Do you know what you need if you want to make over $100,000 a year? It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur or a nine-to-five worker… if you want to climb the corporate ladder, there are two things you need to embrace.
Do you know what they are?
No, they aren’t ambition or how smart you are. And luck has nothing to do with it.
It’s actually communication skills and how hard you work.
Lets break each of them down…
According to the dictionary, communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.”
In the corporate world, things don’t get accomplished or done right mainly because of poor communication. It’s either due to the lack of communication, the speed with which people communicate or the fact that they may not be communicating clearly.
Let’s look at that closer:
- Lack of communication – if you decide to not communicate often or not at all, this would be considered lack of communication. A good example of this is not responding to an email, ignoring a phone call or skipping meetings.
- Communication speed – how fast you respond is the speed with which you communicate. For example, if someone sends you an email and you respond three days later, that’s considered slow communication. If someone sends you an email and you respond within an hour, that is fast communication. The same goes with voicemail messages or follow-up tasks you may receive from a meeting.
- Clear communication – if you answer all of the questions someone asks you in a way that is understandable by everyone, that’s clear communication. If you aren’t answering all of the questions posed to you, that’s poor communication. And if you can’t give people clear instructions or details on what you want done, that’s also poor communication.
So, why is communication important? It’s because it shows that you care and you are on top of things. I actually recommended one of my friends to a local design shop in Seattle. The design shop got a $4,000 contract from my buddy, but they ignored some of his emails and decided to not respond to them in a timely manner.
My buddy was going to give them a $25,000 contract after they finished the $4,000 contract, but the design firm is most likely going to lose it. It’s not because their work isn’t good, but it’s because they don’t communicate effectively.
Whether you are an entrepreneur or a nine-to-five worker, you should have great communication skills:
- Always communicate with people – you should never ignore anyone, no matter how irritating they may be.
- Respond on time – it doesn’t matter if it is after working hours or on the weekend, responding within 24 hours at the latest is a requirement.
- Over-communicate – the easiest way to make sure you are communicating clearly is to over-communicate. Be thorough responding to people or giving tasks to others.
- Always take notes – whether it is a phone call or a meeting, you should always take notes and follow up with people. Give them a summary of what happened and follow-up steps to ensure everyone is on the same page.
If you follow the above communication steps, you’ll be better off than most people in the corporate world.
As a kid, I witnessed how my parents went from struggling immigrants with very little money to middle class citizens who succeeded through hard work. They did all of this so that they could provide my sister and me with a life that they didn’t have.
So, how did they provide us with a better life? They worked their butts off and did whatever it took no matter how unreasonable it sounded.
My mom, who was a teacher, couldn’t find a paying job when we moved to the U.S. So she worked for free at a school until they hired her. Because we didn’t have two cars, my mom had to walk several miles to work, while pushing my sister and me in a stroller… in hopes that one day she would get a paid job.
You don’t have to be the smartest person out there, but if you want to succeed, you need to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
For example, we have a lot of sales reps at KISSmetrics. One of our best sales reps is a gentleman by the name of Brandon. Why does Brandon do so well? It’s not because of his connections since he doesn’t know many check writers at large corporations. And it’s not because of his sales training… he got the same training as everyone else.
What separates Brandon from the crowd is that he works more hours than most people. He is the first person in the office every day and the last person to leave. When he gets home, he continues his workday. I continually see emails from him at 9 pm or even 11 pm at night asking me to review contracts. Heck, he even emails me over the weekends when he needs help so he can get some deals closed.
If you want to do well, take a page out of Brandon’s book and work hard for more than just eight hours a day.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how well connected you may be, working long hours efficiently really helps you get a leg up among your co-workers and the competition.
If that doesn’t convince you to work hard, think about how my mom got a paid teaching job because she continually worked for free. She got a paid teaching job even though English was her second language… all because she worked harder than most people.
I know I typically don’t write blog posts that are rants, but I had to because I continually see people with a ton of potential failing each day.
It’s because they are too lazy to communicate and they aren’t willing to work hard. It’s not that they aren’t smart or talented… they are just lazy.
If you want to make a lot of money, you need to work your butt off and over-communicate. People will eventually see how dedicated you are, and you’ll get ahead.
And if you don’t care about money, you should still work hard and be a great communicator. No matter what field you go into, e.g., the non-profit world, those two things will help you accomplish your goals.