Want something more than the typical 9-5? Do you dream of financial freedom? And most importantly, the ability to live life on your own terms?
Then you are in the right place.
In this article, we are going to cover the 7 simple steps to escaping the middle class. I'll discuss each of them in detail and provide resources that can help you easily implement each of the steps.
Let me start by admitting middle class life is not all bad – you probably work in corporate America or have a well-paying job in the blue collar sector. You likely own a home (or are in the process of saving for one), take a nice vacation once or twice a year, and drive a not-too-flashy, but reliable looking car (or cars).
But middle class life often has an ugly underbelly.
In many cases, people in the middle class are drowning in debt due to mortgages, student loans, car loans, and credit cards. They often hate their jobs and are dreading the idea of working another 20, 30, or even 40 years doing something they despise (if they aren't laid off or fired before then).
And they might have little to no money saved up for retirement. This is especially scary when there is a good possibility that social security will be vastly reduced or eliminated altogether when it's time for them to retire.
So it makes complete sense for someone in the middle class to want to escape it.
For me, it was about wanting more. I grew up poor, so that was all I knew. I saw how my parents never seemed to have control over their lives because they didn't have money. I didn't want that life for me.
So I determined that I would be rich someday. Not middle class…rich. But I had no idea how to get there.
My parents are immigrants (as am I) so they had no connections or money. I wasn't going to get help from them in that regard.
But they did help me get a solid education, which led to a good paying job. Which, of course, led me to the middle class, where I was stuck for many years. It wasn't until I started doing the things I describe below that I became unstuck.
My point is, if you want to escape the middle class like I did, you can. All you need to do is follow the 7 steps we are going to discuss. Let's get into it!
Note: If you prefer a condensed version of this article in video format, check out my YouTube video below.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
Step 1: Change Your Mindset
The first thing you need to do if you want to break away from the middle class is to no longer think like a worker bee. If your goals center around getting a raise or promotion, you are never going to achieve true, life changing wealth that blows away anything that the middle class can offer.
There are two reasons for this.
First, any raise, bonus or promotion is simply not going to be enough to catapult you out of the middle class. Sure, the extra income may provide a little more comfort, but you are still going to be slogging to work everyday getting paid whatever amount your employer thinks you are worth.
Second, all of the thought and effort you put into your job to get that increase in pay is not proportional at all to what you could have achieved if you put that same energy into your own enterprise.
When you work for someone else, your pay has an unbreakable ceiling. But if you have a business or investment that is yours, there is no cap. If you strike on the right idea and implement it well, the market will reward you, and those rewards can be unbelievable.
I think the worst thing you can do is let your employer (or anyone else, really) define your value. About 10 years ago, I got passed up for a promotion that I was promised, even though I met all of the agreed-upon goals and was a top performer.
It crushed me and it shook my confidence.
But I soon got a new job that paid much better and my new boss treated me with far more respect.
If I let one old boss define my worth and accepted his view that I did not deserve more, I never would have realized my value in the marketplace. And when I started to create multiple streams of income for myself, I realized that no employer's opinion of my worth mattered because I now had the potential to create wealth for myself that far surpassed what anyone could ever pay me.
So, as you have probably picked up by now, the path to escaping the middle class is by starting your own business or enterprise.
Now don't worry, the strategies I outline in Step 2 don't require you to quit your job, and most of them don't require significant money to start. You can ease into this.
What's even better is that these businesses can eventually be run passively, which is the financial equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.
Step 2: Pick Your Wealth Building Strategy
I have collected 7 powerful yet low-cost strategies you can use to launch yourself out of the middle class. What I love about these strategies is that most of them are so low-key that they can be operated in your spare time and run out of the comfort of your own home.
This might be my favorite way to break out of the middle class.
When you start a blog, you are basically starting a business that can (i) generate thousands of dollars a month (e.g., this blog does that) and (ii) massively increase your net worth (blogs are generally valued at around 40-50 times their monthly net income).
You can start one for basically free and there are virtually no running costs. You mostly need just a computer and an internet connection.
It will take some time and effort to get your blog up and running. I have a demanding full time job, so I wrote all of my articles outside of work hours (e.g., early mornings, late evenings, and weekends). So anyone can do this if they have the will.
I admit it was tough, but now that I have many articles written and generating traffic, I can sit back and enjoy the passive income that those articles generate. It's actually immensely gratifying to get paid from a business you created from scratch.
You might be asking how does a blog make money?
If you have a lot of articles that people are reading, your blog is a valuable piece of online real estate. Companies want to advertise their products to your visitors and they are willing to pay you for the privilege. That form of monetization is called display advertising.
It's super passive. You get paid each time someone sees an ad on your website (they don't even need to click on it).
You can also make money on your blog through affiliate links (which are customized links to products you are promoting). Each time a visitor clicks on that affiliate link, you will get paid a commission if the visitor winds up buying the product, etc.
If you want to expand your monetization options even further, you can create informational courses or ebooks and market them on your blog too (more on this later).
To learn more about how to start a blog, check out my article on How to Start a Blog From Scratch.
I cover all of the key areas you need to know, including how to set up your website, how to select your niche (which is just the topical focus of our blog), and most importantly, my best tips for writing great articles, getting traffic to your blog, and monetizing that traffic.
If you prefer making videos instead of writing, you can start a YouTube channel.
As with blogging, you will start to earn passive income (mainly through ad revenue) once you get enough traffic coming to your channel. You will need at least 4,000 hours of watch time and 1,000 subscribers to qualify for YouTube's ad monetization program.
Like with blogging, you can do this on the side and it doesn't cost very much to start. For example, I run my YouTube channel on a tight budget – I don't even need a camera to produce my videos.
But I'm not going to lie. Creating a quality video is not easy.
And like blogging, getting traffic to your channel can be a challenge. You have to create informative (or at least entertaining) content and have compelling titles, and great thumbnails. You also need to understand how YouTube’s search algorithm works.
But you can make serious money doing this, and I think this medium (video) is becoming more and more popular.
If you like writing, but blogging is not for you, you can write eBooks instead.
Once your eBook is written, you can get royalties from selling it online. Amazon KDP (which stands for Kindle Direct Publishing) is a great place to do this. Another option is Apple Books.
If you don’t like writing but do like the idea of receiving royalties on eBooks, you may want to consider creating “low” or “no” content books and selling them on Amazon KDP. Believe it or not, this is a thing.
These low content books can be journals (diaries), coloring books, guest books, music composition notebooks, planners, quote books, etc.
If you want a complete guide to making money with eBooks, check out my article: Making Money [Passively] Writing eBooks: A Simple 5-Step Guide.
4. Online Course
Another idea that you can pursue is developing an online course and getting income from the sale of that course. I know of one corporate middle manager who leveraged his knowledge of project management and created a course that generated shundred of thousands of dollars for him.
He realized that no one was covering his specific niche of project management and filled the need. It really can be as simple as that.
Video is the prevailing medium for these types of courses, although audio courses and courses with slides and other written materials also exist. There are a lot of tutorials on how to create online courses. A simple Google search on the topic will give you some great places to start.
Once you have created the course, you can market it through various channels, such as your own website (if you have one), social media, and online course platforms such as Kajabi, Udemy, and Teachable.
5. Vending Machine Route
Moving to a strategy that is a bit more “analog,” let's talk about vending machines. Owning a vending machine route can be an amazing side business that can generate passive income for you.
You just place the vending machine in a high-traffic location and make money every time someone buys something from your machine. The cost to get started varies, with a simple gumball machine costing only around $200 to a more expensive vending machine running between $3,000 to $5,000.
Still, that’s far less expensive than most businesses and it’s a terrific way to start generating some stellar cash flow.
The only part of this that requires some work is restocking and collecting money from the machine, but you can easily outsource this function.
Want to learn how to get started in the vending machine business? Check out my article on the topic here.
6. ATM Route
Like vending machines, this type of business involves you placing ATMs in high traffic areas and receiving a fee every time someone makes a withdrawal.
But it’s even simpler to operate than a vending machine route. You don’t have to worry about buying 17 different types of snacks and drinks and lugging them around in your van.
There is only one type of inventory you need and that’s cash. Fortunately, there are services that can restock your ATMs with cash for a fee.
For a step by step guide on how to get started in the ATM business, check out my detailed article for beginner's here.
7. Rental Property Investing
Rental properties are a reliable way to generate passive income and accumulate significant wealth.
I own nine rental properties and they were the investment vehicle that allowed me to break the seven-figure barrier.
Now, I self-manage them, so it does require a little bit of work. But even then, it’s hardly a daily grind. I may spend on average about 5 hours a month managing these 9 properties (I do outsource all of the repairs, etc. to my team of contractors).
That’s pretty much a self-running operation in my view. But if you want to totally outsource the work, you can hire a good property manager to take care of your properties for you.
If you are interested in learning more about how to get started in rental property investing, check out my article on the topic here.
If you don't have the money to buy real estate the traditional way (i.e., with 20% down), there are ways to buy properties for very low cost or even no money down. Check out my articles below to find out how to do this.
- Sandwich lease options (which allow you to control a property for between 1%-5% of its cost)
- 15 No Money Down Real Estate Strategies
Step 3: Start Your Real Education
Ok, let's say you've settled on a business idea that resonates with you.
The next step is to read everything you can get your hands on about your chosen strategy. There is no shortage of books, online articles, YouTube videos, and online courses about any of the strategies I mentioned. Immerse yourself in the topic and become as much of an expert as you can.
Self-education is important, but you also need to round out your education with practical and real world advice.
So start joining communities that are focused on your area. There may be local business organizations that you can join. And there are certainly Facebook groups and online forums that can provide a wealth of information that you will never get through a book.
The key is to learn the basics, then start asking the right questions.
Don't give up until you get the answers you need. Another benefit of doing this is that you will develop relationships with like-minded folks. They can act as a support network for you as you start your journey because there will be obstacles and challenges along the way.
Step 4: Pull the Trigger on Your Business
Once you have completed your initial education (it never ends, as we will see later on), then you should start looking for the best way to pull the trigger on your strategy.
If it's real estate, you want to figure out whether you want to be a classic landlord who buys and holds rental properties for cash flow and long term appreciation, or if you want to pursue more exotic strategies, like sandwich lease options.
If you want to pursue blogging, you will need to figure out which niche you want to write about (the same holds true for a YouTube channel, eBook or online course).
Once you know the specific area you want to focus on, all that's left is to take the plunge.
It's going to be scary at first (and you will likely make mistakes), but you will get better. I still cringe when I read my early blog articles!
But remember, nothing worthwhile, especially something as rewarding and rare as financial success, is going to be handed to you.
Step 5: Constantly Improve Your Business
Once you've put the wheels in motion and launched your business or investment strategy, you need to keep learning and staying current on developments in your area.
You also need to keep improving your strategy. If a part of your business is underperforming, don't ignore it. Find out the root cause and solve it. In this way, you will continue to learn and continue to optimize your business – which will translate to more growth and, ultimately, more money.
Obviously, this principle applies to all of the strategies we covered above. They each need some level of maintenance and ongoing improvement to reach their full potential.
Step 6: Put Your Business on Autopilot
As you become an expert in your area, you may become more comfortable letting others handle certain tasks. In real estate, for example, that could include hiring a property manager or an acquisitions manager. For blogging, YouTube and other forms of media publishing, that could mean hiring good writers and editors to ramp up production.
Not only will doing this free you up to work on more strategic matters relating to your business, it will allow you to scale your business and take it to greater heights. Let's not forget that it can also give you more free time and allow you to relax a little after all of your hard work!
Step 7: Expand Your Empire
Now that you have put much of your business or investments on autopilot, you can start exploring ways to grow your enterprise.
One of the best ways to expand is to begin businesses or investment activities in shoulder niches or complementary businesses. Shoulder niches are areas that are closely related to your area. For example, if you run a blog that talks about entrepreneurship, a shoulder niche could discuss small business insurance, tax issues affecting small businesses, etc.
Complementary businesses are those that have some level of synergy with your existing business. For example, if you started a real estate investing business, you could expand to complementary businesses in property management, brokering real estate, home staging, real estate syndication, and much more.
Once you have achieved significant success in your area, there is no set limit on how much or how quickly you can expand. It's ultimately going to be up to you to decide how much is enough.
It's not an easy decision, but the good news is that you're going to be making it from a pretty nice perch!
So there you have it – how to escape the middle class in 7 simple steps. Hope you have found this helpful.
If you want to get more great business ideas, check out my ultimate guide to starting a business. It will provide a table full of business ideas that you can explore and will walk you through each of the steps involved in starting a business, from ideation to launch.