What young people need to hear from rich people.

Build experience.

When you are young, you aren’t in a race to make more money, you are in a race to build more experience.

Choose which job you take based on the experience it will provide and what you want to learn. When I was young, I had a variety of jobs, I didn’t like to stick around too long. This proved to be valuable long term because while I was relatively young, I was build a diverse background and resume. Ultimately this lead me to be able to combine different skill sets to become a unique resource. There are certain niche areas where I was able to become an “expert” largely because very few people had the background I did.

I had a professor that told me “Always take the side door”. What he meant was that trying to do something the normal way usually didn’t work. It doesn’t work because it means you’ll be doing the exact same thing as everyone else. If your trying to get into an elite university, just getting good grades and test scores will make you look like everyone else that applied. You want to the person who was different, the one with the weird essay, the one who did something truly unusual in high school.

This is true when you are starting a business as well. When you are trying to sell your product to your first customers, you need something unique to offer them. Claiming that what you have is just better or a higher quality won’t do anything. For anyone to be interested, you need to have something different, something that they can’t get anywhere else.

One of my dad’s friends from college went on to become a doctor. After medical school he had a variety of great offers to be a surgeon at number of hospitals. He did something that almost nobody does though, he turned them all down and went to business school. He eventually went on to become a practicing physician at a hospital. While working, on the side he started attending administration meetings, volunteered to serve on committees, organize events and several other activities on the business side of the hospital.

Within a few years he had built up a unique resume that put him on the fast track for hospital administration jobs. Now he’s the CEO of one of the largest hospital systems in the US. He was able to do this because he built at unique resume and combined his skill sets. This something that most successful people did at some point to set themselves apart. They needed something to become unique and give themselves a competitive advantage.

Your skills will compound if you start young. Start doing things that you are interested and focus on improving yourself, eventually the money will come.

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