Your chances of becoming a millionaire may be slim but try anyway. You may never become a millionaire but who said you don’t have the right to start something or solve a problem that could eventually get you closer to that dream.
These are a few ideas, steps and tips from people who have actually tried and tested some ideas on how to become a millionaire.
1. Go where the money is.
If what you really want (and no shame) is to be a multi-millionaire, you need to be like Willie Sutton and go where the money is. Here are your best bets:
If you’re good at math:
Get into private equity in NYC. If you’re good at it, you’ll have no problem making 7 figures a year. If you’re great at it, you’ll make way more.
If you’re good at science:
Become a board-certified doctor in a good specialty and own your own practice. I work with a lot of doctors. The ones who own their own practices are all multi-millionaires. The ones who don’t, aren’t.
If you’re good at neither:
Do what I did and become a personal injury lawyer and own your own practice. Most of the good PI lawyers I know who own their own practice are multi-millionaires. None of the good PI lawyers I know who work for someone else are millionaires.
The whole “do what you love” thing and the whole “work on being excellent, not getting rich” thing? Questionable advice at best. It only works if the thing that you love or the thing you’re excellent at is something that gives you a reasonable shot at making millions of dollars.
Some examples: Acting, music, cooking, writing. There are a small number of people in each of those fields who make millions of dollars, and there are hundreds of thousands of people in those fields who make peanuts at best. Even if you love cooking and are great at it, you probably will not become the next millionaire celebrity chef.
If you really want to make millions of dollars, find a field where there are lots of people who make millions of dollars and the reason they do so doesn’t depend heavily on luck. That’s why I left off software development – Going to work for the next Facebook depends just as much on luck as your coding skills. It’s easy to go work for a company that looks promising but goes bust.
So again, best bets are finance, medicine, and law, and with respect to law and medicine, it’s only a good bet if you work towards owning your own business. — Justinian Lane, asbestos lawyer.
2. Stop thinking about making a million dollars and start thinking about serving a million people.
When you only have a few customers and your goal is to make a lot of money, you’re incented to find ways to wring every last dollar out of those customers.
But when you find a way to serve a million people, many other benefits follow. The effect of word of mouth is greatly magnified. The feedback you receive is exponentially greater – and so are your opportunities to improve your products and services. You get to hire more employees and benefit from their experience, their skills, and their overall awesomeness. Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, HubSpot
3. Prepare for one hell of a ride and enjoy it.
1. I knew that I had to at least be interested in what I was doing, since becoming successful in business is very hard and can take a long time, so I didn’t want to burn out.
I have always loved working with computers and on the Internet, so naturally, I felt I needed to start an online business. I was only a teenager at the time, so that allowed me to compete with established businesses, since no one needed to meet me in person.
2. I realized that I needed something that had the potential to make millions. In other words, a tiny topic, like knitted gloves for rescued monkeys in Thailand, might be too tight of a focus. In contrast, focusing on knitted gloves for the Southeast Asian market, provides a lot more room to become a multi-million dollar enterprise. Don’t go too broad though, because the answer many people hate most regarding target market is “everyone is my target market. If I just get 1% of the trillion dollar glove market, we’ll be RICH!”. Instead, focus on a product differentiator, a scaleable, but focused market, and of course, decent margins.
3. As mentioned in #2, I knew that I had to have decent profit margins, since I was going to bootstrap and discovered most businesses go out of business for one reason, lack of money in the bank. Luckily, digital products (blogs, software, etc.) have very high margins. Other products, like makeup, perfume, jewelry, and many more, also have high margins. You’ll need as much profit to fuel you until you can get big enough where you don’t need to make a lot of money on each sale, since you will sell so much (Walmart).
The Truth: You’re going to need to work your as* off for a long period of time, but hard work is never enough, being in the right market is super important, which is why I’m stressing the 3 items above. In the end, running a million-dollar business is worth the years of struggle and pain.
I now have the free-time to do what I’m really passionate about: helping others by teaching. I didn’t have any experience when I started either (as a teen), but you will learn a lot if you seek mentors, listen, and analyze your mistakes. Prepare for one hell of a ride and enjoy it. It’s way better than the alternatives, in my opinion. — Josh Elizetxe, Internet Entrepreneur.
4. Don’t ignore supply and demand
You want multiple million dollars. Let’s pick a number: $5M.
To make $5M, you have to create $50M of value.
That doesn’t mean something you feel inside should be worth $50M. It means something people will actually open their wallet and pay $50M for.
Will that be 5 people paying $10M? Probably not. 50M people paying $1? You get the idea.
Think of a baseball player that makes $5M per year.
How much money does he bring in to the other people and businesses related to baseball? (ticket sales, advertising, t-shirts, beer, etc.)
The whole “do what you love” vs. “do what people want” is a big debate. I don’t have time to type out all my thoughts on the subject but I will summarize:
– Read “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. He makes an excellent case for why “do what you love” is misguided advice. You don’t know what you might love until you get deep into it, and if you’re trying to sell something you love but nobody wants to buy, you will be miserable.
– I would suggest starting with what people want the most, then narrow that to things you can provide. Not the same as things you have. Not the same as your talents. Things you can provide. The grocery store sells me cereal. I don’t really care where it comes from as long as it’s clean and good for me. I don’t care about their talents and dreams.
– If you refuse to start with what other people want, start with all the things you love, then prioritize them by how much other people want to pay for them. — Adam Leffert, Freelance Full-Stack C#/Web Architect and Developer, Entrepreneur.
5. Get good at developing ideas.
I’d check out James Altucher who covers this well, but basically try coming up with 100 ideas a day (on any topic really). Read some books on creative thinking, entrepreneurship, biographies, etc.
Creativity often requires dissecting and recombining existing ideas on business, products, marketing, etc., into a new package (think Tesla, which didn’t invent a car but created a much better car or Apple which didn’t invent MP3 players but made the best MP3 player by far).
Google has a helpful heuristic that you don’t want ideas 20-50% better than existing ones because they are easily outcompeted by existing players or not innovative enough to make a big difference, but rather you want 10X improvements.
Improve something important by 10X and you’ll probably be a billionaire. Also read Zero to One by Peter Thiel to hone your understanding of how radical innovation truly works in practice and what is needed.– Peter Prosol, iOS Developer, Entrepreneur