50 Charlotte Millionaires share their No. 1 piece of career advice for young people

50 Charlotte Millionaires share their No. 1 piece of career advice for young people
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Recently we asked Agenda readers with a net worth over $1 million to take our 2019 Charlotte Millionaires Survey. Within that survey we asked “What’s your one piece of career advice to young people?” Below are the top 50 responses.

The overall themes were work harder than you need to, be a good person and worry about developing your skills instead of chasing salaries. But we thought it would be best to share their unedited advice directly.

Below are the top 50 pieces of career advice (that you’ll actually want to use) directly from local millionaires.

The net worth of each individual is listed after their advice.


“Save as much as you can as early as you can and invest in things you know and understand.” – $125 million

“Find great people to work with, work hard with them, and support your teammates.” – $20 million

“Enjoy what you do, do it well, and plan financially all the time.” – $7.5 million

“Bust your ass and learn to love reading! Hard work can only be semi-replaced with smart choices.” – $9.2 million

“Work hard and be patient as there is not a shortcut.” – $25 million

“Go to work every day and enjoy what you do. Take pride in doing your task well. Be persistent.” – $16 million

“Work hard out of the gate and don’t turn back.” – $7 million

“Invest in yourself — think long term earning potential, not which job starts you out making $10-20k more.” – $2.5 million

“Work really hard when you’re young. Take some reasonable risks. Learn from your elders not your peers.” – $4 million

“Do what makes you happy, but take big risks early.” – $8.5 million

“Money is always necessary but purpose of life goals, more than personal well being, give live meaning.” – $7 million

“Give your absolute best in college — and secure internships during the summers — so that you’re positioned for a well-paying job when you graduate. Once you find a role or industry you like, show leadership skills and network as much as possible. In my experience the fastest way to get promoted (or a higher title) and increase your salary substantially is to move to a similar or competitive company. This is why networking is a MUST.” – $5 million

“Work hard and invest in your 401K (if offered) immediately. If you wait, you will get used to that extra money in your paycheck.” – $5.2 million

“Forget following your passion. Do something you like and work hard. Be an opportunist and find areas where there are holes in the market. Offering a niche service has made all the difference.” – $2.4 million

“Take every opportunity to improve your job skills without worrying about your compensation – the more skills you develop the more money you will make in the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” – $3.5 million

“Persistence, discipline matters 10x vs. intelligence (or any other innate attribute).” – $1.5 million

“Do something mundane and do it well. Avoid glamor jobs.” – $15 million

“Do what you love and the money will follow; start early and plan your money carefully.” – $5 million

“Always underpromise and overdeliver.” – $11 million

“It is a marathon not a sprint. Be patient in the job you are in and get really good at it. The rest will happen.” – $1.5 million

“Do NOT worry about your compensation, but focus on where you can learn the most. And find a great mentor, they will open more doors and offer more advice than you would think possible. ” – $1.7 million

“Find good people and work with them. If you make a bad choice partnering with the wrong people cut your losses ASAP. You can’t fix bad people and that’s not your role in life. Move on.” – $7 million

“Get a side project going and expand your network. Your full time job can provide stability, benefits, and a 401k – however having a side gig can expand your income and provide a back up in the case of lay off. Networks are important. Give to that network 3x more than you take. For every connection that helps you, turn that around to help 3 more. The world is small – everything comes back around.” – $3.45 million

“Find something you are good at doing and can earn a living at, and do it with people you like being around, since you spend a lot of time at work. (Your passion can be a hobby or a non-profit.)” – $8 million

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. If you like your job, the company and the people you work with, be wary of chasing higher paying opportunities at the expense of your sanity. I’ve seen many of our team come back within 6 months of leaving because they missed the culture. Also participate in your company’s retirement plan to the point where it’s a little uncomfortable and definitely take advantage of any company matching to the fullest extent.” – $2.7 million

“Starting at the bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Work harder than you are expected early in and you will get the attention of someone who can make a difference in your life.” – $4.1 million

“Get motivated and produce. Disregard the distractions (SOCIAL MEDIA and whatever else you waste your time doing on the phones) and press on.” – $1.25 million

“Find a great mentor An old mentor once told let me to find a specialty/market that is new and just developing because you can become an expert and establish yourself as such while the margins are greatest. As any market matures, margins shrink as competition enters.” – $7 million

“Say yes to everything.” – $3 million

“My first job paid $28k, current job pays 10x. Don’t get discouraged. It’s ok to change careers. The career you picked when you were 18 might not be what you want to do when you’re 30.” – $3.2 million

“Do not change jobs often become very good at ONE thing.” – $3.5 million

“Make it a priority to make personal connections at work. Also be willing to put in an extra 5-10% over your peers as it will open opportunities.” – $1.54

“Work hard. Set up automatic savings and investment withdrawals that total 20 to 25 percent of take home pay. Be patient and let your advisor manage your investments (only look at quarterly reports).” – $3.5 million

“Work hard and save hard, but if forced to pick between the two, work hard.” – $1.7 million

“Always work hard. You are not entitled to success because you have a degree from X, you earn it by being better than everyone else around you. Make mistakes, and learn from them.” – $2 million

“Find something you love. It makes the long hours and the hard work totally worth it and not feel like actual work! And work hard. Don’t skip work for a hangover, stop drinking heavily on an evening before work. Ask your boss what else you can do to help and go above and beyond your title. Then, when you are given a task, don’t ask questions immediately. Try to find the answers and only ask for help if it’s a super important detail that you need someone to approve or after you’ve exhausted your search. People who need their hands held are a pain in the butt.” – $1 million

“Work is a sacrifice, or else they wouldn’t pay you to come. you’re not going to love everything about your job. also, push hard before you have kids so you can be at a level that allows for flexibility when you do.” – $1.3 million

“Work hard and give more than any of your peers…if your bosses don’t reward you after reasonable time (probably years, not weeks or months), find new bosses.” – $2.5 million

“Make sure your bosses know that you are available to take on a high profile/reward task you’ve never done before, then nail it. Rinse and repeat with another new task.” – $2.03 million

“Be generous. Don’t be that girl flaunting her Gucci because she needs it for her self esteem. Make genuine connections with real people. NEVER sell yourself short so keep learning.” – $8 million

“Find a fast-growing young company. That growth means they need lots of talent and there is lots of opportunity to get involved in different projects, grow your skills, and advance quickly.” – $1.5 million

“Be realistic about earning potentials for different career paths and be aware of the returns on your career investments (tuition). Create an savings and retirement plan early. Take personal responsibility for your career success and failures.” – $3 million

“Put in the extra work hours to build your reputation and advance now. It builds career capital that pays off later when you have more family commitments (read: kids you’ll love spending as much time as possible with).” – $1.2 million

“If you work with a feeling of ownership of your function, whether it is boring or not, you will begin caring more and more about it and other people will notice.” – $1.1 million

“Look for opportunities to start your own business…. It’s not something I did, but looking at the financial benefits for my friends that succeeded down this path, it’s a career path to consider.” – $2.85 million

“Don’t be a douchebag. Your older self will thank you.” – $1.7 million

“Know what you want to do, work at several jobs in that field until you are in your mid 30s and then find a job you can settle in to for 10 to 15 years.” – $1.3 million

“Take the time to pay your dues in the trenches before trying to advance through constant job hopping. Need to understand how all levels of a business operate and personal experience is the best way to garner respect and support while moving up the ranks.” – $1.6 million

“Follow your passion. Not the rat race.” – $1.2 million

“Be motivated. Do more than your role requires. Find ways to add value; don’t just look for what the employer or client can give you.” – $1.3 million

“Start investing early, add your annual raise to your investments, learn to live off of the minimum salary it WILL pay off in the long run.” – $1.4 million


Related Agenda story in our 2019 millionaire series: At what age do people become millionaires in Charlotte?; How do Charlotte millionaires spend and invest their money?; And 50 Charlotte millionaires answer, “What’s your No. 1 piece of personal finance advice to young people?”

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