How to Win at Capitalism


Under capitalism, there is no guarantee or promise to get rich.

The promise is that you have a decent shot at it.

The American Dream™ is about aspiring to the middle class and financial security. Even so, it’s called the Dream and not the American Guarantee.

Just putting it all into perspective.

But now let’s say you want to become not just secure, but rich. You grew up poor, hated it, and you’re not going to stay there. How is it done?

Starting With Nothing

When I say nothing, I don’t mean “I can’t afford to go on vacation.” That’s entitlement. Nothing means you have no meaningful skills or experience to think of.

If this is you, I hope it’s because you are young—not lazy. If you’re lazy, you probably can’t be helped because you refuse to help yourself.

If you are not lazy, keep reading.

When you have nothing, your first objective is to establish a baseline.

A baseline means you can say “I at least have this.” This is a skill, experience, or another resource you can pull from.

You don’t need much to create a baseline. Are you good with people and know how to focus? You can get a job this week.

RELATED: A Basic Plan For Getting Rich

If you have zero income and zero savings, go get a job. Any job. If you can afford to be picky (e.g. you live with family and you’re not providing your own meals) then find one that’s going to teach you skills for your next job.

That’s the idea behind internships.

Capitalism Begins With Equity

What’s equity? Not the sociological kind—the economic kind.

Equity just means your ownership stake in a business. You can either run the business yourself or be a passive investor (like on the stock market).

This is what Marxists correctly understand about capitalism: the owners win biggest. Their solution is to take from the owners. Yours should be to become an owner.

You don’t have to be rich—you just have to sell to one person. The show Recess nails this process beautifully. Start at 9:19 and watch for 40 seconds:

The moment you have something of value, you sell it.

This is the trick a lot of people don’t recognize. Value isn’t just products you deliver or services you render. It can be the opportunity to work itself.

In the Recess clip above, the video creator alleges that TJ isn’t adding value to the system. That’s not true. He’s not adding additional value to the consumer but he is adding value to the worker—giving them a chance to earn a living.

Most of the time, the thing you’re offering will be aa product or service. But the creativity of the clip says you don’t even necessarily need to create a new service—just bring the opportunity to someone else’s attention.

Sales Skills Are Underrated

Everything is sales and everyone does it. Some just do it on purpose.

Once you realize this, you gain a huge advantage when you’re willing to sell more than anyone else.

Most people are lazy. Even when they’re job hunting, most are not terribly aggressive about it.

Talented salespeople understand how the world really works in this regard. They know you have to call 100 people to close one deal. You are not lazy which is why you can win at capitalism.

Outgrow Your Role ASAP

Growing meaningful wealth happens when you move from linear to exponential income. You do this when you detach your time from your income. You won’t get rich renting out your time, so you need a business growing outside of your ability to pour your time into it.

The simple way to do this? When someone else costs less than you per hour to do the same (or better!) work, replace yourself with them.

Hell, even if someone does a worse job than you, but they cost a lot less than you, replace yourself with them.

For example, let’s say you’re a freelance graphic designer. You want to have an agency, not just a freelance outfit. You hire another freelancer to work for you. They work half as quickly as you, but you charge $150/hour and they cost you only $50/hour. Do you hire them?

Of course. They take longer, but their cost is worth it (as long as their work is still good enough for clients).

Capitalism is about Class Mindset

You move from lower to middle class by becoming valuable and having a skill.

You move from middle to upper by owning a piece of the system that delivers value to the world. It’s all about equity.

If you’re in the middle class, you need to find a way to own something that delivers value.

Typically, this has a significant upfront cost, which is why most people don’t do it.

Renting out a Sprinter Van

E.g. you want to convert a sprinter van and then rent it out to vacationers. Unless you have van renovation skills or the time to develop them, that’s at least $28,000 right there. And then you’re only making $150 a night.

Is it worth it? Maybe. But for most people, the risk just feels too high.

Copywriter to Salesman

You’re a copywriter charging $65/hour. To move from freelancer to agency owner, you take yourself off your client and hire a copywriter you manage instead. Now you make less (because you’re only making a cut of the fee since now you’re paying most to your employee). And now you’re not a copywriter, you’re a salesman with little sales experience. And you have to repeat the process with new clients, and hire more copywriters and manage them.

Sound tiring? Hell yes. But then a year later you’ll actually have a system stable enough that you can stop worrying about it all collapsing. 

Being an Owner Isn’t Complicated, But It Takes Guts

It’s not so complicated you can’t understand it. But it’s hard.

It takes thick skin and resilience.

Not everyone is cut out for it, and there’s no shame in that. But if you want to become an owner, this is the price to pay. Delayed gratification + new challenges all at once.

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