It’s an ambition that so many share the world over – storm the Forbes rich list and become a self-made billionaire. But while it’s certainly a great and admirable ambition in many respects, it’s also one that the overwhelming majority is doomed to fail at – making a billion bucks just isn’t as easy as it seems…not that it seems easy at all!
The simple fact of the matter is that today’s billionaires for the most part not only had things like breeding and intelligence on their side, but also things like pure and simple luck. Being in the right place at the right time counts for so much and when combined with true business savvy can lead to untold success and wealth.
But what of those that have actually set out for success and achieved it? What kinds of lessons have been picked up after watching the richest folks in the world get where they are today?
Well, as it’s still a case of needing money to make money, step one in the process is to find a route to solid income the likes of which can be then reinvested in making more money. It’s pretty pointless to try and make big bucks unless you’re making a living in the first place, so as far as potential routes to cash go, there are four that have seen so many billionaires go from very little to quite a lot.
Certainly not for everyone, but for those that get it right an invention can be one of the fastest routes to the big time. Sadly, it’s not just about having an idea in your head, but instead bringing said idea to life, patenting it and finding a way to produce and market it to such an extent that it will actually sell. But the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to come up with something totally new – just something better than what’s already available. For example, a new take on the standard vacuum cleaner earned James Dyson a small fortune – so why not start with something that’s imperfect and try perfecting it yourself?
Not to be confused with invention…though in some ways similar…innovation means taking something that’s already popular and finding a way to do it even better. This covers both products and services – what exactly do people generally seem to like that could stand to be improved? One of the very best examples of a company that did exactly this over recent year is IKEA. Flat-pack furniture is anything but new, furniture stores are ten a penny and it’s not like the stuff they sell is the world’s highest quality. But it doesn’t have to be – they made it cheap and cheerful, while at the same time introducing funky new designs. And that was that – billions of dollars being pumped in by buyers every hour the world over.
Sure you need money to get started with in the first place, but the secret to investment comes not only with knowing where to put your money, but where not to put it and where not to waste it. Take Warren Buffett for example – he has a global reputation for being frugal with every penny he invests and it seems to have done pretty well for him. Generally speaking, the more exciting and potential-filled a new investment opportunity seems, the more dangerous it is and thus should be stayed away from. It’s all about remaining with safe and established mainstays, like property, energy and other commodities. By contrast, technology can be a dangerous and unforgiving mistress.
Building a business and making a fortune from it is of course billionaire 101, but at the same time can be hard as staging a snowball fight in hell. There are technically two options here – the first being to build a business from the ground up and stick with it for life. Assuming you have the product, the work ethic and the knack necessary, there’s no reason why this can’t work.
As far as the second option goes, this is where you find yourself an up and coming business and make a hefty investment at the earliest possible stage. Your cash helps the business become huge and so when this happens, your cash becomes just as big for you to pocket and/or play with.
The only trouble is that both of these first require a decent amount of money to begin with and in the case of the first, the willingness to quit your current job and focus 100% on your new goal.
In any and all of the above examples, the biggest things that can stand in your way and ruin your chances are thinking you know more than you do, rushing into decisions without epic forethought and quitting what you started too soon. None of the above are supposed to make you an overnight billionaire and none are 100% free of risks, which means that the way you approach them will ultimately determine their outcome.
About The Author
For nearly a decade, RJ Tayaban has been covering news about the global financial market. He also works as an online consultant for businesses under the same industry.