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Who doesn’t dream of achieving financial freedom to live the life they’ve always wanted? It’s a testament to the human spirit to strive for success.

Credit Suisse’s Annual Global Wealth Report reveals that 5.2 million people became millionaires in 2021, with the global average skyrocketing to a whopping 62.5 million by the end of last year. This just goes to show no goal is unattainable!

Of course, that’s not to say the path is all rainbows and gumdrops.

We’ve compiled the sage wisdom passed from hand to hand by seven-figure earners and honed in on anecdotes you don’t always hear about the path to making it big.

1. The stepladder to a 7-figure salary is much lower than you think

Person with a ladder to the moon.

It might sound like a statistical anomaly. The average American makes about $54,132 per year, so envisioning–much less meeting someone pulling in moolah like that may feel like spotting the rare unicorn in the wild.

Anyone earning between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999 brings in a seven-figure income.

That’s a wide range. While the far side of the fence (999M) may seem like it sits off on the distant horizon, the range of entry (1M) is the most attainable rung on the ladder!

You have a burning ambition; you possess the drive; you’ve scoured the forums, crafted the perfect vision boards, and watched hours’ worth of TED Talks where moguls preach the importance of passive income streams and daring to dream…

But you’re still failing to get past the first hurdle.

Most people who made millions started something that got them a hundred grand, but just like dipping that first toe in the pool, the first number is the toughest step. It’s the deadbolt on the door that constrains you.

The first hundred thousand in your bank account is also the most significant sum you’ll ever make. When you lack the funds, you lack the leverage, and the next thing you know, you’re backed into a corner, juggling all the hats and forcing down every good-bad-ugly aspect of your business. It’s not out of choice so much as cold, hard necessity. 

But once you’ve made that first big dollar, it’s rinse and repeat until you’ve reached that first hundred thousand.

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear wrote, “The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.” You make gains through repetition and knowing the fruits of your labor won’t last forever – which shortens the amount of time you spend deliberating, sharpens your focus, and stops the dread of being written off as a one-hit-wonder.

Vintage line art drawing of a printing press.

So, you’re looking down and starting to feel the vertigo now–but you’ve made it halfway up the ladder! Efficiency comes next, then that leverage you were initially missing. You can start taking off hats, piecemealing and outsourcing those pesky bacterial tasks that consume your valuable time.
Remember, certain aspects of your business will be more valuable than others, which means it’s always better to spend those ten additional dollars, and get back four hours of your day by buying the skills you can’t afford to pick up yourself. And that’s the philosophy of the ladder.

Lastly, just because someone’s at the top doesn’t mean they know how to build you that rocket ship to the moon. Many seven-figure earners today didn’t have a bunch of Wall Street bigwigs lending them their ears when they first started. They had to chart their own paths. It may feel like working towards the impossible, but the first step is to stop setting yourself apart from those you admire.

Before dedication, targeted goals, and smart investments comes the simple belief that you can.

Okay. You’ve got that part down pat, but are the odds in your favor?

Corporate profits in the United States rose to a record high of USD 2.53 trillion in the second quarter of 2022. What this means is that the US is facing its financial health report, and it’s a great time to set your sights higher!

2. No dream is too small—but your goals should be

Tanner Chidester, a 28-year-old self-made millionaire, shared with CNBC what he views as the most common pitfall when attempting to approach success from the right angle.

“A lot of people just set a huge goal, and they never break it down and know the numbers and the statistics that they have to hit, so it just becomes unfathomable and overwhelming.”

You’ve heard about that ‘million dollar mindset,’ and while it may sound like out-of-touch hogwash, there is merit in the clichés. Conquer the hound that barks at the gates in fear. Set simple but doable goals. Make sure you’re not the one getting in the way of what you’ve set out to achieve.

Most people don’t set goals, they have visions. What’s the difference between them? A vision is an ideal, far-fetched and shining bright and shapeless like a distant fire. A goal (no matter how big) can be broken down into small, actionable, and achievable objectives. If you’re not a serial planner and you’re having trouble plotting your coordinates, there are plenty of organizational tools that fill in the blanks for you, such as Kristy Gayton’s products—planners tailored to help transform goals into bite-sized gold nuggets that’ll get you started on your hike towards success.

3. Know your numbers

Finance is not for everyone. But your business revolves around numbers, and without an accurate financial picture, your long-term sustainability is at risk. Whether it comes to managing cash flow, planning investments, or knowing where to invest more capital–all seven-income earners worth their salt invest in bookkeeping.

Not only will accurate bookkeeping save you a world of pain later on, but it also provides you with an overview of how to direct the unpredictable orchestra of your internal processes, all the while ironing out any chinks in your fiscal armor. If you can’t pinpoint what part of your operation may be hurting your books and records, the ability to efficiently analyze various strengths and weaknesses allows a thriving business to dodge the inevitable iceberg that lies in waiting to sink your ship.

The more resources you lend to strengthening your understanding of your businesses financial performance, the more well-informed your decisions will be. This allows you to go all-in and perform the virtual autopsy on your assets and expenditures, exponentially increasing your chances of keeping afloat. While this is important for any business, regardless of size, it’s especially crucial for those on the higher end of the ladder.

As your business expands, your inflow and outflow tend to get muddled, growing all the more complex for every new milestone you meet. If you don’t possess a clear snapshot of where and how your business is spending its money, you’re bound to lose control of the helm in the chaos.

4. Not everyone stays at seven

While more money, more problems is one interpretation, it’s perhaps more accurate to say that a seven-figure income isn’t a magic wand that’ll wen-guardian-levoisa away your financial concerns. Most individuals in higher income brackets have the same concerns they did before they hit that thousand-grand mark. Between higher taxes, fear of income loss, and the need to maintain your wealth as it is amassed, plenty of new challenges come with hitting the top—or even the middle—of the ladder.

That’s why, if you’ve decided to expand your business from that initial three hundred or so in revenue to the first landing of the rung, you need to be prepared to hold your ground and weather the economic storm before you’re wiped out.

So what’s the game-breaking strategy? There’s plenty of debate to be had over whether the never-buy-coffee strategy really works, but it’s crucial to have a good backup plan.

The first step is doing what you’ve always done or had to do out of necessity. Saving well is your contingency, your McGuffin when the kingdom crumbles. Basically, you want to make an effort not to blow all your money at once.

The vast majority of seven-figure earners are first-generation rich. Their lives looked a lot like ours, except their patience, diligence, and, you guessed it – perseverance – put them ahead of the rest. A White Coat Investor article sums it up perfectly: “Remember that wealth is a net worth, not an income.”

As the financial ecosystem around them changes, top earners must be prepared to adapt to newer, more efficient technologies, keep their wits about them, and maintain their standing by using their profits to create more wealth or even brand new streams of income. But more importantly, success shouldn’t mutate and become an addiction. If you gain a big head about where you’ll be, suddenly, the winds change, and you’re hitting that retirement age. The next thing you know, it’s all falling through the cracks. Focus on building your income quickly and maintaining what you have.

You should reduce extraneous costs, protect that positive credit score with your life, and budget well. Now, I’m not saying tuck away your valuables and crouch down in the shadows with your loot like Gollum, cradling his precious ring, but knowing when to save and when to spend is critical.

Save that capital for the right situations, like rainy days or market crashes. A good savings strategy is not about hoarding your coffers but about having money to spend when you have your back against the wall. It may not pave you a path to luxury living, but it sure makes getting there a whole lot easier!

5. The non-stop hustle may be holding you back

We live in the shadows of the never-ending grind, an age of dragons that thrives on hustle culture. You’re comfortable putting in the elbow grease; there’s a thrill in working yourself to the bone and watching the fruits of your labor follow. You’re living up to the standard you’ve set for yourself and doing good by your business. There’s a certain sense of self-worth in being a self-starter, in knowing that you’ve earned every dollar, but there is such a thing as overworking yourself. The dangers of burnout are real, and if you’re spending all of your waking hours putting your nose to the grindstone and trying to tackle everything by yourself, you won’t be able to step back and see the bigger picture.

Between the endless stressors that plague the workplace, the more you push yourself beyond your limit, the quicker you manifest the self-fulfilling prophecy of action and exhaustion instead of developing a system that works for you. No one getting four hours of sleep a night and just ticking responsibilities off of a list is capable of peak performance. Ignoring your personal needs in favor of the hamster wheel is the quickest way to lose momentum in the long run, which can hinder your ambitions and lower your productivity.

So if you find yourself rigidly sticking to a ‘just keep swimming’ strategy – you have to accept that you’re staring down eventual burnout and a definite decrease in performance. Take days off, invest in your mental and physical well-being, and slow down from time to time.

6. If you commit to everything, you’re half-assing your commitments

Aristotle was one of the first to touch upon this idea, stating, “…a man, being just as hungry as thirsty, and placed in between food and drink, must necessarily remain where he is and starve to death.”

Black and white image of aristotle head.

Plenty of ambitious people sweat the small stuff; they bounce on the heels of their feet, starting multiple ventures, taking on every opportunity, and building themselves a tower of side hustles. Sure, you can throw your hat into every other ring, expand into multiple sectors, and leap from one objective to the next but fail to develop a singular focus.

To achieve your goals, you must be willing to drop the unnecessary and prioritize. It’s fine to reevaluate your plans as long as you get somewhere. Just as long as you aren’t coming to a hard stop because you want to go from expanding your IT start-up to picking up a car-rental venture. 

The aim is to cherry-pick your commitments and marry yourself to them. Once you’ve developed a vision, you must follow through with a singular focus. While it may be all too easy to be the magpie that lights up at every shiny object it sees, you can’t give a goal your all if you aren’t at least a little tunnel-visioned. Not that you can’t have multiple aims or pursue new ventures; it’s just about taking it one step at a time. 

Wait until your current venture is fresh out of the oven and ready to cool down before you move on to your next venture. You’ve gotta commit to the bit! See that wacky idea through to completion and then swoop in for seconds. If you fail to narrow down your ideas and stagger all over the place, you won’t be sure of what you’re working towards, which will prevent you from putting in the dedication any business owner raking in the big bucks needs in order to build a rock-solid foundation.

7. There’s no such thing as a self-made millionaire

If you’re a do-it-myselfer, like this Medium article suggests, you likely run a tight ship. You’re one of the ever-diligent whiz kids who refuse to take a break, running themselves ragged over their proverbial baby, attempting to handle every aspect of the business pipeline, even the ones you hate!

There is another solution. 

Everyone needs a little direction, especially anyone with a business to run. A consulting agency like BestLyfe group can take on the marketing reins and help you get a leg up on the competition, all the while providing the consulting services to scale your company. 

If you’re seeking business solutions that’ll see you to seven figures without having to compromise on quality, we’ll be your pathfinder.

By far, the toughest of the lessons we’ve learned is that we can’t go at it alone. So, instead of wasting your valuable time and effort on busy work, be sure to hire the right guide to help you chart your odyssey to the top!

Addy Sheth

Addy is a Social Media and Facebook Ads Specialist at BestLyfe Group. With an eye for design and a love of all things creative, she is in the habit of launching high-performing brand awareness and lead generating campaigns.

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