Debt-Free and on the Road to Wealth at 24
By Jason Holland
How would you eliminate $5,000 in debt? Travis Soileau did it by earning a promotion that came with a 33 percent pay hike and starting two side businesses, doubling his annual income from $30,000 to $60,000.
And he didn’t just pay off what he owed. He was able to put away $12,000 in a 401(k) and $10,000 in savings. His next step is to get involved in real estate, an industry he has some experience with, with two partners.
Not bad for a 24-year-old.
Travis credits Seven Years to Seven Figures, Automatic Wealth, and Automatic Wealth for Grads to guiding him to such successes. It started with becoming noticed as a superstar employee deserving of a big raise. Then he was inspired to create multiple streams of income on the side.
“My work before reading Michael Masterson’s books was what you would call running around the office with my head cut off. I had no idea what was important to the bosses I served. I was spinning my wheels trying to do tasks that weren’t going through the proper channels,” says Travis. “Then I started to implement ideas from Michael.”
Travis explains that he started his transformation by sending regular updates to his bosses to give them an idea of what was going on in his department, sort of action reports from the front lines. He also started sharing credit for his department’s successes with his boss, a practice he recommends for getting ahead without burning any bridges.
But the key change was Travis’s realization that he had to become a major profit producer for the company if he could ever hope to receive more than a standard, modest pay raise.
Before his recent transformation, his last raise was 3.5 percent. That pitiful increase was a major inspiration for him to make a change.
“I thought I was going to die. It was the first time I had a real job, and I had no clue that the average raise for that job was going to be only 3 to 4 percent,” says Travis. “Michael’s books really struck a cord with me. To get above-average raises, I knew I had to get into the income-producing area of the company to I could help increase the bottom line.”
When a higher paying job opened up within his company, Travis, who had already gotten noticed for his changed outlook, was first in line. He used job interview tips from Automatic Wealth for Grads to seal the deal.
“My employer could not wait for me to get the job. She was on fire for me to start working. I blew her socks off in the interview. I focused on what I could do for her and the company,” says Travis.
Since creating multiple streams of income is a major theme in Seven Years to Seven Figures, the first Michael Masterson book Travis picked up, he decided to start his own computer consulting company for small and mid-sized businesses. The services he offers draw on some of the skills he developed in his first job. He also bought a business from his mother that she was giving up on.
Travis concedes that his consulting company is not as profitable as a manufacturing business (which is what Michael recommends) would be, but he thinks it’s a good start.
Travis considers himself to be what Michael Masterson calls a “chicken entrepreneur.” Chicken entrepreneurs start their own business while still employed. That way, they keep their salary coming in while building a company that could eventually allow them to quit their job.
“I do anything from networking, telephones, computer repair, and websites,” says Travis. “I set up a monthly contract for a minimum of 10 hours of service at a discounted price for each business I work with. I have no overhead and currently make about $1,200 a month profit,” says Travis.
His second business, the one he bought from his mom, is a clothing consignment store. He calls it “a seed in the making” that will take a while to grow. He is averaging about $600 in profit from the store each month.
Meanwhile, Travis is putting together a real estate development company. He’s found investors and has scouted several properties. He will partner with a contractor and a pharmacist, both of whom have experience in the industry, to get the company up and running.
Despite the stress of working full-time and running two side businesses – and with the real estate company on the way – Travis is knows he is following the right path to fulfill his wealth-building goals.
“I know that in order to create wealth, you need residual streams of income,” says Travis. “And with the economy as shaky as it has been, I have decided that if I want to be able to get away from a J.O.B. (just over broke), I need to create equity in my own businesses – businesses that will eventually run automatically, without me having to work at them.”
Travis’s eventual goal is to create several multimillion-dollar companies and retire by 45.
“I say ‘retire,’ but I believe I would do something like Michael is doing – working for fun. Being only 24 now, I think this is certainly possible,” says Travis.
And he will use what he has learned from Michael Masterson to make it happen.
“I’ve learned that planning your work and working your plan are essential to creating the lifestyle I eventually want to enjoy. You must do something to get yourself closer to your goal every day,” says Travis.