From time to time, you dream of reaching financial freedom. Every time you do something you don’t like, you justify it with future wealth. You say: “One day, I will have enough money to do what I love, live by my own rules!”
It’s good that you believe strongly in yourself. However, months pass, and you don’t feel any closer to your goal.
You know you will make it for sure in the next decade. In the next five years, maybe, if you work hard. Two years? Who knows. One year? Definitely not.
How do you stop being broke? It just takes forever.
I mean, you probably know what to do. You can find millionaire strategies almost on every single website. Google “make money online,” and you’ll see it.
But for some reason, they don’t work well for you. Darn! If only you had more money or started earlier, this would be so much easier.
That’s the problem I see with most advice. It’s too generic.
Let’s get it straight: if you’re broke, you want money FAST. You don’t have time for MLMs or compound interest. Passive income is cool, but the “four-hour workweek” won’t get you far enough.
- What Your Goal Should Be if You’re Broke
- Why Even Broke People Can Become Rich
- How to Go From Broke to Rich
- Avoid These Business Models
- Are You Poor or Just Broke?
- Why Are You Broke?
- How to Never Be Broke EVER Again
- Should You Stay Broke?
- Your First Steps to Living an Abundant Life
What Your Goal Should Be if You’re Broke
You can’t just follow the “7 habits of the rich”, or “6 ways millionaires earn $300K/mo.” The strategies we use to go from broke to rich are different than going from rich to filthy rich.
If you’re curious, these are the financial stages. Each of them has different goals and tools:
Broke/Survival → Financial Uncertainty → Financial Stability → Financial Comfort → Financial Freedom → Financial Confidence
I don’t know what your destination is. All I know is:
- Being broke sucks
- The only way to never be broke again is financial confidence
You progress a lot faster when you use what you have on each level. It’s super-hard to go from broke to billionaire if you only use free strategies. It’s also unnecessary. Use the best you have and always reinvent yourself.
Do you want something more explanatory? Try comparing simple and compound interest.
Let’s say you have a $100 fund that increases 100% of the original sum every day. So it grows like this:
100 → 200 → 300 → 400 → 500
If that’s your strategy, you’re going to wait hundreds of years before getting wealthy. It’s also called simple interest.
Now, compound interest considers the whole amount, and the growth is exponential:
100 → 200 → 400 → 800 → 1600
You may wonder: How can I increase my money exponentially?
Well, let’s see what resources you have.
Why Even Broke People Can Become Rich
Even if your bank account has a negative balance, that doesn’t stop you from making millions. We all have three valuable resources:
They’re easily exchangeable. Somewhere, someone is always willing to give you money for your time or knowledge.
Poor people will sell their time to make money. But broke people can make money with their skills. And the rich will buy time with money.
Why do rich people do that? Because time is the most valuable source. You can have a billion dollars. You can’t have a billion days (at least, yet).
Plus, you can only experience time one second at a time. With money, you can move as many dollars as you want.
That means time is a linear, diminishing resource. But money can be exponential.
If you can make money without trading your time, you have the freedom to spend it however you want (AKA passive income). And when you earn passive money fast, that’s what people call being RICH.
Anybody can be a millionaire. But being rich is about speed. It’s how you get exponential results and stop being broke. Here’s your plan:
- As a broke person, you only have time and maybe some skills. Use that to earn your first bucks. How? Spend time learning skills, applying for jobs, and working. You then reach…
- Financial uncertainty. Sometimes you earn, sometimes you don’t. You now want to think long term and ask yourself: how can I secure more work for the future? Once you have enough work to consume all your time, you become…
- Financially stable. You’ll never run out of money again. But you may never have free time again as well. Now, you need to work smarter: how much can you optimize your work? Can you get more done in less time? Eventually, you make good money for a few hours of work, which we consider…
- Financial comfort. You only need to work a few hours a day to cover your expenses. You also have enough time and extra money for yourself. Then, you think of passive ways to make money: online businesses, agencies, investments. The moment your passive income pays for your living expenses, you are…
- Financially free. The money keeps coming in, even if you’re on vacation. But that doesn’t mean it will last forever. Your long-term plan is building multiple streams of income and getting interest from your money, so you become…
- Financial confidence. You’re immune to the economic downturns and probably never be broke again unless you intentionally gave away your money. Even if you lose everything, you already know how to get back there and faster.
…And YES, it is possible to go from broke to millionaire overnight. But likely? NO. What we’re showing is a strategy anybody can follow.
And it all starts by investing your time. Come on, you must have some. When you can’t pay your bills, can money be anything but your top priority?
Unless you’re okay staying broke, keep reading.
How to Go From Broke to Rich
People dream about being rich one day, but they don’t know how to get there, so they never do anything. But all you need to do is take the first step, and everything else will come later.
That first step is knowing your numbers.
#1 What’s your income goal?
You won’t start thinking of solutions until you define the problem. And you can’t think about the problem if you don’t know you have one.
What do you do?
- Find out how much you need to spend (and remove the non-essential)
- Define how much you want to save
- Add up both values to know what to earn every month
- Break it down into daily income goals
When you write down expenses, be generous with the budget you assign for emergencies. Give your predictions a margin of error of 10-30%.
Here’s something to clarify about Step 4. You only want to break things down for linear income streams:
- If you want to earn $3000 in your job, then you have to work enough to earn $100 per day
- But if you start a business, the goal may be making $90K in 90 days. Businesses are exponential. You don’t start making $1K from day one
Make the exercise to know your expenses, target income, and how much time you have to achieve it.
#2 Be smarter with your money
When you’re broke, you want to get the most value you can from every single dollar. It’s not about being frugal, but spending more on what matters:
- If something isn’t essential or doesn’t make you money, you aren’t buying it
- If you have to spend money, you may get 1-5% in cash back with the right payment method (see Credit Card Churning)
- If you save some money, you invest it in yourself or your income streams
Smart money means you prioritize investments over liabilities. Instead of enjoying your savings right now, you delay that reward to grow your money faster.
Another smart idea; working on your credit score:
- Borrow money and pay them back on time
- Open multiple credit lines
- Increase your credit history length
- Reduce your hard inquiries
- Lower your utilization rate
An excellent credit score shows banks and lenders that you know how to manage money. Because of it, they can lend you more money, which you’ll use to speed up your path to wealth.
Borrowing may sound prohibitive for broke people. But notice that debt is good when you know how to use it. Because you’re going to invest in an exponential system, you’re actually saving time and money (despite the interest rates).
#3 High Income Skills
Who said you need money to make money? With all you can learn online, it doesn’t take much time to develop marketable skills. People always need others to make their businesses efficient, whether it’s to build a team or save time (outsource).
High-income skills typically relate to marketing. And the best is, you can learn how businesses work as you work. You don’t even need to buy a course!
As for the actual skills, here’s how each of them provides value:
- Video editing: The way you edit videos can keep people more engaged with your content. That improves watch-time, ranking, and traffic.
- Web Design: How do you improve a website to increase traffic and CTR? Other sub-skills are coding in HTML/PHP and SEO
- Funnel Building: How do you design each page to maximize conversion rates? It takes a complete understanding of the user experience since they first learn about your brand until they become habitual buyers
- Copywriting: Can you find a better way to communicate the value of the offer? If your words improve conversions from 1 to 2%, you just doubled the product’s revenue
The good news is, these skills are broad. Whatever your passion is, I can guarantee you there’s a position in the niche you like, whether it’s content writing, email marketing, video editing, or web design.
All you need to do to start is registering on a freelance site like Upwork. You start small to get known in the sector. And once you have reviews and a portfolio, you can easily contact clients and start projects.
Another plus is, you work for results. Only you know what your time is worth, but here, you can work as much or as little as you want. While you work, your skills naturally improve, so you get the same work done better and faster.
Want another plus? All these skills are also useful when starting your own business. You’re killing two birds with one stone.
#4 Start an agency business
You can always lose your money as long as your income depends on your time. Agencies solve that problem. And unlike other business models, they don’t require any knowledge other than what you have. If you can be successful at a job, you can start an agency.
When people don’t have any money, it’s recommended that they follow this strategy. Not only you’ll build up your savings but also save time. Here’s how it works:
- You’re flat broke and have lots of “free time.” You invest it in learning a skill you’re interested in and the market wants
- You visit freelance sites and work with your first clients or for other agencies. You gather reviews, gain credibility, and improve your skills through practice
- You now know how to deliver the best work on the niche you picked. Now, you’re going to focus on finding more clients instead. You visit other sites, write proposals, and prepare for interviews
- By this point, you have enough high-paying work to keep you busy all the time. You have money, but many clients are depending on your work. So you can’t leave or you might lose them. What do you do?
- You go back to the freelance sites— now as a client— and you try to qualify people like you. Some people are really skilled at the same work, but because they don’t have much credibility, they will accept to work for a lower rate
- The difference between your rate and the rate you pay them is your passive profit margin. You hire these people to do freelance work for you instead. All you do is training them, checking quality, and recruiting more
- You keep expanding your team until you no longer have to work yourself. If you add all the commissions taken from your freelancers, you’re earning more than when you were working on it full time
- You now have a profitable agency and spend less than four hours a week managing it
Does it sound doable, exciting? It all starts with learning. Find out what people want and learn how to offer that service.
And if that’s still too time-consuming, you could sell your agency for a few million dollars and exit.
You choose how fast you want it to happen: how you learn, meet clients, complete projects, and recruit people.
Avoid These Business Models
When you’re broke, it’s valuable to make money as soon as possible. You do have free time but not enough to waste it on failing ideas.
When people think of making money online, they think of network marketing, building a website, or creating your online image. But do you know how many months that takes?
If you want money fast, you have to solve other people’s problems fast. If you start a traditional business, you’re going to spend a lot of time just trying to get attention or authority.
- It may not be fast enough to rank a generic website on Google. Maybe you should narrow down your niche and sell your content as an info-product. With a few features more (e.g., private communities), you could turn it into a $50 per month subscription. With 80 people, you’re making $4K/month in revenue, which is realistic if you reach out without advertising
- We don’t consider affiliate marketing, HYIPs, or MLMs, because they all require starting capital
- Affiliate offers require ingenuity before you can get any returns
- Affiliate marketing, social media, or SEO can make you money later, but probably not today
Do you know what all of these have in common? You expect to work once and earn money from them forever (AKA the passive income dream). But you can’t create income streams from thin air. It takes time, work, and money.
As a broke entrepreneur, prioritize active over passive when your problem is money. When your problem is time, then you switch those goals.
Do you think active income streams are for losers? They are actually the shortcut to fund your passive sources of income.
Are You Poor or Just Broke?
How would you differentiate broke people from the poor? Poor implies a situation you can’t change, typically due to the lack of earning ability.
But broke? Anybody can lose their money. That doesn’t mean you can’t get it back. In fact, it can be a temporary strategy to earn even more.
There are two differences: earning potential and beliefs.
You can be poor and broke at the same time. If being broke is having <$800 under your name, what does it mean to be poor?
Well, America considers “poor” anybody who earns US$12,760 per year or less. In an expensive world like this, that’s barely enough to get by.
But poverty doesn’t need to last forever. If your earning potential is high enough, you can make money really quickly. Here are the five biggest factors that influence your success:
5 “Reasons” people are poor
- Environment. Do you live in a country of opportunities (like America)? In 2020, if you have an Internet connection (you’re reading this article), that’s all you need.
Also, what does your own environment look like? Do you hang out with the right people? Do you have distractions?
- Talent. What are you good at that’s in high demand in the market?
- Work Ethic. Are you disciplined enough to make the most out of your time and energy?
- Luck. Do you show up at the right moment at the right time? The simplest way to do it is to always show up (the more you do, the luckier you get)
- Attitude. Do you believe in your ability to make it happen? How serious are you with your daily goals?
Now, you don’t control all of these factors. But changing them is easier than you ever thought possible:
- Move to another country and learn English. But if you have an Internet connection, where you live doesn’t matter as much
- You can access limitless free information to develop your skills
- You can learn to be more productive at work and manage your time
- You can try as many times as you want until you get lucky
- Due to all these opportunities, you should trust yourself and believe that you’ll figure things out
“If you are born poor, it is not your fault. But if you die poor, it is your fault.” – Bill Gates
None of these are permanent. You can change anytime. Then why do people stay poor? It’s all about beliefs and self-awareness.
Why the poor stay poor
The rich say being poor is a state of mind. What does that really mean?
- Event VS Process. You believe the change should happen overnight / You understand there’s a long list of steps, and success may take years
- Fixed VS Growth. You don’t believe you can change your situation, environment, or yourself/ You believe everything is possible, and you assume control of everything
- Consumer VS Producer. You try to make money by working on someone else’s goals / You create goals bigger than yourself, so others want to be part of your plan
- Money VS Value. You waste time looking for hacks to “make money online” / You research the market, offer value solving a problem, and receive money in exchange
- Selfish VS Selfless. You help yourself first because you believe in scarcity. You wonder why nobody helps you / You help others first because you believe in abundance. People instinctively give you back
- Luck VS Probability. You call yourself Unlucky and quit. Or you only act if the probability is 100% / You understand probability. And even if the odds are against you, if something is important enough, you’ll do it
- Saving VS Earning. You want to make your way to the millions by pinching pennies / You focus on increasing your income more than saving
- Defense VS Offense. You do the bare minimum to reach your (small) goals / You recruit all the help you can. You do everything you can think of to obliterate the obstacles
- Income VS Wealth. You think of linear ways to increase your money (income) / You design an exponential system (business) to multiply your money
What do you believe about money? How you see the world is the only difference between being broke and poor.
Why Are You Broke?
If you’re poor and don’t want to change, you have nothing to do. But know that you know the truth, it’s time to make some changes.
Don’t you hate it when people complain about nonsense? They say they can’t fix their problems, or they can’t do it without help. You look and think: “Doesn’t this person see you just need to do X? Why aren’t they doing it?”
Maybe you see yourself that way as well. “Why haven’t I thought of it earlier?”
You see, it’s not enough to know what to do. You have to know why you should do it. Otherwise, you’ll make the same mistakes.
We feel the moral obligation to do whatever is right. And once you become aware of your mistakes, you can stop making them.
#1 Penny wise, pound foolish
Imagine that your favorite fast-food restaurant offers free meals for one day. You don’t want to miss out, so you drive to the place immediately. And like you, there are hundreds of people waiting for their free meal.
After waiting for hours, you get your free order. But was it worth it?
Well, you spend around $5 for driving twice. And you wasted two hours waiting, while you could have been working instead.
Bad decision. Broke people make many of them.
Look, when I said you should get the most out of every dollar, I didn’t mean it literally. At least, you want to start cutting off wherever you can save the most money. If you want to save, save big. Don’t think small.
So, what do you think you should save first? Two things:
- Your big purchases
- Your time
Everybody will tell you: you can’t get rich trading hours for dollars. But when you’re trying to earn initial capital, every minute matters.
Also, people think of saving money the wrong way. It’s not just about spending less money. It’s about how much you have left after spending. If you have $10, spending doesn’t mean you can’t end with more than $10.
Because investing returns your money, it counts as saving. Compare giving $100 to two different people:
- The penny pincher will try to spend as little as possible, preferably saving $99
- The intelligent investor doesn’t mind “spending” $100. But if and asset gives him 150% ROI, he saves $150
#2 Your income goals are too small
Would you rather make $1000 today or $1000 this month? And if you could only work one day this month, would you choose to work the first day or wait until the end of the month?
$100 earned today is worth more than $100 earned tomorrow. It’s also fun to make money when you see yourself earning quickly.
Think of those days when you had to bring money, or bad things would happen. You probably left everything else and got to work. And in just a few days, you earn more than what you made for the whole month. Because the challenge was high enough, you gave your best.
What happens when your goals aren’t big enough? You get overconfident. You wait for tomorrow to start because you’ll probably do it in half of the time.
Of course, you miss the deadline.
It’s more motivating to start with something big, desirable. Let’s say your rent is $400. Your average income is $1000, but you could make $4000 if you really worked hard.
If you make the monthly payment your goal, you will do the bare minimum to pay the $400. Instead, you could say: “My goal is to earn enough to pay for my rent 12 times (one year). AND as soon as I achieve that, I can quit my job, or take a vacation for the rest of the year.”
See? You now have a reason to wake up in the morning. You end up achieving in 45 days what would have taken you a year. By the time you finish, you’re so excited about this time you saved that you will want new bigger goals.
That’s the right attitude for success.
#3 You worry too much about money and businesses
Every single broke person has thought this: “If only I had a bit more money, I would never be broke again.” Comment if this happened to you.
It’s very tempting to look at money and businesses as the solution. But as you’ll realize, it only leads to new problems:
- Businesses require a lot of capital and responsibility
- The more money you make, the more you worry about managing, saving, avoiding scams, and investing those funds
Imagine I gave you a passive income stream. You do nothing, and it earns $2,000 per month while you sleep. You may think you have peace of mind, but you now have another problem. That source isn’t going to last forever.
You now worry about:
- What to do when the business stops working
- How to make it last as long as possible
- What to do with the money you just made
Financial freedom isn’t enough. You need financial confidence.
Meaning? You have to invest in things you can’t lose and never depreciate:
- Buy some training to upgrade your skills and knowledge
- Create content to build a personal brand and generate social capital
- Diversify your investments. If one stream fails, you still get money from many others
- Save so much money that you can live off your money’s interest
#4 Making money isn’t your priority
You like the idea of making money, but not enough to let go of whatever you’re currently doing. Believe it or not, there are broke people who don’t care about their situation.
They prefer to distract themselves with bad habits. Or blame others.
They know what they want and why they should work harder. But their environment keeps them distracted.
- Rather than looking for results, they count the minutes left to go home
- Rather than investing time, they spend it on TV, video games, or social media
- Rather than earning as much as they can, they do the bare minimum (to stay broke)
You see, you can’t motivate yourself with money. It has to be attached to something meaningful.
“If I earned an extra $3K, that would be great, but it wouldn’t change anything.”
What do you want to do with that money? How do you want to invest in it? How much do you need to make a change? Make that your goal.
Let’s say you owe $10,000. That doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your goals until you pay that back. You can allocate 50-70% for debt and keep everything else for yourself. But if you want things to happen faster, allocate more.
#5 You don’t have the right people around you
What if everyone around you is broke? Maybe they think money isn’t important, it can’t buy happiness, or some other cliché.
You won’t believe it’s possible for you to change, so you’ll approach your goals casually.
- You do read entrepreneurial books, not to take action, but for entertainment
- You set yearly financial goals. But you don’t have any daily objectives to put you on the right track
- You’re more skeptical with every business opportunity you find
- You find it very uncomfortable/embarrassing to fail in front of those people
- You have no support. The moment you commit to money, friends stop me
None of these behaviors is bad. People simply do what’s best for their goals. If you want to change and they don’t, they’ll try to protect their identity before questioning anything.
The moment you find the right people, it demystifies what it takes to go from broke to millionaire.
- Chat/talk to people who have the same goal or have achieved it
- Buy a money course, not for the content, but for the community
- Go to websites like The Fastlane Forum and ask for accountability groups. Almost immediately, someone will be willing to participate and support you.
Here’s a hack: if you can’t leave your current relationships, try to help them with their own problems first. You will find they instinctually become more supportive and receptive.
#6 You’re okay wasting your time for a comfortable life
Ergo, you have unrealistic expectations.
You see all the different ways you can get out and make money. But you don’t like any of them.
- It’s too much work
- They aren’t guaranteed to succeed
- It takes too long
You may even rationalize: “I don’t see anything wrong with being comfortable as long as it pays the bills.”
Why is this so uncomfortable?
Because the fastest way to stop being broke is to delay gratification.
- Instead of snoozing the alarm this Sunday, you’re going to work
- Instead of enjoying your well-deserved money, you reinvest it back
- Instead of spending your free time mindlessly, you learn how to leverage your money
You’re trading two options:
a. Get a nice reward every time you work hard
b. Work harder for no reward, so you never have to work ever again
People choose the first one because the second takes too long. Do you know why? Because we don’t push ourselves enough.
After you leave college, nobody forces you to improve anymore. You have to do it, and if you don’t, you won’t get very far.
That’s the psychological part of making money. If you become mentally stronger (good habits, attitude, consistency), you automatically get rid of your money problems.
#7 You’re too worried about being broke
How can that be a problem? Yes, it is.
Some people can’t accept that they’re broke. Because they don’t see the problem, they can’t get to a solution.
Ironically, worrying about being broke keeps you broke. Maybe this happened to you:
- You justify your situation with excuses to reject the fact that you’re broke
- You don’t want to be broke, so you buy stuff to look rich or influence what others think of you
- When you stop feeling rich, you spend your money mindlessly
Those “status products” take different forms: a bigger house, better cars, Rolex watches, branded clothes, or jewelry.
For me, it was in the form of business books. I hated the fact that I was broke, but these books would make me feel rich. “I’m smart, I have a plan, and my future will be brilliant!”
And when you don’t feel it anymore, you keep buying more. It’s called action faking. It’s trying to look like you’re doing something instead of doing it. It’s a waste of time and costs you money.
How to Never Be Broke EVER Again
If a poor person wins the Powerball, would you consider them wealthy? According to statistics, most winners end up in even worse conditions. Because they haven’t created the right systems to keep growing.
See, you wouldn’t consider yourself rich if you earned 10 million and lost 11. You’d be broke and in debt.
You have to know how to keep it, or you’re going to lose it. You may have financial freedom today, but for how long?
When you have millions of dollars, it can be intimidating. Because you know how much more money to protect. But luckily, it’s easier to stay rich than to become rich. What decisions would you make if someone gave you a few million right now?
#1 Live below your means
It doesn’t mean being frugal. But don’t be extravagant unless you want to get into trouble and lose it all.
According to recent studies, people don’t need to spend more than $95,000 per year on their lifestyle to live happily. If you go beyond that, you won’t feel any difference.
When you’re broke, you certainly want to invest in your lifestyle. If you’re living off ramen noodles and living in a tiny studio, you want to invest in yourself. It will help you earn more.
After that point, you don’t need to upgrade much. Why waste more money on things you don’t need? Only you decide how much to spend on your lifestyle. But if you want to get rich quick, that means sacrificing your lifestyle in the short term.
It’s okay to be comfortable. But instead of taking one year, it may take you ten.
Define what your perfect life would look like and calculate the daily cost. If your daily profits are higher than those expenses, you’re living below your means AND happily.
#2 Your emergency fund
No system is perfect. Whether you’re a business owner, an employee, or an investor, you should expect your main income stream to stop working at some point, at least temporarily. But that’s not the problem. The question is: Are you ready for it?
These are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night. All it takes is a bit of bad luck to lose your job/investment/go out of business.
You should do your best to prepare and do everything perfectly. But don’t expect to make zero mistakes. Give yourself an error margin as well.
Let’s say your website shuts down for unexpected reasons. Or the economy is against you, so you need to close. How many days can you bear without making profits?
You want to have enough cash reserves to last until the problem fixes. For example:
- You quit your job or they fire you. You have enough cash to pay your living costs for months until you find a new position
- Your business enters a season where you’re going to earn negative ROI for a few months. But you have enough savings to keep paying your team
- Your broker/bank freezes/locks your account with your funds. But you have an external emergency fund to keep your head above water
#3 Take control of your assets
It would be terrible that some of those examples happened to you. And do you know why they do? Typically because you lack control.
Look, it’s not a challenge to make money when you’re broke. The hard part is to be 100% responsible for the money you make so that no-one can influence your income.
- As an employee, you lose the moment they fire you. It doesn’t matter how hard you work
- If you sell products on an e-com platform, that platform can close your account or change the terms
- Maybe you earn money via affiliate marketing or MLMs. But the company can change the terms, reduce the rewards, or end the program
- You can invest in other companies. But you’re not the CEO. You don’t influence the valuation
Then, what are the positions that give you control?
- As an employee, you could earn enough to become your employer’s competitor. You either create a rival company or try to become the boss
- As a business owner, you don’t rely on a platform to run your business. You get your own website, payment gateways, private manufacturers, and logistics. You also create your customer base instead of using someone else’s
- The affiliate program may close. But if you build a brand around yourself, people will buy almost anything from you. People look at you as an expert reviewer. So you don’t have to look for affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are looking for you
- You could become an active investor to monitor and influence the company’s decisions. Or you could start, grow, and invest in your own company
You don’t always have the option to take control. And in those cases, there’s a second-best choice:
#4 Diversify your assets
If something fails, you have a plan B. And with every emergency plan you add, you’re protecting your wealth.
Let’s assume you equally invest in two assets. If you lose one, you won’t lose all your money, but you still lose too much. That’s why we recommend having as many streams as possible:
2 = 50%
4 = 25%
5 = 20%
8 = 12.5%
14+ = <8%
The average two-digit millionaire has seven or more income streams (net worth divided into 14.5% each). That means:
- If one stream becomes less profitable, the millionaire still preserves over 90% of the fortune
- If you lose the income stream, you only lost 14.5% of your net worth
Theoretically, it’s possible to lose all of them. But it’s improbable that you lose more than three (~35% of your income). If you want your assets to last many years, make sure you invest heavily in them.
Yes, rich people have many income streams. But they built one at a time. They don’t start another one until they’ve optimized the previous one. Because it’s a lot easier to double your money with a working business than starting a new one.
#5 Solve the entrepreneur’s dilemma
Let’s address the main concern. Businesses don’t last forever. You can’t retire with a passive income stream that earns you $4,000 per month on autopilot. After five years, it may only yield $1,500.
Luckily, you have plenty of time to fix things before that happens. But what do you do exactly?
You don’t even know how you made it work the first time. If you change a working system, it will probably stop working. But if you don’t change it, your product will become obsolete. Or some competitor will catch up.
Comment if you’ve seen this graph before. The average business owner expects to work for a few years in a company and then profit for a decade, maybe two. After that, it inevitably dies.
But what made it successful in the first place? Market research. Understanding the offer and demand.
Understand that nothing stops you from recycling the process again. Your business can theoretically last forever as long as you keep reinventing. You don’t need new ideas to make it work. Just follow the process again.
Here’s the tricky part:
- If you reinvent too early, you don’t earn enough, and you die by expansion (rare)
- If you reinvent too late or don’t do it, you become less relevant and die by contraction (common)
When should you reinvent your business?
Well, once the company has grown, it basically sustains on its own. This is where you reap the rewards after years of work. Here, you have a 1-2 year window of abundance, which you can use to start another curve.
You want to optimize as much as possible until you grow enough (order). As soon as you grow, you want to use the profits to reinvent, innovate, mess things up (chaos). You can now overcome the initial income gap and restart the growth curve.
It’s a constant alternation between order and chaos. And those who fail to adapt will become extinct.
#6 Invest in yourself
Many people complain that they don’t have enough opportunities in the present to take action. But when you ask them “What would you do to travel back 10, 20, 30 years?” they all wish they used their time better.
Imagine you could go back to your teens while preserving all your knowledge, skills, influence, and memories. What would you do with all that time? You probably wouldn’t say: “Nah, I’ll wait until I’m 18.” Or “I’m too young. Nobody will take me seriously.”
Because what you know matters. It doesn’t matter if it’s the economy, if you’re broke, or if you live with your parents. What you know always has value, and nobody can take it away from you. It’s also the shortcut to wealth.
If you lost all your money, that would be frustrating. But you will get back to richness just as fast because you know what to do. Your brain believes you can do it because you’ve been there before.
Here are some timeless assets you can build that will pay off forever:
- Your knowledge. Even if you’re not successful yet, someone is willing to pay for what you know. Your experience can help them avoid, for example, costly mistakes
- Your skills. Your abilities never devalue. And if you forget them, it takes less effort to remember than to build from zero. Those skills could be intrinsic (work ethic) or professional (sound-editing, story-telling, cold-calling)
- Your credit score. Lenders want to lend money when they know you’ll pay them back, interest included. If you have a great history, banks will always treat you well. You can be broke and still access thousands in cash
- Your social capital. Who knows who you are? What are you known for? If skills are important, marketing is the other side of the coin. Even if you don’t have much to offer, people will pay you to access your list of contacts. Maybe you have a lead-generation software, a long email list, or a popular social account.
Should You Stay Broke?
Can you believe it? Most famous entrepreneurs are broke all the time, even though they’re known for making millions. But they’re broke by choice, not by accident.
Should you choose to stay broke?
That doesn’t mean you can’t afford to pay your bills. It means you live a standard lifestyle and have no money saved other than your emergency fund. If someone wanted to steal from your bank account, they would only find a few hundred dollars, if not a zero balance.
Question: What’s the point of keeping all this money when you’re not going to use it? It’s a mistake.
Not using money costs you money!
Let’s say your business earns you your first million dollars in profit. You feel excited but choose to keep the amount in your bank account. Here’s what will happen next:
- If you don’t move that amount, you will lose money on inflation
- More money puts you in a higher tax bracket, so you need to contribute more
- You’ll worry about losing that money with online scammers
- If it stays there for too long, you feel like you’re not getting its value. So you give yourself excuses on why you should increase your spending
- Because you want to protect your fortune, you’re not thinking about how to earn more money. You’re instead trying to save money from a scarcity approach
- Having a million dollars puts you in a mental safe zone. You no longer need to push yourself to do uncomfortable tasks, so you become a weak person, trapped in your shrinking comfort zone
The best entrepreneurs are always taking risks. It’s not necessarily because they’re motivated to innovate, but because it’s the only way to avoid this reaction.
Give a broke person a million dollars, and they will think they’re rich. But the moment they enter “Conservation Mode,” they’re programming themselves to become broke again (by accident).
So what do the rich do?
- They reinvest everything back into their businesses
- They make long-term investments, such as real estate
- They invest in themselves, either buying event tickets, courses, or joining mastermind groups
If you already made money, would you trust in your ability to do it again? The first time you earn from the Internet, you may still not know yourself how you did it. But the confidence is there.
Entrepreneurs reinvest everything, sometimes even their living expenses. Being at absolute zero forces you to make more money, which is good. And if you can’t pay your bills for some reason, there’s always the emergency fund.
Please, don’t use this to justify that being broke is good. Broke by choice is. Broke by default is an excuse.
Your First Steps to Living an Abundant Life
If you learned something from this guide, you may apply these strategies and make some money. Let’s say you can finally earn enough to stop worrying about your bills. What do you do next?
What brought you here won’t be enough to reach the next level. As soon as you achieve some financial success, start working on your future, so one day, you never have to force yourself to work again.
Here are five ways to do it, step by step:
#1 High-potential business models
If you aren’t broke anymore, you already have some money to invest. But the return you get won’t generate enough passive income. It’s better to invest in business models with unlimited upside and limited downside, even if the chances of winning are low.
Many people play the lottery because they love the idea of winning the big prize. The chance is 1 in 13,983,816.
Winning in business also has something to do with luck (timing and understanding the market). Except that the chance is maybe 1 in 8 or higher. And the more you try, the luckier you get.
It may, for example, cost $3,500 to fully finance a business. You have to be very unlucky to fail seven businesses in a row, but after you do one right, you almost always succeed in future businesses. Because you already know how to do it (it’s a skill).
Let’s say you buy “one business ticket” for $3,500 every six months (depending on how fast you recover that amount). The big price is just like the lottery, millions of dollars, except that the chance of winning is higher. After five years, your chance would be over 80%, assuming you tried relentlessly.
And it can be any model you choose. They all work:
- Tech/SaaS companies: people buy your programs because of their features
- Content/Subscription-based services: people pay you to access your content
- Ecommerce: you sell physical/digital products around the world
- Brokerage businesses: you invent a payment feature where users pay you a fee whenever they use it (e.g., PayPal)
Once you can scale any of these to six figures per month at least, it makes sense to consider low-risk investments.
#2 Commit to your passion
The most rewarding projects often take years before they become successful. You’re going to spend some time and money on it.
Actually, you won’t even do that if it isn’t something you like to do. Whatever business you choose should be fun enough by itself, not because of the reward. Or you won’t make it until that point.
When following your passion, there are four points involved:
- What does the world want?
There has to be market demand, or it won’t work. It neither works if there are too many sellers satisfying that demand (competition).
To give you an idea, the three big sectors are health, money, and relationships. People will pay you to solve problems around these areas as long as they are (1) relevant, (2) common, and (3) hard to solve.
- What do you want?
Ask yourself what you enjoy doing and compare it with the previous point. Do your passions match with something people would pay for? It’s not enough to “make life easier” or others or more comfortable. The problem must be painful enough for people to be worth their money.
Maybe you don’t know what you want. In that case, feel free to browse topics and skills. Try whatever catches your eye first. You can also find out your interests by looking at where you spend your money (which is a form of attention).
Whatever it is, there’s probably someone making money with your passion already. That means it’s possible.
- What do you know?
You found something you like that the world wants. But are you good at it? If you aren’t, you might want to niche down or take a variation.
When you get specific, there’s less competition, so it’s easier to be the best in your space.
- What does the world need?
This is what makes entrepreneurs different from athletes, singers, actors, entertainers, and influencers. Here are examples:
They solved problems people didn’t know they had.
You don’t need to think that big. But if there’s a sector you like, you eventually find a way to reinvent it. And that’s how you beat the competition.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford
#3 Passive Income
While it’s exciting to start a business, it would be better to have extra income streams as well. So if a business fails or requires more money, you have other sources to fund it (which is the case of tech companies).
As soon as you earn over $50,000, it’s worth looking into real estate. You get predictable income, resell potential, build up equity, and a favorable tax situation. It’s not the fastest vehicle, but it almost guarantees positive ROI if you’re willing to wait a few years.
If you never tried it before, it can look complex at first. We recommend you check some of our guides, such as how to start an Airbnb business.
No matter what passive income idea you have, you will need some sort of online presence. Ranking a website takes time and consistent work, so make sure to start as early as possible.
#4 Live off your interest
How much do you need to earn to reach the “safe zone?” We use that term to refer to the state where you no longer need to do any work to fund your lifestyle. There are two ways to go about it:
- Save up until a lump sum like $100M (slow and inefficient) OR
- Save up enough so that your monthly interest pays for your expenses
Suppose you have saved $10 million in a savings account that yields 4% per year (~0.33% per month). That’s $33K per month, or $400K per year, which is more than enough to fund your lifestyle. Include emergency expenses and vacations.
If you have compound interest, you will make more and more money as long as you reinvest.
Imagine you had eight years old and you inherited a fund like this. You can know NOTHING about finance. As long as your expenses don’t go beyond your earnings, you will keep earning forever.
#5 Plan for your retirement
It’s not easy to get out of a broke situation. And the last thing you want is to lose that hard-earned money.
Investing in retirement is a safe way to protect that money. You won’t be able to use it today, but you will get an advantageous tax position.
- Invest in a Roth IRA with after-tax dollars, and the IRS won’t tax your amount despite compound interest
- Invest in a 401K with pre-tax dollars to grow your fund faster. Most employers will match the amount you invest, dollar per dollar up to a certain annual limit
- Invest in your pension so that your employer offers you a monthly income for a lifetime
If you don’t want to wait until you’re 59 and a half, you can create your own early retirement plan. Find an appropriate investment vehicle to deliver predictable returns every month. Once you can live off that interest, you don’t have to work another day in your life. And it can happen as soon as in your twenties, even if you’re currently broke.