Of all the most basic creating wealth questions I get asked, the most basic is this, “How do I become a millionaire?” The answer is very simple and straightforward, but most people are unwilling to do what it takes. What does is take? Simple. Put way more than a million of value out into the universe and a million will come back to you. If you want to be worth 10 million, put 15 million of value into the universe. Want to be worth 100 million, put 150 million of value into the universe and see what happens. Before you say that’s a trite answer and stop reading, stop and think about it. Of all those you know who have wealth of any kind that they created, we are going to set inherited wealth aside, and think about how they created that wealth.
Use any of the modern age self-made billionaires as example: Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Phil Knight, Reed Hastings, Michael Bloomberg, Fred Smith, or Marc Andreessen. What did they do? They created something that had value and put it out into the universe. Sure, it took years of effort, talent, and some luck, but in each instance the value they have created far exceeds what they received in personal wealth. Pick one of them, Spielberg for example. When he directs and produces a movie, do all of the ticket proceeds go to him? Of course not. In creating movie after movie that entertains us, he has grossed almost $10 billion in box office receipts, and that’s not including all of the other revenue generated from items such as royalties. Yet, his net worth is only $3 billion. He put more than $10 billion in wealth out into the world and $3 billion of it came back into his bank account. This example can be extended to writing the software used to create open access to the internet (sorry Al Gore it was Marc Andreessen, not you) or modern running shoes (thanks Phil Knight) or the ability to easily access almost every piece of information necessary to be a better investor (thanks Michael Bloomberg) or be able to ship anything from anywhere to anywhere overnight (thanks Fred Smith)… you get the idea.
Wealth of all types doesn’t just happen. It requires our time, our talent, our toil, and our participation. I realize that everyone you love, everyone you help, everyone you build something for, everyone you create something for, will not pay you back fully. In fact, almost no one does. That is why I said put way more than a million of value out into the universe.
Along the way, we are allowed to decide that there are those for which we shouldn’t provide any more value. They only take, and don’t repay. It’s okay to decide you don’t want to be taken advantage of anymore. It is also okay to believe in people and investments and continue to add value into people and investments that haven’t paid you back a single dime. This is especially true if you can see the vision, the potential, and are willing to stick with it until they / it becomes successful. If you want to be a millionaire, put over a million in value out into the world, and wealth will beat a path to your door.
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