Using Facebook, Uber, and having a GoPro has certainly helped today’s youngest billionaires under 30 achieve their 3-comma-net worth status. Accomplishing such a feat was also claimed by Snapchat founders Evan Speigel, 24, and Bobby Murphy, 26, who are both on the 2015 Forbes richest list of 1,856 billionaires.
There is no formula to being a millionaire before one hits their 30s—or becoming a millionaire in one’s lifetime for that matter! The literary great Leo Tolstoy has it that each millionaire is unique.
Statistical and qualitative surveys, however, specifically the UBS/PwC 2015 Billionaire Report, cites common patterns among billionaires that clue us in on the “Billionaire Personality” and what it takes to generate 10 figures of wealth. UBS and PwS looked into 1,300 billionaires from all over the world via surveys, academic research, case studies, and sat down with 30 of them for separate interviews.
The report found that becoming a billionaire boils down to three personality traits “essential” for entrepreneurial success and reaching a 10-figure fortune.
1. Smart Risk Taking
Going where the biggest risks are—because that’s where the biggest opportunities are—lead to success, says one billionaire in an interview. The UBS/PvC study found that billionaires often “tend to have a very optimistic attitude toward risk. They focus on risks they understand and find smart ways to reduce them.” It’s one thing to risk a hefty sum of money in a gambling game and another to have a keen instinct that could be in one’s favor.
2. Instinct for Asymmetrical Opportunities
Having a good gut sense of where they have an advantage—insights, funding, access—and where they can offer special value are essential traits that billionaires possess. The report says that “the risks for anybody without advantages will appear high and they are likely to walk away.” Billionaires have a grasp of their uniqueness or their ability to fill in a gap and they jump right in.
3. Recovery from Failures
Billionaires are rarely disheartened by failures. They see each mistake as a necessary step towards their success. As one retail billionaire said in the study, “Our current business model is the result of a series of failures and the lessons we learned from them. If we would have stuck to the original business model, we would be bankrupt by now.”
Possessing these three traits aside, one also needs to disregard “common” knowledge about achieving success.
Myth: You can be whoever you want to be
Almost always it isn’t the case because you are limited. While we want to believe that persistence and claiming it from the universe can help achieve dreams, it just doesn’t hold true. Hard work is like a currency with the different areas of your life like stocks. Given a fixed investment of hard earned work, not all stocks will generate the same amount of return. It would be to your advantage however that you identify the area where your hard work will pay off. Zero in on that field.
Myth: Follow your passion and then money will come after
It’s a cliché when successful people state in interviews: “I didn’t do it for the money. I just followed my passion. The money came later.” Often times we fall for this overly dramatic line, when in fact, it’s a tragedy when people buy it.
Reality check, to generate ten figures of wealth, one has to be in these 3 fields: technology, energy, and finance. The first step is to devote all your efforts to mastering a set skill, in which case to put in the often cited “10,000 hours” to be great at something applies. Of course this doesn’t have anything to do with doing something you love but rather excelling in something that pays. You’ll be better off mapping out or devising a scheme to rake in income than doing what you love.
Truth: Identify a big problem
All these young billionaires were able to identify a macro-level problem that affected a lot of people and worked to solve these people’s needs. Most entrepreneurs devote their time and effort in cornering a “niche market” but more often than not don’t make it big. The key is to, in fact, think BIG. When e-mails couldn’t accommodate video content online, YouTube solved it. Airbnb just about solved the young traveler’s woe of not being to afford expensive accommodations.
Truth: Don’t die working for someone else
Working for a company you look up to could give you excellent training, experience, and network. But you have to venture off on your own business in the soonest time. Think about it, no corporate employee was ever handed a check worth a billion bucks. An employee is only paid a modest salary while generating money for the business, which is just how the system works. Ownership is essential in success.
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