you try to be conservative to reduce the risk of loss.
But let’s say you do. What’s the next thing you need in order to be a successful investor? You need to have incredible knowledge and skill. I know more people than I could count who were skillful real estate investors over the years. But when things radically changed in the real estate market, their skill couldn’t help them. They lost big.
Would you like to invest in someone’s traditional small business? Good luck. In most cases, you won’t be an investor; you are more likely to be a philanthropist.
How about the stock market? People do great there, don’t they? A few do, at least from time to time. But I know more people who’ve lost than have won, especially in the past decade. It’s very difficult to have guaranteed returns when you’re not in control. And trust me, as an investor you are NOT in control. Anything can happen. And it can happen overnight.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate that point. In late 2001, I was living large. I had sold a company I co-founded and was working as a very highly paid consultant. For my part of the sale I received approximately 170,000 shares of stock in the new company. It was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and selling for about $44 a share, which meant the value of my stock was around $7.5 million. I had big income and a great portfolio. Life was GOOD.
I used part of the stock to secure a home construction loan of about $2 million for a dream house I was building. As for the rest, I didn’t diversify because I knew the company was in great shape with a good product and an amazing sales force.
Then something out of my control happened. Overnight the stock went to $37 a share because a group of investors had targeted the company and shorted the stock. In other words, the lower the stock price went, the more money they would make.
I thought it was ridiculous because the company was doing great, so I bought some more shares at $37, using my existing shares as collateral, knowing the price would go back up. It went to $33. I bought more shares. It went to $27. I started getting margin calls, which meant if I didn’t send them money, they were going to start selling my shares to cover the losses. I didn’t have it to send.
The stock continued to go down. It went all the way to $10 a share and my $7.5 million was gone. Poof! All in less than 90 days. Now, the stock eventually came back and the company was taken private for $65 a share. But I wasn’t there to capitalize on it. I was wiped out.
Could I have been smarter? Sure. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely. But here’s the lesson: If you’re going to be an investor, you have to accept that things will be taken out of your control from time to time. And when that happens, it can be very expensive.
So, back to our Perfect Career List. Can being an investor deliver on that list? I don’t think so.
We’ve talked about blue-collar work, white-collar work, sales, traditional business ownership, and investing. And none of them can deliver on our Perfect Career List. So is the perfect career even possible? The answer is yes, but to get there you need to understand that everything is changing. The old models of compensation are dead or dying, and we are going through the biggest economic shift in any of our lifetimes.
The world as you know it has changed. For the people who don’t recognize that fact, it will be the worst of times. For the people who do, it will be the best of times.
Over the last 100 years, an interesting phenomenon occurred. The rise of the corporation became the standard in society. The safe and respected place for people to exist in the workplace was as an employee.
Go to school to learn how to be an employee.
Find a company that will employ you.
Work for that company for 40 years.
In recent decades, the promise of being rewarded by the company for your loyalty and hard work has been exposed as a myth. People began to realize the loyalty they were giving to their company was not being given in return. So a different process evolved.
Go to school to learn how to be an employee.
Find a company that will employ you.
Switch companies for various political and economic reasons every three to five years over the course of your career.
Find that you can’t retire comfortably after 40 years, so you keep working.
And now we are going through the biggest shift in any of our lifetimes. For a century, companies have paid people by the hour, by the week, or by the year. That’s changing on a global level.
The world is moving toward a performance economy. And it’s already happening. Here’s what that means: In the future, you’re only going to be paid for performance. You won’t be paid for your time anymore. Servers in the food industry already live in this model. They get a very low hourly wage required by law and they make their living through tips, based on their performance.
If you can imagine the same model being applied to virtually every job in the world, you will see what is coming. The person cleaning the rooms in a hotel won’t be paid by the hour anymore. They’ll be paid per room.
For office workers, here’s an example. A person has a $60,000 annual salary.
The company will lower that salary to something like $50,000 because with today’s marketplace there are other people to take the job for a lower amount.
They will reduce their “base” salary to something like $20,000 a year.
They will tell that person that they can get an additional $30,000 over the year if they hit certain performance benchmarks on a monthly basis.
In other words, if they hit their numbers, they can make an additional $2,500 a month. Now the pressure is on, and the company is loving it. If you don’t hit your numbers they can save even more money. If you DO hit your numbers, guess what’s in your future? They are going to raise your requirements.
Unless you are extremely specialized, this will happen to you if it hasn’t already. Count on it. And it will happen in every single profession worldwide. The evolution has begun.
Why is this happening? One, it’s a better model for the company. They’ll get better results with less expense. Two, the New Economy needs fewer people, so the company has more people competing for fewer and fewer jobs.
Let me explain why the New Economy needs fewer people. The exponential rise of technology has changed everything. Over 100 years ago, 90% of the population worked in agriculture. Today, because of dramatic efficiencies, it’s less than 1%, and the farming jobs are gone.
Remember customer service call centers where you talked to people? Today, you talk to a machine and those jobs are gone. Remember when companies had a massive amount of salespeople? Now people order online and those sales jobs are gone. Remember Blockbuster video and all of its employees? Now people watch movies on their handheld or tablet devices, and those jobs are gone. I love books, but go to your local bookstore while you can. They will be history soon, and so will the jobs provided by those stores.
I could go on and on through virtually every work category in the world. Technology and efficiency are eliminating jobs every single day, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. In fact, it’s only going to accelerate. If you are sitting there waiting for the economy to bounce back and for jobs to return, don’t. They aren’t coming back.
Just like the children of farmers saw the handwriting on the wall and left farming for new vocations, the same thing is happening for people working in Old Economy jobs. To survive, they’ll need to open their eyes to this reality and find something new.
The best way I know to not only survive, but to thrive in the New Economy, is Network Marketing. There are important products and services in the world today that need to be promoted to the people who need them. Consumers still need to be educated.
Companies have choices. They can dive into the everfragmented world of advertising to get the word out, they can hire a large and expensive sales force to sell their products or services, or they can utilize Network Marketing to tell their story to the world.
More and more companies will choose to use Network Marketing because it fits the New Economy. They can provide all the corporate support and pay distributors on a purely performance basis to promote their products. It’s extremely efficient because in the New Economy, word-of-mouth advertising continues to work better than any other form of promotion. The company can just take the money they would have spent on advertising and promotion and pay it to their distributors to spread the word.
What that means for you as an entrepreneur is that you can receive all the benefits of traditional business ownership without the typical risks. And there will be no cap on your income, because Network Marketing companies WANT you to make as much as possible. If you’re going to be paid for performance anyway, why live with the cap?
This all sounds great and it is. But there is a catch that most people won’t tell you. Here it is:
You must accept a temporary loss of social esteem from ignorant people.
That means for a while, people still living in and trying to function in the old system will think less of you. They won’t understand. They’ll think you’re crazy for being involved in Network Marketing.
And actually, the word “accept” isn’t completely accurate. You need to do more than that. You need to embrace the temporary loss of social esteem from ignorant people. YOU are seeing the future before it becomes apparent to everyone else. YOU are the smart one. YOU are the person taking action to live a better life.
There is a reason why people will think less of you, and it’s not just because they are stuck in the old system. Let me see if I can help you better understand this, because if you decide to make Network Marketing your profession, it’s important to know.
Most people have either joined a Network Marketing company or know someone who has. This is what goes through the mind of virtually every person who decides to get involved.
“Hmm, I can think of five or six people who might do this too! My sister would be great! My friend loves this kind of thing. I know this other person who could be amazing! Okay, I’ll join.”
In other words, they aren’t joining a profession. They’re just hoping to get lucky, sign up a few people to cover their own start-up costs, and sit back and wait for the money to roll in. The allure of being paid for someone else’s efforts is powerful, but often badly misunderstood.
They haven’t started a real business. They just purchased a glorified lottery ticket. Imagine a lottery ticket with six scratch-off spots. Those spots represent each of the people the new person thinks will certainly join. They approach those people and try to get them to join. And because of their lack of skill, most of them end up with nothing—just like the lottery ticket. This becomes just another lost opportunity, and since they have acted in unskilled ignorance, they may have damaged some friendships as well.
So they rip up the ticket, and instead of taking responsibility for not really starting their business, they blame Network Marketing and make sure to tell the world:
“Look, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I talked to every person I know, and Network Marketing just doesn’t work. Save your money.”
THAT’S what you’re dealing with if you choose this as a profession—the opinions of ignorant people who think they’ve done it right and it doesn’t work. If that’s going to be too hard to handle, then Network Marketing isn’t for you. But if you can embrace it, the world is yours.
The people who embrace this get paid BIG money. Companies will pay unlimited amounts to people who can help blind people see, who can educate the ignorant, and who can build a community of like-minded people.
Some people like to say, “Perception is reality.” I hate that saying. All great leaders in the world have ignored it for centuries. What if Nelson Mandela had said perception is reality? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had said perception is reality? What if Steve Jobs had said perception is reality?
The great leaders of the world said
“Reality is reality, and I’m going to do everything possible to help people understand that fact.”
*The Go Pro book retails for $12.00, but we bought it for you. We just ask that you pay your shipping/handling to receive it (just $6.95 anywhere in the world). You will receive immediate online access to the eBook and Audio book bonus gifts ($38 total value)!