Making Your First Million: By Chris Okada
Eminem once said “if I had a million dollars, I'd buy a damn brewery, and turn the planet into alcoholics”. Little did he know back in the 90s that in 2016, he'd be worth somewhere between $200M-$250M. If he had been serious about his goal, I honestly do believe he could’ve turned us all into alcoholics...
What would you do if you had a million dollars? Buy a home? Go on a lavish vacation? Buy a car? Keep it in the bank and save? Perhaps invest it? Whatever it is you choose to do with your wealth is up to you, however, if as a business owner you do not have a set plan to help you reach your financial destination, the milestone that is hitting your first million will seem much less meaningful and the outcome much less positive.
Having dealt with the various ups and downs of the business world myself, I believe there are five key steps every entrepreneur must keep in mind when trying to make their first million.
1. Figuring Out Your “Why?”
There is no wrong answer to why you want to be wealthy, or to why you want to make $1M or more, but your why has to be able to overcome the fears, frustrations, failures, distractions, insecurities, laziness, fatigue, self doubt, competition, economy, emotional slumps and anger that you will most certainly go through to get where you want to be.
When I was younger, I definitely had a "million dollar goal" in mind, but then I started my company, and suddenly all I cared about was being able to survive. After I managed to get things up and running, and realized that I was doing a lot more than just surviving, I started paying attention to larger deals, ones that could potentially earn me a lot more money and at the same time lead me to other deals that would do the same.
2. Setting Your Plan or Strategy.
Point A is $1 and Point Z is $1M… How will you get there? Who is on your team? What equipment and supplies do you need? How much time will it take to complete?
When I first started my company, I was all over the place with no plan or strategy. After six months of trial and error, I finally found a strategy that worked for me and stuck to it. Had I spent another two months without finding a successful strategy, my company would have failed. Your business plan doesn’t have to be elaborate, however, at the very least you need to know the general direction you want to take your business in, and come up with a system that will help you get there.
My first $100,000 wasn't a single check, but multiple checks of various sizes throughout the month. The same went for my first million; multiple checks every month. This wasn't my original plan, but rather a positive outcome.
3. Finding Your Motivation
It’s pretty self explanatory, but remember how when you were young your mom pushed you to get out of bed, brush your teeth, do your homework and behave? Well, when you get older, you’re the one that’s going to have to push yourself to wake up early, do your work, hit the gym, go to the doctor, and yes, to behave. This is called being an adult, and to make your first million, you're going to have to push yourself more than ever before. You’ll have to set aside time to think, to plan, to meet people, to learn, and essentially to do the best work you possibly can.
There's no backstory to this. You need to push yourself hard to persevere. Very few people make it to the millionaire mark because they aren't motivated. Talent is wasted without motivation and action. Get to work.
4. Straightening Out Your Priorities
Your business has to come very high in your list of priorities. We’re not going to talk about work vs. life, and I am not saying that you should ever have your love for money overtake your love for family or religion, however, it must be extremely important to you. Without making your business success and financial goals two of your top priorities, you will fail as an entrepreneur.
5. Making Your Own Luck
Increase your chances. I always tell my sales guys that 1000 phone calls renders 100 contacts with decision makers, which should average out to 10 leads, and hopefully 1 closed deal. If you have a great batting average, smart work ethic and talent, sales activity (like phone calls and networking) will bring you opportunities. These opportunities increase your chances of a success. Sometimes I still look back and think “wow I was lucky”, but the truth is, a lot of my “luck” came from some sort of sales/business development opportunity that I just so happened to be prepared for, because I worked for it.
"The harder you work, the luckier you get." – Gary Player
So as you work your way towards being a successful business owner, keep these five essential steps in mind. And as I was saying: have a plan, work your ass off, get back up when knocked down, and make your own luck!
Article written by Chris Okada, edited by Rosa Sanchez.