Career Choice Doesn’t Matter: ANYONE Can Become a Millionaire

Three construction workers overlooking a job site in a big city

It doesn’t matter what your career is. You don’t have to be a doctor, lawyer, or investment banker to make millions.

Updated: May 10, 2024

I am a big fan of ESI Money’s Millionaire Interviews. I read them nearly every week, and overall it is just fun to see the wide variety in which people make millions.

Plus, I usually learn a new thing or two in the process.

After reading 100s of interviews over the years, and supported by research in The Millionaire Next Door, it is pretty clear that you it really doesn’t matter WHAT your profession is.

The people who become millionaires do so by:

  1. Steadily and increasingly growing their income
  2. Consistently saving
  3. Investing in some capacity

But that is it. Those are the 3 factors of wealth.

Career choice doesn’t matter!

Doctor, lawyer, banker, engineer, salesperson, therapist, nurse, plumber, etc.

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

Sure, having a high income makes achieving wealth technically “easier” on paper. But how much you earn doesn’t matter as much as how much you earn, save, and invest altogether.

What matters is executing on the three factors of wealth: earning, saving and investing.

For this article, I am going to focus on your career.

As we have already established, it doesn’t matter what your career is, there are only three defining factors of income potential:

  1. Showing Up!
  2. Being Reliable and Consistent
  3. Learn new things

1. Showing Up!

You may be thinking, “Showing up?” – YES, showing up.

Really showing up. Not just coming to work and half-assing things and working until it’s 5 o’clock.

Showing up and being present in the workplace. Working hard, but also just being into what you are doing.

If you do not show up, and you don’t attempt to bring your best self as much as possible to the workplace, then you are shooting your biggest wealth building tool in the foot.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Show up and do the best job that you can.

2. Be Reliable and Consistent

As an entrepreneur and former CEO of a $15M a year business, I can say that the number one thing in building a business is simply being reliable.

When you are consistent and reliable, what you do for your career doesn’t matter.

When you are reliable, you will have access to more opportunities:

  • You will get first dibs on projects.
  • You will retain more customers.
  • You consistently increase your income.
  • You will find yourself in demand.

Being consistent is not just about your career, you should also be:

And again, it doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or grocery store clerk.

I guarantee that if you show up and are consistent, you are on your way to a good sustaining career.

3. Learn new things

I cannot emphasize enough how important this is.

If you want to stand out in your career, and explode your income, then you need to be constantly learning new things.

Here are things that I learned after graduating college:

  • I taught myself how to code
  • I learned how to manage finances (still learning)
  • I studied how to start and grow businesses
  • I learned as much as I could about marketing, product development, negotiated deals, managing employees, hiring employees, etc.

The world is constantly changing. If you are not learning, you are not growing your earning potential.

The best way for learning IMO, is reading. This is why I have compiled a recommended books list on a variety of wealth building topics for anyone interested.

Hint: You can switch careers too

Don’t be afraid to switch careers.

If you show up, are consistent, and are willing to learn new things, then this is entirely possible.

If you aren’t happy in your current career, you can still build wealth by switching. It is never too late:

  • I have hired a 45 year old Junior Engineer. She was a stay-at-home mom and re-entered the workforce. Now she is closing in the skills to be a Senior Engineer and make over six figures.
  • My mom was initially a dental hygienist. She then became a headhunter. Then she ran her own outdoor furniture consulting business, before having a 10-year run with an outdoor furniture company as a sales rep.
  • Myself. I majored in Finance, but I started my career in Marketing. Then I taught myself to code, worked as an engineer, started a business, and eventually became a CEO. Now I run this site.

Hopefully, by now you can see, that your career choice doesn’t matter to income creation.

The tools that you use once you choose your career are all the same.

So no matter what you choose, do the best job you can.

Show up, and take some risks.

Just don’t forget to save and invest too (save $100K to start and go from there)!

Whether you are just getting started building wealth, or you already have a solid handle on your finances, I highly recommend Empower to track your net worth, budget, and help plan your retirement. It truly is a great tool.

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  1. Awesome post!
    I found this to be especially true in my case since I “only” have an associates degree in criminal justice, which has caused me to feel insecure/inadequate at times. Yet, I have been able to climb the ladder pretty well at my current company in the finance industry. I haven’t been doing anything special, but maybe the special is showing up, being reliable and consistent, and learning new things!

  2. Reading the story of the stay-at-home mom gives me some hope. I am also a stay-at-home mom and currently learning coding on my own. If I may ask, why did you hire her instead of other applicants? What made her stand out? Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

    1. In this case, I was not the hiring manager, but we had built a program specifically for entry level engineers.

      She fit perfectly into this program with previous real-world work experience, even though she was a relatively new engineer.

      IMO, I would much rather hire a stay-at-home mom who is ready to get back into the workforce, and who is highly motivated, over a younger engineer who is still trying to figure out what they want in life and is likely harder to retain long-term.

      This is also anecdotal evidence, but I think most of the hires we made for folks in their 30s,40s, and 50s, stuck around longer in general.

  3. Good advice on career / income growth. I agree with all the points made, including the other commenter on being likable (it certainly helps). I’d also add that it’s important to focus your efforts on the things that matter. I’ve seen people pour themselves into a project that nobody else cares about and they get nothing in return for doing it. Make sure you’re solving problems that are important to people and you’ll find yourself growing as you are adding value to others around you.

    1. If you want to maximize your impact, you certainly don’t want to waste your time on a project that isn’t championed within the organization or even your boss. I had some employees go down rabbit holes at times, and this eventually led me to make clearer scoring format for performance reviews that was agreed upon at the start of each year.

  4. I have to add one thing to the three you listed for career growth. All those you listed are important but without the fourth they will not gain you the most success. You have to be liked, you have to be someone that makes people smile when you walk up. If people do not like you then being consistent and reliable will never get you to where someone like you or me got to. I haven’t met you but I can guarantee you are someone who makes a tremendous first impression and someone people enjoy being around. It isn’t enough to be liked, without your three key factors, but it is also a must have in my opinion.

    1. Yeah you are right there. Being likeable is really important. No matter how you slice it. I had an employee who really crushed it on all three of my factors, but he was not likeable and caused problems. I was able to shift some things around and got him into a better mental space that helped him to be more likeable and the entire team’s productivity shot up. So yes, I agree that likeability is a very important factor here as well!

  5. The associate lifestyle creep is what gets a lot of high-income earners from what I’ve seen. I also agree the best way to learn is by reading…. Ever notice most respectable people being interviewed in their house have a large bookcase behind them…I don’t think it’s for show. To Grow Is To Learn and growth is freedom….no matter what profession.

    1. Yeah it is definitely not for show. At least for most.

      If you want to get to the top of your field and stay on top, you are going to have to continue to focus on learning. For most that will be done via reading. Some folks may think that as soon as they graduate college with a good degree they are done…but it turns out that is when true learning really begins.

      1. Agreed. I’ve learned way more after I graduated college. I recently read “The Art of Fielding.” Even though it is a fiction book about baseball, and I don’t really care for baseball, it’s analogous to so many experiences within the corporate world and my own life. It helps you look at the world from a different lens and perhaps encourages you to take a look into your own sub-conscience. Highly recommended.

  6. Showing up is an undervalued skill that people discount immensely. Giving 50% effort over 3 years is much better than giving 120% effort in a year and then giving up due to burnout.

    I wish I had known that a lot earlier and that a slow pace doesn’t necessarily mean a bad pace.

    The story about the mom turned software engineer is very interesting. I would have discounted myself out to be a software engineer even though I picked up coding in college because I didn’t specialize in it. Maybe I need to start having a different mindset when approaching my career prospects 🙂

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