Paid To Create: How To Leverage Your Intellectual Capital To Accelerate Your Career & Achieve Financial Freedom
Intellectual Capital is the difference between people who climb the ladder of their career the fastest and those who plateau.
Dear Friend, Subscriber, and Category Pirate,
You are an Intellectual Capitalist—and you might not even realize it.
Anytime you create a process for yourself, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you execute your own problem-solving framework, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you create an asset (even an Excel spreadsheet) for a domain-specific purpose, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you create a template to improve your own efficiency, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you design a purposeful experience, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you solve a problem for someone else in a different way, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you improve your customer’s life in a meaningful, yet different way, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
Anytime you improve your own life in a meaningful, yet different way, you are an Intellectual Capitalist.
For your entire career, you have been creating Intellectual Capital for yourself.
Did you know that about yourself? Did you realize it?
After all, it’s in our DNA as humans to create.
Which begs the question: have you been leveraging your Intellectual Capital?
A Quick Story About “Melissa”
We have a friend, we’ll call her “Melissa.”
Melissa was recently laid off from her job. She was an Accounts Payable manager in charge of managing invoices for a technology company. Well, the company needed to make some cuts, and they assumed they could hire someone cheaper to do the same work. So, they let her go. (This same thing happens to millions of people, all over the world, every single day.)
And then a few months later, not only did they hire her back, but they offered to pay her double her previous hourly rate.
During those three months, the company discovered the cost of training someone new was greater than the cost of keeping Melissa around. More acutely, the cost of training someone new was greater than the cost of bringing Melissa back and paying her twice as much money.
The company realized (the hard way) that Melissa knew a bunch of things about the business that even they didn’t understand or have processes around. Melissa, in her own way, had created some Intellectual Capital for herself and the company. And it wasn’t until she was gone that the company realized the “value” of her value.
And, to be frank, neither did she.
But imagine if she had! And imagine if the company had!
Melissa should have been getting paid a lot more money, sooner.
The Intellectual Capital Ladder
In your career, you're always creating Intellectual Capital.
You’re creating it for yourself—if for no other reason than to get what you need to get done, done, so you can leave the office and spend time with your family & friends.
You’re creating it for other people—like team members, employees, customers, or clients, in an effort to make everyone more successful.
And you’re creating it for shareholders—who own a piece of the business (yours or your employer’s) and the net-total of all the Intellectual Capital being created under one roof.
The difference, however, between people who climb the ladder of their career the fastest (or leave to do their own thing) and those who plateau and remain stuck at different “levels” usually comes down to awareness of Intellectual Capital.
(If this sounds like a new idea, that’s because it is. And if this does not sound like a new idea, please, pretty please, with whisky on top, read it three times.)
If a company understands the unique IC you have created (and/or are continuing to create) for the company, and you don’t, they have no incentive to give you more than your annual 1-2% raise.
Whereas if you understand the unique IC you have created (and/or are continuing to create) for the company, and you leverage it, you’d be surprised how much more willing a company is to include you in more impactful projects and give you more challenging opportunities to push yourself, increasing responsibility and influence over time. They will also pay you more. (The same is true for clients if you are a solopreneur or small business owner.)
Our friend Melissa probably could have been earning 2x her annual salary years ago.
But the inflection point didn’t happen until the company fired her, realized “the value of her value,” and then had to pony up to bring her back. The combination of her IC and results made her radically unique. For this company, doing this job, she was in a category of one. (A snow leopard!)
Which is why we call it “Intellectual Capital.”
Because in order to unlock the real value of your knowledge, someone has to “capitalize” on it.
(And we hope that someone is YOU.)