OWNER'S MANUAL

5 Ways the Super Rich Got Rich, and How You Can, Too

Conventional wisdom is often wrong. That's especially true where building wealth is concerned.
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Many people hope to get rich. But if the only thing you care about is making money, no matter how much money you manage to make it will probably never be enough. Where happiness and fulfillment are concerned, money isn't everything.

And that's why everyone's definition of success is and should be different.

Even so, money is always a factor in everyone's success equation. So why do relatively few people achieve the level of wealth they desire?

According to Roger James Hamilton, author of The Millionaire Master Plan: Your Personalized Path to Financial Success, that's because most of us have been taught things about wealth that are no longer (or never were) true.

Here are Roger's five modern myths of wealth--along with his five modern truths:

1. The Multiple Streams of Income Myth

Myth: The more income streams you start, the wealthier you will become.

Truth: Starting too many streams at the same time is like trying to push many balls up a hill at the same time--you may get started, but you end up losing your focus and your time. Success comes from growing teams, not streams. Think multiple teams of income.

Money doesn't make money. People make money. Invest in the right people before you invest in the assets they will manage or you will be the one doing all the juggling…and it will only be a matter of time before you start dropping balls.

2. The Passive Income Myth

Myth: You can get wealthy by going into debt to buy assets that will generate passive income so you no longer have to work for a living.

Truth: Debt digs a hole, not a river. All income must be managed, which means knowing how to manage a team and experts who can help you manage your assets.

Building assets that generate positive cash flow is definitely important--but when you stretch your resources to buy property or assets and then the value of those assets drop... your cash flow goes negative, your equity disappears…and so do your chances of becoming wealthy.

Assets--whether property or business--need to be managed. There's nothing passive about it.

Forget passive income; think portfolio income, where your assets are actively managed by you and by your team. That's the only way to ensure the underlying value of your assets will grow--and so will your income.

3. The Exit Strategy Myth

Myth: Wealth comes when you sell out, so plan an exit strategy where you work hard now and cash out later.

Truth: Love what you do and you won't care about an exit; you'll want to keep doing what you do.

Too many people hold out for an exit that will make doing something they don't enjoy doing turn out to have been worthwhile. Instead of focusing on how you will leave the game, create a success strategy that will let you stay in the game--because that means you can not only build wealth, you can spend every day along the way feeling fulfilled.

4. The 'Be Your Own Boss' Myth

Myth: The path to wealth starts with being your own boss; that way you can choose what to do and when to do it.

Truth: Wealth comes from choosing whom your boss(es) will be.

Even if you own your business you're still accountable to someone--customers, shareholders, employees, etc.

Instead of being the boss--which can be incredibly lonely--choose people whom you will be accountable to…and then do your best to support those people so they, and you, reach your goals.

To be successful, don't be self-serving. Be a servant.

5. The Huge Risk, Huge Reward Myth

Myth: Successful entrepreneurs put everything on the line.

Truth: The most heroic journeys minimize risk by progressing deliberately, testing and measuring each step, and making smart adjustments on the long path on to success.

Failure has two basic outcomes. It can sink or steer you. When you risk too much, failure can set you back incredibly far. So don't think of risking it all in hopes of a big return; think of minimizing the risks you take so, if you do fail, you can learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.

Think Roger is wrong? Take a look at any "richest people" list, pick a name at random, and answer these questions:

  • Is she passive with her investments and business interests…or is she extremely active?
  • Does she try to create multiple streams of income…or does she create multiple teams to create and build those streams?
  • Is she looking for an exit strategy…or building a long-term success strategy?
  • Is she only accountable to herself…or does she hold herself accountable to a number of other people?
  • Does she risk it all…or take smart risks that allow her to test, measure, and improve outcomes?

Thought so. Extremely successful people are extremely active; build great teams; are in it for the long haul; serve, support, help, and provide the right resources to the people who work for them; and do take small, smart, calculated risks.

And that's exactly what you should do.

A few other posts on building wealth and the nature of success:

Last updated: Jul 21, 2014

JEFF HADEN | Columnist

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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