How did you make your first million dollars?

Achieving a $1 million net worth should be feasible for the majority of people reading this answer, because the majority of people here are educated and care about making a lot of money!

As soon as you decide to want to make a lot of money, you find ways to get there.

Unfortunately, $3 million is the new $1 million thanks to inflation. In other words, in order to feel like a millionaire of yesteryear, you need at least $3 million today.

But I think this question is on how someone made their first $1 million in a year. Here’s an abbreviated story:

1999: $25K. Just started my career in finance. Half year of pay with $5K sign on bonus.

2000: $40K base the next year + 25K bonus. To be frank, I was pretty bummed GS only paid $40K base while making us work 70 hours a week and having me go through 55 interviews.

2007: $750K compensation all in. Top of the market. Felt like the top of the world.

2008 – 2011: $250K – $500K. Down, down goes the income despite a promotion and more experience because of a structural decline in pay in the finance industry.

2012: $80K in passive income + $50K from my online side hustle. Left banking behind for good after 13 years at the age of 34. It felt bad to work hard, produce results, and not get paid commensurately, so I decided to negotiate a severance instead of stay and complain.

2012 – 2014: $130K – $500K combined from passive income plus online income. I decided to build a lifestyle business.

2017 – Now: $1 million+ in combined passive income (roughly $250K) plus operating income (revenue – expenses before taxes) from lifestyle business.

The best way to make over $1 million a year is to BET ON YOURSELF.

While working in banking, I was getting tired of constantly subsidizing another department that was losing money. It didn’t matter how much revenue I brought it, my compensation was always capped after the financial crisis. The industry was also highly political.

After 13 years of working for someone else, I decided to see what I could create with my own two hands. That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship, especially a lifestyle business. You have nobody to blame and nobody to congratulate but yourself.

When you own a business, you not only can make a profit, but you can also enrich yourself by owning all the equity. If there comes a time you no longer want to run your business, you can sell your equity based on a multiple of revenue or profits.

As a non-business owner, you can mainly only sell your time.

What I wanted was the freedom to control my own time, make my own money, and feel the satisfaction of building something from nothing.

Now that I have a boy to take care of, owning a lifestyle business is more valuable than ever.

Credit: Sam Dogen, Founder at Financial Samurai (2009-present)

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