You’re Working to Make Someone Rich. Is it You?

If you’re like the vast majority of people, you work to earn your living.

The way the economy is these days, you’re probably working very hard to make those ends meet. That’s the American way: We work more hours than most “developed” nations, we spend a lot of years in college learning to work smarter, and we like to try to reward creative solutions with promotions that essentially mean more, harder work.

Despite the positive work ethic and all the international comparisons that show how much wealth we generate, there’s an inescapable economic fact that more of that money is being diverted off the top before it ever gets to the guy or gal at the bottom who actually has to punch a time-card every day. Measures of the total money supply show a large growth, but hourly wages and salaries simply haven’t kept pace.

U.S. wages 2001-2006


Now look, I’m not even trying to make a moral judgment about the state of the macro economy, I’m just stating a fact about who is getting paid for all this hard work and who isn’t. Even small-time investors are getting their share of the pie cut to shreds, and the problem is that people are letting too many people get in between their work and their money.

What does that mean exactly? Well, think about how many people you are theoretically accountable to at work. Every one of them is claiming some ownership of your efforts, solutions, and yes – even mistakes. The investors are above the managers and supervisors, and these days its clear that the CEOs are at the top of the hierarchy, even above the other common stock holders.

Chances are, there is a long line of people passing the money down before you get your cut. Part of this is a necessary component of teamwork, but these days one really has to start to wonder if the chain of financial interests is a little bit rigged.

I’m not going to tell you that starting a website is going to give you instant riches and wealth beyond your wildest dreams. You’re probably going to have to work for months and possibly even years to get to a point where you can quit your full time job and retire. I will say that if you’re intelligent, hard working, and willing to take some relatively small risks (like $100 for a hosting account? some time after hours building your own investment vehicle?) it is completely possible.

The harder you work, the smarter you work – the sooner building a website pays off and the more you can reasonably expect to earn.  Its just like any other job, you need to accomplish something to get paid.  There’s just a lot fewer people to report to and a lot less people taking a cut of the wealth you create.

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