Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie was the son of a handloom weaver that emigrated with his family to the United States and established a home in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. At 13, Carnegie started to work as a bobbin boy at a cotton mill. When he got his first job, he had to work for 12 hours a day, six days a week, changing spools of thread. He would later go on to work in different tasks at Western Union and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, as a telegraphist, earning $4 a week. In 1865 he decided to create his very own business venture and eventually founded the Carnegie Steel Company, which kickstarted the steel industry in Pittsburgh.
At 65 he sold his company to J.P. Morgan for $480 million and dedicated the rest of his life to philanthropic activities and literature, including his autobiography. During his life, Carnegie donated more than $350 million.
Those were the humble beginnings of this industry titan. 50 years later, he was considered the second wealthiest person in history, with businesses and participation in the railroad industry, bridges, towers and oil wells. Not only did he found the most profitable company of the time, -the Carnegie Steel Co.- he dedicated millions of dollars to education, through organizations such as the Carnegie Corporation New York, the Carnegie Fund for International Peace and the renowned university of Carnegie Mellon. In his later years, Carnegie spent his time teaching and showing people his vision of life. One day, at a Pittsburgh University, he told a group of young people what was the formula that had led him to the top and his success in life.
How could a Scottish immigrant with no education, with humble origins, become a business mogul and the second wealthiest man in history? The following are five tips that will help you stop being an employee and start being an entrepreneur, the same five principles that he taught that group of young people in Pittsburgh.
Get your superiors’ attention
Lots of people spend their time hating their bosses and criticizing the company that they work for, and you hear them say “I am not willing to give an additional minute of my time to this company”, asking themselves “what should I do for the company?”, instead of asking “what can I do for the company?” If you’re working on the clock, just doing the tasks that you are told to in a “good” way instead of doing them in an excellent way, you should stay where you are, since that’s not how you get to the top.
If you do an extraordinary work instead, better than the one you’re supposed to, you are clearly showing signs that you don’t want to spend your whole life doing the same thing. You are eager to shine. Shining will take you far beyond your department, you will reach your employers’ ears sooner. Show them that, while other people wasted their time thinking of other things, you invested yours thinking about how to improve certain things. Tell them that, right up until before you fell asleep, you’d think of things that you knew could work better. Maybe you won’t be 100% correct in your ideas, but by then you will have managed to achieve the first rule: you will have shone and drawn the attention of your superiors.
Break the rules to save the owners
In every story that you can possibly hear or read about revolutionary, brave and courageous individuals, you won’t find someone who hasn’t broken the rules to be different and better. If you’re a person with no dreams, without desires or ambitions, then just stick to following the rules by the book. If you know what will benefit the company, you can break the statutes in order to improve what already exists. You will never be able to position yourself as a stakeholder if you don’t prove a knowledge of the business that is as deep or even deeper than that of the owners.
Give instructions to your bosses as soon as possible
Get your ideas out in the open. Show that you are right if you see that your bosses are making terrible mistakes. Don’t miss the chance of shedding some light on them whenever there is something wrong. Tell them how to improve whatever is wrong and look for results. Nothing will cause them a greater impression if they are the appropriate bosses. Otherwise, they’re not people with whom you want to stay.
Attitude, determination and brains
Often you’ll find that people complain because they haven’t had opportunities or because they’re victims of the circumstances. This is absurd. There isn’t a single person that hasn’t had an opportunity in life and even a great opportunity. If you’re in employee, let me tell you that ever since you got your job you are in the minds of your bosses, and if you do things right, you will probably already be in the mind of the business owner.
You can get to the top with determination and attitude. Don’t lose hope if you’ve been an employee for years and you haven’t been able to start your own business. Of course, it’s not easy to create a successful business overnight, but keep this in mind: There is enough money in the world for everyone, and there is enough space on the top for many more.
There aren’t companies that don’t need talent, there is an imbalance between supply and demand of talent, and the demand will always be greater than the supply, there will always exist a need for brains. What are you doing to cultivate yours? Force yourself to be a part of the supply market. When it comes to brilliant minds, there will never be saturation, there will always be demand, and the more brains you have to sell, the greater will be the price that they’ll pay for it.
Spend less than you earn
There is a practically flawless way of detecting those who will be owners of their destiny and future millionaires. Their income will always be greater than their expenses. Start saving early, don’t wait for adulthood. Regardless of what your salary is, the important thing is that, out of what you earn, you save a part of it. With those savings, at any moment, you’ll be able to invest in something that will give you a greater return, and above all, never gamble away the money that you’ve saved for investment. Rest assured that you will be presented with investment opportunities, and even if you have little, you should keep going. In the future you will get enough or you will be able to ask for a credit. Investments and loaners are looking for people who save. For each penny they will triple it if they see that habit in you. Investors don’t look for a big return. If they’re in hands of bad administrators, they won’t put their money in them in anyway. Align your habits with your intentions. Don’t just keep the formula, apply it in real life. And keep this golden rule in mind: all of your expenses should always be lower than your income.