Your First Million

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What is the easiest way to make your first million?

Hmmm, the easiest way to make your first million dollars? I’m thinking back decades now, but how I earned my first million was certainly not the easiest way. It was easy, just not the easiest.

I’ll quickly share how I did it… and how I sometimes wish I would have done it.

I did it by slowly acquiring shares in a company that I was hired to start. I eventually owned the company. I did it by living frugally and by investing in real estate and investing in other assets that appreciate, rather than constantly buying depreciating assets. It takes a long time that way, but it can absolutely happen .

Your First Million

Say you want to become a millionaire. Or a multimillionaire.

Or hey, even a billionaire. (Why not?)

The goal is clear. but the path can be anything but.

But not to Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot (No. 1,100 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 and a company that recently went public). Dharmesh sees a clear, if slow and difficult, path to becoming a millionaire–or to reaching whatever level of financial success you aspire to.

Here’s Dharmesh:

Money of course isn’t everything. Not by a long shot. Where your definition of success is concerned, money may rank far down the list. Everyone’s definition of “success” is different.

Here’s my definition: Success is making the people that believed in you look brilliant.

For me, money doesn’t matter all that much, but I’ll confess it did at one time (probably because I didn’t have very much).

So let’s say money is on your list. And let’s say, like millions of other people, that you’d like to be a millionaire. What kinds of things should you do to increase your chances of joining the millionaire’s club?

Here are the steps I’d suggest. They’re neither fast nor easy. But they’re more likely to work than the quick and easy path.

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1. Stop obsessing about money

While it sounds counterintuitive, maintaining a laser-like focus on how much you make distracts you from doing the things that truly contribute to building and growing wealth.

So shift your perspective. See money not as the primary goal but as a byproduct of doing the right things.

2. Start tracking how many people you help, even if in a very small way

The most successful people I know–both financially and in other ways–are shockingly helpful. They’re incredibly good at understanding other people and helping them achieve their goals. They know their success is ultimately based on the success of the people around them.

So they work hard to make other people successful: their employees, their customers, their vendors and suppliers. because they know, if they can do that, then their own success will surely follow.

And they will have built a business–or a career–they can be truly proud of.

3. 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.

And in time, your business becomes something you never dreamed of–because your customers and your employees have taken you to places you couldn’t even imagine.

Serve a million people–and serve them incredibly well–and the money will follow.

4. See making money as a way to make more things

Generally speaking, there are two types of people.

One makes things because they want to make money; the more things they make, the more money they make. What they make doesn’t really matter that much to them–they’ll make anything as long as it pays.

The other wants to make money because it allows them to make more things. They want to improve their product. They want to extend their line. They want to create another book, another song, another movie. They love what they make and they see making money as a way to do even more of what they love. They dream of building a company that makes the best things possible. and making money is the way to fuel that dream and build that company they love.

While it is certainly possible to find that one product that everyone wants and grow rich by selling that product, most successful businesses evolve and grow and, as they make money, reinvest that money in a relentless pursuit of excellence.

“We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.”–Walt Disney

5. Do one thing better

Pick one thing you’re already better at than most people. Just. One. Thing. Become maniacally focused at doing that one thing. Work. Train. Learn. Practice. Evaluate. Refine. Be ruthlessly self-critical, not in a masochistic way but to ensure you continue to work to improve every aspect of that one thing.

Financially successful people do at least one thing better than just about everyone around them. (Of course it helps if you pick something to be great at that the world also values–and will pay for.)

Excellence is its own reward, but excellence also commands higher pay–and greater respect, greater feelings of self-worth, greater fulfillment, a greater sense of achievement. all of which make you rich in non-monetary terms.

6. Make a list of the world’s 10 best people at that one thing

How did you pick those 10? How did you determine who was the best? How did you measure their success?

Use those criteria to track your own progress towards becoming the best.

If you’re an author, it could be Amazon rankings. If you’re a musician, it could be iTunes downloads. If you’re a programmer, it could be the number of people that use your software. If you’re a leader, it could be the number of people you train and develop who move on to bigger and better things. If you’re an online retailer, it could be purchases per visitor, or on-time shipping, or conversion rate.

Don’t just admire successful people. Take a close look at what makes them successful. Then use those criteria to help create your own measures of success. And then.

7. Consistently track your progress

We tend to become what we measure, so track your progress at least once a week against your key measures.

Maybe you’ll measure how many people you’ve helped. Maybe you’ll measure how many customers you’ve served. Maybe you’ll evaluate the key steps on your journey to becoming the world’s best at one thing.

Maybe it’s a combination of those things, and more.

8. Build routines that ensure progress

Never forget that achieving a goal is based on creating routines. Say you want to write a 200-page book. That’s your goal. Your system to achieve that goal could be to write four pages a day; that’s your routine. Wishing and hoping won’t get you to a finished manuscript, but sticking faithfully to your routine ensures you reach your goal.

Or say you want to land 100 new customers through inbound marketing. That’s your goal; your routine is to create new content, new videos, new podcasts, new white papers, etc., on whatever schedule you set. Stick to that routine and meet your deadlines, and if your content is great, you will land those new customers.

Wishing and hoping won’t get you there–sticking faithfully to your routine will.

Set goals, create routines that support those goals, and then ruthlessly track your progress. Fix what doesn’t work. Improve and repeat what does work. Refine and revise and adapt and work hard every day to be better than you were yesterday.

Soon you’ll be good. Then you’ll be great. And one day you’ll be world-class.

And then, probably without even noticing, you’ll also be a millionaire. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

How to Make Your First Million In Your 20’s

Do you want to make your first million in your 20’s?

With today’s varied and numerous investment avenues and the unlimited knowledge source that is the internet, it’s possible for practically anyone to become a millionaire in just a few years.

It’s even possible to earn your first million before reaching your 20’s, a fact that has been proven by teen millionaires like Fraser Doherty and Cameron Johnson.

But what if you’re no longer in your teens or twenties? Not to worry, as the steps that help make a millionaire are applicable for any person at any age. Being in your twenties however, does have its advantages when it comes to making that first million.

Why Your Twenties?

There are three main reasons why making your first million makes the most sense when you’re in your twenties. The first being the timeliness of this period.

It is during this time, fresh out of school that you’re still full of energy and driven to prove yourself to the world and to yourself. You’re in the perfect position to make a great start.

Another reason why your twenties is a great place to start is that your expenses and distractions are at their lowest at this time. Most people in their twenties don’t have children yet, aren’t paying mortgage or responsible for anybody else but themselves.

It is during this time that you are able to focus the most on your career and financial goals.

Lastly, when you’re just starting out as most people are in their twenties, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So instead of wasting away this time buying expensive cars and clothes and getting into debt, why not start making your first million instead?

How to Make Your First Million In Your 20’s

While there are numerous ways to make a million nowadays including investing in stocks, real estate, an online business venture or good ol’ fashioned savings, it takes certain steps to really ensure success.

No matter the path you choose to take, these steps are key to making sure that you stay on track with your goal in making that first million.

So what are these steps?

1. Have the Right Mindset

Before anything else, you have to have the right mindset. You have to remember that making money requires hard work, and it is only through luck and happenstance that some people achieve millions without really breaking a sweat.

In most cases, be it in employment or business, earning a million will require some hard work on your part. This means getting good grades in school as much as possible, getting additional training, studying up on your specific niche, and offering up more hours at work.

Some may argue that becoming a millionaire has nothing to do with grades or hard work, but you must remember that fortune favors those who are prepared. You can’t depend on luck at all times, most of the time you will have to make your own luck through hard work.

Aside from working hard, having the right mindset also means not making excuses for laziness or lousy financial decisions and staying focused on your goal. Speaking of goals–

2. Set Your Goals

In order to achieve millionaire status in your twenties, you need to set firm goals for yourself. Otherwise, you might end up in your forties or fifties still unable to reach your first million. Make your goals specific, ambitious yet achievable.

For instance, you could aim to gain 5% to 10% of your first million within your first year and gradually increase this percentage as your assets grow.

You also need to specify the means by which you intend to achieve this goal, whether it be through investments, business, savings or a combination of resources.

3. Save As Much As You Can

You may be earning more money than you ever have in your life, but it will never amount to a million if you’re always out there spending it.

So another thing you have to keep in mind at this stage is that you will have to make sacrifices in order to save as much as you can. You have to keep living below your means and save aggressively.

Try to consistently save at least 20% of your net income each year, and place it somewhere secure where it can accumulate interest over time.

4. If You Must Spend, Spend Wisely

Don’t borrow money in order to spend it, save for it. Also, prioritize utility.

Eliminate what is unnecessary. By focusing on what you need instead of what you want chances are, you’ll end up spending less than what you originally planned and the extra savings can go a long way to bringing you closer to your 1 million goal.

5. Diversify

Here’s an oldie but goodie: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. Make calculated risks, but do the research to make sure you can afford those risks.

This applies not only in stocks but with different types of assets. Venture into real estate, start a pure income portfolio or add a little more to your retirement savings.

You could also diversify in terms of income generation: perhaps take a sideline job or establish an online business. There’s always more than one way to make money and make it grow.

6. Be Persistent & Patient

Becoming a millionaire doesn’t happen overnight, at least not for the majority of us. It takes dedication and time for most, so you need to be persistent and patient at the same time.

Don’t worry if some investments fall short or businesses fail; there are always more opportunities to be had. Your experiences whether good or bad will also teach you how to do things better next time, and enable you to better achieve your goals.

Earning your first million is no walk in the park, but it is definitely possible. With the right mindset and the right steps in place, you can achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire before you reach the age of 30.


Here’s a recap of the 6 steps to making your first million in your 20’s:

  1. Have the right mindset
  2. Set your goals
  3. Save as much as you can
  4. If you must spend, spend wisely
  5. Diversify
  6. Be persistent and patient
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