The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Moneymakers

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.”

– Zig Ziglar

Man and the dollar signMaking money — whether it be through investing in the stock market, managing your own business, or real estate — isn’t just about doing the math and coming out on top with a little luck. For better or worse, success is often determined by you and you alone.

Looking at some of the successful millionaires in the world, the money they possess may blind you or the notoriety the public bestows upon them distracts your judgment. But at second glance, there are certain factors that have contributed to their success and popularity. With almost every successful person, there are common habits that add to their wealth or catapult them into the spotlight. The good news is — you don’t have to be a millionaire to follow the same path and develop successful habits of your own.

1. Be realistic.

Realism is the fine line that you walk between optimism and negativity. A successful individual is a realist, which means that he’s never going to shoot himself in the foot by being negative, but he’s not going to take risks based on groundless conclusions.

Consider Bill Gates. When he left Harvard to follow his vision at Microsoft, he took a huge risk. But that risk wasn’t entirely unfounded. Bill knew what the rest of us would later learn: personal computers would be the wave of the future if only software could be more user-friendly.

You don’t have to be as far thinking as Bill Gates, but you should learn something from his decision making. Before you make a key decision, ask yourself whether you’re being reasonable. It’s a hard thing to do, but the most successful among us are able to step outside of themselves for a moment and evaluate the situation.

2. Seize the day.

The best ideas in the world are useless if they’re not put into action. But action can be a double-edged sword because action for the sake of action can easily become reckless.

The mindset that separates the men from the boys in this field is being uncomfortable with inaction. In other words, a successful individual will never sit around waiting for something to happen. He may not invest any money in a given year, but he’ll always be looking and exploring. That’s what made Warren Buffett such a success. His specialty is buying undervalued companies.

Buffett has been beating the pants off the S&P500 since 1965, but it’s not just luck that gets him there. As a man of action, Buffett knows how to harness his aggressive side, but at the same time he has the discipline not to go overboard.

Berkshire Hathaway — the conglomerate Buffett manages — has billions per year in revenues, which means a lot of buying and selling. But that kind of success keeps him focused on replication. Buffett continues to pursue the stated goals of the company by sticking to his rock-solid business plan. Deviations are not allowed. And the theory behind that is: Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

3. Have a master plan.

Successful moneymakers may not have every detail of their future mapped out, but they do have some sense in their minds of the steps they’re going to take in life. Somewhere, they’re programming.

Here’s an example: Scientists surveyed the Yale class of 1953, and found that 3 percent had written down financial goals for their futures at their college graduation. When the group reconvened in 1973, this 3 percent of the class that had started their careers with some kind of plan controlled more combined net worth than the other 97 percent combined.

4. Capitalize on your passion/knowledge.

If you don’t love it, it’s nearly impossible to get others to love it. By focusing on something that you’re enthusiastic about, you’ll give yourself extra resources that can’t be quantified.

Any financial undertaking is going to be hard and you’re going to have to put in extra work that you couldn’t have predicted. That’s where the enthusiastic man has an edge. When you’re working on your passion, you don’t mind the extra work. In fact, if you’re really on the right track, it won’t seem like work at all.

Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, took his passion for mathematics and computers, and revolutionized the database world. That might sound unexciting to a lot of us, but to Ellison, it was a dream come true. Maybe your passions don’t have nearly as much commercial upside, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth looking at.

Sometimes following that passion means putting yourself outside the mainstream. A lot of people shy away from this, and it’s true, you can go too far. But no successful businessman could ever be described as someone who followed the crowd. Successful individuals live outside the crowd so they can move the crowd. You just need to make sure you’re not too far removed from the crowd.

5. Have outer confidence.

Confidence is the fundamental key to almost anything in life, whether you’re running a business, selling a product, or trying to finance your idea. If you don’t project confidence, you won’t get very far. But it’s more than just being confident that matters. Confidence allows you to surround yourself with quality people, who will push you and who you can in turn push to greater and greater heights. In other words, confidence is the building block that allows you to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

In a nutshell, that’s the success story behind Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. Rather than operating this financial empire by micromanaging people, Welch did what all of us should do: pick the very best people to surround ourselves with, give them a goal, and let them get things done. Welch even went so far as to find a business partner in his second wife, Suzy, with whom he co-wrote the bestseller Winning.

6. Check your feelings at the door.

It’s nothing personal; it’s just business. Those are words to live by, but too many individuals fail because they take it personally. A friend might tell you that your idea stinks; rather than get defensive, find out why he thinks your idea stinks. And never let the criticism get you down. The more success you have, the more criticism will be thrown in your direction.

Few people recall that the nineties were lean years for Donald Trump, who was on the verge of personal bankruptcy. As a successful businessman and a celebrity in his own right, naysayers were lining up to watch him fall. Did he? Of course not. Trump buckled his belt, dumped underperforming investments, raised revenues, and put himself back on top. What he didn’t do was listen to people who were clamoring to watch him fall.

7. Feel entitled to your moneybags.

Do you feel positive about money? Do you think there is not enough to go around, or that you should feel ashamed and guilty if you have more than someone else? If you believe millionaires are scrambling to gobble more of the pie at the expense of others, you’re not thinking like one.

If you feel negative about money, or you don’t feel entitled to it, you have a lot of what is called “poverty thinking” and that will defeat the other traits that enable the millionaire to achieve. Remember: Self-made millionaires feel justified and worthy in their use of money.

The essential thing is to know where you’re weak. If you’re lacking in one department, be honest with yourself and build on that deficiency. Or, find a friend that you can trust who complements your strengths and weaknesses. Remember: You are your No.1 asset, and it pays to know yourself inside and out.

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  • Beware, sometimes self help gurus don’t use real facts when supporting their method and ideas. As far as I know the Yale study is a myth. If you have link to the source I would love to see it.

    Here is a link to one debunking article :

  • I loved reading your post on “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Moneymakers.”

    If you want to learn some more Habits of Highly Successful Moneymakers, please check out the video interviews from my nationwide tour of ultra successful people at:


  • Tina Su says:

    What a great idea. I really enjoy the content of your blog. Keep up the awesome work.

    Love & Gratitude,
    Think Simple. Be Decisive.
    ~ Productivity, Motivation & Happin

  • Jon Morrow says:

    I agree with the point on passion, but I think it’s frequently misunderstood. There are three ways to be passionate:

    1. Passion for the work – here, the master craftsman comes to mind. You could say Steve Jobs is a good example. He enjoys the process of innovation is for the sake of doing it.

    2. Passion for the result – you can absolutely hate what you’re doing but be passionate about the end product. I’m sure lots of folks in the pharmaceutical industry fall into this category. Their work is tedious and sometimes dehumanizing, but it ultimately saves lives.

    3. Passion for the personal meaning – you can hate both the work and the result, as long as it means something to you that’s stronger than the hate. For example, I don’t particularly like the way Microsoft does business, but if you offered me the CEO position, I would probably take it, just because of the effect it would have on my life. I could use the influence to do so many other positive things.

    In any case, that’s just my take. 🙂

  • Great post on discovering the principles needed to live a successful, abundant life. The bits about confidence, passion, and positive feelings about money are wonderful to include.

    For many people however, cultivating these mindsets can be difficult. I invite those people to visit my blog, where I discuss ways to cultivate productive mindsets by tapping into the power of your subconscious:

    Kind Regards,

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