Business magnate Richard Branson has said on many occasions that he likes to make lists of all kinds. In a blog post he wrote that “I have always lived my life by making lists. These vary from lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. I also have lists of topics to blog about, lists of tweets to send, and lists of upcoming plans.” He thinks everyone should write down every idea that they have, no matter how small or big it is, and then challenge themselves to follow through. Lists are a fantastic way to set financial priorities.
2. Be Passionate
For many people, finding exactly what they love and monetizing it is one of life’s biggest challenges. Warren Buffet says “being successful in almost anything means having a lot of passion for it. If you see someone with even reasonable intelligence and a terrific passion for what they do, and they get people around them to march even when those people can’t see over the top of the next hill, things are gonna happen.”
3. Be Disciplined
Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban has a good test: Can you cut up all your credit cards? In a blog he wrote that “if you use a credit card, you don’t want to be rich. The first step to getting rich requires discipline. If you really want to be rich, you need to find the discipline – can you?” He then goes on to explain that if you’re looking to make money, you always need cash available. “You aren’t saving for retirement. You are saving for the moment you need cash. Buy and hold is a sucker’s game.” Ultimately, the first step to becoming rich is being a smart shopper.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates says that “success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking that they cannot lose.” You must never stop learning in life as success doesn’t ensure future success. Even the smartest and most connected people can lose.
5. Know That It Isn’t Going to Be Easy
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recounted a time when a good friend of his hired a handstand coach: “In the very first lesson, the coach gave her some wonderful advice. Most people think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you’re going to be able to do it in two weeks, you’re just going to end up quitting.” This ties in with his belief that people underestimate how hard following through with goals will be. If you want to make a big purchase, such as a house, don’t be discouraged by the long road ahead.
6. You Don’t Need Money to Make Money
Daymond John told CNN that he realized that “almost every single time I have had some level of success, money was never ever a part of it […] and if anybody out there knows entrepreneurship, they know that entrepreneurs don’t just go succeed, succeed, succeed, succeed. They do succeed, succeed, fail, succeed.
7. Be Real About the Facts
Know the facts and pay close attention to them. Entrepreneur Jeff Bussgang says that “a fatal mistake that some people make is either to ignore data or actually deny what the facts are presenting. You should always strive to be very data-driven and know the truth. Now, you may still decide to do something with a low-probability outcome because the risks are low and the end result is so incredibly nirvana-like, but at least do the math and think it through before you leap into that situation.” When it comes to your bank accounts and credit cards you should always make sure you know how much you have and how much you’re in debt.
Suze Orman once told Oprah that her money tips include going through your monthly budgets, highlighting all the expenses that are non-essentials, and cutting those costs by 10% until you get an extra $100. She also suggested checking for discounts before making purchases. She says that “sites like couponcabin (which offer printable coupons and promo codes on everything from groceries to diapers) and apps like Pic2Shop (scan a barcode with your phone, and the app searches for online or local retailers selling it cheaper) can save you big.”
9. Be Okay with Failure
Sara Blakely has said that embracing failure and remaining confident is what made her the youngest self-made female billionaire in the US. She says that “what you don’t know can become your greatest asset if you’ll let it and if you have the confidence to say, ‘I’m going to do it anyway even though I haven’t been taught or somebody hasn’t shown me the way.’”
10. Manage Your Risk
With big risks, there can be huge rewards, but this doesn’t mean that you have to put everything on the line to make money – especially if you want to retire early. Warby Parker founder Neil Blumenthal says that “from the start, our approach to entrepreneurship departed slightly from the norm. Rather than taking giant leaps (resulting, possibly, in catastrophic failures), we focused on having a bold vision but moving there with deliberate, small, rapid steps.”