My First Million

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Millionaire Dreams

“By the time I am 30, I will make my first Milly, watch me!”

How many of your friends shared bold statements like these as teenagers or early twenties?

Pipe dreams of escaping a life they knew in the hope that money can unlock the life of their dreams.

What if I told you that your aspirational lifestyle probably costs you far less than half that number and you don’t necessarily need to start a business to achieve it either?

Bear with me and I’ll. explain how.

In 2020, Grant and Glueck carried out a survey asking Millennials, “what are your most important life goals ?”

Over 80% said to get rich, and 50% of these said it was to become famous. These answers felt so predictable right?

How did our views of life become so skewed? Through a combination of modern-day social media and reality TV. This has had a twofold effect,

  1. There is an even more intense focus on A, B, C, D etc list celebrities (including influencers) which means even more of their lives are ever exposed.
  2. On the flip side, young people are aspiring to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or the founders of Snapchat (as if such success is acquired overnight).

The problem today is that people think that The Facebook story is a common case when in reality it is rare, like one in a million. The truth is….for every Facebook there are millions of companies that fail and you never hear about them. It would be more realistic to study the stories of the less famous entrepreneurs around you.

From your local restaurant owner to the internet entrepreneur making money selling e-books and courses.

The Entrepreneurial Journey

Let us dissect exactly what the entrepreneurial journey is like as every story of success has a beginning, middle and not just an end. There are over 1 billion monthly active users on Whatsapp (that means 1 in 7 people in the world use it). In 2014 Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook for over $16bn, since its inception, the service has seen over 100 billion messages sent through it daily and 6.9 billion photos shared.

The co-founder of Whatsapp Jan Koum immigrated with his mother from Ukraine to California when he was 16. Co-founder Brian Acton worked at Apple for over 2 years and at Yahoo! for nearly 11 years. During his 13 years of working for an employer, he was rejected by both Twitter and Facebook before he launched Whatsapp with co-founder Jan.

I love learning what people go through before succeeding, I’ve realised that it’s commonplace that entrepreneurs often worked years before stumbling onto their winning ideas. Often stumbling through failures and working in corporate for several years, honing in on their craft.

Let’s look at the founder of KFC, Colonel Sanders. He was brought up by his mother as his father died when he was aged 5 and at 16 he quit school. He got married at 18 and had his first child, working for over 40 years as a cook in a small cafe. He borrowed $87 USD and started selling his fried chicken from door to door. He was fired from 12 jobs before he created the fast-food chain at age 60 and retired at age 73 after selling the KFC empire for $2M.

Common threads in these stories? it is the journey, it requires patience and discipline even if it means working as an understudy for years whilst in employment. These are the hidden values so overlooked by so many who daydream about entrepreneurship and making millions.

Do I really need a ‘Milly’ to make it?

Scenario: “I am 25 and I want to be a millionaire by 30″

HONEST QUESTION : Is this an arbitrary goal or is it grounded in some level of planning?

What I find is that most people ‘say’ they want to amass £1 million, but when they actually do a financial plan based on the lifestyle they really want it looks more like the following:

I want to:

  • Go to a luxury gym every day at my convenience (£150 per month/ £1,800 per year)
  • Buy a Tesla Model 3 (£43,000 brand new)
  • Go on three luxurious holidays a year with my partner (Bali, Maldives and Hawaii – £6,000 each/ £18,000)
  • Live in a penthouse apartment (£5,000 per month/ £60,000 per year)
  • Buy the designer clothes I love whenever I want (£3,000 per month/ £36,000 per year)
  • Living expenses for bills and groceries (£20,000 per year)
  • Quit work (costs you nothing)

The lifestyle above does not require you to be a millionaire, but rather you would need to earn up to £200,000 a year (after tax). Regardless of whether you pursue entrepreneurship or work in a job, with hard work, great performance and patience, this is a more attainable goal for most.

Using the 5 Whys Technique, why do you want to be a millionaire?

Why? Because I hate work

Why? Because I am bored and dissatisfied

Why? Because I am not in control of my time

Why? Because I can’t afford the lifestyle I want

Why? To live my dream life, I need the financial freedom to cover the costs of my lifestyle

The examples of Colonel Sanders and Brian Acton share a golden thread across both stories. Despite facing adversity and working for others initially, they were both committed to a long-term game. In achieving the financial freedom you seek, do you have the work rate to stay committed to the path you pursue? When I used to play football, work rate was used to describe the amount of distance covered on the pitch by a single player.

Do you feel you have what it takes to cover the distance needed to achieve the life you want?

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