The quickest path toward wealth is to lead a successful company. Millionaires who “make it” in the business world know plenty about what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to professional success. The people who understand when to double down and when to relent are the people most likely to enjoy long and lucrative careers. There are seven concessions millionaire founders don’t make.
Fortunately, the title of a millionaire isn’t some far-off impossibility. Four percent of U.S. households are worth at least $1 million, per ABC News.
People who aspire to grow their wealth to a million dollars (and hopefully beyond) stand firm against the following temptations:
1. Saying “yes” too often.
Steve Jobs said it best: “Focusing is about saying ‘no.’” To keep a million-dollar idea on track, focus on that one thing and ignore all the inevitable noise.
As soon as you start seeing success, other people will want to knock you off track. Some will offer you lower-paying (but steady) jobs so they can make more money off your ideas and dedication. Don’t take the bait. Test the validity of your plan, and if it’s a good one, stay the course and keep grinding.
2. Letting negative feedback dictate strategy.
Some companies, like Blockbuster, should have listened to the naysayers. Others, like Netflix, were right to tune out the haters and continue in pursuit of their vision.
The more success you achieve, the more people who don’t know your business will want to tell you what you should do. Listen to them at your peril. Solicit feedback on your product or service from the market, not from your social circles.
3. Replace face-to-face leadership with phone calls.
As your company grows, it’s easy to stop seeing people as people and start viewing them as drones who perform tasks.
Be careful — the war for talent is real, and good people are hard to find. Prioritize face-to-face management to show people that you value their contributions. The people who make big money know that their companies are only as valuable as the people who work there.
4. Letting decisions and meetings drag on.
Jeff Bezos’s famous two-pizza rule gained traction for a good reason. Today’s companies hold too many meetings, wasting the time of executives and workers alike.
Avoid letting decisions or meetings outlive their usefulness by getting straight to the point. Cut meeting times in half to force attendees to be as concise as possible. When you make a decision, commit to that decision and move forward. The longer you question yourself, the less able you become to do what you set out to do.
5. Waiting for the market to make its move.
Millionaires move markets, not the other way around.
Research published in Harvard Business Review found that the most successful CEOs are the ones who adapt proactively to changing environments.
Don’t lean too much on best practices. When everyone in the market does the same thing, everyone achieves the same results. Do your own research and make your own analysis of the future, then take proactive steps to disrupt the market before someone else does.
6. Failing to fulfill a deal.
Relationships are everything, especially to new and growing companies. When you don’t keep your word, your reputation suffers (and your odds of becoming a millionaire with it).
The same research in Harvard Business Review also found that the most successful CEOs are reliable, which means the people at the top respect people as dependable as themselves. If you want to make deals with the elite, act like someone who belongs.
7. Letting personal criticism sting.
Not many millionaires make the big leagues without drawing the ire of others. Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, credits her unsuccessful run for governor of California with helping develop the thick skin she needed to succeed.
Learn how to let go of what people say to or about you, especially when those people have no bearing on your professional success. People will always find something to complain about. Let them talk among themselves and keep your eye on the prize.
Not everyone has what it takes to become a millionaire, but anyone who can commit to the grind and tune out the noise can make it.