Think of who has a seven-figure job and the obvious comes to mind: a professional athlete, A-list actor, pop star… you get the idea.
But outside of those, how realistic is to arrange a seven-figure job, or, a $500 an hour job for most of us? How does someone make the 1 percent?
According to current IRS data, out of the approximately 154 million tax returns most recently filed, 538,651, or less than 1 percent, claimed incomes of $1 million or more. While those numbers aren’t the most encouraging, they show it’s not impossible.
You’re ambitious. Here are seven seven-figure job options that pay $500 an hour or $1 million a year.
Typically, these are presidents or executives who are hired from outside the company to fill a CFO, COO or other C-suite position, versus a founder that was with the company from day one, explains Max Hansen, the CEO and co-founder of Y Scouts, a executive search firm that specializes in building executive teams across several sectors. Most of the time, the position comes with a base salary of $300,000-$500,000. From there, perks such as a bonus, profit-sharing or stock equity plan provide that boost. This rewards executives willing to commit the time, usually a few years, and work to take the company to the next level. “That’s where I see most get to seven figures,” Hansen says. “It’s part of the ride of growing the company.”
C-Level Tech Executive
Chief Technology Officers or Chief Information Officers are paid for their ability to build out or architect a technology. “Often, a company wants to expand on that product or product line while maintaining its profitability,” Hansen says.
This is the legal braintrust whose blessing is required by most departments, from human resources to managing risk to financial planning. “You’re creating the cap table and equity plan and overseeing them. And you have influence in saving legal costs, managing legal affairs and seeing everyone’s thought plans,” Hansen says.
Enterprise Sales Executive
This involves facilitating high-level sales between corporations, signing large contracts and negotiating with several stakeholders. This means getting a piece of the action when these mergers and sales happen, Hansen explains.
If you understand the stock market and are willing to put in old school non-bankers’ hours, this seven-figure job in finance can really pay off. Good performance brings a cut of profits, big bonuses and promotions.
This requires capital, lots of sweat equity and unwavering commitment to a concept that may not take off. However, the tech, e-commerce and lifestyle industries are packed with success stories about small ideas that became blockbuster money makers.
Other Seven-Figure Job Avenues
It may seem obvious, but seven-figure job options are easier to secure once you’re there. Meaning, rival companies that want you will be prepared to offer something comparable to lure you away. You may not get it immediately, but you’ll likely see a long term incentive plan that pays off in about three years or so if you meet expectations, Hansen says. Also, if you’ve got a track record of taking a business from $1 million to $2 million, for example, that bodes well. And last but not least, huge international corporations are known to give a sign-on bonus to executives who have demonstrated this ability.
Very few step into a seven-figure job during the course of their careers. But, if you’re willing to network, grow, and put in the work, that $500 an hour gig could be yours sooner than you think.
Georgann Yara is a journalist based in Phoenix. Find her on Twitter @georgannyara.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko