JULY 13, 2016
Chris W. Dunn
Founder and CEO of Skill Incubator
According to a Market Insights Report, there were 10.4 million U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more in 2015 (wealth not including their primary residence). This number is at an all-time high, up from 10.1 million in 2014.
Becoming a millionaire is no longer an unrealistic dream. Becoming a self-made millionaire has never been an easy feat, but it is certainly possible if you are willing to make the sacrifices and changes necessary to reach this financial goal.
Here is a compilation of 10 ways that will help you copy the success of millionaires.
1. Hard work trumps talent.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King.
There is no way around it. You cannot be a self-made millionaire if you are not willing to work hard. Even luck needs hard work thrown in, at the very least so that you can keep your wealth. (About 44 percent of lottery winners spend all their winnings within five years because they don’t realize that keeping their winnings intact requires hard work.)
There’s a common misconception that successful business owners are people “born” to be entrepreneurs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The most successful millionaire entrepreneurs are the ones that consistently outwork their competition.
2. Become motivated by passion.
“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.” — Charles M. Schwab
Millionaires tend to know what they are passionate about and are not afraid to pursue it. Because they choose paths that are related to their passions, they are often self-motivated. Of course, some millionaires are only motivated by financial success, but they have found a way to get through the difficulties and challenges that inevitably show up at the worst times.
Related: 10 Ways to Become a Millionaire in Your 20s
3. Diversify income streams.
Although millionaires tend to work in accordance with their passions, they also know better than to have all their eggs in one basket. Millionaires tend to have multiple sources of income to keep themselves diversified. Although they may focus on one area such as real estate, they will have several strategies to create income for them through that avenue, such as residential property investments, private equity investments, consulting and property management.
For example, in addition to trading Bitcoin, I set aside about 10 percent of my wealth for early stage startup investments. I look to combine the short-term income of trading with the long-term potential of a big return on my investment if a company goes public or gets bought out by a bigger competitor.
4. Never stop learning.
Millionaires never stop learning. According to “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals” by Tom Corley, 85 percent of millionaires read two or more books every month. And not just any type of books but books that promote growth, such as psychology, business, science, leadership and inspirational biographies.
Mark Zuckerberg initiated an online reading book club in 2015 called “A Year of Books” where followers read 2 books a month and discuss them on the Facebook page.
On top of reading habits, Tom Corley identified that 63 percent of millionaires also keep their learning up by listening to audiobooks during their commute.
We have easy access to both free or cheap online education in the 21st century that a lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. At Skill Incubator, we focus on teaching high-value skills that can help students build sustainable income streams.
5. Invest resources in successful people.
It obviously makes sense to invest money in income-producing assets, but even more importantly, it’s wise to invest your time, energy, and attention in successful people.
Offer to take a millionaire that you admire out to lunch, join a mastermind group where other successful people can keep you accountable, volunteer to help the causes of other successful people. Network in different circles and always be willing to help others achieve what’s important to them.
James Altucher, a popular millionaire blogger, suggests getting the attention of someone successful by sending them 10 ideas that could help or improve something they care about. For example, if you’re trying to get a popular blogger to publish your guest post, send him or her 10 blog post ideas for use on their website.
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” — Napoleon Hill
6. Find a mentor.
There are many types of mentors but, in a nutshell, a mentor is someone with more experience and knowledge who can guide you to achieve your goals and results. When you are starting out, it’s often the case that mistakes can cost you dearly. This is where a mentor becomes highly valuable. Not only can great mentors provide you with foresight, but they often provide encouragement and feedback. It’s not surprising that 93 percent of those in Tom Corley’s study give credit to mentors for their success.
I was lucky to find a successful mentor in high school. He taught me all about entrepreneurship, real estate, and finance. Thanks to my mentor, I was able to buy my first real estate investment before the age of 20, which led me to build a successful investing company.
7. Model physical and psychological traits.
Millionaires act differently than less financially successful people. They also think and feel differently. Observe their body language, listen to the way that they talk and consider what values they hold.
Compared to the average American who struggles with finance, millionaires tend to be more resilient. They don’t give up easily; they are able to delay gratification and they always keep their eyes open for more opportunities.
There are several ways to find out how a millionaire thinks, feels and acts. Direct access to the millionaire directly through face to face meetings, a telephone call or email, is always most effective. However, if you don’t have that sort of direct access, you can still learn a lot about a person through books they have written, interviews they have given, and their social media activities such as posts and tweets.
8. Create clear goals.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” — Yogi Berra
Millionaires tend to have very clear goals and priorities which helps them stay focused. They know what needs to be achieved and when it needs to be done. They are more willing than others to go the extra mile and do what is necessary to achieve their goals. They not only work hard, but they also work smart and spend considerable time thinking about whether their actions are helping them to get closer to or further away from their goals.
9. Reclaim ownership of your time.
You can’t be a millionaire if you have no control over your time. When it comes to the amount of time available, humans are born completely equal in this respect. Whether you are a millionaire or not, you will only have 24 hours in a day. What you do with your time will determine your level of success.
Millionaires tend to have a well-planned day as they often have much to get done. Some use daily to-do lists while others focus on priorities for the day. Choose a method that works for you and stick with it.
I like to do tasks in blocks. For example, I’ll record a month’s worth of podcast episodes back-to-back on the same day. This saves me hours of time every week. Another example is email — I generally check my email just twice a day, before lunch and before I leave for the day.
10. Learn to accept failure and persevere.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison
Millionaires tend to have great faith in their dreams which helps them to stay positive and not give up, even when others don’t believe in what they do.
Millionaires realize that failure is a part of growth; it is a great teacher and provides valuable feedback. They don’t fear failure the way some less financially successful people do and they are not afraid to ask questions and to ask for help when needed.