Wealth Creation Ladder

Dusty Candland | |

The ladders of wealth creation: a step-by-step road map to building wealth by Nathan Barry clicked with me. It provided a good framework to think about where I'm at and where I'm going. Thank you Nathan!

Below is a summary of points and where I'm at, my journey, and moving forward. Please read his article!


  1. Extra time and money need to be reinvested
  2. You can skip ahead, but you still have to learn the lessons from each step
  3. Apply your existing skills in a new way to build wealth
  4. There's a difference between working for a better wage and truly building wealth
  5. Using an earlier rung on the ladder to fund the next one
  6. Moving between ladders often means a decrease in income
  7. Each step is easier with an audience
  8. It takes longer than you think, but the results can be incredible

Time for Money

  1. Hourly job
  2. Salary work
  • [x] Showing up
  • [x] Learning on the job

Your own service business

  1. Hourly for clients
  2. Charging by the product
  3. Managing a team to do service work
  • [x] Setting up a company
  • [ ] Finding clients
  • [x] Creating proposals
  • [x] Pricing services
  • [ ] Hiring employees
  • [x] Establishing an online presence
  • [x] Accounting, finance, business operations, etc.

Seems like Red27 Consulting covered this pretty well, but finding clients was always kinda if-y.

I never had employees, although I did hire some contractors. I've also hired employees in other "Jobs".

Productized Services

  1. Fixed scope for a fixed price
  2. Selling consulting packages
  3. Recurring services provided by employees
  4. Recurring productized services
  • [ ] Writing sales copy that can make a sale without talking to the customer
  • [ ] Designing a sales page (or hiring)
  • [x] Processing online payments
  • [ ] Standardizing systems to deliver repeatable quality with each service

This seems like an area that I skipped. And one that's causing issues still. Specifically sales copy.

I've been focusing on standardizing systems, still work to do, but I feel like I at least know the direction to go in.

How can I get better at sales copy?

Selling Products

  1. Digital Products
  2. Product sold in an existing ecosystem
  3. Physical products & ecommerce
  4. Subscription software with consulting services
  5. SaaS
  6. Marketplace & Social Networks
  • [ ] Customer support at scale
  • [ ] Gathering customers at scale
  • [ ] Supply chain (physical product)
  • [ ] Fraud and security

This is where I've been for too long. Partly always trying to start with SaaS. For some reason digital goods never seem appealing to me. Not sure why not.

Why are digital products not appealing to me? Is there some digital product that would be?

My Journey

Working for my Dad

My Dad owned a transmission shop. I worked there in high school, partly I wanted to make money, but more importantly I wanted to be able to get myself a cool car. Truck actually. I did and that truck ended up being the hardest thing I ever got ride of.

I think the two biggest lessons were learning on the job and not being afraid of getting dirty.

I didn't know anything about working on cars, but after learning to clean up and what tools did what. My Dad began giving me small tasks to do on the cars. Pretty soon I was doing all kinds of work. Learning and pushing through challenges felt great.

It's a dirty job. Sometimes people look down on dirty people, like when you'd go get lunch. But you realize it doesn't matter. Not sure how it fits, but it also teaches you to do the work.

Most important skill acquired: Learn on the job.

Grounds keeper

This was a summer job I had for one summer. I enjoyed it. For the summer. This work as pretty mindless. At least my part of mowing and trimming.

Most important skill acquired: Show up and do the work.

Freelance web design

I've loved the internet since I first figured it out. I learned to make websites and knew I wanted to continue in that direction. I did work for clients, but most were friends of the family. I tried to make some web applications, but didn't know about actual programming yet. I sucked at sales, though I did go business to business trying to get clients. I think I found two clients who were not friends of the family.

Most important skill: Not sure :p


After school for design eonBusiness was my first job. I owe a lot to people who helped me here. The owner Dave, my boss Nico, my co-workers. They all encouraged me to learn on the job, something I was comfortable with.

As a small business, I saw different company growth stages here. I went through both the dot-com bubbles, 2001 & 2008. We built and sold GoToast. I would have liked to be more involved in that process, but did learn a fair amount during and after.

Most important skill: Working with others to create something bigger then I could alone.

Most important lesson: You won't create wealth working for someone else. At lease not in most cases.

Red27 Consulting

That last lesson pushed me to start consulting. Actually, I wanted to create a software business, but didn't yet know what that meant. To pay bills, consulting it was. After a short time, my main goal was to find co-founders for a startup. I did with ROXIMITY.

Consulting hourly was pretty easy to get work. I could see that wouldn't scale and transitioned most work to fixed bid. These projects took longer to get, but payed better. It was still hard to make ends meet.

I had to go back to a salary job for year with our second child. It was terrible.

Most important skill: Finding clients, selling on value.


My first startup. Through consulting I found an awesome team and jumped in to build ROXIMITY. We went through TechStars, had good early success, and sold the business.

This was my first experience managing other people. Hiring. And developing process, at least around software development.

Most important skill: Hiring and management.

Side projects

I've always been working on side projects. Almost all have been failures financially. The problem is it's hard to learn and grow when you don't have others helping you reflect and push through obstacles.

Most important lesson: You need support.

Where Am I?

What rung am I on in my journey to build wealth?

I'm on the productized services ladder. I still need to develop some skills from productized services. Specifically sales copy & marketing.

Which ladder is this new idea on?

My newest project is on selling products. I'm skipping the digital and exiting markets rungs, so will need to find ways to learn those with physical products.

How far is it from the rung and ladder I am on currently?

It's not far, but definitely some areas that I need to improve.

What new skills would I need to close the gap between where I am now and where I want to go?

  • Build an audience
  • Writing sales copy & marketing
  • Delegation
  • Supply chain

How long will it take to acquire those skills and get initial traction?

Building an audience will take the longest and be the hardest. The rest can be done in parallel. Thinking 3 months, but know it always take longer.

Do I have the runway (both in time and financial security) to make that jump without putting my finances in danger?

Yes, but not enough to make the full jump yet. I'll continue doing what I'm doing to make ends meet and have funds to reinvest. I've been good about reinvesting, but not always the right investments. Going to have a larger focus on coaches and pushing beyond my comfort zone.

Next steps

Build an audience

Following more advice from the article

  1. Have a goal - Articulate my goal
  2. Document your progress - Blog about progress once a month
  3. Ask for help

Writing sales copy

Find a coach that can help revise some existing copy and teach me along the way. Know anyone?


I've been working toward this, but need to get better. I think the best way is doing it more, but would also love advice here.

Supply chain

I don't know what I don't know here. Going to find a good book to lay some ground work.


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