When I was 21 years old, I believed in an idea that would change the world.
It was an idea that seemed too far-fetched, but still seemed possible if I was willing to work steadily toward it. This particular idea was simply about the teachings that were omitted from our educational system.
After reading as many books as I could find, I learned quickly that there were many subjects that schools didn’t teach. They included the following subjects: Time-management, earning money, making decisions, setting goals, building and maintaining relationships, etc.
Because I devoted myself to this simple idea, it made me a millionaire by age 24. In my personal life, I’ve found that there were ten strange secrets about millionaires. Once you see these common trends, you’ll be able to leverage all your current opportunities.
1Become a Student
In every spare moment I had, I studied these subjects voraciously, seeking precepts that aligned with the truth. When I commuted to work, gym, and school, I would listen to audio programs, absorbing as many ideas as I could about these subjects. I also attended 20 seminars in my first year.
My mind started to change as I looked at myself and those around me. I realised that I wasn’t satisfied with my position, but how would I change it? Even though I was in college, I wasn’t sure if school was the answer, especially since I wanted to start my own business.
2Decide to Do Something
I had to make a decision. Soon after, I quit my MBA programme and began giving hundreds of free speeches. I did whatever I could to get the word out. In my first two years, I spoke at more than 500 live events, most of which were unpaid engagements.
Even as I worked 18 hour days for 7 days a week, I was sick to my stomach about how I would be paid. At the time, I lived off of credit cards and peddled my book in speeches. In some instances, I sold my book door-to-door. I also became a master salesman when I sold everything in my house!
3Do Whatever it Takes
I thought success was for older people. Since I was in my early 20’s, I wasn’t sure if it could happen. The majority of audience members were twice or three-times my age.
I thought they knew much more than me, but I still showed up. Most of the time, I drove over two or three hours to get to my speeches, even dealing with snow or torrential rainfalls.
One time when I visited New York City, I gave a speech to one old man. When I came out of the speech, I found out that my car had been towed, which cost me R3 000. What’s more, I was deeply saddened to find a R5 000 parking infraction on my wiper blade for making in an illegal spot. Essentially, I waited all day and paid R8 000 to give a speech to this one old man.
4Paying the Price
Between my speeches, I would sweat in my used wool suit and tie as I knocked on doors to sell my book. The people at most homes would shut the door as I pitched my product, if they answered at all. I would sell five to ten books per hour, but it was brutal. At the time, I thought the task was never-ending, despite the decent profit.
Another time, I had to give five speeches on four different subjects. That day, I was awake from 4 am to 6 am – a 26 hour day. I had no money or food, but I had common sense. Since most hotels served hors d’oeuvre while they held their networking functions, I ate their “freebies” whenever I could find those meetings.
5Competence Breeds Confidence
Within a year, I went from stuttering, stammering, and stumbling with my words to giving a 20-minute speech without notes. As my competence grew after every speech, so did my confidence. In my second year, I was able to masterfully give all-day seminars to hundreds of people at a time.
Soon enough, my financial situation got better and I didn’t have to use credit cards anymore. However, I would still be late with my bills every once in a while, which drove me insane. How did I work all day, but not make ends meet? Why didn’t I have a surplus for my services?
6How to Increase Your Wealth
Because of this immense struggle to support myself, I began a side business, Dignify Designs, which took off faster than I would have expected. The idea came when I did a lady’s resume for free. After she secured her job, she only paid me R250, but told all of her friends about me, which brought me new clients.
As my company grew, I hired a dozen people in my first year. Between speaking and writing, we helped many people write and publish their books, create websites, and utilise social media. Since forming the company, my team has branded thousands of people who’ve been able to start and grow their businesses.
7The Legitimate Dilemma
During that time, I had a legitimate dilemma: Should I grow Dignify Designs to a multi-million-dollar business or should I pursue my purpose of spreading the message about true education?
The answer was BOTH. As I funded myself with Dignify Designs, my income exploded, making me a multi-millionaire in the process. Of course, as a byproduct of my success in business and my experiences, I was also highly sought out as a speaker, since people loved my speeches, articles, and videos.
8Big Breaks Will Come
Along the way, several big breaks came when I started writing, speaking, and consulting on bigger platforms. Instead of reaching hundreds or thousands each month, I was now reaching millions. It was a dream come true, especially after all the blood, sweat, and tears.
Eventually, the grind paid off as a multitude of people started coming to me. It was a great relief and I began to realise my value to society. Because of these expanded opportunities, it has given me to privilege, power, and platform to share my passion with as many people as I can.
9Money Follows Passion
I learned that when you do what you love, the money will follow. When you start reaching for people’s hearts, rather than their wallets, you’ll be more successful. Love has a very attractive force that magnetises people in your direction. Love and money go together. In fact, money is the highest expression of love.
Fortunately, I have the privilege to work at any time I want. I can afford to sleep in on most days and even take a year or two off. However, it came at a great price that only few people are willing to pay. When you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll have more freedom than what money can buy.
10My Biggest Secret
No one knows what is yet to come in the future. We can only go as far as we can see. However, you must have faith in yourself, your community, and everyone else. You must believe in yourself and know that everything that you want (and more) will happen in your favour, as long as you believe it.
How do you find the answers in life? I can tell you what my biggest secret is:
Trust in a power that is greater than yourself.
It’s a simple answer, but it is the truth. Once you do, you’ll never be afraid of pursuing the impossible because you know that everything will work out in the end.
If you believe in yourself, everyone will believe in you.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.