Become a Millionaire: Jobs and Strategies for Getting Rich

How to Become a MillionaireDo you have what it takes to be a millionaire? Jobs abound that can help you become financially independent, or even wealthy. But having a high-paying career is only part of the equation. You'll probably need to direct a lot of your income into smart saving and investing. You'll also need to practice other strategies used by rich people for growing and maintaining wealth. Saying "I want to become a millionaire" with positive intention is a good first step. But is your goal truly realistic and possible to achieve? Definitely.

America has millions upon millions of millionaires. In fact, in 2017, almost 15.4 million Americans had millionaire status. That's about one millionaire for every 20 people in the U.S.1 So jobs that make a lot of money for the people who have them certainly do exist. And you can learn proven wealth-generating habits that will maximize and multiply the rewards of what you earn from your career.

When you get right down to it, the formula for becoming financially independent is pretty simple—as long as you're patient. It doesn't require magic, divine luck, or secret wisdom. It is simply this: Earn a good income, spend less than you make, and put the rest of your money into smart long-term investments.

Of course, becoming fabulously rich (i.e., having more money than you know what to do with) is often a different story. For that, you will need some luck. And unless you win the lottery or receive a sudden inheritance, you'll also need real drive, talent, and an ability to take risks and get back up when you fail. Many online articles tout so-called millionaire jobs like actor, athlete, author, blogger, musician, professional gambler, or social media star. The problem is that getting wealthy from those pursuits is extremely rare. Only a tiny percentage of people in those areas ever strike it rich. Sure, you could become one of them. But for this article, we're sticking with jobs and strategies that are more realistic.

The jobs that make you rich are the ones that you're genuinely enthusiastic about, offer good odds for success, and provide a lot more income than you need to live on. They offer a foundation for building wealth that is grounded in practicality and the expectation that you will follow through on the other strategies required to generate your millions. As you'll see, the top-paying career sectors generally require skills and credentials that are acquired through a college education and/or specialized vocational training. However, you'll also learn why being an entrepreneur offers the greatest potential of all.

Note: All salary information is based on national averages from May 2017, rounded to the nearest thousand.2

Top-Paying Health Care Careers

How to Become a MillionaireWhen it comes to occupations that can make you rich, careers in the medical field are hard to beat. After all, the top-paying medical careers in the U.S. come with six-figure salaries that make it possible to save and invest a large percentage of your income. And that means you can amass a million dollars much more quickly than if you had a lower-paying career. So, what job makes the most money for professionals in the health care sector? Check out the top of this list:

1. Anesthesiologist—$266K

Administer the gases or medications that make surgical patients insensitive to pain during operations.

2. Gynecologist or obstetrician—$235K

Specialize in diagnosing and treating medical conditions that affect women's reproductive systems. Or provide care to women who are pregnant or going through childbirth.

3. Orthodontist—$229K

Provide treatment for the imperfect or dysfunctional positioning of patients' teeth or jaws.

4. Psychiatrist—$216K

Specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.

5. Family practitioner—$209K

Be a primary physician of contact for most non-emergency medical problems, referring patients to various kinds of specialists when necessary.

6. Specialized surgeon—$208K

Perform surgeries within a particular medical specialty and enjoy one of the top-paying salaries in any industry. Neuro, cardio, orthopedic, and plastic surgery are just a few examples.

7. Specialized physician—$206K

Diagnose and treat medical patients who have conditions that require very specialized expertise. A few examples of medical specialists include allergists, neurologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, radiologists, and urologists.

8. General internist—$198K

Provide non-invasive medical care as a physician who focuses on treating a wide variety of conditions that are related to patients' internal organs.

9. Dentist—$174K

Provide diagnoses and treatments for problems that affect people's teeth, gums, and general oral health.

10. Nurse anesthetist—$169K

Help provide anesthesia to patients who are undergoing invasive medical or dental surgeries, and monitor their vital signs and recovery. This is one of the jobs that make the most money for registered nurses who get an advanced education at the graduate-degree level.

Top-Paying Jobs in Business and Finance

How to Become a MillionaireIt should come as no surprise that the world of business and finance is home to a lot of very rich people. Jobs in this sector offer enormous earning potential, especially since many professionals receive large bonuses in addition to great salaries. Some chief executive officers (CEOs) of large corporations get paid millions of dollars a year, although very few people get the chance to work in that type of position. It should also be noted that, contrary to what a lot of people believe, relatively few investment bankers earn salaries of a million dollars or more. Those who do tend to be involved in large initial public offerings (IPOs) and major corporate mergers and acquisitions. On average, investment bankers make $102,260 a year.2

In addition to the top-paying business jobs below, it's also worth looking into careers like accounting, business consulting, and auctioneering. With a degree in business management or business administration, you can open doors to a wide variety of high-paying careers and be well on your way to achieving your first million.

1. Marketing manager—$146K

Preside over the planning and coordination of marketing strategies, which may involve monitoring trends, identifying potential customers, developing products or services, setting appropriate prices, and devising promotions.

2. Financial manager—$144K

Oversee an organization's financial assets and activities, such as investments, financial planning, accounting practices, and insurance policies.

3. Sales manager—$138K

Direct and oversee a team of sales representatives by setting goals, dividing up sales areas, tracking achievements, and analyzing the potential for future sales based on customer preferences.

4. Compensation and benefits manager—$130K

Develop and coordinate an organization's approach to paying employees and providing various kinds of employee benefits like health care, vacation time, paid leave, and other perks.

5. Public relations or fundraising manager—$128K

Create and direct strategies geared toward achieving and maintaining positive public awareness of an organization or soliciting money for a non-profit entity or other type of special venture.

6. Human resources manager$124K

Oversee the recruitment and retention of an organization's staff while enjoying one of the top-paying business careers.

7. Advertising or promotions manager—$124K

Devise and coordinate effective strategies and tactics for the promotion of an organization's goods or services.

8. Purchasing manager—$122K

Plan and oversee the work of people who buy or procure services, wholesale products, or necessary materials for manufacturing, retail, or other types of enterprises.

9. Actuary—$115K

Help organizations use data to predict future possible outcomes, especially for insurance or other financial purposes, by forecasting risk and potential liabilities.

10. Economist—$113K

Carry out research and write insightful reports to help find potential solutions to monetary issues or problems with the way goods and services are distributed.

Top-Paying Engineering Jobs

How to Become a MillionaireEngineering consistently ranks as one of the top-paying majors in the U.S., for good reason. Engineers are problem solvers. They create solutions that make our modern society possible and help it keep moving forward. Some engineers even get rich. Jobs in this field can lead to opportunities to design and share in the monetary rewards of breakthrough innovations that make life better, safer, or more enjoyable. That's why engineering technology is often the vocational area of choice for people who want to make a lot of money and have a tangible impact on the world.

1. Petroleum engineer—$155K

Work out better ways to extract oil and gas, or provide supervision and guidance during drilling operations.

2. Architectural or engineering manager—$146K

Coordinate and oversee the work of engineers, architects, drafters, technicians, or research and development (R&D) professionals.

3. Computer hardware engineer—$120K

Devise new or improved computerized electronics, or oversee their production and installation.

4. Aerospace engineer—$115K

Help design, produce, and test aerial or space vehicles such as airplanes, helicopters, drones, rockets, or satellites.

5. Chemical engineer—$112K

Develop effective processes and equipment for making certain types of chemicals or chemical-related products for consumer or industrial markets on a large scale.

6. Nuclear engineer—$109K

Find better solutions to problems that involve the use, release, or production of nuclear energy, including issues related to controlling radioactive emissions or disposing of radioactive waste.

7. Electronics engineer (non-computer)—$107K

Help create and test non-computerized electronic parts and systems that solve problems for modern industries or improve upon existing electronics technologies.

8. Geological engineer—$104K

Contribute to the development of safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable mining or sub-surface construction operations.

9. Electrical engineer—$100K

Play a major role in the design, testing, or production of systems or components that generate or run on electricity.

10. Marine engineer—$97K

Help design and test seaworthy boats, ships, and related mechanical and technological systems.

Top-Paying Science and IT Jobs

How to Become a MillionaireWhen it comes to the top money-making majors, information technology (IT) often makes the list. After all, the high-tech sector has made a lot of people wealthy. Jobs with tech-based start-ups sometimes come with shares or stock options that can turn into millions of dollars if a company becomes publicly traded or gets sold to a larger corporation. But you can also gain a million dollars or more by getting a tech job with a six-figure salary and investing a good portion of your income. In addition to learning what IT jobs pay the most by checking out the following list, it's also worth exploring opportunities related to web development and computer programming.

Some science occupations also rank among the top-paying jobs in the U.S. So if you're smart with your money and make wise career decisions, you can absolutely achieve millionaire status as a scientist.

1. IT manager$150K

Oversee an organization's information technology needs and coordinate the work of professionals who write code or deal with maintaining or upgrading computer systems and electronic data networks.

2. Natural sciences manager—$134K

Preside over research or development undertakings in a scientific field like biology, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, or agricultural science.

3. Physicist—$123K

Help advance our understanding of the physical nature of the universe by making observations, developing theories, or conducting experiments.

4. Computer or information research scientist—$120K

Find new ways to solve problems related to software, hardware, and other aspects of computer science.

5. Systems software developer—$112K

Create and test software solutions at the operating-system level by taking on one of the top jobs in IT.

6. Astronomer—$110K

Spend your time making observations of stars, planets, or other celestial objects, researching their significance, and interpreting what you find.

7. Computer network architect—$108K

Devise secure and efficient data networks and put them into action.

8. Applications software developer$107K

Contribute to the design, testing, and improvement of specialized computer programs or mobile apps.

9. Materials scientist—$102K

Find ways to combine or strengthen existing materials (like glass, rubber, plastics, and metals) or create new forms of matter for particular purposes.

10. Information security analyst—$100K

Oversee the computer and network security of an organization so that it is less vulnerable to data breaches and cyber-attacks.

Top-Paying Skilled Trades

How to Become a MillionaireAt first glance, the skilled trades don't offer the same eye-popping income potential as the career sectors already listed. However, a lot of blue-collar tradespeople do become wealthy. It's just that you hardly ever hear about them. Those who make a million dollars or more in a skilled trade often start their careers with a typical salary. But over time, they gain enough expertise to start and operate their own contracting businesses, reaping bigger profits from their labor. They also may live below their means so that they can save and invest as much of their income as possible. So although they may not look like millionaires, some tradespeople do eventually achieve that level of net worth.

Almost any of the skilled trades are worth getting trained in. But if you want one of the top-paying trade jobs, then it's a good idea to get a background in fundamental areas like electrical work, carpentry, or welding.

1. Construction manager$101K

Preside over all the activities involved in constructing or maintaining buildings, bridges, or other big structures.

2. Powerhouse electrician—$78K

Troubleshoot and repair industrial equipment that's used for generating and transmitting electricity.

3. Elevator installer or mechanic—$77K

Fix, install, or inspect elevators or similar systems (such as dumbwaiters or escalators) for moving people or freight indoors.

4. Construction or extraction supervisor—$69K

Provide direct supervision of other workers and tradespeople involved in building structures or extracting natural resources.

5. Electrical powerline installer or repairer—$69K

Fix or erect the wires or transmission towers that distribute electricity from power-generating stations to homes, businesses, factories, and other structures.

6. Supervisor of mechanics, installers, or repairers—$68K

Monitor and directly oversee the work of skilled tradespeople who fix, troubleshoot, or install things.

7. Boilermaker—$63K

Service or put together large steam boilers and related systems using a variety of skills, including those related to welding and plumbing.

8. Industrial machines supervisor—$63K

Provide direct supervision of factory workers who use industrial machines to help manufacture large or sophisticated products.

9. Construction or building inspector—$62K

Scrutinize and assess the safety, durability, and craftsmanship of built structures, ensuring that they comply with local building codes and other required specs.

10. Mobile communications equipment technician—$57K

Fix, install, or fine-tune the electronic equipment used on trains or marine vessels for navigation, communication, or security purposes.

Top-Paying Jobs in Other Career Sectors

How to Become a MillionaireIn addition to the occupational areas above, you can also find big-paying jobs in a wide range of other sectors. For example, you may already know that real estate agents can become wealthy if they work their way up to the level at which they're able to attract rich clients who have multi-million-dollar properties. Similarly, interior designers can work with wealthy clientele and reap great financial rewards. And some professional speakers become so popular that they can travel around the world, command huge speaking fees, and reach million-dollar status relatively quickly. However, when it comes to average salaries, the following occupations are some of the highest-paying jobs you can get outside of the sectors already listed.

1. Airline pilot—$161K

Fly passenger jets to and from multiple destinations (regionally, nationally, or internationally) after getting a lot of flight training and experience in other types of aircraft.

2. Lawyer—$142K

Help people who need legal advice or are involved in disputes or criminal proceedings by representing them during litigation or legal transactions.

3. Law professor—$129K

Educate college or university students about the legal and criminal justice field.

4. Judge—$121K

Oversee civil or criminal proceedings in a courtroom, ensuring that each side is treated fairly, disputes are settled, or appropriate justice is administered according to the law.

5. Air traffic controller—$120K

Manage and monitor the flight paths, speeds, and altitudes of multiple flying aircraft so that they arrive safely at their destinations.

6. Political scientist$112K

Get professionally involved in the political system by researching government and lobbying operations, analyzing public opinion and election results, and providing educated insights to interested stakeholders.

7. College or university administrator—$108K

Contribute to the effective management of a post-secondary school.

8. Mathematician—$105K

Help find solutions to various problems by conducting math-related research or using existing mathematical models and approaches.

9. Art director—$104K

Oversee the conceptual and production phases of visual communications projects that involve graphic design, photography, illustration, or other kinds of commercial art for various types of media.

10. School principal—$97K

Manage the teachers, administrators, and activities at an elementary, middle, or high school.

How to Achieve Millionaire Status Without Owning a Business

It is definitely possible to become a millionaire while holding down a regular job, but it probably won't happen overnight. You'll need patience, discipline, and the smarts to cut through hype and avoid fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes. With a slow-and-steady approach to building your wealth, you can eventually achieve a million-dollar net worth and the financial independence you want. (Your net worth is the current value of all your assets, minus liabilities like your debt.)

The following tips are based on some of the time-tested principles about how the rich make money. It's the kind of advice you can find in books like The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold, The Instant Millionaire by Mark Fisher, and Change Your Habits, Change Your Life by Tom Corley. In essence, you make a million dollars by adopting the right mindset, practicing rich-person habits, generating the highest income you can, living below your means, and regularly investing a significant percentage of your earnings.

1. Start Now

The first thing you need to understand about building wealth is that time is your most powerful friend. The sooner you begin pursuing your financial dreams, the more advantages you'll have. It's never too late to start, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be to accumulate the amount of wealth you want.

Make a resolution today that you won't do any more procrastinating. You won't wait for a miracle to happen like winning the lottery, getting discovered by Hollywood, or receiving a huge inheritance from a long-lost uncle. Your ship isn't going to come in unless you build it yourself. Skip the magical thinking and start taking real action toward achieving your millionaire status.

2. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

Do you often worry that you'll run out of money? Do you ever think that you're powerless to create wealth? It's easy to feel that way—to imagine that the deck is stacked against you. Many of us have received negative messages about money (and our power to get it) while growing up and entering adulthood. We may consciously or unconsciously tell ourselves that making millions of dollars is out of our control. After all, we may not have had anyone in our lives to tell us any differently or to show us that it's actually possible. Some of us even feel like we were born into quicksand while other people have had the privilege of being born on solid ground.

But even though life can be a struggle—more for some people than others—it's essential to recognize that most of us have the power to change our circumstances. With time and practice, you can shift your thinking toward a mindset of abundance and opportunity. It requires tuning out the negative people who believe that life is always difficult and tuning into your own amazing potential.

Take time every day to observe your thoughts so that you can recognize any troubling patterns. Be aware of your negative thinking so that you can consciously choose more positive messages. Write down your dreams and tell yourself that you can achieve them—and that you deserve to. Be your own best friend by creating an inner world filled with warmth, freedom, and possibility. You don't have to be perfectly positive. But the more you practice this type of awareness, the better you'll be able to recognize good opportunities and confidently pursue them.

3. Invest in Yourself

How big is your curiosity? What was the last new thing you learned? Getting rich requires a love of learning. After all, the world is always changing. The less you know, the fewer opportunities you'll see or have the ability to take advantage of. That's why knowledge really is power. But if you're going to get a job with one of the top salaries, you'll also need marketable skills and credentials.

A college, university, or trade school education can provide the initial momentum you need to start achieving your financial dreams. By studying or training now, you'll empower yourself to prosper later. Your odds of becoming a millionaire will improve substantially. In fact, most of the world's richest people have a post-secondary education.

Also, keep this in mind: Reading is a major habit of many self-made millionaires. They often read a lot of non-fiction in order to expand their knowledge and maintain their understanding of the world and the industries they operate in. They are less interested in seeking entertainment than in learning something new. Many of them also give themselves at least 30 minutes each morning to think, brainstorm, write in a journal, or read important books or articles.

4. Build a Network of Success-Minded People

You're more likely to succeed if you socialize and interact with other people who are motivated to succeed or have already achieved a high level of success. Seek to make a lot of connections with people who exude confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism. Offer to help them succeed by using whatever skills you already have. Stay genuine in your approach and look for people who may be good mentors you can learn from.

In addition, look for people with different cultural backgrounds and skill sets. The more diverse your network, the more likely it is that you'll gain powerful insights or rare opportunities that help you accumulate wealth. And always remember to conduct yourself professionally and to show your gratitude whenever you receive help.

5. Get a High-Paying Job

People don't always seek jobs to make a lot of money. Many people simply want to enjoy their work or make a meaningful difference, and the careers they choose just happen to offer great salary potential. However, in order to become a millionaire, it's wise to keep high pay as one of your top criteria when choosing an occupation to pursue. The satisfaction that you can derive from your work is also very important, but your salary will be a large factor in whether you ever achieve millionaire status.

Get the highest-paying job you can, without sacrificing your day-to-day health or happiness. It doesn't need to be anything too flashy. But it should offer a steady paycheck and opportunities for advancement and pay raises. Keep in mind that you don't have to start your career at the top of the pay scale. Be realistic, pay your dues, provide great value to your employers, and seek opportunities for salary increases whenever you can.

The occupations listed earlier in this article should give you plenty of options to explore, especially since they all pay at least $60,000 or more per year, on average. But the world is full of all kinds of other possibilities as well. Stay open.

6. Live Below Your Means

Our modern culture offers an amazing variety of tempting ways to spend money. Most of us can't go a single day without seeing a lot of advertisements, promotions, or marketing messages. And when we witness our friends, neighbors, coworkers, or family members enjoying cool products or experiences, we often want the same things. But living a high-consumption lifestyle can make it difficult or impossible to become a millionaire—even if you earn a lot of money. After all, it's always possible to spend more money, including money you don't yet have. But if you want to reach millionaire status, you'll need to spend less than you earn.

So instead of buying the most expensive car or house you can possibly afford, set your sights a little lower. Go shopping for new clothes less often. Avoid buying all the latest toys and gadgets or stuff you don't actually need. Embrace the sense of inner peace and security that can come from living a more frugal lifestyle. Ask yourself what is more important: flaunting your social status now or achieving true financial independence and wealth a little later?

Remember: Having a lot of material possessions isn't necessarily a sign of wealth. It can just as easily be a sign of overwhelming debt or financial insecurity. If you live from paycheck to paycheck, then you are living beyond your means. Every extra dollar you spend today translates to many more dollars you could have had in the future (from investing it).

7. Pay Off Your Debts

Make this one of your top priorities. Having debt is like having a reverse investment. Instead of using the power of interest to build wealth, you're doing the opposite. The sooner you get rid of your debt, the better. In fact, you probably shouldn't begin investing any money until you, at minimum, pay off debt that has an interest rate of about seven percent or higher. Then, as part of your more frugal lifestyle, avoid taking on any unnecessary new debt. If you can't pay cash for something that will keep diminishing in value after you buy it, then you can't afford it.

8. Save and Invest

Here's where you can truly start building your wealth. Thanks to the power of compounding interest, any money that you regularly invest can grow exponentially. The more time you give it to grow, the more money you can end up with. Over 20, 30, or 40 years, your money can multiply several times over—all without much effort on your part. That's how a lot of millionaires have achieved their financial independence. They've saved as much of their income as they could and made frequent, non-flashy investments in the stock market.

Aim to invest at least 20 to 25 percent of your income every year. At the very least, you should invest 10 to 15 percent of your income. Choose smart, non-hyped investments that are likely to earn you an average return of at least eight percent a year. That usually means going fairly heavy on publicly traded stocks.

Learn everything you can about investing so that you have the ability to make your own investment decisions and avoid high fees. Every percentage (or fraction of a percentage) of your investment earnings that you pay to an investment brokerage, investment manager, or financial advisor can greatly eat away at your overall wealth potential. Even so-called "low fees" will seriously diminish the amount you eventually wind up with.

When looking for job opportunities, try to find employers that offer matching 401(k) benefits. Having an employer match whatever you contribute to a retirement savings plan is basically like getting free money.

9. Account for Inflation

Prices for goods and services, in general, typically rise by at least a small amount each year. That's what inflation means. Inflation is higher in some years than others, but, historically, the overall trend is up. Over time, inflation can greatly erode your purchasing power unless your income rises at the same rate (or higher). From 1914 to 2018, the annual inflation rate in the U.S. averaged 3.27 percent (based on the prices of consumer goods).3

So in the future, one million dollars probably won't have the same purchasing power it has today. For example, let's say that inflation averages three percent a year between 2018 and 2040. Under this scenario, by 2040, one million dollars will only have the purchasing power that about $522,000 has in 2018. (That's an erosion of roughly half the purchasing power in just 22 years.) If you wanted to ensure that you had the purchasing power of one million 2018 dollars in 2040, you would need to achieve a net worth of more than 1.9 million dollars by that time.4

That's why so-called "safe" investments like short-term bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), and savings accounts can actually be risky over the long term. They don't always provide returns that exceed or keep up with inflation. If you want to build and maintain wealth, then you need investments that, on average, beat inflation by a significant margin.

10. Maintain a Precise Budget

Do you know where every dollar you earn goes? Unless you've made a firm plan, decided how to allocate your earnings, and constantly tracked your spending, your money probably isn't working for you. Without a detailed budget and simple accountability, you may be wasting a whole lot of potential for future wealth. In fact, your budget should serve as your foundation for accumulating the millions you want.

Developing a good budget requires setting firm limits on your expenses and allocating consistent portions of your income to savings and investments. Here's an example of what is often considered smart income allocation:

  • 50 percent for basic living expenses (like food, shelter, transportation, and health care)
  • 20 to 25 percent for savings and investments
  • 25 to 30 percent for discretionary spending (like entertainment)

Of course, the more you allocate to your investments, the faster you will likely achieve millionaire status. So always think about whether your discretionary spending today is really worth the loss of some of your future wealth potential. As your income grows, why not channel the extra money into your investments instead of spending it on higher living expenses or more expensive toys?

If you want an easy way to create a budget and keep track of your financial situation, consider using an app such as Mint.

11. Diversify Your Income

Your salary, on its own, may not be enough to make you as wealthy as you want by the age you have in mind. People who get rich and stay rich typically create multiple streams of income. So in addition to your day job, you might want to consider other ways to generate income. As just one example, you may be able to purchase real estate that generates rental income and appreciates in value, allowing you to sell it for large gains later. Or, depending on your particular expertise, maybe you can take on some freelance opportunities whenever your schedule allows.

12. Be Careful Who You Marry

The heart may want what it wants, but your bank accounts may suffer the consequences. Getting married to someone who has different financial priorities can make it impossible to achieve the wealth you want. If your spouse has compulsive spending habits, refuses to save and invest enough, or doesn't see the value of sticking to a budget, then you're unlikely to achieve your millions. In fact, you may go deep into debt instead. So if wealth is a top priority for you, then your romantic partner needs to be on the same page (unless you're able to craft some kind of legal agreement that separates your finances).

13. Solicit Feedback

Everybody has blind spots. We all miss certain opportunities that others see. And we often can't recognize our own strengths and weaknesses. That's why it's important to have mentors or other positive people in your life who can provide honest, critical assessments of your plans and actions without actively discouraging you.

14. Be Patient

It takes time to achieve a net worth of a million dollars, especially if you don't own a business. But by following the basic principles above, you can get there. Remember: The more you save and invest, the faster you can make your financial goals a reality.

Entrepreneurship: How to Become a Billionaire

Why settle for millions when you could make billions? Most of the world's billionaires have made their money through entrepreneurship. They've started and grown their own businesses, sometimes failing and trying again multiple times. Their businesses have helped solve big problems, tapped into massively underserved markets, disrupted the status quo, or greatly improved upon existing products or services. While amassing their fortunes, self-made billionaires have taken big risks, worked hard, and prepared themselves to take advantage of lucky opportunities. Maybe you'll carve a similar path.

Short of winning the lottery or striking it rich in other extremely rare ways, being an entrepreneur is probably the quickest way to become a millionaire or billionaire. But it's also very risky. For every successful entrepreneur you hear about, there are countless stories of failure that never receive any attention. An entrepreneur must accept that the odds of success will be relatively low. The odds of making a billion dollars from your venture are especially low. Still, it is possible to achieve that kind of success. And if you're young and wondering how to be rich by 30, then you should definitely be exploring entrepreneurship.

Getting a post-secondary education is usually worthwhile, but you can become rich without college by solving a big problem and finding a way to create a business around the solution. You can also start small. Begin with smaller problems and ventures, honing your entrepreneurial skills and selling the businesses when you're ready to try something bigger. Pursue business opportunities that you can execute with your existing resources and build from there.

Based on various billionaire interviews and self-made millionaire stories, success as an entrepreneur often comes from:

How to Become a Millionaire
  • Boundless curiosity—Successful entrepreneurs understand that they don't know everything. They have an unquenchable thirst for new knowledge. And they're curious about what people may be doing in the future. So they enjoy learning, and they keep an open mind. They also like to look at problems from multiple angles in order to find possible solutions that other people may have missed.
  • Invention or innovation—Many entrepreneurs create something totally new or bring someone else's original idea to market. Others discover ways to improve upon ideas that are already well-established. They may hit upon a technology or concept that disrupts or transforms an existing market.
  • The courage to lead rather than follow—The entrepreneurs who eventually make billions of dollars usually aren't satisfied with following the herd. They dare to find their own niche and march to their own drummer. They don't merely want to jump on the next flashy trend; they want to be the creators of something truly revolutionary. They use their unique interests and abilities to find opportunities that are missed or ignored by other people who may not have the same insights, vision, or courage.
  • Genuine passion—This quality is a must. Entrepreneurs need to be completely dedicated to achieving their goals, which means they need to love the ideas they're working on. If you're only doing something to make money, then your chances of success will go way down. Having a true passion for your idea will help carry you through the inevitable bumps and provide more energy for the hard work you'll need to put in.
  • Focus and hard work—Nobody builds a hugely successful business without putting in a lot of long hours and focused work. Millionaire and billionaire entrepreneurs achieve their goals by making their businesses their life. They know that every detail matters.
  • Flexibility—When you're trying to succeed with a new idea, you can't have a rigid mindset. Wealthy entrepreneurs know that being able to adapt is a key to success. You may think that people will use your idea in one particular way, but then they end up using it in a way that is totally surprising to you.
  • A high tolerance for taking risks—This is another must. No matter how you look at it, entrepreneurship is risky business. Yes, high risk sometimes leads to high reward. But more often than not, it leads to failure. So if you want to make billions, you'll need a stomach for risk-taking. Are you prepared to fail and learn from your mistakes?
  • An optimistic, visionary mindset—In order to make it big as an entrepreneur, you have to dream big. Entrepreneurs need to stay positive, always believing in the bigger picture—even when other people actively discourage their efforts or fail to see their vision.
  • An ability to bounce back from failure—It's always tempting to give up when things don't go your way. But successful entrepreneurs are wary of quitting on their dreams too soon. They understand that setbacks are part of the entrepreneurial journey. They persist. If they get knocked down, they get back up and try again.
  • Help from other people—Successful entrepreneurs don't build million- or billion-dollar businesses alone. They gather investors and find people who are smarter or more capable than them in the areas where they're weak. They also seek mentors and invite constructive criticism.
  • Luck—Even if an entrepreneur meets all of the criteria above, he or she can't escape the element of chance. Everything else being equal, one entrepreneur may get rich while another one fails through no fault of his or her own. Luck plays a big role in the million- or billion-dollar success of entrepreneurs. You often need the right idea at just the right time and in just the right place. Entering the market too early or too late can make all the difference. So when an opportunity feels right, you need to be prepared to go all in and hope that luck is on your side.

Get Skills That Can Ignite Your Millionaire Potential

The more you know, the more you'll be able to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that can help you become a millionaire. Jobs that pay great salaries can be a big part of that journey. But they're usually only available to people who have the right training and educational background. So don't hesitate to acquire the skills and credentials you'll need. Start today by checking out convenient programs that are being offered near you. Put your zip code into the following school finder to discover nearby training options right now!

1 Credit Suisse Research Institute, Global Wealth Report 2017, website last visited on February 21, 2018.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on August 2, 2018.

3 Trading Economics, "United States Inflation Rate," website last visited on February 21, 2018.

4 Vertex42, Inflation Calculator, website last visited on February 21, 2018.