How to Become a Self Made Billionaire in 5 Years or Less
How would you feel, what would you do if you had a billion dollars overnight? Do you want to be a billionaire in 5 years or less? If YES, here are 11 proven ideas & tips on how to become a self made billionaire starting with no money or experience
“We are self made, or never made.” – Dr Sidney Newton
I am Idowu segun, an entrepreneur, investor with interest spanning the following sectors: Oil & Gas, Digital Media, Publishing, Real Estate Development. I am a stickler for pushing beyond one’s present reality. I love achieving big things, things that initially was deemed impossible. But it was not always so. I have come a long way.
I find it surprising that most people still live with the perception that money is scarce and making a billion dollars is impossible. It is also more surprising that most people hate aiming above average. Since the year 2010, I set a personal goal to become a billionaire in my lifetime and penned down this article, I have been bombarded with criticism, encouragement and questions. Two questions being asked frequently were:
- “How do you intend to become a billionaire?
- What are your plans?
Now you see, i believe in stretching my mind beyond my reality; I believe in going way beyond my comfort zone. More importantly, I am a stickler for thinking big and pursuing big goals. That’s why I have people like Donald Trump, Aliko Dangote and Robert Kiyosaki as business mentors. I believe that with the right perception and idea, making a billion dollars is achievable.
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What Does It Take to Become a Billionaire?
After understudying the lives of billionaires such as Aliko Dangote, Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, J. and Paul Getty; I came to a conclusion that it takes nothing special to become a billionaire fast. After all, most of the richest people in the world today were school drop outs. To do it, all you need is a dream, a strong will and a fast plan. Once these three things are in place, the journey has commenced.
“It is my utmost desire to become a billionaire in my life time and also give away millions of dollars. I don’t think any paid employment on earth can help me achieve that dream. If I become a billionaire in my life time, I will just be another self made entrepreneur on the list. But if I don’t; I will die knowing I gave that goal my best shot.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
The truth is that there’s no outlined format, path or pattern to becoming a billionaire. In the book “Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing,” Robert Kiyosaki highlighted that there several ways to become rich. He stated that you can become rich by inheritance, by being a crook or by marrying someone rich.
Well, I see some truth in the statement above. The Walton family today are billionaires; thanks to an inheritance from the founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton. There are also billionaire drug lords and ladies; who acquired wealth by crooked means and there are billionaire sports personalities and music stars like Tiger Woods, Jay-Z, Dr Dre, etc.
Now in retrospect, there are those who marry for money; that is why the media is occasionally filled with stories of billion dollar divorce lawsuits.
“I think it is a man’s duty to make all the money he can, keep all that he can and give away all that he can.” – John D. Rockefeller
“If you want to successfully go up the mountain, ask the man who has gone through it to and fro.” – Zen Master
How Long Does It Take to Become a Billionaire?
You see, the path of becoming a billionaire is not an overnight journey. It is not like enrolling in college or having a paid job; where you know that you will promoted based on years spent or achievements made. In the world of business and investing, there are no guarantees; no promotion plans, no hope for pension or gratuity. In fact, there’s no paycheck for you especially when you are just starting out
“Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.” – Warren Buffett
It took Aliko Dangote approximately 30 years to become a billionaire and emerge the richest black man in the world. It took John D. Rockefeller 25 years of oil drilling and distribution to become a billionaire. It approximately took 10 years for Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jerry Yang and David Filo to become billionaires. But Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world in less than five years.
“Twenty years and $40 billion; they seem like good round numbers.” – Michael Dell
“I was worth about over a million dollars when I was twenty-three and over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four, and over a hundred million dollars when I was twenty-five and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.” – Steve Jobs
So if it’s your goal to become a billionaire in your lifetime, then just start the process and forget about the time it would take to get there. After all, Entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination.
“The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and continue to work. Life is a journey, not a destination. That’s also true in business; your objectives keep moving.” – Thomas J. Burrell
What Skills are Required to Become a Billionaire?
“Most people think small because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage.” – Donald Trump
“Money was never a big motivation for me except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” – Donald Trump
“Build wealth as a by-product of your business success. If wealth is your only objective in business, you will probably fail.” – J. Paul Getty
“Skills make you rich, not theories.” – Robert Kiyosaki
As I pursue my goals and build a business, I have also taken some proactive measures to enhance my skills. I have attended seminars, read books, listened to tapes and held one on one consultation with experts. I also receive mentorship advice from other entrepreneurs and investors who are ahead of me in the game. Now what exactly are the skills I am striving to develop? You will find your answers below.
“One of the most stupid things to do is to pretend you are smart. When you pretend to be smart, you are at the height of stupidity.” – Rich Dad
“Seek advice on risk from the wealthy who still take risks, not friends who dare nothing more than a football bet.” – J. Paul Getty
How to Become a Self Made Billionaire in 5 Years or Less
i. Start With a Dream
“I intend to be, the richest man in the world.” – Howard Hughes
“It does not take money to make money.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Becoming a billionaire begins with a dream. One of the free gifts given to us by our creator is the gift of imagination. It costs nothing to dream. Yet, most people don’t dare to dream and those who do, dream small.
“People who dream small dreams continue to live as small people.” – Rich Dad
“Aim for the highest.” – Andrew Carnegie
On several occasions, I have shared my dream to create wealth and be a billionaire with friends and all I got were fingers pointing at me saying; “you must be a joker.” Do statements like that deter me? My answer is no. I still continue to dream big and pursue that dream vigorously. If becoming a billionaire is your lifetime goal; then allow your mind to wander; dream big and shut your ears to critics.
“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” – Warren Buffett
“You are nuts and you should be proud of it. Stick with what you believe in.” – Trip Hawkins
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day and find out that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.” – T. E. Lawrence
ii. Develop the Billionaire’s Mindset or Thinking Pattern
“If I lose a billion dollars, I will have it back in less than five years.” – Henry Ford
The second step to becoming a billionaire is to develop the mindset of billionaires. Do you know that the thinking capacity of millionaires differ from that of billionaires? To become a billionaire, you must develop your mindset to accommodate that status. You must think big and you must also increase your capacity to handle the corresponding risk.
“You must take risks, both with your own money or with borrowed money. Risk taking is essential to business growth.” – J. Paul Getty
Becoming a billionaire means being willing to risk failure; you must also bear in mind that achieving any worthwhile goal in life requires sacrifice. You must see possibilities in the actualization of your dreams and ultimately, you must train your eyes to see opportunities disguised as problems; you must see opportunities others don’t see.
“Someone asked me, ‘how can I find a good business opportunity? I replied, ‘go and look for adversity.’ If you can handle adversity, you will find opportunity. Adversity and opportunity are two inseparable twins.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
“A good businessman must have nose for business the same way a journalist has nose for news. Once your eyes, ears, nose, heart and brain are trained on business, you sniff business opportunities everywhere. In places where people see a lot of obstacles, I see a lot of opportunities.” – Orji Uzor Kalu
“If you want to go broke; go it big. I will prefer to lose a billion dollars than to lose a million dollars.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
iii. Increase your Business Skills
“Skills make you rich, not theories.” – Rich Dad
Increasing your business skills is essential to the entrepreneurial process. In fact, becoming a billionaire requires more than just business skills. It require financial intelligence, strong intra personal skills and investing skill. Making money is a skilled act; making money is all about utilizing your acquired entrepreneurial skills.
“The ability to sell is the number one skill in business. If you cannot sell, don’t bother thinking about becoming a business owner.” – Rich Dad
iv. Develop a Fast Business idea
“There are fast ideas and slow ideas, just as there are fast trains and slow trains. When it comes to money, most people are on the slow train looking out the window watching the fast train pass them by. If you want to become rich quickly, your plan must include fast ideas.” – Rich Dad
From my personal point of view, this is where the work begins in the entrepreneurial process to becoming a billionaire. To achieve your dream of becoming a billionaire, you need a fast business idea; accompanied by a fast plan.
“All achievements, all earned riches have their beginning in an idea.” – Andrew Carnegie
Now what do I mean by a fast business idea and a fast plan? In previous articles, I stressed the point that the world is filled with brilliant ideas but the world lack seasoned entrepreneurs. This is why I emphasized you increase your business skills before ever starting a business; the world is filled with brilliant ideas.
Any idea can take you to the place of your dreams but if becoming a billionaire is your priority, then any idea is not enough. You need a fast business idea. A fast business idea is an idea that’s hot in demand; an idea that’s in line with the growing trend.
A fast idea solves a very critical problem and most times; fast ideas are usually the pioneer solution to people’s problems or needs; or let me rather say innovated/improved versions of other people’s idea. As an illustration to prove the importance of developing a fast idea, I will share with you the following stories.
Early 1900, there was a growing demand for oil throughout the world and entrepreneurs such as John D. Rockefeller and J. Paul Getty took advantage of this growing demand; and they became billionaires. When the demand for affordable means of transportation came up, Henry Ford took advantage of it and became a billionaire; so also did Cornelius Vanderbilt.
“I have no complex about wealth. I have worked very hard for my money; producing things people need.” – J. Paul Getty
Aliko Dangote saw a growing demand for commodities in Nigeria and he positioned himself as a fast solution provider; today, he is not only a billionaire but also the richest black man in the world. Computers came as a trend and Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Ted Waitt and Michael Dell developed fast ideas to take advantage of this trend; and they ended up becoming billionaires.
“I’m the NO 1 developer in New York. I’m the biggest in Atlantic City, and maybe we will keep it that way.” – Donald Trump
The internet came as a trend and Larry Page, Jerry Yang, Steve Case, Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar developed fast ideas to take advantage of the trend and they became billionaires. Mark Zuckerberg saw a there was a growing need among people to reconnect with their high school mates or lost friends. He stepped in with a solution (Facebook) and became a billionaire.
So if you want to join this list of billionaires; you need to develop a fast business idea. I don’t know, but a great way to start is to ask yourself the question; “What is the next coming trend? Will it be biotechnology, alternative power, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence or something else? Only time will tell.
v. Find a Business Coach or Mentor
Let me divulge a secret to you. If you are mentored by a billionaire; chances are high that you will end up a billionaire. I have seen young entrepreneurs perform excellently simply because they are being mentored by billionaires. So when looking for a business coach or mentor; find one that’s a billionaire already or has direct access to billionaires
“Seek advice on risk from the wealthy who still take risks, not friends who dare nothing more than a football bet.” – J. Paul Getty
A good way to go is to seek business mentors who are Venture Capitalists, investment bankers, angel investors and deal makers. Getting a business coach from any of these fields will do you good and you will learn tremendously from their wealth of experience. Now how do you break into this circle of great men? My answer is I don’t know. All I can say is to repeat what Winston Churchill said:
“He who must dig will surely find a spade; where there’s a will, there’s a way.” – Winston Churchill
If you still can’t get access to exclusive mentorship, then buy books authored by those entrepreneurs and investors you look up to as role models and soak yourself in their knowledge. Read and read as if your life depends on it; and put what you have read into practice. This was exactly what i did and still do to this day.
vi. Start a Business
“To build wealth today, you must be in your own business.” – J. Paul Getty
What has starting a business got to do with becoming a billionaire? My answer is everything. Take a look at the successful entrepreneurs who are billionaires; take a look at the school drop out billionaires of this world like Larry Ellison or Bill Gates and you will observe a pattern. They all built mega businesses and those mega businesses made them rich. To make you understand the point I am trying to buttress, take a look at the list below.
How Billionaires Made their Money
- 1900 – Andrew Carnegie made his money from steel in the united states – 5 million
- 1910 – John D. Rockefeller became a billionaire in oil – $1.4 billion
- 1920 – Henry Ford became a billionaire in the auto industry – $1 billion
- 1940 – Howard Hughes became a billionaire with military aircrafts, contract, tools and movies – $1.5billion
- 1957 – J. Paul Getty became a billionaire in oil – $1 billion
- 1962 – Henry Ross Perot became a billionaire with EDS – $3.8 billion
- 1970 – Sam Walton took Wal-Mart public and became a billionaire – $22 billion
- 1980 – Ron Perelman made fortune as a Wall Street deal maker – $3.8 billion
- 1990 – Jerry Yang founded Yahoo! – $3.7 billion
- 2008 – Aliko Dangote became the richest black man in the world as a manufacturer – $3.3 billion
- 2010 – Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire with FaceBook.com – $6 billion
“Build wealth as a byproduct of your business success. If wealth is your only objective in business, you will probably fail.” – J. Paul Getty
So if these men became billionaires simply by building businesses; then there’s surely a doorway to becoming a billionaire through entrepreneurship. Even Warren Buffett, the acclaimed richest investor in the world made his money as an entrepreneur, by building Berkshire Hathaway from scratch; and then using it as leverage to buy other businesses.
“The richest people in the world build networks; everyone else is trained to look for work.” – Rich Dad
While my peers and age mates are out there looking for high paying jobs in the oil and gas sector, I am critically thinking how to solve other people’s problem and take advantage of new opportunities i see around. I want to simply identify needs, create companies to satisfy these needs and then scale up. I want to serve more and more people.
This is exactly how I intend to become a billionaire; by solving other people’s problem and taking advantage of arising opportunities. It’s as simple as ABC. If you want to become a millionaire or billionaire, then start a business and serve other people.
vii. Assemble a Strong Business Team
A strong business team is vital to achieving your dream of building a business and becoming a billionaire. My mentor, Aliko Dangote; the richest black man in the world once attributed his success to his business management team and if you should take a critical look at his statement, you will observe the truth in its entirety. No successful entrepreneur ever became a billionaire alone; they all have a team of professionals, who are smarter than they are.
“Successful businessmen share the ability to hire people smarter than they are.” – Dillard Munford
Your business management team will really prove vital to you especially in the game of raising venture capital. No venture capitalist or private investor will invest in a business that lacks a strong team. Just as a venture capitalist friend of mine told me in a discussion that:
“VCs would rather invest in a business venture with an average product and a strong management team than invest in a business with an excellent product with a weak management team.”
So whenever a protégé ask me the secret of raising capital successfully, I reply; “Go and assemble a strong business team.” As simple as that answer may be, it’s the ultimate secret to raising capital and eventually becoming a billionaire.
Who is on your team? This is a million dollar question that most entrepreneurs take for granted. So are you still interested in becoming a billionaire? Then find a team that will work with you towards the actualization of your goal.
viii. Raise Capital for your Business
“If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” – J. Paul Getty
Raising capital is essential to the process of becoming a billionaire. In the points I mentioned above, I emphasized the need to develop a fast business plan and start a business. Now the flipside is that you will require capital to leverage the potential of a fast business idea. You can raise capital by approaching angel investors, Venture Capitalists and private investors with your business idea.
But I want to state clearly that there’s more to raising capital than simply approaching investors and asking for money. Raising capital is a process that requires continuous learning; you need to keep learning how to pitch investors. The manner in which you pitch angel investors is quite different from the way you pitch VCs; so you have to learn both.
But ultimately, expect disappointments. A good piece of advice I normally give to my protégés is to tell them to start a small business with whatsoever they have. I believe in thinking big, starting small and finishing big; I encourage them to also do the same. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon all started small until the funding came. I also started small and grew my capital base with time, so I expect you to do the same. Start small but think big.
“Despise not the days of little beginning.” – The Holy Bible
ix. Take your Company Public
“Taking a company public is the rite of passage for any entrepreneur.” – Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing
“Unfortunately, we are not a public company. We are a private group of companies and I can do what I want.” – Richard Branson
I don’t believe going public is a key to becoming a billionaire, but since most of the world’s billionaires all started companies that went public; I had to become a believer. I think going public is a big leap in your quest to become a billionaire. Think of it as a kind of financial leverage; using other people’s money to grow.
“If you are acquired, a company validates you. If you go public, the market – the world validates you.” – Fortune magazine
Nobody can definitely force you to go public but if it’s a way forward for you, then you better start learning the rudiments of building a company that will end up going public because it is a task that requires great responsibility.
“The new issues and IPO market is just like other businesses. The market is always looking for the flavor of the month. If you want to be very rich, part of your strategy as a business owner is to be building a company the market want, before the market wants it.” – Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing
x. Invest in Other Businesses
“Once you have made it, you will understand that any business is limited in the challenges it offers. You will want and need other games to play, so you will look for other ventures to hold your interest.” – J. Paul Getty
This is probably the easiest part in the process of becoming a billionaire. Whether you go public or not, your business has the potential to make you a billionaire but to maintain that status; you will have to make a couple of external strategic investments. This is another scene where the need for a business team comes into a play.
“Men of means look at making money as a game which they love to play.” – J. Paul Getty
- In February 1998, Warren Buffett disclosed that he had acquired 130million ounces of silver and stored it in a warehouse. Warren Buffett; at several intervals has made strategic investments in Goldman Sachs, Coca Cola and other companies.
- In September 1998, Canadian business ran an article indicating that Bill Gates has made a buy in silver, acquiring a 10.3% stake for $12million of a Canadian silver company listed on the Vancouver stock exchange.
- In 2010, a TV analysis on Oracle Corporation revealed that Larry Ellison has led Oracle to acquire 57 companies in a space of five years. If these self made billionaires are still investing even after hitting the pinnacle of success, why shouldn’t you.
No matter how smart I am, I can never know it all and I can never take advantage of every opportunity I come across. I am strapped for time; and I have limited manpower and resource to pursue every single opportunity. So what do I do?
I simple put my money into other businesses or startup ideas that gets my nod. I want to state categorically that i don’t invest primarily in the stock market, as it doesn’t suit my investment plan. Though in the early days of my hustle, i invested in the stock market. Today, i look at investments where i have more control over it’s workings like real estate and startups.
xi. Stick to the Process
“You must not only learn to live with tension, you must seek it out. You must learn to thrive on stress.” – J. Paul Getty
This is probably the most difficult task of all. Most people are very good at starting things but sticking to it until it yields result becomes a problem. Success does not come overnight; it’s a product of continuous unwavering effort. Just as every goal requires a process; so does the goal to become a self made billionaire requires a process, and that process is not an easy one.
“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote
Sticking to the entrepreneurial process of becoming a billionaire implies staying focused on your goal; while avoiding distractions and negative influence. Sticking to the process may imply making a few sacrifices; handling disappointments with a positive attitude and facing business challenges bravely.
“Patience; this is the greatest business asset. Wait for the right time to make your moves.” – J. Paul Getty
As a final note, i want to clearly state that becoming a billionaire is within the reach of every individual but unfortunately, many will not aim for it because anything worth having has a price tag; and many dread the price of success.
They would rather live in mediocrity than attempt to go beyond their comfort zone. Now that i have taken the pain to explain the process of becoming a billionaire fast, i believe the rest is up to you. If becoming a billionaire is your dream, I encourage you to pursue that dream vigorously and I will see you at the top.
“God is such a loving brother. He gave everyone of us a blank signed check. Anything you write on that check will be yours. But unfortunately; most people die poor because they don’t dare to write something big on that check. That check by idowu segun