Ismail Mechbal

Advice on salary raise as a founder

04 December 2017

My first year out of college, I started a small test prep company (tutoring for SAT, ACT, etc.). Over the next nine years, I put a large portion of my time into growing that company. Early on, my co-founder and I realized it was an advantage to be two single dudes in our 20s with no real financial obligations, so we decided to keep our lifestyles at the same level even as the company grew. After a good year, instead of giving ourselves a $25,000 raise each, we’d keep our salaries in the same place and hire a $50,000 employee.

After a great year, we’d keep our salaries where they were and hire three or four new employees.

I can credit my co-founder mostly for this, as he’s the more disciplined one of the two of us, but it turned out to be a good strategy. By the time I turned 30, the company had 20 employees and was “generating probably ten times the revenue it would have been generating had we kept upping our salaries each year. We traded the fun of having fancy lifestyles in our 20s for being far more free people at the age of 30. This freedom is what led me to start Wait But Why and become a full-time writer.

Excerpt from “Tribe of Mentors” by Tim Ferriss.

← Back to all articles