I’ve discussed a lot in the past about having the right money mindset to get rich. The very first thing in order to get rich is BELIEVING you deserve to be rich. There are trillions of dollars out there for the taking. Why shouldn’t you enjoy some of the world’s prosperity too as an honest, diligent, hardworking, and talented individual?
I began developing my money mindset when I started reading countless stories of CEOs earning millions of dollars while driving their companies into the ground. They would get massive multi-million dollar severance packages for crap work that even a baboon could do. As soon as I started believing in my worth, my confidence shot up and the money started coming in.
For example, IBM’s CEO got a $100,000 base pay raise to $1.6 million in 2015 along with a $3.6 million bonus in 2014, and a $13.3 million stock incentive reward payable in 2018. Meanwhile, IBM is down ~25% over the past two years while the S&P 500 is up 35%, a 60% underperformance! You or I could do just as good of a job as the IBM CEO, for half the compensation. I’m picking on IBM here because I bought the stock in my investment portfolio. One day this dog will bark!
On a more normal level, I’ve seen people who are utterly unqualified get hired for jobs making $300,000 a year plus a half million dollars in stock options. Every time I see such an event I’m thinking to myself a couple things, “What were they thinking?” and “Why not me too?” Please consistently ask yourself this second question, “Why not me too?” It’s those people who believe they deserve to make the big bucks who are the ones who make the big bucks.
Ever since we were kids, we’d daydream about being somebody special. And then reality sets in, and most of us end up doing nothing like we thought we’d be doing as kids. But dreaming is free, so I encourage everybody to do so every so often. Let me share with you my latest latest vision.
In January 2014, I decided to take up a consulting role at a financial tech firm because I was restless, wanted to learn as much as possible about digital marketing, and was eager to contribute more in making Personal Capital a success. One of the interesting aspects of working part-time is a desire to eventually go full-time because I can’t help but give 110% towards new endeavors. I held back the urge for a year until I read an insightful article by CNBC reporter Ari Levy about the huge rise in Chief Content Officers, and then another article entitled The Content Marketing Revolution on Harvard Business Review.
A CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER’S IMPORTANCE
For the longest time, I couldn’t find any other industry that paid as well as the finance industry. First year analysts out of college are now earning $80,000 base salaries plus a bonus, for example. When I left Wall Street in 2012, Directors (one level above VP) were making $250,000 base salaries plus bonuses that could easily equal a full year’s salary or more. It was only a full year after I left the finance industry that I truly appreciated how good the compensation was.
All the tech jobs I was interested in after leaving finance “only” paid between $120,000 – $160,000 full-time plus stock options, which are a complete crapshoot. So I figured, might as well focus on my online media efforts instead of working for much less compensation in a new industry. But after I learned how much Chief Content Officers make at large companies from talking to various industry people and reading Ari Levy’s article, I’ve come to realize I can finally replicate my finance income doing something else in an industry that I love!
Chief Content Officers make $200,000 – $300,000 a year in base salary and have close to an equivalent salary amount worth of stock options. That type of compensation is definitely enticing enough for me to go back to work full-time if I found the right company to join. And it’s not just the money either, but the ability to have a C-level leadership role and affect positive change in an organization that I believe in.
What you’ll notice as you get older is that your options for work become more limited because you don’t want to go backwards in your career. As a consultant, I’ve got a lot of flexibility to work on projects I enjoy, without the long-term responsibility that tends to put more pressure on full-time employees. I also don’t get annoyed as much if the company decides to go in a different direction than what I advise. But I also don’t get to go 110% all-in either, which is what I tend to do. I’ve been searching for an equivalent role to my finance job in the media industry and I believe I’ve finally found one.
WHY NOT ME TOO?
When the NASDAQ bubble burst in 2000, a disproportionate amount of Managing Directors were laid off because they didn’t cover any clients. All they did was manage a team of producers. As a result, Directors and the Managing Directors wisened up and began covering clients along with managing people. It became imperative for every single manager to have a revenue line item associated with his or her name if he or she wanted to survive another downturn.
Based on conversations I’ve had with multiple people in various marketing departments, a large majority of Chief Content Officers do not produce any content (equivalent to MDs not covering any clients). The CCOs are in charge of a team of content producers, managing the editorial calendar, and editing the content. I’m pretty sure that if there is ever a downturn, the non-producing CCOs will be some of the most at risk employees given their costs. Companies can’t afford to have non-producing employees on the payroll. (Related: If You Produce Nothing, How Do You Expect To Make Any Money?)
For six years, I’ve been the CCO and CEO of my own online media company. I created the Financial Samurai brand, wrote 99% of all the content, wrote a book, figured out how to rank very high in search for important keywords, marketed all the work, and generated a very significant, organically-driven revenue stream that would make anybody proud. Furthermore, I’ve spent ~2,000 hours over the course of one year working in the marketing department of a financial tech company managing an editorial calendar, building their brand, increasing user engagement, producing content, and managing a team of 15 writers.
I don’t know many existing Chief Content Officers who can say they’ve successfully built an entire money-making media asset of their own from scratch. They might have helped grow readership and their company’s social media channels, but how hard is that really, when they have millions of dollars to spend every year on content and marketing? I’ve never spent money producing content. And the only advertisement I’ve played around with was the $100 Google Adwords credits to market my book.
So instead of looking at the Chief Content Officer at a reputable company as an unobtainable position because I’m too young or unworthy, I’m now asking myself, why not me too?
EGO VERSUS A CHALLENGE
Who doesn’t love a good challenge? I love trying to see if I can achieve something I put my mind to. But I also wonder whether my ego is just craving attention. I’m already CEO of my own small business, after all. Do I really need to try and make more money? Becoming a Chief Content Officer may very well be a step back.
Despite seeing all the beauties and difficulties of entrepreneurship, I still think it would be neat to be a CCO of a company I admire while simultaneously maintaining Financial Samurai. There would be so many great things to share with all of you! I’d wake up by 6am as usual, write an article for 1.5 hours, publish it, and then go to work. When I get back, I’ll respond to comments and write some more. Financial Samurai has always been a hobby first, albeit now a highly profitable one.
I’ve written this article to motivate me into maximizing my full potential while I’ve still got the energy. I hope many of you get motivated in seeking a role you deserve as well. It’s fun to push ourselves to see how far we can go. The next time you have doubt on whether you deserve a particular role or pay amount, write out a list of your qualifications. I’m sure you deserve more than you think!
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Gen Y Finance Guy says
Great to know that either way you plan to keep FS alive and well.
You should give it a try, the risk is really low for you. As you said you don’t need to work and you have a highly profitable business that you will still be running to fall back on.
You will never know until you try.
Financial Samurai says
Yep, I’m trying now with three consulting clients, one of which is being the CMO/VP of Marketing. So far, so good, but a lot of stress and pressure to perform. I haven’t felt this way in a while. As a 100% owner of my online media business, I feel hardly any pressure.
I run my own small web design business, but also try to get better deals and earn more money. My experience is growing (13 years and counting) and I was lucky to get some amazing clients who taught me to value my work and my time better. Of course, there’s still a long way to go and this article is encouraging me to try even further.
Financial Samurai says
13 years is a great amount of time. I truly believe that once we start telling ourselves we deserve more, and “why not me too?” that we start seeing bigger opportunities. It’s those who dare to try, who are the ones who get farther.
Great article Sam and lots of food for thought. Now that I’m a freelancer having a go getter attitude and believing “why not me too” is more important now than ever. You raise a lot of great points in this post and content is definitely hot right now. As for your situation, just take on as much as you are comfortable with which is probably sticking with consulting work vs going fulltime. Having flexibility is awesome and also not having all your eggs in one basket.
Financial Samurai says
Flexibility really is priceless. I was ALMOST going to take a full-time offer at a startup, but their offer wasn’t enticing enough and I decided to consult instead. I’m incredibly happy to have chosen the latter. In fact, I would recommend all companies and people consult for 3 months first to see if they want to work full-time or hire the person.
There is so much money out there in the world for the taking. I feel men are more aggressive in asking, so I do hope you find inspiration in this article to ask for yours too. Do or die in freelance/entrepreneurship world especially.
Don’t ask permission. Go out and take it for yourself!