When I was a kid, I saw successful businessmen create big, impressive companies. So, I dreamt that one day, I, too, could create something big and become successful.
At the time, it was more aspirational than anything, since my reality was very different. Growing up, my parents divorced when I was 7. My single mother couldn’t afford denim jeans, so I wore polyester pants to school. My lunch was subsidized.
Thanks to my education and some incredible friends—whose parents became tutors to me—and later through my father, I learned a lot about the world of business. I understood early on that if I created a business and generated value for my fellow shareholders, then I’d be rewarded, too. A few years later, that’s exactly what happened.
I made my first million as an investor, not an employee. After taking a minority share in a company, I joined the team as an executive and helped build and grow the business. As its value went up, I was rewarded with more stock. Later, when we took the company public, its value rose significantly, and so did the value of my stock.
Thanks to my previous learnings, I knew that creating value for others would create value for myself, but it was only after that first exit that I realized how true this was. I realized that it’s less about the paycheck and more about the ownership of businesses you’re involved with.
It is true that ownership comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. It goes without saying that it demands hard work and continuous commitment—so much that business owners have to forgo most hobbies or activities, and sometimes even family, for a long time. But when it comes to building wealth, full or partial ownership of your business is the only way to accomplish that.
Creating ways for employees to have a stake in your company is an excellent way for employees to demonstrate commitment to a company’s long-term vision while building wealth. When one of my employees expresses interest, not just in making money, but in truly investing in a business’ vision, I will do whatever I can to make it happen.
There are two main ways to help employees build ownership within your company. You don’t really have to be public for either option, although it makes some things easier. The …….