According to Forbes’ billionaire list, there are currently 2,153 out there in 2019. Top of the list we have Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Bernard Arnault. Studying the world’s richest holds a fascination for many, as everyone tries to work out what they did that led to their incredible success.
For most, the road is long and hard. Billionaires like Steve Jobs constantly spoke of the importance of perseverance and determination, so don’t expect nine noughts in your bank balance by the end of the week. If you ever hear a promise like this, it’s a scam.
But don’t let that put you off! Mark Zuckerberg was only 23 and Bill Gates only 31 when they hit the big time. If that’s the age you are now, aim to be a billionaire by your forties or fifties. Then you can kick back, retire and find something extravagant to spend your money on.
Of course, there are far more than 2,153 ways to become a billionaire, but we have tried to simplify this down so you can know your options. Read on to learn more.
One could argue that there are four main ways to become a billionaire:
- Inherit your wealth
- Reap the rewards of canny investments
- Work your way up through an organisation to the top
- Start your own business
The first is not very practical for the majority of us, and the second requires extremely good knowledge of the markets (or even better luck) as well as a healthy stack of cash to get you started.
We suggest that you begin your journey toward billionaire status first by looking for financial stability. Once you have enough to comfortably survive, then it’s time to start looking for either sensible shares to invest in, a promotion, or entrepreneurship ideas.
It can be easy to confuse innovation with invention, as both require the creativity to manufacture something new. One way to understand it, as Matthew Herbert said, is that “Innovation connects the dots between inventions.”
The difference is easiest to understand through the example of Steve Jobs and the iPod. The basic inventions already existed: a portable music player, an online site to download music, the microprocessor. The genius of Jobs was to combine these separate inventions together into one sleekly-designed piece of tech.
You can see a similar thing happening with smartphones. The first person (Philippe Kahn if you were wondering) to combine the camera with the phone sparked a global race in seeing what additional features could be squeezed into a tiny handset, from calculators to sketchpads to GPS. The initial innovation of combining devices has lead to a smartphone industry worth over $355 billion.
are you the next great innovator?
What opportunities can you see around you? How could you improve the quality of life for yourself, those around you or those on the other side of the globe? Aesop knew what he was saying when he described necessity as ‘the mother of invention’.
One key quality of an innovator is precisely this, to spot the shortcomings of the current situation and work out a solution. Are you also:
- Willing to experiment and take risks?
- Able to bounce back from failure?
- Accustomed to thinking outside the box?
If this describes you, then it’s time you applied yourself! We look forward to seeing you on the Forbes Rich List.
Characters like Belle’s father Maurice from Beauty and the Beast are perhaps not how we envision the next billionaire in the making. Maybe a steam-powered wood-chopper was not the most practical or efficient of inventions, but it reveals a key quality of inventors everywhere: they see a gap in the market, and they try to fill it.
James Dyson is the one to whom all thoughts turn when the word ‘inventor’ crops up in conversation. He did not create a new device in the way that Maurice did, but rather modified an existing product – the vacuum cleaner – in order to make it more efficient.
How do you make money as an inventor?
There are two main ways to earn money as an inventor; the first is to sell your product yourself, creating your own business, and the other is to sell your idea to a pre-existing company and make money through royalties.
Be wary of copyright and patent law
Once you’ve chosen your problem and identified a potential solution, the first step is to make sure you’re not late to the party.
Check out the list of patents on the World Intellectual Property Organisation website to see whether anyone has already had the same idea. You don’t want to tread on anybody’s toes, so a thorough check will make sure nobody has any grounds to sue you.
Next up: market research
Talk to people within the industry. It may be a good idea to ask them to sign non-disclosure agreements, depending on how much you plan to tell them. Try to find out:
- Are they interested in your idea?
- Do they think the problem is as much of an issue as you do?
- What advantages and disadvantages can they foresee with your idea?
- How much might they be willing to pay for your product or service?
This does, of course, depend on how radical your ideas are, but speaking to your potential customers is often the most straightforward method of determining whether this prospect will help make you a billionaire. If it’s going to sell, that’s a good start.
Be ready to accept rejection. Not everyone will see your idea in the same way that you do, although it is also possible that your idea is simply not as genius as you had first thought. Whichever is the case, learn from it and move on.
Remember, it’s much cheaper to return to the drawing board at this stage, before you’ve invested in prototypes.
Developing your product and business strategy
Ideally, your product or service is one that people will come to consistently rely upon so that you can predict a steady growth in sales. Getting a patent of your own can be invaluable in such a situation. If the idea is a good one, then people will try to steal it; if people aren’t trying to steal it, you should probably ask yourself why.
The most important part of forming your business is to find a partner you trust and can rely upon. No innovation can happen in a vacuum, and having someone to commiserate and celebrate with does wonders for motivation and productivity.
As you move onwards and upwards toward first your small business and then that billion-pound marker, here are some articles that may be helpful.
Good luck! Tell us of your monetary adventures in the comments section below.