Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire

Millionaires and billionaires don’t work for companies they either start them or own them.

Yet many people think that the recipe of becoming wealthy consists in working hard for a company, climbing the corporate ladder, saving 10% every month for 40 years…

That’s the wrong approach.

If you want to become wealthy fast you must start your own company. But that’s only half of the formula.

Starting a company doesn’t necessarily means getting richer.

Think about that girl who opened a restaurant 3 years ago and who works from 6 am to 10 pm every day – weekend included. Do you think her restaurant makes her richer or poorer? I believe it makes her poorer even if I have no idea how much she makes every month. For me when someone works 16 hours a day every day, he/she is time-poor regardless of how much this person makes.

I’d rather make $30,000 working 10 hours a week than earning $300,000 for 80 hours of work every week because I know time is scarce whereas money is abundant. Think about it for a moment, there is actually no limit to how much you can make in your life but your time will always be limited.


Well the answer is hidden in the 5 following Commandments.

The Commandment of Need

If you want to build a successful business and become rich, you must stop thinking about your own interests and start focusing on people’s needs instead. That’s what I call the “switching hat principle”

Think of yourself as someone who has 2 different hats and whose thinking and behaviors change in function of them.

When you wear the orange hat, you think about your own development and your own desires. You focus on yourself, on your life as a millionaire, on the big house you want to buy nearby the sea, on the countries you want to travel to, on the gifts you want to offer to your loved ones…

However when you wear the violet hat, your focus completely changes. You put your interests and desires to one side and become genuinely interested in what people want and need. You are obsessed with improving their lives. Your only desire is to make people’s life better.

Right now you are probably wearing the orange hat and that’s fine, but if you want to build a successful company and make millions, you must switch your orange hat for the violet one.

You can’t make money if you focus only on yourself and on what you want. Focus on what people need and want instead because it will eventually attract money one way or another.

Money is like a wild cat. Chase a wild cat and it will run away from you, give it some food and it will come to you.


The Commandment of Entry

The Commandment of Entry states

“(…) as entry barriers to any business road fall, or lessen, the effectiveness of that road declines while competition in that field subsequently strengthens. (…)”

It basically means that whenever getting into business is so simple that anybody can do it, your chances of building a million dollar business weaken.

Think about a decade ago when the big buzz was “Make millions on eBay”. It didn’t last because the opportunity violated the Commandment of Entry. As making a decent amount of money on eBay only required to set-up an account, everyone started jumping in, which had the exact same effect than any gold rush with a minority of early adopters happy and a majority of followers disappointed.

So before jumping into any venture, make sure you don’t violate the Commandment of Entry.

The best way to know whether your business idea violates this Commandment is to ask yourself the following question:

Is getting into this business an Event or a Process?

If it’s an Event, you violate the commandment of Entry because it means that getting into this business only require a subscription, a fee, an account, a distributor kit…something that basically takes only one or two simple actions (Event).

However if getting into this business is a process, you are on the right track because great business opportunities are Processes not Events.

What’s a process you ask?

  • A process it’s when you start a website and build a community for 10 years while offering them valuable products
  • A process it’s when you build a web app for 8 months and promote it and improve it for 5 years
  • A process it’s when you open a restaurant with a brand new concept and develop a franchise for 20 years…

The nature of a Process is that it’s a barrier to entry in itself. It automatically discourages a lot of people from starting anything. People prefer making money instantly through an Event like winning the lottery rather than working consistently to make their dream happens.

The Commandment of Control

If you want to make millions while running your company you got to stay in control, which means controlling everything in your business – your organization, your products, your pricing, your revenue model, your operational choices…

Being in control also means, not heavily relying on something that is out of your control. For example if your whole business model is based on affiliate marketing, you rely on something that’s out of your control. If you make 70% of your profit by promoting the products of a company you don’t control, what would happen if this company took the decision to close down? Or if you run an online business and make 100% of your profit using Adsense, what would happen if Google decided to pull you out of its program tomorrow?

When you are not in control, your profit is uncertain. Your business can make $60,000 one day and close down the next. You can work hard for years building your company and end-up being fired from it overnight.

Think about Steve Jobs. He founded Apple, built it, managed it, spent days and nights making it a success for 9 years until one day Apple’s board decided to remove Jobs from his command of the Macintosh group. He lost control and there was nothing he could do about it.

Respecting the Commandment of Control will not only make you millions but will allow you to keep doing it.

The Commandment of Scale

What’s the difference between a hot dog seller and Microsoft?

One can be scaled up easily, not the other.

Whether Microsoft sell 200 copies or 200,000 copies of their software, the cost of sale doesn’t change much. For a hot dog seller things are different. If a hot dog seller sells 300 hot dogs a day and wants to scale up his business to sell 100,000 hot dogs instead, he will have to invest in new trucks, hire people, increase the quantity of ingredients…which requires more resources and efforts.

If you want to make your first million rapidly, your business must be scale-able so you can rapidly grow and reach new people without too many resources involved.

The Commandment of Time

The final Commandment is the Commandment of Time and it’s certainly one of the most important of all.

You can respect the 4 previous Commandments and still live a miserable life. Let me explain…

Let’s say that:

  • You run a business that fulfills a real need people have (Commandment of Need)
  • No one can get into this business because you have a technology that’s unique (Commandment of Entry)
  • You own 80% of the share of the company and take all the decisions (Commandment of Control)
  • You can easily scale up your business because you sell digital products (Commandment of Scale)
  • You make $250,000/month

It seems that life is pretty good you would say. Well not so much if running your million dollar company means working 16 hours a day 7 days a week!

That’s why the 5th Commandment is so important because it requires your business to detach from your time. In other words whether you are here or not your business makes you money.

I know many entrepreneurs who make $40,000, $80,000 every month but who don’t have enough time for their friends, family or even to take vacations. They know that if they are absent for 10 hours, clients will complain and suppliers will call.

The only way to avoid this situation is to ask yourself early on whether the business you want to create complies with the Commandment of Time.

To do so ask yourself:

Can this business be somehow automated to operate while I’m not here?

How can I get this business to operate independently of my time?

If the business you want to start respect the 5 Commandments, you are certainly under something big that you need to get started as soon as possible.

Share this post

Leave a comment