Can You Break Away From the Working Class?

Anyone with a 9-to-5 has most likely dreamed of a life in which they aren’t stuck behind a desk for hours on end completing repetitive spreadsheets and answering phone calls, and are free to live life on their own terms. While it certainly is possible to break out of the working class, it’s definitely not easy to do so. Those stuck in the middle class often see entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Bill Gates and just assume they got lucky, had a big break, and have been resting on their laurels ever since. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Anyone who values hard work, dedication and perseverance can “break  through” into the upper echelon of society. It’s not easy to do, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Here’s how you can get started:

See Also: Be a Proactive Entrepreneur

1. Work for it Relentlessly

I mentioned a couple people earlier whose names have become instantly recognizable by anyone with a computer or a television. These people didn’t just spring up out of nowhere, and they didn’t simply fall backwards into a pile of money. They built themselves from the ground up.

Mark Cuban worked as a bartender and salesman before founding his first company, which he in turn sold for $6 million. Bill Gates famously didn’t have enough money to pay his clerical staff livable salaries, so he paid them in Microsoft stock options (which, obviously, worked out for them!)

And even after these men, and other billionaires around the world, had procured enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, they weren’t done yet. In fact, the more money these entrepreneurs make, the more options they have in front of them. In order to break out of – and stay out of – the working class, you have to relentlessly utilize every opportunity you have to do something with your life.

2. Focus on a Niche Or Need - Or Create One

The difference between the person who dreams of breaking out of the working class and someone who actually does it is their ability to recognize a societal need or want and capitalize on the opportunity. For example, most of us have, at one time or another, thought “Why doesn’t someone do something about [insert problem here]?” or “This tool would be a lot better if it [insert inventive feature here]”. While most of us are busy thinking about making such improvements, someone is out there actually making the improvement right now.

On the other hand, other inventors and entrepreneurs create items that society didn’t know they needed in the first place. The iPhone came out less than a decade ago, but smartphones are so ubiquitous today that you might as well be required to own one. In fact, I bet you’re reading this on a phone right now! While in the 90s most of us thought of such a phenomenon as the work of science fiction, a small few worked hard to make smartphones not just a reality but commonplace. It would never have happened if people like Steve Jobs had just said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we all had handheld devices to connect us to the world?” and then left it at that.

3. Be Your Own Boss

When most of us hear the phrase, “Be your own boss”, they imagine telling themselves to take the day off while others under them work their butts off making things happen. Not only is that not what “being your own boss” is all about, but it’s also a surefire way to lead your company to failure.

Just because you can play by your own rules doesn’t mean your rules don’t need to be realistic. Though being your own boss means you won’t have to jump through hoops just because the person who signs your paycheck tells you to, you’ll still need to follow a structured regimen every single day of your life.

Most successful business and entrepreneurs set a rigid schedule almost every day and follow it down to the minute. However, their schedules aren’t full of tasks they’ve been given by someone else; they’re tasks they’ve given themselves that they actually want to do. Rather than feeling like they “have” to sit through meetings or give presentations, they look forward to these opportunities. As I said before, successful entrepreneurs are never comfortable sitting back and wasting time, and they use every waking moment they have to their advantage.

4. Understand the Value of Time and Money

Going along with the last point, entrepreneurs know just how valuable their time on Earth is. They understand that, of all the resources they have at their disposal, time is the one that absolutely cannot be renewed. No amount of money can bring back wasted time, or time that could have been spent doing something productive, so entrepreneurs squeeze every bit of value they can out of every second they live.

Not only do successful entrepreneurs take advantage of their time, but they also take advantage of their money. The old saying is true: “You have to spend money to make money”. Entrepreneurs know the value of a solid investment and will always spend money in one place if it means making more in another.

While working class people may scoff at a more well-off peer who spent $10,000 to have a contractor put an addition on his home (rather than doing it himself and saving a couple grand), that same person may have made $30,000 in other ventures that he wouldn’t have been able to undertake had he spent his own time building the addition himself. Successful businessmen and entrepreneurs analyze every step they take in terms of time and money spent, and the returns they’ll receive.

5. Make it a Lifestyle

Man drinking champagne in car

Many working class people who spend eight hours a day on the job come home after a long day of work, crack open a beer and veg out for a few hours before they go to bed, wake up, and do it all over again. Ironically, if these same people were to start “living the dream” of entrepreneurship, they’d soon start to see the amount of time they have “off” actually decrease.

Though entrepreneurs aren’t tied to a desk or office from 9 to 5, that doesn’t mean they aren’t spending this time working. Not only that but when you own a company, you can’t simply clock out; your business becomes your life. Even if you do have a day off, you’ll still likely need to check in on how things are going, and you’ll definitely need to be on-call in case an emergency situation arises.

If you’re looking to escape the dull nature of your hourly job, that’s one thing. But if you think becoming an entrepreneur means you’ll end up working less, you’re sorely mistaken.

See Also: Escaping Alcatraz: How Easy Is It to Leave the Lower Middle Class

The majority of working class individuals tend to think of the rich and famous as if they have incredibly easy lives simply because they can afford more “stuff” and extravagant vacations. Though you’ve probably heard the saying, “The first million is always the hardest”, it’s becoming more and more difficult to actually stay on the other side once you’ve broken through.

Breaking out of the middle class, and staying in the upper echelon, takes dedication, perseverance, and an investment of your money and, more importantly, your time. At least you won’t have time to be bored ever again!

Did you break away from the working class? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!

Ryan Allis