Why Getting a Good Job isn't the Best Way to Earn Money

There is a better way to make money. I’m not telling you to quit your job and become an anarchist. And I am not saying you’re stupid because you have a job. I have a job. So you ask, what did you mean?

A job is a way to earn money. It’s how most people earn money. It’s what I do today. It just isn’t the best way to earn money. I wish I would have known this twenty-five years ago. I wish my parents had taught me this, I wish the schools had taught me this. In a minute, I’ll share the secret with you.

I’ve had one job or another for 24 years. I’ve made all my money working for someone else.

I’ve had a job…

  • Picking Pumpkins
  • Peeling Shrimp – worst thing ever!
  • Driving a Truck
  • Maintaining Networks
  • Developing Software
  • Managing Customer Service

Today I have a great job that helps put my family in the top 5% of income earners in the United States. I am grateful for my company and my job.

I manage a team of software developers that enhance and maintain our Oracle e-business Suite. For me it is the perfect job, at the perfect company, with the perfect people. Like you, I worked hard to get where I am. I can’t imagine a job being much better. I don’t complain about my job and I have few worries about money.

So you’re probably thinking – so why do you wish you never believed a job was the best way to earn money?

Because If I knew ten or twenty years ago what I know now, I would have created far more value for myself and everybody else.

The best way to earn money is to build assets. When I say assets, I’m not talking about your home, an IRA, or a 401K. Let me explain.

Until recently, I believed entrepreneurship was the same as working for someone else, except with greater income potential. And instead of working for your boss, you work for your customer. For some entrepreneurs this is true, but for smart ones it isn’t true.

I read Rich Dad/Poor Dad and The E-Myth Revisited and it hit me…


I should be building assets for my family. I wish I had spent the last twenty-five years building assets for myself instead of trading my time for money while building assets for someone else.

So this might be your next question – If you aren’t talking about my home, IRA, or a 401K, what assets are you talking about?

Real Estate – Rental Income
Twenty-Five years ago, a guy in my neighborhood had this figured out. He was a blue-collar union guy that worked a printing press for the Star Tribune. He saved his money over a decade and purchased several apartment buildings. The income from the rental property allowed him to quit his job and he used the time he saved to build a construction company. He told me once – do what you love and never work a day in your life. I didn’t get it then; I thought he was nuts. I get it now.

Businesses that are systems
If your business doesn’t run without you, it is a job. To be free, you need to own a business that generates income whether you are there or not. I know another guy that started a franchise restaurant when he was about twenty. He built the business up and trained good managers, which allowed him to step away. The restaurant produced income that paid his bills while he pursued other opportunities. He built a second restaurant and stepped away. Built a third restaurant and stepped away. Now he owns multiple restaurants that produce income – without him working at any of them – so he can spend his time fishing and golfing. Another example of this type of asset is Steve Pavlina’s website. Some people commented that Steve is telling everyone to quit their jobs and start blogging. That’s not what Steve is saying. Steve is telling you to be creative and build yourself an asset that works for you so you have time to pursue new opportunities. Blogging is just one of infinite ways you could do this. The only limit is your imagination.

Intellectual Property
When you create intellectual property, you only work on the initial creation. Once it’s finished it can generate income for many generations. For example – Let’s say you wrote a book, and the book became popular, your family could receive income from it for several generations after you were dead. You’re making money from the grave!

A few types of intellectual property:

  • Books
  • Software
  • Audio
  • Music
  • Video
  • Scripts
  • Art
  • Patents

In my opinion, intellectual property is the best of the best ways for you to make money.

There are probably many other asset categories too.

So, since I wish I had never believed that getting a good job is the best way to earn money, I am not going to teach my sons this adage – get a good education so you can get a good job.

I’m going to teach my children this:

If you learn how to create value for other people – doing what you love – you’ll never have to get a job.

Read the 10 part series on the 10 things I wish I had never believed:

#1 Why People Believe Money is the Root of All Evil
#2 Why Getting a Good Job isn’t the Best Way to Earn Money
#3 The Secret Great Leaders Know About Emotions
#4 Success is 99% Failure
#5 10 Tips to Secure a Management Position without a College Degree
#6 Always Question Your Doctor – Three Stories Why
#7 How the Public School System Crushes Souls
#9 Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make you a Better Decision Maker

26 thoughts on “Why Getting a Good Job isn't the Best Way to Earn Money”

  1. Even thought my wife’s and my business (a movie theatre) is still a job, it is well worth it, doing more than it’s share for our net worth and also leading to income down the line.

    IP is good if, unlike me, you can market properly. Now I just need to learn how to market properly.

  2. wow this information has really helped my in my goals toward a happy life i never really though of investing in prospects as a way to really make money i mean my grandfather and uncle both have homes for rent but they dont reallly live off them. as i am only 16 i find tht its hard to get prospects w/ lack of funds which kinda goes to show u ” u gotta have money to make money” so after this artical i devised a plan to open a small bussiness loan from independent lenders to start off a advertising venture i found that indendent loans tend to have less intrest than reg. bank loans. the intellectual prospect idea really caught my atention because u dont have to borrow any money toward it besides publications and what not i thought it would be a good idea to do both because i could use all the ads i ever wanted because its free annyways it anyone have any constructive critizium i would be more than happy to read flutyie@excite.com

  3. No one said to walk away from the steady pay check. I have read the book Rich dad Poor Dad also and the point that he made about working for yourself is that he explains how you would know when you are ready to work for yourself. he explains that you will know because your cash flow will be able to support you well above your regular job on a consistant basis. Then you will be able to walk away from your job and pay more attention to your own business. And of course i think that after having this information is most people often focus on failure rather than success in this type of business. Therfore they may be too afraid to take that next step. And there are always going to be doughter to this point that Rober Kyosoki wrote. Its up to that individual to believe or not and if they truly want financial freedom then why not take that and give it a try.

  4. Yes. You see The Internet makes it so easy for us to create ‘assets’ as our websites are assets. Consider building a mini-net or network of sites in the same tight niche area, such as residual income business opportunities, or caring for pets, or boating – whatever you LOVE.

    Networked websites are actually infrastructure that work and return you an income, whatever you’re doing.

    Building assets could be – shares, preferably solid blue-chip, rental properties – or informational websites about ‘How to… build these assets!’ So really The Internet is your best chance. Limited only by your imagination, belief and knowledge.

    Geoff Dodd
    Western Australia

  5. Yo Steve, check this out man..

    I read this book from Robert Kiyosaki. “His work to learn – Don’t work for money” is one concept i have my knees to bow to him…

    Thanks, your many posts enlighten me..

  6. Steve,

    In the past few months I’ve come to this realization myself. Growing up, no one ever teaches you how to make money without a job. It seems like everyone’s parents have jobs, so you just assume it’s the only option.

    What I’ve realized is that I don’t like selling my time every day. Now I’m trying to figure out how to create streams of income that don’t require continuous work.

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  9. Great I should have do it 20 years ago, thank for your great article,
    I will always guide the new generations to come

    Brava , you inspired me,

    To your success always,
    Tracy Ho

  10. I know you wrote this post a while ago, but I feel the need to commend you anyway. You are spot on why getting a job is A way of making money, not THE way of making money. I’m 21 and I’ve written a (Dutch) children’s book when I was 16 and another one when I was 18. Both got published as part of a special ‘young talent’ series, but did not sell very well and my third manusscript got rejected. I won’t give up though and am working on a new series, but that’s a different story… cheesy pun fully intended.

    I wrote those books years ago and still every year, I get royalties from my publisher. It’s not a J.K. Rowling worthy sum, but it’s the idea that matters. I only had to put in time and energy once, but the payout continues year after year. That’s the power of passive income, but I didn’t realize this until after reading Rich Dad/Poor Dad. Many people scoff and say he only makes his money from his books. Guess what? By pulling in those royalties, he’s practising exactely what he preaches! Go figure!

    Some people here seem to ridicule you for ‘falling’ for Robert’s ‘tricks’, but they just don’t get it. RDPD isn’t a step-by-step-get-rich-quick book: it’s a story that makes a complex mindset simple and is meant to change the way we think about money. His cashflow quadrant illustrates these different mindsets perfectly:

    let’s say you’re a painter, and a fairly talented one at that. How are you going to use that skill?

    Employed: you go work for an agency as an artist for a set ammount of money a month. Perhaps there are comissions and bonusses to be earned, but overall it won’t matter much how productive you are, as long as you don’t get fired.

    Self employed: you open an online shop and sell your canvas paintings for money, rather than selling your hours.

    Business owner: you start an agency, hire other artists to make art for you and a manager to take care of the selling part. Another option that would fit in the ‘B’ quadrant would be to make a piece of digital art, put it on a website like cafepress, let them make endless copies of it and for a fee, let them deal with the printing and the shipping while you sleep.

    Investor: you buy a piece of art and sell it when it has grown in value, or buy shares from an art-related business on the stockmarket.

    This is what RDPD is trying to teach: how a mindset can make you poor or can make you rich. Who will earn more money? And who will spend the least time doing so? The E and the S? Or the B and the I? To me, it’s a no brainer and I’m grateful that I got to learn this lesson at my age, when I still have time to use it.

  11. The discussion and article are very good!

    One thing I’d wish people would do more often, however, is go in depth about how to acquire just ONE of those assets. I’d love to read about how to write a children’s book and get it published, but I don’t just want to be teased. I want to have enough information that I can go out and do it.

  12. Hi Steve,

    Interesting analysis. Now, look like I need to reconsider whether to go ahead getting a job since I just finish my schooling.

    Look like there is a lot of posts for me to catch up (why I found your blog so late)…. Thank again.

  13. This topic is so interesting!. I read RDPD in 2004 and Im reading it again. I agree with Sanne. The book is just a well told story about a very different point of view regarding money.
    To take it as a Sacred Word and quit your job the next day is just lack of common sense.
    I did quit a job 8 years ago (4 years BEFORE RDPD was even printed) because i realize it will take me to nowhere. I started my own small wedding invitations business. It is still small, (im the only employee), but Im very happy. Now Im finding new ways to make it grow and the books of Kiyosaki has helped me to see some of my mistakes about my relationship with money, work, and fear.
    RDPD is a guide for you to think about your OWN concepts. Thats all.

  14. Getting a job might not be the best way to earn money but it surely is a help on econmies, including local economies. The work that may be done can help many items, including local purchasing, local spending and local growth. I especially believe this in small businesses and local owned… As one local owned job can help create more opportunity.

  15. If one reads Robert’s books to look for ways to make money, one won’t find anything, simply because there is no such book. He was just showing the concept. You have to figure out the rest.

    Great post, Steve.

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