You’ll never get rich working for someone else, or so they say. Many feel the risky, adventurous life of an entrepreneur is the surefire pathway of becoming a millionaire but what if you're happier and more comfortable working for a boss who pays for your medical insurance?
According to some estimates, if you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur you’ll have to make 35 percent more than your current salary to fully replace the income a day job brings in each month. For someone with a family to support, leaving the safety of a salaried position is risky, even if it might be more lucrative down the road.
If you’re set on becoming a millionaire, but you also want the security of working for someone else, here are a few options to consider.
1. Earn partner status.
Partnerships aren’t just for law firms. Look for a small business or startup where you have a shot at becoming a business partner at some point. While many business owners either choose to form a partnership or sole ownership from the start, a small business founder can definitely change that as a company grows.
If you work hard, bring certain expertise to the table and show your leadership capabilities, take the opportunity to pitch the idea of joining your boss in running things. That could lead to a much larger share of revenue over the following years -- even eventual millionaire status. That kind of thing certainly won't come as quickly if you shy away from daring to become a leader at your company.
Related: 5 Reasons You Should Keep Your Day Job
2. Take stock options.
Stock options are usually negotiated during the job interview process. Find a company that offers stock options, even if the salary is a bit lower. This consideration has become very popular in the startup world of Silicon Valley. Talented candidates want to know how long it will take their options to vest before they sign on with a company.
All that aside, it’s important to understand the harsh reality that stock options rarely make employees millionaires by themselves. There’s no guarantee the company will ever be acquired or go public, and the odds are that you won’t receive millions in the deal even if it does. Consider this as an investment, among others you might make in the stock market or real estate market.
Related: 5 Steps to Getting Your Employees On Board With Stock Options
3. Live below your means.
The less you spend, the more you have in the bank. You can’t save money if you’re spending too much of it consistently. The entire theory behind “the millionaire next door” is that many of the wealthiest people are living well below their means.
This may amount to years, or even decades, of living in a small house or driving a used car but if it pays off later, it’s well worth it. In some cases, saving money is actually better than earning more money, especially when you remember you have to pay taxes in April and it helps to have money in the bank for that.
Related: 5 Frugal Habits of the World's Richest People
4. Invest Wisely
Navigating the stock market can be tricky. It’s also a way to quickly increase your income, provided you know what you’re doing and you have the extra time and energy to devote to becoming good at it.
Many entrepreneurial-minded people are skilled at spotting a solid business concept and putting their money into it. They keep an eagle eye on the performance of a wide range of different stocks and industries, much the same way a football fan might pore over stats and standings of their fantasy team.
If you’re completely clueless about the stock market, put serious time into finding a financial expert who can direct you on the best investments to reach your goals. Once you have the extra income, you can also consider investing in real estate or rental properties to boost your monthly earnings.
Related: 10 Must-Read Books About the Market, Investing and Building Wealth
5. Take over the business.
Eventually, the business owner will retire or move on to other ventures. That could be your chance to shine.
If your business owner isn’t even close to retirement age, look for the possibility that he or she may someday want to set the business aside to work on other ventures. Throughout your tenure with the company, showi you have the passion and work ethic necessary to run the business in the current owner’s absence. If you’re a trusted employee, chances are you’ll get more and more responsibility for leading the company as the years progress. If you can’t imagine wanting to take over the business you currently work for, consider exploring a different field.
Related: Why Ownership Is Now a Favorite Employee Benefit
6. Start a side business.
Once your day job ends, your side hustle should begin. With today’s technology, you don’t have to invest in a physical office and a team of employees to start a new business.
Keeping your job and becoming a millionaire may mean toiling away night after night to build your client base to build a steady revenue flow so you can leave your salaried position behind someday. Make sure your side business doesn’t pose a conflict of interest to your day job while you still rely on it to pay your bills.
Few millionaires are made overnight. It takes years of hard work and forethought to reach that type of income level. Like most people, if you want to generate more money, you’ll need to do it while you’re working for someone else, at least at the start. Keep in mind just how much work it is to set up a new business, learn what your customers want as well as create a product or service that matches that.
Sacrifice is the name of the game and it’s not right for everyone. It’s still attainable though, as long as you stay disciplined, think quickly and persevere over the long haul.
John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.