I have been with my current employer for a period of nearly 5 years. We are a small digital agency and I have seen it go from 3 staff to 10 (I am now the longest serving team member). Although I was taken on as a junior for web development I had no mentors and very much had to grow this area of the business.
Over the period of these 5 years I have slowly taken more control of the business, areas where I felt could be improved. This includes getting a tighter reign on accounts, forecasting and growth.
I have a very good working relationship with my boss and I think they'd agree with me if I were to say a large portion of the businesses growth is directly attributable to my work. I have helped the business grow it's turnover significantly over the past five years, around 40% year on year with around 80% over the last 12 months.
12 months ago I was made an offer of 10% shares in the business and a salary increase to £21,000 from £18,000 (EDIT: offer not made in writing). I turned down the pay rise on the merit of it being better spent on business growth as I know my boss does not take this amount of money out of the business either - a rise didn't seem fair.
Despite pushing on my part, this offer has yet to see fruition and i'm beginning to get increasingly concerned of the time I am wasting. We've had the occasional £1,000 bonus and other perks but nothing too elaborate in the past 12 months.
With the company doing so well (Large stockpile of cash and work lined up for 6 months alongside 12 month retainers) I brought up the idea of a pay rise for both of us, as it has been loosely discussed in the past. I simply mentioned that if we had earned £30,000 each for the last 12 months the companies net profit would only be affected by around 20%. This was discarded and I was told "next year" and it would be £25,000.
How many more "next years" am I going to hear?
I'm 21 and worried that my role (as a 'director' - however false that is) has left me without a clear skill set. Although I am still very capable of solving technical problems, I do not feel I handle enough of it to begin looking for a new technical role. I also do not feel that I could get a position as a manager etc due to my age. The final issue with this is that I am very passionate about what I do and do not want to be at the bottom of a company hierarchy - I pride myself on driving standards up.
I generally feel like I am now stuck. I have personal goals I want to achieve and no clear path to get there, until I work through this.
A perfect situation for me would be 25% shares with my current employer and a better salary. Bringing this up however would be seen as an attack on their business and I would have no backup plan. With a house and bills to pay for this is obviously not ideal however I do have around a months salary in savings to keep me afloat.
I could set up on my own. However I seriously hate playing 'sales' and although I have filled that role with my employer occasionally I really do not enjoy this and do not want to have to do it.
I appreciate this isn't a straight forward problem and the good relationship I have with my employer makes this extremely difficult for me personally. I do feel like I owe them enormously for the large amount of freedom, responsibility and opportunity they have given me.
What is the best way to proceed given the situation without coming across as aggressive or angry?
(EDIT) Further information following questions:
No offer was made in writing.
I am the next most authoritative person at the company. No one else has been involved in any discussions (no witnesses either).
Follow ups have all been verbal.
I did have quick progression with salary up until 12 months ago when shares were put on the table. As I started on an apprenticeship salary.
To be honest, if I had the agreement in writing anyway it's not like I could turn around and say "Well I have this in writing so what are you going to do?" as it would only mean I'd have to start looking for employment.