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A Wealth Incubator

By Thomas J. Stanley on Feb 25th, 2010 in For Marketing & Sales Professionals, Psychology and Careers

I recently asked nearly 1,000 millionaires nationwide “What was your first full-time job?”.  Out of those 1,000 respondents, 137 answered, “sales/marketing professional.”  In fact, this proportion places the “sales/marketing  vocation” as the #1 first full time job.  Does this mean that people in this profession have a significantly higher probability than those in other jobs of becoming wealthy?  No!  There is a smaller proportion of millionaires who are sales professionals than would be expected given the large size of the sales professionals in general employed in America.

Only about one-half of those millionaires who started with a career in sales remain in that profession today.  Those who moved on are highly concentrated in two areas: they are either owners/managers of successful businesses or they are senior executives of public corporations.

This in no way should discourage people from entering the sales profession.  For this vocation is often the incubator for future corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Given the right sales position, you may be given the opportunity to interact with possibly thousands of key people in other corporations.  This often stimulates one’s creative side in finding opportunities that have not be exploited.  One of those opportunities is to be hired by one of the organizations that are among your customer base. If you are successful in selling for others, you will be able to sell your own product via your own company someday.  Plus most millionaires are leaders.  And most leaders must sell their ideas to their troops.

3 responses to “A Wealth Incubator”

  1. Richard Wolfe says:

    Excellent point. I would add that we are all in Sales. How many times must we sell our ideas to our friends, family or spouses?? It does help to grow those skills no matter what line of work your in. The sales profession does add many valuable skills to your arsenal when executed and learned.

  2. Barbara Friedberg says:

    AT age 16, determined to work, I looked in the paper and answered an ad for AVON sales. I started my business, going door to door in a moderate income neighborhood and persisted with my customers while growing a nice little business. I believe that entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity can lead to wealth! I’m not surprised that sales ranked so high!

  3. Max says:

    Sales is the only industry where you can locate yourself any where in the world, and write your own paycheck.

    I started in sales when I was 17 and haven’t stopped for the last 14 years. I make more money than most of my counter-parts, and thanks at least partially to Dr. Stanley’s reinforcement of frugality first given me by my parents, I am well on my way to $5Mil.

    I am inclined to start my own business and have researched a few ideas but not made the jump just yet. We’ll see how it goes.

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