Dear SaaStr: What Are Some Realistic Ways To Get Rich in 5 Years?

Work for (x) the very best possible person you can at (y) the very best possible start-up/successful tech co.  And stay.  You almost always have to stay 4-5 years. At least.

It’ll be tight in 5 years, but it’s your best odds:

  • If you work for someone truly great, they will mentor you, at least, inadvertently.  This is a career turbocharger.  You can then at least take this in 2-3 into a higher paying, more equity gig at at Even Better Start-Up.  Or you’ll get promoted and some serious equity at the one you join.

And …

  • Try to pick well.   I know it’s hard.  And it’s harder than it looks these days.  Being a “unicorn” can be as much a negative signal as a postive one.  And by the time they are a unicorn, it may be too late for them to make you “rich”.  But there are power laws for early employees, and even later employees, as well.  Your equity will be worth almost nothing at most start-ups.  But at the ones worth $5b+ … employees that join before a $500m valuation or so almost always do pretty well.  The early employees — often really well.


  • You gotta stay.  Way too many folks quit not just every year (bad enough), but every 2 years.  Every 2 years is almost worse.  It’s when you just start to get really good at something.  And that’s when everything starts to compound.  Way, way too many folks quit at that point these days.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer, and King image from here)

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