In my Rich Habits Study, I interviewed 233 wealthy individuals (177 of whom were self-made millionaires) with at least $160,000 in annual gross income and $3.2 million in net assets.
When most people think about self-made millionaires, they imagine some entrepreneur working around the clock, passionately toiling away in the pursuit of greatness.
Yet, 39% of the self-made millionaires in my study became rich working for someone else. Those self-made millionaires who made their millions as employees did one or more of the following. They …
… put in the hours. The people I studied worked an average of 51 hours a week. Forty-four percent began their workday three hours earlier than other employees within their company.
… developed a niche within their company. There were typically niches others avoided because they involved more work, had obstacles, or required an enormous investment in time for the learning curve.
… forged strong relationships with decision-makers. They built strong relationships with senior executives within the company and with senior executives in other companies within their industry (i.e., trade groups, charitable groups, nonprofits). They volunteered at the same charity or nonprofit as senior executives in their company.
… took on additional responsibility. They sought out projects that enabled them to learn new skills or develop existing skills. They took on projects that enabled them to work with other senior people within their organization, showcasing their skills, knowledge, and work ethic to others within the company whom they did not work with day-to-day.
… developed patience and persistence. Many employees who are denied the promotion they believe they deserve leave their company. The rich employees in my study stuck it out and eventually were rewarded with the promotion they desired.
… controlled their emotions. They made a habit of being upbeat and optimistic and made a habit of never losing their temper. This put others they worked with at ease. Because people liked working with them, they were the first ones to receive the promotions.
… shared good gossip. Most gossip is negative. Good gossip is when you make a habit of saying only positive, nice things about others within the organization when they are not around. Good and bad gossip always has a way of finding an audience. Self-made millionaire employees developed a reputation of saying nice things about others. As a result, they were well-liked and trusted by others.
Not everyone gets rich running a business. There are many paths to wealth, and one of those paths is being an indispensable employee.
Thomas Corley (The writer of this article published on Businessinsider.com) is the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” and “Rich Kids: How To Raise Our Kids To Be Happy And Successful In Life.”