How to Make a Million Dollars [13 Great Ways Updated for 2022 ]

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1. Understand the Game: Million Dollar Ideas vs. Scale Mentality

Far too many people are utterly obsessed with comi

Far too many people are utterly obsessed with coming up with a million-dollar idea in the hope it will make them millions of dollars.

And while some people do actually manage to do this, it’s not the smartest way to tackle the financial goal you’ve set for yourself.

Instead of looking for that one big, elusive million-dollar idea, why not look for an idea that will generate $10 of profit? And then repeat that process 100,000 times.

You see, earning large amounts of money is often more about perspective and planning than it is coming up with an idea nobody else has thought of.

In fact, it’s far easier to come up with a product or service you can sell for $10 to tens of thousands of people than it is to come up with the one big idea that you can sell to an investment company.

Operating in the “million-dollar idea” mindset can be very frustrating because you have the desire to become financially independent, but you’re going nowhere fast.

So, when it comes to making a million dollars let’s take a look at scale.

And, for the purpose of our thought experiment, we’re going to combine the idea of scale with the concept of 1,000 true fans.

Let’s say you come up with a side hustle idea that generates $10 in profit every time you sell it…

In your first year, you sell that product or service to 1,000 people, generating $10,000 in profit.

In your second year, you take that $10,000, create a product worth $100, and then sell it to your next 1,000 true fans.

You’re now sitting on $100,000 in profit. Pretty neat, right?

As your business grows and matures in years three and four you realize that you have a high-end product or service you can offer to customers.

This new product costs $1,000, but you’ve built an amazing reputation in your industry, so you know you can find 1,000 true fans to purchase it from you.

By year five, you have generated $1,000,000 in profit, and without ever having to find more than 1,000 people to purchase what you’re selling.

By the way, this projection doesn’t include all the true fans who are still buying your $10 and $100 products.

Internet marketers have used the above “profit ladder” to get people to buy into their brand at a very low price point. Then as the years go by, they create new premium products or services for their eager audience to spend money on.

In fact, a guy named John Reese very famously used this method to sell $1,000,000 of his Traffic Secrets course in 24 hours. Yes, really.

I was introduced to the above principle in the book Evil Plans by Hugh McLeod. I don’t want to tell you what to do, but every entrepreneur should read it.

It is incredibly difficult to move from a standing stop to becoming a millionaire without a plan.

It can be incredibly easy to earn silly amounts of money by simply breaking your bigger goal into a series of smaller ones.


2. Fund Retirement Plans ASAP

When individuals earn money, their first responsibility is to pay current expenses such as rent or mortgage, food, and other necessities. Once these expenses have been covered, the next step should be to fund a retirement plan or some other tax-advantaged vehicle.

Unfortunately, retirement planning is an afterthought for many young people. Here’s why it shouldn’t be: funding a 401(k) and/or an IRA early on in life means you can contribute less money overall and actually end up with significantly more in the end than someone who put in much more money but started later. How much difference will funding a vehicle such as a Roth IRA early on in life make?

If you’re 23 years old and deposit $3,000 per year (that’s only $250 each month) in a Roth IRA earning an 8% average annual return, you will have saved $985,749 by the time you are 65 years old due to the power of compounding. If you make a few extra contributions, it’s clear that a $1 million goal is well within reach. Also, keep in mind that most of your earnings are in interest— your $3,000 contributions alone only add up to $126,000.

Now, suppose that you wait an additional 10 years to start contributing. By this time you have a better job than when you were younger, you earn more, and you know you've lost some time, so you contribute $5,000 per year. You get the same 8% return and have the same goal to retire at 65. But by starting to save later, your compounded earnings won't have as much time to grow. In this scenario, when you reach age 65, you will have saved $724,753. That's still a sizable fund, but you had to contribute $160,000 just to get there, and it's nowhere near the $985,749 you could've had for paying much less.

Hardest Way To Make $1 Million A Year

The hardest way to make $1 million a year or more is in a profession that relies mostly on individual performance. If you remove the CEO, the company will still run fine. The stock might even go up.

As a professional tennis player, nobody is going to win a match for you. If you are a fund manager, you’re either outperforming your respective index or you aren’t. As a professional blogger, you’re either going to come up with interesting content that gets shared or suffer in purgatory.

Despite the difficulty of making over one million dollars as an individual performer, there is also a fantastic non-monetary upside. Individual performers get the most satisfaction.

Building something from nothing is more rewarding than jumping on an already established business. Working incredibly hard on your craft and then winning feels amazing.

I don’t have to tell you that earning $1 million a year is difficult. That’s $83,333 a month in income or operating profit. Even if you do get to such a milestone, it may be harder to stay there over the long-term due to competitive forces that will eat away at your product or services.

Be a Wealth-Building Hustler

It might sound obvious, but if you want to make your first million, choose a side gig to earn more cash. If you’re making just enough to pay for rent, food and utilities, it’s unlikely that you’ll get rich. You don’t need to be brilliant to become a millionaire, but you do need to be disciplined, hard-working and creative. Wealthy entrepreneur and businessman Mark Cuban started creating income streams at age 12. He sold packages of trash bags so he could afford to buy the shoes he wanted, according to Biography. In high school, he peddled stamps and coins for extra cash. He took college psychology classes in his junior year of high school, then skipped his senior year to begin college full time. This illustrates the wealth-building hustler attitude. He gave up free time and leisure to pursue his dreams. The same holds true for many millionaires.

Step 2: Save money for when you need it most

By saving money, you give yourself the freedom to earn more money.

Shannon says:

“My husband and I were really good about saving money,” Shannon says. “We created a six-month emergency fund that allowed us to take a small step back financially when I quit my job. But because we saved early, it gave us a lot of freedom to invest and earn.”

That’s why it’s important to set savings goals.

To find out how much you need in your emergency savings fund, you simply have to take into account three to six months worth of:

  • Utility bills (internet, water, electricity, etc)
  • Rent
  • Car/home payments
  • Food/groceries

Basically, any living expense that you have should be accounted for.

You should also start an account exclusively for your emergency savings fund. Most banks allow you to create a sub-savings account along with your normal savings account. (You can even name them too!) So create one for your emergency fund.

Hustle and Hustle More

No one is going to hand you a million dollars. You have to hustle and be consistent. It took me a few years of constantly working 14 hours every day until my business partner and I generated our first seven-figure earnings. Today, I can leverage my time and money to create greater products and live my lifestyle at the next level. 

So keep on hustling and hustle more every day until you are already making your first million dollars of earnings. But remember — you can only hustle more if you are passionate about what you are doing. And after days of hustling, make sure you take some time to recharge — you need rest in order to be productive!

Learn About Sales and Marketing

Selling is everything in business, and marketing gets the right audience to the salespeople. A business could hardly become successful without being good at sales. That’s why you need to learn more about sales and marketing, which is a continuous learning process in the middle of a constantly changing business landscape.

You don’t have to be an expert to beat the big dogs in the industry. You just need to learn the tricks of the trade to put up a working strategy that sells. There’s always a way to sell without being salesy, and only you can find that out through studying and learning, having a mentor, and joining sales training and seminars. 

5. Own a Home

Derek and Lauren Ross didn’t buy their home in Oak Park, Calif., because they thought it would make them rich. They bought it because the community of 14,000, about 40 miles from Los Angeles, has some of the best schools in California, plus lots of parks and open space. Nonetheless, their investment has paid off. They bought their two-story home in 2002 for about $542,000. Today it’s worth more than $800,000, Derek estimates.

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8. Earn Income on the Side

James Foster

James Foster

A part-time job or side gig courtesy of the sharing economy could be the ticket to generating some extra cash. If you invest the money or use it to, say, help you buy a house, you’ll get closer to your $1 million goal.

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Danielle and Joe Haymes of Houston found a side gig they love two years ago after searching for a place to board their two dachshunds. Danielle is a technology instructor for a local school district and Joe is a sales manager, but they decided to become dog sitters on the side after learning about DogVacay, which matches pet sitters with dog owners. The Haymeses usually take in three to four dogs at a time, depending on their schedules. In 2015, they earned about $13,000; the year before, they earned about $12,000. (Sitters set their own rates and pay 20% to DogVacay.) That income alone might not make them millionaires, but they’re planning to use it as leverage to reach a larger goal: They have saved most of the money as a down payment on their dream house in a neighborhood with a great school district.

Time in the Market Beats Timing the Market

  • Pick a date — say, the 15th of every month — and marry that date. Invest the same amount of money each time, no matter what the stock market is doing. (Unless the world has truly gone in flames, you have nothing to worry about if you’re investing for the long term.) 
  • Investing should come as natural as paying bills. Pay your “investing bill” as religiously as you would pay your rent or mortgage.

4. Own Your Home

Many of us rent a home or an apartment because we cannot afford to purchase a home, or because we aren’t sure where we want to live for the long term. And that’s fine. However, renting is often not a good long-term investment because buying a home is a good way to build equity.

Unless you intend to move in a short period of time, it generally makes sense to consider putting a down payment on a home. At least this way, over time, you can build up some equity and the foundation for a nest egg.

Start With $10 Million

“Start with $10 million” is actually a joke, and it reflects how our brains tend to trick us into doing the wrong thing when investing. The best way to circumvent our “inferior mental angels” is to learn about investing, create a plan and stick with it. Our psychology often works against us, said Kirk Chisholm, principal at Innovative Advisory Group. It’s not difficult to make a million with investing — if you start young enough and avoid psychological pitfalls, such as following the crowd. Avoid trading in and out of your investments. Create a sound investing plan, invest through thick and thin, and over time you can become a millionaire. Those who buy and sell more frequently tend to underperform compared to those who buy and hold, according to Vanguard Research.

5. Write an e-book

"Six years ago, I hired someone for $100 to design my first e-book, 'Crush The CPA Exam Study Guide.' It only took about a week to create — and all I had to do was write the copy. It's been selling on autopilot ever since, and I've made at least $100,000 as a result. It was shockingly easy.

Use your knowledge and resources to write a book. Then, pay a designer from a global freelancing platform (e.g., Upwork) $100 to make it look nice and incentive people to sell it for you through an affiliate marketing program. Simply contact the websites that show up in Google when you search for your e-book topic (e.g., type in 'best CPA study guides').

Offer to pay them a commission for any sales they send to you. When you leverage their traffic and the trust they have built with their audience, you don't even have to build a website."

—Bryce Welker, CEO of online education company Crush Empire and founder of Crush The CPA Exam. Follow Bryce on LinkedIn.


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