10 Principles I Learned From a Self-Made Multi-Millionaire

If you are rich, sexy, funny, powerful, good at the guitar, a great writer, a fast talker, a fun times maker– and I know many of you are– I am taking notes.

Below you’ll find 10 principles I penned after spending a lot of time with my friend Keith. He started from zero– nada– and built an empire. I’m confident that if he started all over from zero, he could build it again. A lot of people get lucky, I suppose, but after meeting guys like Keith, its hard to believe luck has everything to do with it.

Even though he’s amassed a fortune of close to 10 million bucks, he doesn’t think his advice is all that useful to the world. He cites that fundamental insecurity about his success as part of the reason he’s achieved it in the first place. (Unfortunately for us, I think that means no blog).

If I were to pull out one point that is important, but beyond the scope of this post it’s this: wealthy people think about money much differently than almost everyone I’ve been surrounded with my entire life. If you care about amassing wealth, and you grew up around un-wealthy people, re-education is critical.

It’s also important to decide what wealthy is to you. You can live like a millionaire without a million bucks– I’ve tested that one out first hand. I’m not for the blind pursuit of money. If you step back and define your financial goals in painful detail, half the battle is won. <– nobody does this. What’s up with that?

Let’s get started…

  1. DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY. Keith keeps jamming this one in to my head. “Dan, when you get that first chunk of cash, DO. NOT. SPEND. IT.” Some corollaries: don’t buy super nice crap, don’t get a huge mortgage (if you must, 20% down, 15 year term shout to Dave Ramsey), don’t get a car loan. Speaking of Dave Ramsey, he’s got this great quote: “live like no one else so you can live like no one else.” Perfect. Cash is your runway, cash is your security, cash is your in to lucrative deals and businesses, and cash is your opportunity. Earn it and protect it above all else.
  2. Find games to play, not roads to take. Think of roads like established paths to success. “Just go to grad school and then get the right job and then … ” Most people are looking for roads to take. College. Grad School. Credentials. Dues to pay. Rules to follow. Keith prefers to hack his way to results. What’s the most effective way to create the result he is seeking? Seeking out established credential systems is a form of permission asking, which is something this blog doesn’t support. It’s also a bad policy if you want to have some serious fun.
  3. Learn fast. Learn well. Keith is a world leading expert in the businesses he operates. Since Keith has serious chips in the game, he evaluates all information that comes his way. He doesn’t take the time to figure out if its reputable, cool, trendy, or whatnot. If you’ve got info, he’ll hear you.
  4. Have an incredible focus on the details (and don’t be sloppy). It’s impossible to know every detail in every organization. What I’ve noticed with guys like Keith is they don’t show up to a meeting about the accounting procedure and say “whatever.” If they are taking the time to be there they’ll dig in to every detail.
  5. Making money from business is easier than making money from money. You hear this advice from a lot of balla ballas like Mark Cuban. The stock market is, in general, not a good place for you to make money. You’ve heard it– if your portfolio manager knew how to make money he wouldn’t be a portfolio manager. I can understand the allure of dumping your cash in to stocks. Fair enough. If you know something I don’t know, go for it.
  6. Have no fear of confrontation. This is one I’m particularly bad at. Keith will immediately confront issues and people who stand in his way. He’s not a jerk about it– but he’s intense and won’t stand for people screwing up his vision. I’m still working this one out, but one of the traits I’d like to develop in the coming years is an effective and positive way to confront people immediately when I sense a problem.
  7. Proatively seek critical feedback. People don’t like to give critical feedback directly to you. At least not good critical feedback. Sure, people love to talk shit about 3rd parties, but when is the last time somebody sat you down and gave you good advice on how to improve? Keith is excellent at soliciting this type of feedback from many of the people in his immediate business and social network.
  8. Work all day long, and demand that everyone else do so as well. Wake up early, work all day long. This attitude takes an incredible kind of energy that I find exhausting. I’m not hot on riding people, but my millionaire friend thrives on it. He will push you until you break. It reminds me a lot of way Jason Calicanis talks about his staff. Especially for his top assistants, anything short of 100% effort and responsiveness is not acceptable.
  9. Everything is for sale. Most people are super attached to their stuff. It’s not that big of a deal. Keith once sold his dream home (for a healthy profit), he couldn’t turn away from the huge offer. Everybody moaned about it for a month or so until he found a nicer place, and a better deal, and promptly moved in.
  10. Take 100% responsibility for your finances. Don’t trust your accountant. Don’t trust your portfolio manager. Don’t trust the IRS. As a business person, this is your primary domain of responsibility. Like it or not.

One final thing: there is this inhereted wisdom, “you won’t get rich working for somebody else.” Not true. Keith has made more than one person rich as well. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Back to work :D Hope you are having a great day.