There was once a young entrepreneur who, after many failed business attempts was forced to move back home with his parents.

And one night, while he sat at home, wallowing in self-pity, doubt, and frustration, something happened that would change his life forever.

His father hosted a poker night.

Now his father, who was not a particularly rich man, hosted these events on a weekly basis.

But on that particular night, one of the wealthiest real estate entrepreneurs in the city stopped by to play.

After the game concluded, and as the mogul was leaving the house, the young man stopped him and asked him a simple question.

“How do I become a millionaire.”

The older man’s response was simple.

“Do what millionaires do.”

“And what’s that?” The young man asked.

“Son,” he said, putting his hand on the young man’s shoulder, “You’re a smart kid, and as part of the process, you need to figure that out for yourself.”

And so the young man set out on a mission that would change his life.

The next day, he went out to the public library and consumed everything he could get his hands on to discover the “Secrets” to becoming a millionaire.

He read countless books, listened to audio programs, and eventually, he found what he was looking for and put it to work.

Less than two years later, he sold a fitness equipment retail store he’d opened… for more than $2.3 million. And he’s gone on to make tens of millions more since.

The young entrepreneur in this story is none other than T. Harv Eker, author of “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” and a world renown success and mindset coach.

And the lesson you can learn from his story is simple:

Almost anyone can become a millionaire…

IF they are willing to do what millionaires do.

And in today’s essay, I’m going to reveal the 10 key “secrets” I’ve learned after building five 7-figure businesses and coaching dozens of entrepreneurs at the 8 and 9-figure level.

If you will apply what I’m about to share with you consistently, I can promise that your first or next million is well within your reach.

Let’s get started.

1. Singularity of Focus

There was once a dinner party where Bill Gates and Warren Buffet–at the time the two richest men in the world–were asked (by Gates’ mother) to reveal the #1 characteristic required for success and wealth.

They both laughed and responded with the same answer.

It wasn’t hard work or creativity or leadership or a “starving crowd” (as legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said).

It was focus.

If you want to achieve massive success and dominate the game being played around you…

… You can NOT be distracted.

If you’re aiming at two targets. You won’t hit either one.

You must focus on your ONE thing.

And when you know exactly what your #1 priority is, every decision become easier.

By having clarity on your ONE overarching goal in your health, wealth, relationships, and personal development, everything becomes easier.

This concept is illustrated perfectly in an essay shared by my mentor Mark Ford:

When I was 33, I decided to become rich. And I made that my supreme and overriding goal. There were plenty of other things that I wanted to do – like reading books and playing sports and traveling. But I made them all distant secondary objectives. The lion’s share of my time and mental energy would be devoted to getting rich.

This decision radically changed my life. I went from broke to kinda rich in about 18 months. I became a deca-millionaire about six years later.

Having a single supreme and overriding goal gave me laser-sharp focus and shark-like ambition. Day-to-day business decisions – once complicated – were easy to make. I simply asked myself, “Which is the option that will bring me the most money?” Presto! The choice was clear.”

The only question you have to ask yourself is, “Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time to achieve the goal I’ve set?”

My friend Bedros Keuilian made the commitment to open 2,500 Fit Body Boot Camp franchises by 2023 and, as a result, had to make some big decisions to set himself up for success.

Among these, he decided to shut down his Fitness Business Summit (an event he’d led for 12 straight years) so he could focus all of his energy on his new goal.

When I set the goal to help 1,000 entrepreneurs double their income while working 10 fewer hours each week, I shutdown a multi-million dollar fitness business because I knew, as profitable as it was, there was no way to run both businesses at the same time.

To achieve your big goals and dreams, you must identify your one thing and then focus all of your time, attention, and energy on bringing it into reality.

No distractions. No nonsense. No “side hustles to your side hustle.” No quitting after 3 months and jumping ship to a new, shiny opportunity.

Just pure, unadulterated focus on your ONE thing.

2. Turns Flaws into Strengths

Since the day you were born, you’ve been told to “Work on your weaknesses.”

Working on your flaws and weaknesses isn’t the secret to success.

Yet…

You still have flaws and weaknesses. And if you aren’t supposed to “work” on them, what the heck are you supposed to do?

Simple.

Turn them into strengths.

Identify the skills and habits where you aren’t strong. Find the requirements that you don’t meet to achieve your goals.

And then find creative ways to eliminate them entirely and turn them into strengths.

For example, if you are a masterful copywriter but a terrible over the phone sales person, don’t waste your time trying to improve your phone sales. Hire an experienced and talent closer and pay them to eliminate your weakness.

If you’re are a powerhouse speaker and communicator on video, but a subpar writer, forget hiring a writing coach or spending decades attempting to write a New York Times best-seller. Double down on your strengths and hire a talented ghostwriter who can eliminate the weakness in your business.

For example, my friend Bedros Keuilian spent 18 months trying to write his book, Man-Up. He sent me a draft in the summer of 2016. I marked it up with a sea of red ink that even Moses couldn’t part. Bedros re-wrote it and submitted it to his publisher, who subsequently sent it back with sixteen pages of suggested edits.

Exasperated, Bedros gave up. He could not run his franchise and learn to become a best-selling author at the same time. That’s when he sent me an email to turn his weakness into a strength.

“Craig,” he said, “can you connect me with Ryan Holiday? I need him to re-write my book.”

Holiday is the author of several NY Times best sellers, and it’s also well known that he has ghostwritten the best-sellers of many other business authors.

Bedros offered Ryan a big sum of money to do the same, and the rest is history. Man-Up was finished a few months later and has gone on to sell over 30,000 copies. You can even find it in airport book shops – and on the Wall Street Journal best-seller list.

But this only happened because Bedros gave up on turning his weakness into a strength, and went and found someone else who was already strong – allowing him to time collapse his goals and increase his results.

Similarly, if you are prone to distraction and temptations, don’t try to develop your willpower or become a more focused person.

This is like trying to train a golden retriever not to run after squirrels.

It won’t happen.

Instead, treat yourself like a little lamb and build a fence around yourself by eliminating your distractions and temptations completely.

Identify  the sources of distraction… and the EXTREMES to which you must go in order to block them and gain control over them.

By transmuting your weaknesses into strengths through creativity and outsourcing, you’ll never have to worry about your flaws holding you back from the success you desire.

3. Create Solutions For HUGE Problems

There’s an old saying…

“If you want to make a million dollars, start by helping one million people.”

And while the sentiment here might seem nice, I respectfully disagree.

I believe: If you want to make a million dollars, help one thousand people solve a huge problem.

To build a lasting and profitable business, your product or service must revolve around one of three things – which I call the “Hard Offers” in life.

You must be able to help people:

  1. Make more money
  2. Save more time
  3. Have more sex

If you want to make your first 7-figures, you must create a solution that helps your clients and customers accomplish at least one (if not all three) of these goals.

And it’s fine if you help them accomplish these goals in a roundabout way.

For example, as a fitness coach you can offer done for you meal planning and training programs (saving your clients time) while helping them look better naked (likely leading to more sex) and improve their physical performance so they have more energy at work (thus making more money).

Or maybe you offer a software that makes it easier for online business owners to capture leads–there by saving them time and helping make more money.

Whatever industry you’re in, you must create a “Hard Offer” that solves huge problems for a small niche of people and then learn to sell that offer.

And speaking of sales…

4. Learn to Sell

If you (or someone inside your organization) have not mastered selling, regardless of the form it takes–copywriting, phone sales, face-to-face, etc.–you will never have a million dollar business.

At best, you will have a $1,000 hobby.

Sales is the glue that holds your business together. Without it, you’ll never consistently generate revenue and create scalability within your company (something we’ll talk about later).

As Grant Cardone says, “You must sell or be sold.”

Until you optimize your mindset around selling and realize, as my friend Sharran Srivatsaa says, “You are selling money at a discount,” you will never build a $1,000,000 business.

If you have an offer or product that can help someone, directly or indirectly, make more money, whether it’s through:

  • Improving their physical and mental performance
  • Optimizing their marketing and advertising
  • Creating amazing content that builds a raving fan base.
  • Fixing their mindset
  • Saving them time

Guess what?

You are selling money at a discount.

You are helping them “earn” an extra $5,000 and only charging them $1,000.

Would you feel “weird” or “guilty” about going up to your ideal client and handing them a check for $4,000?

Of course not!

So why should you feel any differently when you are offering them a product or service that can help them make that same amount of money?

For those of you who are familiar with my coaching programs, you know that working with me 1-on-1 is not inexpensive.

I charge $7,500 for a day of in-person coaching and one year of follow up email coaching.

Yet my top clients receive more than 10-20X on their investment.

For example, one of my top retreat attendees, Casey Arnold, used my coaching and systems to go from $50,000 in debt to more than $50,000 in monthly revenue… All while working 30 hours a week.

Anytime someone decides to work with me, I know that I am selling money–potentially 6 to 7-figures of it–at a massive discount.

And this simple mindset shift has allowed me to serve so many more people and live my dream life while doing it.

5. Leverage: Money While You Sleep

I’m going to say something that many of you might not like.

But it’s the truth.

If you don’t make money while you sleep, you do NOT have a business. You have a glorified job.

No matter how much money you make, if your income is tied directly to your time and you cannot make money without it, you’re not running a business. You’re just working for your clients.

To build a sustainable business that puts money in your bank while you sleep, you must have the systems, strategies, and structure in place to generate cash–whether you show up to work or not.

Luckily, this is much simpler than most people believe.

You only need three things:

  1. A compelling offer that solve a huge problem for your customers
  2. A way to attract new prospects into your business (e.g. a blog, YouTube channel, or Instagram account).
  3. And a way to convert those prospects into paying customers (typically sales copy or an over-the-phone consultation).

If you can leverage proven systems and strategies to scale your offer, lead generation, and sales quickly (like I teach in my Social Story Selling and 2X 10 Less systems), you can write your own paychecks and “print money” on demand.

And if you create a recurring revenue model where you charge those new customers every single month (i.e. monthly coaching, subscription programs, or software)?

You’ll generate more revenue and, more importantly, freedom than you ever thought possible.

6. Invest in Coaching & Connections

The day my life changed forever was the day I invested in my first coach.

When you have coaches and mentors in your corner who have “been there, done that” and achieved the goals you want to achieve–while adhering your same morals and ethics–everything goes faster.

You don’t have to waste ten years trying to figure things out on your own.

You can begin your path to your first (or next) million with a head start. Knowing the exact strategies and tactics upon which you need to execute and having a seasoned veteran on your team.

It’s like having the ability to speed up time and achieve your goals 10x faster.

Remember… Success leaves clues.

Instead of trying to find them for yourself, go directly to the source.

With the right coaches and mentors by your side, not only will you avoid costly (and often painful) mistakes, but you’ll gain the perspective you need to tough it out when things get hard.

Because they will.

You don’t have to do it alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence.  

Whether you find a mentor through outreach or make a financial investment in a coach, find people who have what you want and do what they tell you to do.

Plain and simple.

7. Personal Responsibility

I’m going to be blunt with you.

Everything you currently have in your life and everything you do not have in your life (that you’d like)… It’s your fault.

No one has responsibility for your life and results except for you.

Not your parents. Not Mrs. Smith from third grade who called you “stupid.” Not your overbearing boss.

You.

Here’s the thing. People will disappoint you. Friend will let you down. Loved ones will fail you.

Not because they’re bad people. But because they’re human.

One of my personal mottos is, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”

When you take full responsibility for your life and results, you also take full control.

By blaming others and allowing your limiting stories about how other people are sabotaging your success–even if they’re true–you’re giving away control of your life and future.

If you accept full responsibility for your life, then you can make the changes required to achieve the results you desire.

You can cut out those toxic people who are bringing you down. You can educate yourself and learn the information and strategies you need to succeed. You can find a way to overcome the obstacles in your path, no matter how big they might be.

By taking back responsibility for your life, you regain your ability to make a change.

And when the responsibility is on you, then you are the sole arbiter of how much you can achieve.

Rely on no one

8. Know Your Numbers (And Do the Millionaire Math)

Most entrepreneurs are terrible at math.

No, I’m not talking about algebra or pre-calc. I’m talking about the millionaire math.

You see, making a million dollars is relatively simple.

All you need to do is sell a $1,000 product to 1,000 people. Easy, right?

Well… Not exactly.

As a business owner, you have a myriad of investments required for you to reach (and maintain) a 7-figure annual income.

You have taxes, payroll, software subscriptions, accountants, lawyers, event fees, coaching, advertising, marketing, and dozens of other expenses preventing you from keeping your hard earned cash.

So you’ve gotta do the math.

You need to know your numbers and have a clear picture of the revenue required to achieve your desired profits.

If you haven’t done so, I want you to set aside at least 3 hours in the next few weeks–or ask your team to do this–to figure out:

  • The average monthly expenses of your business
  • How much it costs to acquire a customer
  • The average value of newly acquired customers
  • The average cost per lead (CPL) from paid marketing
  • The average cost per conversion (CPC) from your marketing campaigns
  • Your average conversion rate on your most important offers
  • The average open, click through, and weekly net subscribers (gained or lost) for your email list.

Know your numbers.

Because once you know them, you have greater control over them.

Your decisions will be more tactical. You’ll know which sales pages to improve, which emails to write, and exactly how much you can spend on your next round of paid marketing.

And once you know your numbers, constantly seek to optimize and test them.

How can you increase the conversion rate for that new sales page you wrote? Can you improve your customer retention and create new offers so you can boost your average customer value? Can film better Facebook ads to reduce your CPL by 20%?

Test. Track. Optimize. Scale.

It’s not sexy, but it’s dead simple and it’s the exact formula that will help you take your business from where it is today to where you want it to be.

9. Vision & Decisions

You’ve probably heard the Proverb, “Where there is no vision the people perish.”

I mention it in my emails and essays all the time–and with good reason.

Many of my clients, especially the hard charging type-A entrepreneurs, get so excited about their new vision. They write it down, maybe re-read it once or twice a week and then…

They get so caught up executing their vision that they lose sight of it. They forget why they started working so hard in the first place and slowly but surely, they begin to burnout and consider quitting.

The solution, as funny as it may sound, is not just to regularly review and improve your vision. Although that’s important.

The solution is to break your vision down into manageable “sprints.”

You see, most people set these huge visions filled with 8-figure bank accounts, luxury world travel, and massive philanthropic contributions.

And that’s awesome.

But chances are, it’s going to take you some time (potentially a few decades) to achieve that vision.

And in the meantime, you need to stack small wins to keep that spark burning and give you the motivation and focus you need to succeed.

To do this, you’re going to break your big goals down into smaller, more manageable 90-day sprints.

Look at your big vision–no matter how far out it might be–and ask yourself, “What needs to happen in the next 90-days for me to achieve this?”

Then plan out exactly how you’re going to achieve and get to work.

When you can break massive goals down into their most component parts and regularly get that hit of dopamine and serotonin that comes from making tangible progress, you’ll be less likely to quit. You’ll be less likely to get burned out and frustrated and more likely to bring your vision into reality.

Make sure you have a coach or mentor holding you accountable to your 90-day goals and then get to work.  

With this strategy, your vision will become your reality before you know it.

10. Operator Mindset

My friend Bedros loves reading books about Navy SEALs.

Not just because of the crazy stories, heroic battles, and brotherhood.

But because of the unique and unstoppable mindset possessed by every “Team Guy.”

SEALs don’t spend their time complaining about the weather or how cold the water is. They simply show up and accomplish the mission. No excuses.

Do you think they stand at the edge of  a plane’s loading bay and think to themselves, “Oh man, I don’t know if I can do this… That’s a long drop. What if my parachute doesn’t deploy!”

No.

They get to the edge, jump off, and accomplish the mission no matter what.

This mindset, what I’ve since dubbed “The Operator’s Mindset” is the final “secret” of self made millionaires.

To an operator, there are no excuses, only the mission.

They work to eradicate all “head trash”: limiting beliefs, negative mental talk, and self-defeating thoughts, and embrace their greatness fully.

Operators never question if they can do something. Only how it should be done.

If you want to become a self-made millionaire and enjoy the freedom, income, and impact you deserve, you must develop your operator’s mentality.

Refuse to allow excuses and limiting beliefs to stop you from pursuing your dreams. Shut up any negative mental chatter or defeating self talk holding you back from greatness.

Get to work and become the person you need to be to achieve your goals.

No excuses.

Just results.

If you can do this…

… You are well on your way to becoming a millionaire – but not just any old millionaire.

You’re on track to becoming a millionaire who knows the secrets of getting rich, but also the secret of a life-well lived.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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