Who am I? What sort of knobhead writes made me a millionaire? I realize it’s cringy but it is what it is. It’s a fact and there is value in sharing one’s wealth journey and path to financial freedom.
Your journey will likely be different to mine.
But there are some common denominators. It’s also worth pointing out that being a millionaire means jack sh*t. Nobody cares. It doesn’t make you special .. and that’s not the point.
Becoming a millionaire has little to do with money and more to do with a shift in psychology that bleeds into every area of life. This is well-documented in the best-selling book “The Psychology Of Money.”
Enough fluff. Let’s get into the pieces of advice that made me a millionaire.
Don’t work a Dilbert job forever
(Read the Dilbert cartoon to understand.)
I’m not here to throw mud at people who work jobs, or use offensive words like “plebs” and think I’m better.
Early in my career the advice I got is that there are levels to the world of work. A job is level one. There’s nothing wrong with playing on level one. The key idea is don’t play on level one forever.
At some point you’ve got to take a risk or try playing level 2 or 3 games.
Level 2 = freelancing, consulting, or one-person businesses
Level 3 = starting a business
Level 4 = running a business with large numbers of employees
Not everyone wants to go all the way to level 4. But to not try levels 2 and 3 is a huge missed opportunity. Running a business is where you learn the true skills and get a better understanding of how the world works.
If you can figure out how to start a business you’ll likely make a lot more money than being an employee forever.
Action: build a side business.
The internet is a wealth amplifier (not how you might think)
There’s the society you’re a part of that’s defined by country borders.
A lot of people don’t know that they are also part of a digital society that is borderless. This is the internet. Because there are no borders you can potentially reach billions of people.
That means even a small idea can obtain enough attention or money to sustain itself. To participate in this digital society you have to sign up for at least one social media app.
The beauty is you can do so anonymously if you choose.
Inside this digital society is an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, find new ideas, build a community you own, and gain feedback on your projects.
Too many people are not taking advantage of this.
Right now we’re going through a digital renaissance. If you read the work of historical figures, such as Michelangelo, you’ll understand the enormous luck we all have to exist in such a time.
We can now all become polymaths thanks to AI and the easy access we have to information that’s even sorted and curated for us already.
Action: start conversations online. See where it leads. Become a leader without being given the title.
Do the opposite of most people
Here are a list of things I’ve been told:
- “Desktop computers are a fad”
- “Posting on social media will get you fired”
- “We’ll never carry phones everywhere we go”
- “The internet is a scam and the dot com bubble proved it”
- “They can’t fire you because you have all the customer relationships”
- “Bitcoin/Ethereum & cryptocurrency are the new beanie baby bubble”
I’m a 90s kid and every one of these never-gonna-happen realities, happened. In fact all the money I’ve made in my life is due to doing the opposite of these common bits of advice.
Opportunities that make real money look like scams.
That’s because they carry risk, are uncomfortable, and require an optimistic mindset to understand.
That’s not the default way the average person operates. It’s why doing what average people do, as harsh as it sounds, is the fastest way to become broke and depend on a salary.
Action: take conventional advice and do the opposite.
Money is made in “saturated markets”
I’ve been told repeatedly that “XYZ market is too saturated.”
We should love saturated markets because the opposite is a market where nobody is engaging or buying — and that typically means a problem people don’t want solved. That’s at the heart of ideas that never gain traction. It’s the cause of most startup failures.
If there’s lots of competition that’s good.
Instead of trying to copy or be better, just be different. In the case of the corporate world that’s competitive, just treat people differently.
When your competition is transactional, be relational. When your competition is so focused on money, be focused on meaning. When bosses and entrepreneurs treat people like sh*t to get ahead, just be stupidly kind. When everyone’s got a huge ego, dare to be humble.
A contrarian mindset is such a wealth enabler. It shows up everywhere.
Action: go where the most competition is. Then be yourself.
The courage to start random conversations is powerful
Money comes from people.
When you reach people you make money. Therefore your ability to start conversations and attract people is crucial. There’s an art to it though.
To successfully start random conversations you must have no outcome in mind. Otherwise your selfish intentions shine through and you get ignored. This is counter-intuitive to most people.
The best random conversations happen when you feel any of the wide range of human emotions. Or when you share stories and have mutual connections with a person you seek to talk with.
If any of those factors are present then a random conversation can easily start. If you have enough of these, you’ll eventually stumble across ideas or opportunities that lead to money.
But you won’t know what they are before. That’s the magic of being human.
Action: proactively start conversations with no agenda.
Money is the result of a skill stack
The ultimate question is “how do I become a millionaire” or at least, “how do I reach my definition of wealth?”
That’s the result of a skill stack. Each valuable skill you add increases how much money you can make. Let me explain…
In 2011 the main skill I had was banking.
In 2013 I added the skill of investing in stocks.
In 2014 I added blogging and book publishing.
In 2015 I added LinkedIn.
In 2016 I added online business.
In 2017 I added landing page design.
In 2018 I added copywriting.
In 2019 I added course-building.
In 2020 I added skills for handling tax.
In 2021 I added $ubstack.
In 2022 I added affiliate marketing.
No skill by itself made me a millionaire. However, each new skill increased my multiple sources of income. And because each skill was correlated to one another, they compounded results I’d already achieved.
It’s you’ll unlikely become a millionaire with one rare niche skill.
Action: rebuild and expand your skill stack.
Challenge the status quo (a.k.a authority)
This one isn’t mandatory but sure as hell helps.
Life-changing money often comes from innovation or when the status quo is disrupted in some way. To do this you need to get comfortable challenging authority in an honest and patient way.
It requires the soft skill of being more assertive. In other words, not being afraid of telling strangers what you want, or what you will or won’t accept.
This has been the pillar of my career. My whole life I’ve been told I can’t do certain things. I’ve respectfully refused to listen and proved my critics wrong. To do so I’ve had to get good at uncomfortable conversations.
I’ve had to stop accepting official responses and first answers to questions as reality. I assume the natural response to every ask I have is a no. And that response is likely due to laziness or a desire to remain in comfort.
From that lens it’s easier to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. It’s a way of life. It’s normal. Actually, people secretly love it when you refuse to accept the status quo.
Doers push the limits.
Action: challenge a small decision and feel the discomfort.
The closer you are to ownership, the closer you are to freedom
There are two ways to live life:
When you work a job your time is being rented to a corporation. They can evict you at any moment without a proper reason. Most of us start here.
We can also choose to slowly become an owner and stop renting.
- Buy financial assets
- Own real estate
- Own your online presence through an email list
- Own your data and store it on your own servers
- Own your future with goals and a vision
- Own your time through outcome-based work instead of by-the-hour work
These are choices. The sooner you start choosing to own more parts of your life, the sooner you can get the benefits of being an owner.
Owners have more control and more freedom.
Action: take back ownership of one area of your life.
Increase your failure rate
Millionaires take risks.
The payment for risks that work out is more money. Therefore, if you’re not taking risks then the financial rewards will elude you. At the same time we don’t want to do a hail mary and bet the house on a casino idea.
The middle ground is to make more asymmetric bets. That is, where the potential upside is far greater than the downside.
Sometimes it’s impossible to know this, which is why the millionaires I know aren’t afraid of losing some or all of their fortune, because they know they can use the same skill stack to make it all back again.
In case you’re wondering, I have lost everything (financially) multiple times. It’s what gave me the confidence to make it all back again so fast. And gave me the strategies to make money in new and interesting ways.
Failure is the way. No failure, no learning.
Action: take one new calculated, research-backed risk.
One unlikely piece of financial wisdom to finish
Right now we’re going through a kindness epidemic.
We’ve forgotten how to be kind to each other. We’ve let individualism and politics rule the show. An underrated skill that has made me wealthy is to be kinder.
That means having more empathy for the struggles people face. It means being more accepting and respectful of the opposite views to yours. And it means assuming the best in people instead of the worst.
Kindness is a character trait. And your character either attracts or rejects money opportunities on a daily basis.
It’s cliche as hell but a**holes always finish last. So be kind.
This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.