How to Make a Million Dollars [13 Great Ways Updated for 2022 ]

Start with Something That You Are Passionate About

The journey to success starts with passion  — you can achieve anything you are passionate about. Since I loved sports, I started brainstorming a business concept around sports. At that time, I really had no idea about how to make money around my interest in sports, but I knew that the first step was to just get started.

Some people are stuck at the beginning of their journey because they want to be perfect in everything — make a perfect plan, strategy, program, and anything else on their to-do list. In the end, they never made a dime because they were stuck in their tracks when what they should have been doing at the start was experimenting. You have to take action, even if your plan is not perfect. Keep in mind that good and done is better than perfect and never done/never profitable. 

I learned this lesson the hard way, causing me to lose time and money. It took me several months to create a website because I was so focused on small matters with minimal impact on my success, such as a good domain name, the right website graphics, the best content topics, the perfect logo design, and more. I was so busy doing things that didn’t matter much when I should have focused more on adding value to my audience.

A mentor told me to check out LinkedIn for opportunities, and I found out it was a good platform for me to start connecting with people around my interest in sports and add value to them. I created a sports network, established connections with sports executives and experts in the business, and learned valuable lessons from them. 

I interviewed famous sports personalities and posted these interviews on my website, promoting them without charge by sharing these interviews on LinkedIn and other platforms. In the end, I added value to these mentors with my free services while learning from them. At the same time, I also provided value to the readers by sharing with them the success journeys and inspiring stories of successful people. 

Later on, I started hosting and organizing Linkedin events and webinars, charging a small fee to the attendees so I could buy my own food and personal needs. I was already earning a few thousand dollars every month from these events where I talked about subjects I was passionate about. I wouldn’t have gotten to that point if I had tried to do everything perfectly — find something that you’re interested in and take messy action to get started — you’ll refine your process later!

Invent Something

If you have a lot of really great ideas, take your best one and monetize it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a product or service, as long as people are willing to pay up for the benefit it offers. For example, Spanx founder Sara Blakely became the youngest female self-made billionaire in the U.S. by inventing flattering undergarments to wear under white pants. Her net worth is currently $1.1 billion, according to Forbes. Beanie Babies’ creator Ty Warner amassed a fortune from his stuffed animal empire. He wisely created an expansive product line and sold it in limited quantities, which caused the items to surge in popularity. Forbes estimates the former Dakin Toy Company sales rep’s net worth at $4.2 billion. Maybe your invention solves a problem experienced by many or entertains the masses. Either way, people are willing to spend money for something that adds value to their life.

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Be Patient

Regardless of the path you choose to get rich, it will take time. Investing in the stock market takes years for your money to grow and compound. Starting a business and nursing it to success doesn’t happen overnight. When it comes to the math of compounding returns, the greatest financial growth occurs in the later years. “Making your first million will often take longer than making your second,” said Daniel Zajac, certified financial planner and partner at the Zajac Group. “Whether it’s through building a business, or years and years of saving, the first million is often the hardest. Stay committed, stay patient and keep your eyes focused on the goal.” Don’t let the initial slow growth through compounding or the pitfalls of starting your own business thwart your long-term wealth aspirations. Fear and impatience can be your worst enemies when trying to make $1 million.

5. Make Something Better

You don't need to reinvent the wheel, fire, or the home computer to become a millionaire.

You could try, but why swim upstream when there's an easier way to make much more money that takes less effort?

Another path — and one of lesser resistance — is to take an idea that's already been put into practice and then improve on it.

So, while coming up with the next Uber, Space X or iPhone could make you rich overnight, you don't have to struggle with trying to do that.

Let's look at a business model that's doing well right now and find ways to improve on it.

In our example, we'll use a fast-food restaurant order and delivery app — most cities or countries around the world have at least one of these services operating there.

You start researching how you can improve on the fast-food delivery app, and you realize they're charging each restaurant a 15% fee on every single order sent through the app.

This then means every customer's meal is more expensive than it needs to be.

Now you need to come up with ways you could launch a similar service, but only charge the restaurants a 7.5% fee instead of the exorbitant 15% they're paying right now.

You could also come up with special “meal deals” that are only available to users of your fast-food delivery app.

Very few fast-food businesses could refuse a deal like that, especially if you can offer them some level of exclusivity in the area e.g. you might only allow the top five Thai restaurants in a given area to offer their food via your app.

Or how about a service competing with DogVacay, where dog hosts only kickback 10% to the service provider, instead of the 20% DogVacay currently charges?

Sure, either of the above ideas will take time and money to implement, but earning a million dollars in just a few short years requires effort and investment.

You can find thousands of stories online about people who came up with simple business ideas that made them millions.

You just got two million dollar ideas free of charge. You're welcome.

13. Start a Niche Website

Starting a website is a viable way of making money online.

When Spencer founded Niche Pursuits, he had used niche sites to quit his corporate job and generate a full-time income from home.

You can do the same thing.

The first step to starting a niche website is to figure out what kind of website you want to have.

You need to make sure that you're solving a need for someone. The best way to do this is to use a keyword research tool.

These tools help you see what people are searching for online.

You'll want to target long-tail, low difficulty keywords. These are keywords with low search volume that are easy to rank for.

It's counterintuitive, but the long-tail strategy wins big in the grand scheme of things.

Try to find a niche idea that you are passionate about.

Even if there are tons of people searching for dog supplies, this doesn't mean it's a good niche. If you hate dogs, then this is a horrible niche for you!

Your niche should be at a point where opportunity meets your passion. Find a niche that has low competition but that you could write about and enjoy.

Next, you'll want to figure out how you're going to monetize your site.

Are you going to use informational content and ads? Or maybe you could find an affiliate relationship and get paid to recommend products.

As mentioned above, you could even get in on the e-commerce craze to sell your own stuff.

Once you've got your niche picked out and know how you're going to monetize it, it's time to do some strategizing.

It's best to have an idea of what kind of content you're going to be producing. 

You want everything to fit into a few categories in your niche. Don't go too broad. Start small and when you're making some money, expand from there.

These niche websites have a high ceiling. You could make anywhere from $2985 per month to millions of dollars per month.

ESPN is a niche site and they're killing it!

Compared to other businesses, the earnings can start pretty quickly.

Spencer's Niche Site Project 4 started making $1000 just 10 months after he published his first article.

That's $1000 of passive income for life! And he outsourced everything.

Imagine what you could do by putting your energy into a niche site.

Invest Early and Often

  • The best time to start investing is now. The numbers show that a 21-year-old who invests for 10 to 15 years for a lower amount can outperform someone who starts investing heavily at 45. The idea is that you want to give our friend compound interest the time to work its magic.

8. Earn Income on the Side



James Foster

James Foster

A part-time job or side gig courtesy of the sharing economy could be the ticket to generating some extra cash. If you invest the money or use it to, say, help you buy a house, you’ll get closer to your $1 million goal.

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Danielle and Joe Haymes of Houston found a side gig they love two years ago after searching for a place to board their two dachshunds. Danielle is a technology instructor for a local school district and Joe is a sales manager, but they decided to become dog sitters on the side after learning about DogVacay, which matches pet sitters with dog owners. The Haymeses usually take in three to four dogs at a time, depending on their schedules. In 2015, they earned about $13,000; the year before, they earned about $12,000. (Sitters set their own rates and pay 20% to DogVacay.) That income alone might not make them millionaires, but they’re planning to use it as leverage to reach a larger goal: They have saved most of the money as a down payment on their dream house in a neighborhood with a great school district.

6. Dont Sell Yourself Short

Some individuals are extremely loyal to their employers and will stay with them for years without seeing their incomes take a jump. This can be a mistake, as increasing your income is an excellent way to boost your rate of saving.

Always keep your eye out for other opportunities and try not to sell yourself short. Work hard and find an employer who will compensate you for your work ethic, skills, and experience.

How to Make 1 Million Dollars Online

I go into detail in the entire episode with specific stories, but below you can see the show notes on what I talk about with building your online business to generate millions.  Also note: I recorded this on my iPhone in Spain between practices while playing pro handball with the Reale Ademar team in Leon.  This is not recorded in the SOG studio in L.A.

1.  Start With Passion

–  My Sports Networker Journey, here I share how I got started, and why I started in the sports business.

–  How I Utilized LinkedIn marketing to build everything- the list was key for me, and LinkedIn gave me a platform to build an audience and I enjoyed teaching this to others.

–  Even more: I started hosting LinkedIn events, wrote a book, then did  workshop, speaking, bigger ticket product and webinars.

2.  Invest In Yourself

–  Keys to Finding Mentors– I cover the importance of investing time into a mentor (and how to find the right one for you)

–  Study as much as you can from people you admire or want to be like online.  As an athlete I learn from watching other great athletes compete.  Apply this to the online business world.

–  Investing in your online education:  If this means buying a course, software, or hiring a coach… do it!

–  Join a mastermind ASAP!  This is a HUGE key to making your first million online.  It might be the biggest accelerator to achieving this goal.

3.  Build Your Audience

– If I could do it all over again I’d just build a list without a site.  So many people are concerned with creating a site that they forget the most important thing is building a list.  Even when people do have their site up and running they forget to have a place for people to opt in.  The site almost becomes pointless when this happens.

4.  Learn Sales and Marketing 

–  You don’t have to be the best at marketing, you just need to know enough to get the job done.  Once you do, sales will be your focus.  I love using webinars to sell because it’s a great way to build your audience as well.  Start with an online bootcamp because you can start selling without having a product (this is key!).

5.  Build Credibility 

–  There are many ways to build credibility online.  I mention how to in this episode but to name a few you can write a book about the topic you love,  guest post on other sites, speak at trade shows, or write for magazines.  Anything to build credibility to increase your personal brand and value perception.

6.  Hustle Every Day 

–  Be as consistent as possible.  No one is going to hand you a million dollars.  It took me a few years of constant 14 hour days of hustling to the point we generated our first 7 figures.  Now I’m able to leverage my time and money to create greater products and live my lifestyle at the next level.

2. Save Early and Often

A portfolio worth $1 million is the gold standard for many new retirees. Depending on where you live and how much you can count on from guaranteed sources of income, it’s often enough for a secure retirement.

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Employer-provided retirement plans offer the best route to success. Contributions to a 401(k) are pretax, which lowers your taxable income. Money inside the account grows unfettered by taxes, which boosts your annual return.

The sooner you start saving, the more likely you’ll reach your goal, but you must be willing to increase your contributions. Nearly 60% of companies with 401(k) plans automatically enroll new employees, usually at a 3% contribution rate. But that will leave you short of your goal. For example, if a 30-year-old makes $60,000 a year and contributes 3% a year, he’ll have about $367,000 by the time he’s 65 (that assumes a 3% annual raise and a 7% rate of return). But if he bumps up his contributions to 10%, he’ll end up with $1.2 million.

If your employer matches contributions (and the vast majority of large companies do), you’ll have an even better shot at reaching the million-dollar milestone. If the same 30-year-old earns $60,000 and contributes 10% of his salary to a 401(k) plan with a 50% company match of up to 6% of pay, by age 65 he will have nearly $1.6 million.

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5. Write an e-book

"Six years ago, I hired someone for $100 to design my first e-book, 'Crush The CPA Exam Study Guide.' It only took about a week to create — and all I had to do was write the copy. It's been selling on autopilot ever since, and I've made at least $100,000 as a result. It was shockingly easy.

Use your knowledge and resources to write a book. Then, pay a designer from a global freelancing platform (e.g., Upwork) $100 to make it look nice and incentive people to sell it for you through an affiliate marketing program. Simply contact the websites that show up in Google when you search for your e-book topic (e.g., type in 'best CPA study guides').

Offer to pay them a commission for any sales they send to you. When you leverage their traffic and the trust they have built with their audience, you don't even have to build a website."

—Bryce Welker, CEO of online education company Crush Empire and founder of Crush The CPA Exam. Follow Bryce on LinkedIn.

Index Funds

  • Invest in low-cost index funds. They can be ETFs or mutual funds. Compare their expense ratios and average annual returns using a site like Morningstar. For Nancy, I assumed an average annual rate of return of 7%. 
  • First invest in tax-efficient accounts, like 401(k)s, IRAs, or HSAs, before using normal brokerage accounts

I would love to learn more about what you think. Send me an email at hello@firstmilli.com if you have any questions or doubts. Meanwhile, check out the following hashtags #debtfreecommunity #FIRE #FIREjourney and be empowered by all the amazing goals these communities are accomplishing across the socials.

The Bottom Line

You don't have to win the lottery to see seven figures in your bank account. For most people, the only way to retire with a million dollars is to save it up over time. You don't have to live like a pauper to build an adequate nest egg and retire comfortably. If you start early, spend wisely, and save diligently, your million-dollar dreams are well within reach.

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