DO YOU OWN A JOB?
Sounds like a silly question, right? Amazingly enough, most people who DO own a job don’t even realize it. So, let’s break it down and see if you do… and if you want to continue to.
See, you’d have thought that I, of all people on the planet, would’ve know… understood… the difference. Why? Because even though I remember my mom working a normal j-o-b for a while when I was in high school, both my bonus dad (aka step dad) and my real dad, well, I never remembered either of them working a regular job – like, as an employee. Now, in defense of one, I never developed a very close relationship with my real dad (another topic for another post lol), but I knew enough to know that he seemed to never work – not like I was used to seeing family members and friends work. Truthfully, not even as my bonus dad worked. And my bonus dad always had his own business, as far back as I could remember, so, to me, he was a business owner. It wasn’t until I was exposed to Robert Kiyosaki and his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, containing the illustration of the Cashflow Quadrant and explanation of the four quadrants that it really made sense to me – AND allowed me to hone in on which quadrant I personally wanted to be in.
Quadrant #1: Employee
This is what we all seem to visualize when we hear talk of a “job”. You know the drill, right? For me, it started when I was 14 years old, but I think laws restrict that now, which is crazy in my mind. Anyway, at the age of 14 I wanted stuff, okay? Designer jeans, shoes, etc. Stuff. And, my parents said, “No.” Really what they more fully said was, “It’s our job to provide your needs, not your every want. Jeans are jeans. There’s no reason to pay that kind of money for a pair of jeans. If you want them, you’ll have to earn your own money and get them.” I don’t know what they thought would happen, but… to work I went – and, yes, they had to then provide transportation for me. Lol (Later, as a guardian to my niece, I got to see what a friggin’ inconvenience and responsibility that can be!)
I talked to people. I put in applications. And, I landed a job bussing tables at a restaurant where my parents somehow knew the people who owned it or something. (Hhmmm… You think there was some behind-the-scenes negotiations going on there??) I was in heaven… sorta. I didn’t really like the work, and I didn’t really care for going to school, doing school work, then also going to a job – but I loved buying that first pair of ATB jeans! I’ll never forget it!
I punched a clock at a business somebody else owned, performed duties I was instructed to, and, in exchange, I received a paycheck. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an employee. Quadrant #1. This is where most working class people “live”. photo from rayhigdon.com
Quadrant #2: Self-Employed
Now, this was my bonus dad and (I thought) my real dad. (I learned later in life that this wasn’t the case. I’ll get to that in a minute.) I wasn’t stupid, afterall; I knew they weren’t employees.
As a business owner, you own the business. Duh! That also means that YOU do the work. YOU are self-employed. If a customer calls, you go. If work needs to be done on equipment,you either do it or call the repair person to do it. If there’s a complaint, you handle it. You take the calls, keep the books, send out invoices, make deposits, reconcile accounts, etc. The business doesn’t run without YOU, plain and simple! When you see “Bob’s Home Repairs”, this is usually Bob’s gig. (Occasionally, you’ll find a franchise or something that’s chosen a mom-n-pop name, but not as a norm.) The hole-in-the-wall pub or eatery… usually a self-employed business owner. The head bartender or cook is usually the owner. And, under most circumstances, may be the ONLYperson running the business.
What does that mean? Well, if he or she is sick, has a family emergency, wants to go watch the kids’ basketball game or piano recital, or anything else outside the realm of business, the business shuts down. No cashflow is coming in. This also means that money is being lost or potentially even “going out” when no money is “coming in”. Just think about vacations, right? I remember a few growing up but not many. Any guesses why?? You should be getting the picture about now, right?
YOU… OWN A JOB!
Quadrant #3: Business Owner
This is a little better than a self-employed person. Some would say quite a bit better. Given only these options, I’d tend to agree: THIS would be the “cream of the crop”!
A business owner is like a franchise owner or something like that. They usually still own the business, per se, but, more importantly, they own a system. And, they’re usually still involved in the operations in some way, some how. Where the “split” occurs, though, is in the fact that when a business owner takes off for the afternoon, the business still runs. The fam wants to go on vacay: Cashflow still happens. Money still comes in, and money still goes out. There’s a little more freedom in this quadrant. More responsibility? More headache? Well, the nay-sayers would argue that, and, I suppose, in some situations that could be true. My argument would be that they should’ve hired a higher quality of staff – ones they could trust, who possess impeccable work ethic, and who have the common sense when it’s alright to call and interrupt the vacay, if needed. Lol It’s usually a huge monetary investment… but the higher quality of life could be well worth it!
Quadrant #4: Investor
This is where the REAL freedom lies. Almost everybody WANTS to get here. Think about it: If you ask 10 people, who wouldn’t want a life of total freedom AND enough cashflow to do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want. Heck, I wanted that my entire life! Lol The challenge is that few people really understand this quadrant and even fewer ever get here. THIS is where my real dad “lived”, so I came to learn.
An investor is the epitome of what it means to have your money work for you. The people in this quadrant “worked hard”, make no mistake about it. People, for as many who scour the internet looking for the “get-rich-quick” schemes… I sincerely believe there are none. Are there ways to accelerate your success? Yes, absolutely! What are genuinely thought to be shortcuts, though? Nope. Don’t believe in them. There are a few reasons:
1. This quadrant requires knowledge… expertise… an understanding… personal growth…
2. Many people who already occupy this quadrant are unwilling to “give the goods away”.
So, if you’re interested in getting here… the place of passive, residual income… you must be realistic, tenacious, and willing to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to get you here. In other words, don’t ever give up. Learn, grow, ask questions, get mentors, try, fail, pick yourself back up, and keep doing it until you find the right vehicle, have become the person you need to be mentally and emotionally, honed your skills for the vehicle you’ve chosen, then make the leap to Quadrant #4.
My real dad… I still don’t know really how he did it. I mean, like, I don’t know the actual “moves”… and, he’s passed away now, so I’m unable to ask him. What I do know is that he began purchasing real estate. That was his biggest vehicle, I believe. Now, he also became involved in other things: funding business ventures for others; loaning personal capital; investing in material objects that he knew would appreciate in value over time; and, investing and reinvesting a portion of the cashflow to ensure the longevity of his life in this quadrant. He invested in things that generated income, right? Not things that cost him money. THIS is my chosen quadrant!
So let me ask you again…
DO YOU OWN A JOB?
Is that really where you want to be? If you’re in any other quadrant besides that of an investor, are you satisfied being there? Is that the destination you’ve always imagined your life’s journey taking you? If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, I need to ask you one more… Well, maybe two… questions:
What are you going to do about it? And when?
Make the most of it.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki