I am in the money business; always have been and always will be. No surprise I am approached by hundreds of young ambitious entrepreneurs every year asking:
How do you create real wealth in an age of intense competition and wealth destruction?
Let me keep you give you my 2 cents…. and allow me to be as blunt as I can. Political correctness is not and has never been my forte.
1. Don’t be delusional. You need to see reality as it is first, not as you would want it. Most people do the latter and plan and live by wishful thinking. It is a fact that the vast majority of people want to LOOK rich, not BE rich. The two are opposites: the first requires spending money, and the second requires saving it. Don’t pretend to do both. Most importantly, know your probabilities and statistics. Lotteries are statistically the same as burning your money, as far as your profit is concerned. You’re probably more likely to slip and crack your head open, die in a car accident, drown, or be murdered TODAY than EVER make big money as a novelist or artist.
2. Know what the standards are. When polled, 80% of Americans believe they’re above average in many different fields. It’s because a lot of them have no clue what average is. That extends to the standards of the fields you’re trying to compete in. A man thought he was “good at math” because he could balance his checkbook, though he could be an engineer, and failed remedial geometry, long before reaching the three semesters of calculus and several other math courses most engineers take. A man who thinks he’s tough may not make it through military basic training, let alone Special Ops.
3. Find a wealthy and accomplished mentor early in your life, offer to work for peanuts and learn everything you can. If you want to make and keep the money, you need to know how successful people have done it and are likely to do it in the future. Beware though of confirmation bias: If you only like hearing what confirms your beliefs, you’re digging yourself a hole. Always be on the lookout for evidence that you’re wrong, then analyze the heck out of it. The intent in here is not just to study millionaires and billionaires, and understand how they made their money but go beyond the veneer and see what really makes them the way they are.
4. Go to a high ranked program at a highly reputed school (ideally top 5), to gain skills/knowledge/connections that are directly applicable to an industry that pays extremely well and has a shortage of highly skilled workers (e.g., finance or tech). Some will argue that they get the same education at a lesser school, but you won’t get the same reputation, connections, and network. A master’s or other graduate degree is often worth the additional investment and sometimes necessary. Besides the experience, it signals you as being able to go through the rigorous and competitive admission process and prevail. The education must be cheap relative to the earning potential it provides or paid by someone else. It’s a bad investment if it costs more than it makes. As a side note: Not everyone wastes their college years partying and “discovering themselves.” While you’re out getting drunk, someone else is studying their rear end off, both in school and how to increase their wealth, and doing their absolute best to beat the crap out of you to those lucrative jobs. Education never ends. I’m always reading and learning. Learn how to do that too.
5. Forget about slaving at a pathetic corporate job. If you’re employed, you will be laid off when you don’t expect it or can least afford it. No job is safe. And if you have one of those jobs, if you expect to work 40-hour weeks or less, you will probably be out-competed, and at the very least you’re leaving a lot of profit uncollected. The very rich own businesses. Being paid a salary means that someone else is paying you money to make even more money for them. Time to wake up. Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.
6. Be a problem solver at something you really love. Integrating passion into a profession is often underrated/overlooked when it comes to making money because people only focus on the big bucks. But when you love what you do, you’ll advance your skills and want to keep learning. Be the absolute best at what you love doing. You will be paid in direct proportion to the value you deliver according to the marketplace. You have to leverage on the right platform at the right time using your highly profitable skill. Above all, it must be the right “YOU”. You wake up and you say “I have a problem.” Can you say a million people have the same problem?” Go find a solution for a million people.
7. Pick and start your own business. Everyone is always on the lookout for “the next big thing.” The next big thing is finding rare earth minerals on Mars. That’s HARD WORK. Don’t do it. Pick a business that every merchant in the world needs. You don’t have to come up with the new, new thing. Just do the old, old thing slightly better than everyone else. And when you are nimble and smaller than the behemoths that are frozen inside bureaucracy, often you can offer better sales and better service. Customers will switch to you. If you can offer higher-touch service as well, they will come running to you. Remember John D. Rockefeller’s (the world’s first billionaire) priceless wisdom: “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”
8. Surround yourself with the right friends. Your income is the average of the income of the 5 people that you are usually surrounded with. So get in the company of the millionaire or better billionaire. They know better ways to make millions than most the losers out there.
Read More: How do you Create Real Wealth in an age of Intense Competition and Wealth Destruction?