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Meanwhile, his enthusiasm and activity never wavered. With each month that passed, he learned more and his intuition improved. That made his suggestions more valuable. And the next time a marketing management position opened up, he was given the opportunity.
Ted’s transition took less than two years. And his salary almost doubled: from $31,000 to $59,000. Once he was in a position to create his own products and run his own advertising program, his learning curve accelerated even faster. In the four years that have elapsed since then, his portion of the business grew from $1 million to $16 million (with more than a 20 percent profit margin). He was clearly the key person in this expansion. And so it was easy for his boss to justify Ted’s phenomenal rise in income: from $59,000 to more than $400,000 in 2004.
Another example is Marion Oaks. She was working as an editorial assistant for another publishing business that I consulted with, also about 1998. After listening to a seminar her boss and I gave about why copywriting was such an important element of their bottom line, Marion switched from editorial to copywriting.
For almost two full years, her income stagnated. Then she wrote her first breakthrough promotion. That success inspired her to work even harder. Within the next 12 months, she was generating millions every quarter in additional sales for the business. And her income soared—from about $50,000 to $240,000 in 2004.
Are These Numbers Realistic?
Not if you aren’t going to transform yourself and make a difference. But if you do become a critical part of the growth of a business, it is reasonable to expect very large increases year to year. Table 4.1 shows some examples based on the records of people who have worked for one of my clients:
126 AUTOMATIC WEALTH
HIRE STARTING PERCENT CURRENT
DATE SALARY INCREASE SALARY
a 7/24/1996 $25,000 500 $150,000
b 3/6/2000 $24,000 233 $80,025
c 6/20/1989 $65,000 131 $150,000
d 12/14/1993 $75,000 47 $110,000
e 6/4/2001 $16,640 291 $65,000
f 2/1/1999 $26,000 150 $65,000
g 9/2/1998 $20,800 142 $50,400
h 9/3/1997 $28,000 168 $75,000
i 5/17/1999 $23,000 139 $55,000
j 2/9/1998 $32,000 196 $94,600
k 8/28/2000 $55,000 82 $100,000
l 9/6/1994 $37,000 157 $95,000
m 11/4/1996 $48,000 213 $150,000
n 4/10/2000 $45,000 52 $68,500
o 1/17/1995 $80,000 119 $175,000
P 8/8/2000 $50,000 48 $74,000
q 5/24/1999 $62,500 84 $115,000
r 2/4/2002 $33,000 67 $55,000
If you would like to experience a radical salary increase like this in your own career, here’s what you have to do:
• Figure out how your business creates profits.
• Understand how your job contributes to that process.
• Modify your job so that more profits are produced as a result of what you do.
• Make sure the people who are in charge of giving raises know how much more money you are making for the company.
Learning How Your Business Makes Profits
Most employees know little or nothing about how the companies they work for earn profits. They may know what the company sells (i.e., they can identify its products), where it does its marketing (television, direct mail, the Internet, etc.), who it caters to in general terms
Step 4: Radically Increase Your Personal Income 127
(seniors, young girls, etc.)—but they go mute if you ask them how and why sales are made.
How much do you know about your company’s core profit strategies? Answer these questions:
• Can you name five primary benefits of your company’s topselling product/service?
• Can you name the chief secondary (psychological) benefit of this product/service?
• Can you name one unique selling proposition for each of your company’s top-selling products/services?
• What is your company’s primary competitive advantage?
• How is that advantage employed in (1) product creation, (2) marketing, and (3) sales?
If you know your business the way you should, you will have quick and confident answers to all of these questions. If they leave you guessing, you have work to do.
Here’s something to keep in mind: Every business has, at its core, some unique way of developing and selling its products/services that is invisible to outsiders—even, in most cases, to competitors.
Only by understanding the business in a very deep way (and especially understanding how its products are created, developed, and sold) can you hope to become a major part of the company’s profit-making inner circle.
You can acquire a good deal of this invisible knowledge simply by speaking to people who are in the know. Make an appointment to speak to your boss and surprise him or her by asking, “What makes the business work?”
Talk to every friendly face in the sales and marketing departments. Ask them how they do their jobs. Speak with customer service people. Find out what the customers are asking for. If you know people who have responsible positions in marketing, product creation, or profit management in other companies, give them a call.
As these conversations take place, you’ll begin to get how the business operates, what sort of things matter, and what sort of things are simply time wasters. Your goal is to have that invisible profile of the company gradually come into focus for you. It will.