A self-made millionaire is generally a humble person who is realistic about the future: To get from zero to millions, it will take a lot of time and hard work.
They put a lot of sweat into their business and try to keep debt at bay. Some self-made millionaires didn’t pay themselves a salary until their business was well afloat.
Most people who succeed will have started with a small operation, then expanded their fleet or franchises. Don’t be too ambitious too quickly.
Yes, you need a little seed money to make more money, but hold back on the shiny offices and other recurrent expenses that will cripple your bottom line early on.
2. They live frugally
Millionaires worked hard for their money and are not going to spend it like it’s free. Look at billionaire Warren Buffett, still living in the modest house he bought 60 years ago for $31,500.
Supersizing your lifestyle will only result in less cash flow to put back into your business. Millionaires know that too well and keep their old cars, clothes and houses.
When they buy something, they buy quality items that will last for a very long time. They consider any expense as a lost opportunity to invest and grow their nest egg.
For tips on how to live more frugally, read our frugal living guide: How to have less stuff.
3. They save aggressively
Millionaires have a well-above-average savings rate; most of them save over half their income. If you are able to do that, financial independence is just a decade away.
Millionaires know every dollar saved is a dollar you don’t have to work for. Even better, it is a dollar that will start earning interest and grow into more dollars.
Make sure you get your company match and max out your 401(k) and other tax deferred accounts before anything else to see maximum returns.
4. They invest wisely
Millionaires think long and hard before investing their hard-earned cash. They don’t get fooled by easy double-digit returns, but are also generally low on cash because they make their money work for them.
Many swear by low fee index funds that compound for decades and turn thousands into millions. Others prefer real estate, leveraging their savings with mortgages to buy more houses.
In any case, they invest after a serious amount of research. Want to start investing? Here is our guide to getting started.
5. They behave discreetly
Millionaires who have worked to get where they are aren’t flashy and ostentatious.
Like the aptly named book “The Millionaire Next Door” points out, you can’t tell who is a millionaire in your neighborhood.
They drive the same car you do, they dress the same way you do, maybe even more modestly, and they stash away most of their money.
6. They network smartly
Millionaires will always tell you they owe their success to a great deal of other successful people who have inspired and helped them along the way.
As a result, they value their contacts and stay in touch regularly to keep their valuable network strong.
7. They try relentlessly
Millionaires aren’t afraid of failure. Like normal people, they have likely tried and failed, but unlike many, they just shrugged it off, got back on their feet, analyzed the failure as to not make the same mistakes again and tried again.
Eventually, they succeeded.
But don’t let success cloud your vision: There was a lot of trial and effort before it happened. You just have to keep going.
8. They wake up early
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Millionaires get more done before breakfast than many people do in a full day. You can create a successful morning routine too, and make the most of the early hours.
By the time you go to work, you will feel like you can conquer the world.
9. They exercise regularly
A healthy mind is a healthy body. To stay sharp and focused all day, millionaires exercise as often as possible.
You can make the most of your workout time by listening to a podcast or an audiobook.
10. They use time smartly
Successful people are on a tight schedule. Some use their morning exercise routine to focus on their business and solve problems. Others schedule power naps during the day to recharge and get a strong finish.
Time is money and millionaires know it. They are not going to waste it.
11. They give generously
Millionaires often say part of their success came from being generous to others. By helping others, they often get much-needed help in return. And by giving selflessly, they pay forward what they once received.
12. They see opportunities everywhere
Talk to a millionaire about your life, and you will be asked a lot of questions about how you do what you do, and why you do it this or that way.
Millionaires are curious and see opportunities where you wouldn’t. Every problem-solving situation is a potential money-making idea.
As we discussed above, many will not even be considered, many will fail, but some may succeed.
13. They can weather a crisis
Millionaires navigate through life safely. While they invest a vast part of their net worth, they also keep cash reserves in case of an emergency.
Cash emergencies can kill your business in its early stages; millionaires know that and plan accordingly. Here are four steps to build your emergency fund.
14. They are goal-oriented
Reach for the moon, settle for the stars. Millionaires set ambitious goals, and work on them day in, day out until they succeed.
And because reaching 80% of an ambitious goal is better than doing nothing, they are seen as successful. Try taking your goal and doubling it. Reaching for more can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
15. They take care of themselves
Millionaires know they are their most valuable asset. They stay in shape, eat healthily, are neatly groomed and dress so they feel good and ready to conquer.
You can’t help others if you are not 100% yourself. Make it a point to be at your best as often as possible.
16. They work when they’re at their best
If you want to get ahead in life, you have to be the best you can be. And you can’t humanly be at the top of your game all day long.
Millionaires know that, so they use their day strategically and optimize every time slot. Morning energy boost? For business brainstorming and staff meetings.
Midafternoon low? Networking tea with a peer. Burn-out Friday? Let’s go play tennis and work a couple of hours on Saturday.
It is not about working more, it is about working smarter.
17. They know the value of money
Millionaires have worked hard for every penny, so they will not spend or invest their money mindlessly.
They also remember where they come from and avoid over-the-top luxuries. Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you need it or you must have it.
18. They keep learning
Millionaires have a thirst for knowledge. They will read everything they can: fiction, nonfiction, success stories, newspapers.
They also listen to podcasts, go to conferences, ask even more successful people to lunch … Every single day is filled with opportunities to learn something.
Maybe it is a skill, maybe it is a different approach to doing what you’ve been doing for years, maybe a simple novel will change your life.
Keep on learning; you never know when that will be useful.
19. They stay motivated
Millionaires are highly motivated and focused individuals. They keep their eyes on the prize.
What keeps them going is they know the rewards will be greater than the pain. Picture your goal down the road. How does it feel to know you will soon achieve it? That is the motivation you need to carry on.
20. They are grateful
Gratitude is one of the best mindsets you can have in life. Being able to see all the little blessings — how lucky you are to be healthy, happy, on your way to build wealth, surrounded by great people — will keep you going when life throws a hard one at you.
Being grateful to people who work with you or deliver a service goes a very long way when hiring them again or asking for a favor.
Being grateful for what you already have is a solid base to build on your way to financial independence, remembering it is never all about money.
Money is a tool that will help you feel secure and allow you to do great things. Gratitude is the key to living a life of purpose and reaching an even higher goal, that of happiness and fulfillment.
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