The following points are from the perspective of what it takes to start and maintain a successful business. Business ownership and financial wealth have a strong correlation. Below, I list observable challenges and such attributes that I have learned to acquire to get where I am today. After each segment, I add what I needed to do to get on board with these attributes.
1) The environment and its challenges.
If you’re a single mother with two children, for example, it’s much more difficult to reach financial wealth than a single person with no children or a married couple without children that have STEM degrees and makes over $300,000 in combined income. I waited until I was 41 years old to have children. It took me a while to get into a financially stable situation.
What path to take, and believe that is the best path to wealth. Most millionaires take, on average, 15 to 20 years to reach their status. This is because there are trials and errors in the process. Though educational, Some of those errors cost a lot of time and money, which many can’t afford. Reading many books and/or getting degrees in lucrative fields are, in general, good paths, but then again, both of these require a lot of time and/or money. I studied psychology in college. After realizing that I didn’t have a passion for the field and that my base salary barely paid my rent, I re-enrolled in college and studied computer science. The outcome of this new direction was that I was able to start a business, which increased my income.
3) Discipline and perseverance.
It requires a lot of discipline to acquire wealth. This starts with a goal and a game plan and sticking with them through thick and thin. Most of this is taught at home. This is also where your environment affects your outcome. I’ve had my eyes on being in business for nearly a decade. It was baked into every career choice I made until, finally, I was an independent software developer and then a hotel owner. It was not uncommon for me to work 10–12 hour days, sometimes 7 days a week.
This is fourth but trumps all of the other three. Take full ownership of your life. You are the owner of your life and what you do has a direct effect on where you’re currently at in life. If you acquired bad disciplinary skills growing up, and you blame your parents for this and you are now an adult, then why are you still blaming your parents if they are no longer educating you? Education, no matter what age, never stops. You take your own education into your own hands and make the changes you need to gear yourself for success. This was kind of an eye-opener in that I’ve read it in several financial books. It has really helped me reassess my bad habits and stay the course. I incorporated a mentality that if I didn’t like how things were going, it had to do with the decisions I’ve made and/or the efforts I’ve placed. I was the cause and effect of my world.
5) Masochism and Resilience.
Most of us humans naturally tend to gear towards ease and stay away from pain. Are most humans millionaires? Statistics to date state we are a rare bunch. You have to be willing to do what most will not or do not do. You have to maintain a high threshold for pain and psychological uncertainty. In other words, you have to acquire a taste for masochism. Masochism translates into working long hours, working an additional two to five hours after you get off your full-time job, researching for hours on end, networking and getting out of your comfort zone, risk your life’s savings if you really believe in your service/product, and if you fail, be willing to do it all over again. I once started a paintball park business. In order to complete the project, I had to invest all my savings. Four months later, I lived in a van for the next 8 months. I learned from my mistakes and continued my entrepreneurial journey in other businesses.
As mentioned before, it took most millionaires 15 to 20 years to reach their goal. They had the patience and maintained the course to get what they wanted. They took incremental steps and daily sacrifices without any gratification. Building wealth is a slow and gradual process that requires a lot of focus. It has taken me about 20 years to get where I am at. I currently have assets in the stock market, own two multi-unit apartments, 15 acres of land, and a beach hotel. This was done slowly and incrementally with a focus on investing and starting businesses.