seven figures

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally written by Mark Ford. It has been updated and rewritten to address current events and provide further value. Please note that the opinions and views shared here may or may not reflect the original author’s views.

In this article I’m going to show you a plan to reach seven figures in your net work in seven years.

That’s a huge challenge – but here’s the honest disclaimer:

The higher your desired net worth, the more you have to work to achieve it.

I’ll assume you’re starting with an $80,000 income with zero net worth behind you (if you’re in better shape than that – great).

You’re about to learn:

  • The most profitable investments to build your net worth
  • Where to dedicate your time
  • When building a seven-figure net worth IS possible (even if you’re an employee)
  • Whether you should partner with other people
  • How to make money online
  • The ‘Rules’ of becoming a seven-figure individual

We’ll work through this step by step, year by year – starting with…

Some Honest Truths About Wealth-Building

In researching my book Automatic Wealth I asked several professional financial planners to define ‘wealthy’…

I assumed they would simply say ‘seven figures’, bu they were a bit more specific and usually gave me a nice, solid number – but…

Their responses ranged anywhere from $2 to $10 million dollars.

That’s a HUGE difference…

And the ‘gap’ between those two amounts (especially if we’re talking about building that as net worth over seven years) is full of things like:

  • Working more hours
  • Taking on more responsibility
  • Learning more financial skills
  • Taking more risk
  • Identifying certain personality characteristics that might be holding you back – and getting help to change them

With those warnings fully disclosed, most people would agree that they’d be happy with a net worth (not including the value of your house and personal possessions) of $2,000,000.

Personally, I think that’s a good first target for anyone who aspires to have seven figures generating money for them…

At that level of wealth (and with a 10% return on investment each year) you can easily enjoy a pre-tax income of $200,000 per year without doing any work at all.

That kind of income will allow a couple and their children to enjoy financial independence – ie. the ability to choose to work simply for the pleasure of working – and all the meaningful amenities of a ‘wealthy’ lifestyle:

  • Freedom from debt
  • The comfort of knowing all bills are taken care of
  • A nice, comfortable (even beautiful) home in a safe neighbourhood
  • Great food, clothes, vacations
  • Freedom to pursue any hobbies or personal interests
  • A few luxury toys such as a sports car or boat

seven figures financial freedom image

… There is a disclaimer to that, though:

You can’t have whatever you want right now.

Yachts are expensive, and you’ll be able to get a ‘nice’ one but not a jaw-dropper.

You can’t drive ANY sports car you want. The difference between a $30,000 convertible and one that costs ten times that much is all ego.

Perhaps the most important thing you have to gain from the type of financial freedom that a net worth in the seven figures gives you is also a little freedom from your ego.

Next up let’s look at…

Some Observations About The Wealth-Building Process

First – despite what anyone says – you can’t achieve seven figures of ANYTHING quickly if you’re earning $80,000 a year.

If you’re not completely sacrificing your quality of lifestyle, at best you’ll have under $20,000 a year to invest towards your million-dollar goal at that income level.

Second, an average return on investment isn’t going to be enough. With this kind of seven figure net worth short-term goal in mind, we’ll need to take some (sensible) risks…

And that means stocks and bonds at their 9% ROI aren’t going to cut it. You need to be prepared to get into real estate – a market where you potentially COULD make up to 25% per year (with a potentially low risk of losing your shirt)…

Please note my use of the word ‘potentially’ there.

Always seek personal financial advice.

Third, you’ll need to stretch yourself to the very limit of your potential to achieve a lofty goal like seven figures of net worth.

seven figures real estate image

Dan Sullivan, the Strategic Coach, says that the level of thinking and commitment that gets us out of Egypt is very different from the level of thinking and commitment that gets us to the Promised Land…

So if you want to do something you’ve never done before, like build a substantial seven figure personal net worth, you’ll have to act in ways that you never have.

Finally, every financial goal is dependant upon a bit of luck and fortune.

The market may soar or collapse in the next 7 years – we don’t know…

But, with all that said…

Here’s a rough guide of how I’d set myself up in the first year with the goal of building a seven-figure net worth from a personal income of $80,000 with zero savings .

Year One: Set The Seven Figures Foundation

To be blunt, your income right now isn’t enough.

My first strategy would be to raise that to $150,000 per year by devoting at least 50 hours a week to becoming my company’s number one employee.

seven figures employee image

Really think closely about how your employer makes their revenue, and then think about a bunch of ways to increase that number.

Learn how profits are brought to the bottom line, and become a key player in that pursuit too.

Or, if you already own your own business, make a LOT more offers. Use this guide with five different strategies to increase your revenue by 20%.

Or swipe five of my favourite tips to create fast cash out of thin air here.

If you already feel stretched thin and unsure how to structure your day to accomplish this, read The Perfect Day Formula (here’s a free copy).

seven figures perfect day image

As well as that, I’d be studying high-income skills such as closing, speaking, copywriting or coaching. You’ll need them shortly.

There are three other things I’d recommend you do apart from this essential work on your ability to produce income:

  1. Build A Plan For A Home-Based Business

If you didn’t already know, most of the millionaires in America today are self-made…

And most of them own their own businesses.

Keep your day job if you’ve got one – but acknowledge there’s a ceiling to that.

When you’re using your skills to serve clients and customers online in your OWN business, the only limitation is your creativity and willingness to work hard.

Develop a plan for a business, learn everything you can about it – and bonus points if you start building an email list as soon as possible.

  1. Get Your Spending Down To Bare Bones (Try To Save $75,000)

Nobody said this was going to be easy – but you can’t spend your way to wealth.

Let’s look at the bigger picture here – a seven figure net worth is a big sum. The return you can make on that each year will set you up probably for life…

So taking a bit of a hit and delaying gratification for a few short years for a lifetime of security and freedom isn’t that bad.

seven figures budget image

You didn’t expect this to be easy when you started reading, right?

  1. Start Learning About Real Estate

Start by reading the real estate columns in your local area in weekend newspapers.

Head to Amazon and get yourself a few books that cover the fundamentals and basics.

There’s going to be some luck required, but if you’re careful and well-educated then you can earn up to 20-25% per year with the money you invest into your seven-figure investment goals.

seven figures investment image

While we can’t rely on that, it MIGHT happen.

For perspective, if you saved that $75,000 mentioned above for seven years at 25%, you’re going to end up with $1.5million thanks to compound interest.

So, to clarify, here’s your plan:

You’re going to focus on becoming the most valuable employee in your company, ideally growing your income to $150,000 per year. Anything less than that, and you’re going to struggle to hit seven figures.

(Or you’ll look for as many ways as possible to immediately increase revenue if you own your own business)

Second, you’ll prepare and plan to start your own business (if you don’t have one already).

Third, you’ll cut spending and prepare to invest.

Finally, you’ll educate yourself about the real estate market in your area.

Year One Investment Net Worth: Zero

Year Two: Focus On Your Business, Dip Your Toe In Real Estate

If everything has gone right, you’ll have increased your income (and saved enough) to launch your own business with $25,000…

Or, if you already run a business, you can use that extra cash generated last year to advertise heavily on Facebook, hire a business coach, or employ staff to help you continue to grow.

I would also take $50,000 and dip your toe into real estate. If you can find a trustworthy partner to invest with, that’s great.

There’s no ‘universal prescription’ I can give you here about how to invest in real estate.

Should you get REITs?
Purchase a house in the outer suburbs of your city?
How about a a small apartment close to the centre?
What about commercial real estate?

Nobody can answer those questions for you.

If you’re going to become truly successful and hit that seven figures mark…

At some point you’ll want to sit down with an experienced financial planner who has extensive knowledge with real estate and work through these issues together.

For now, get to learning everything you can.

There’s no ‘universal plan’ that you can follow to start building your business, either…

If there was one that was guaranteed to get you to a two million dollar net worth, I’d give it to every person alive for free and take a 15% royalty.

(Actually, I’d take 50% and I think most people would be alright with that)

Right now, at this early stage of your journey, you want to continue to focus your education in the real estate world…

Continue to contribute at your place of work (if you’re employed)…

And develop your business. After a year of consistent study into one of those high-income skills, you should be seeing considerable growth and progress.

Year Two Investment Net Worth: $75,000
$50,000 in Real Estate
$25,000 in Business (assumed from revenue)

Year Three: Optimize & Expand

At this point – unless you’re being extraordinarily well-rewarded by your employer – you’re probably going to have to take that time spend working on someone else’s business and focus it on your own.

Your first (or original) business should be functioning and running well by now – well enough for you to pay yourself out of it’s profits.

If you can, I’d look at dedicating some of that revenue to hiring staff to take the work-load off your hands.

seven figures training image

Image of smart business people looking at their leader while he explaining something on whiteboard during seminar

If you can stomach it, I’d consider starting a second, more hands-off business model that doesn’t require as much of your time. You might consider partnering with someone else, or hiring exceptional people around you.

Check out our ultimate guide to hiring and building a 7-figure team here.

If you literally don’t know where you could start with finding time for a second business, you’ll find this article helpful.

At this point you’d also be well-served to look at using the leverage from your first investment property to purchase a second for around $75,000.

If you’re doing really well, I’d look at putting $25,000 into bonds.

Continue your study into the business models you’re creating and the real estate market – by now you’ll have achieved…

Year Three Investment Net Worth: $265,000
$140,000 in Real Estate (including appreciation)
$75,000 in Business 1 (assumed from revenue)
$25,000 in Business 2 (assumed from revenue)
$25,000 in Bonds

You may find yourself unwilling or unable to start a new business – in which case we’ll roll Business 2’s numbers into Business 1 from here onwards. If you want to double-down on something that’s already working, then you can.

Year Four: Leverage Superstars, Go Deep On Real Estate

If you haven’t yet, really consider quitting your day-job.

Your business has been running for several years now, and you’ve followed the advice on our guide about hiring superstars, now’s the time to let them shine.

If you haven’t trained them to take over a significant portion of the running of your business, now is the time.

Teach them how to build your business on social media with our guide here.

Instruct them to develop new ways to bring customers to your business such as with content marketing, or by improving your business’s ability to increase sales with better copywriting.

Once again, I’d advise you to go deep on real estate.

Take the profits from your business and reinvest $75,000 in real estate and $75,000 into bonds.

This might all sound like a lot of work – but Early To Rise was designed to help you live your perfect life by achieving more in less time…

So go through our old archives – you’ll find hundreds of articles about time management, productivity, leadership and delegating that can help you through any struggle.

If things are tracking well and you’re working hard you could be here:

Year Four Investment Net Worth: $775,000
$370,000 in Real Estate (including appreciation)
$225,000 in Business 1 (assumed from revenue)
$75,000 in Business 2 (assumed from revenue)
$105,000 in Bonds

Year Five: Perfect Your Processes

By this point you’re running your own business, building a healthy property portfolio and achieving serious momentum.

While this article is meant to be a purely hypothetical analysis of how you might build a net worth of seven figures quickly, you can probably cut yourself some slack and increase your personal income from your businesses.

At this point my recommendation would be to perfect the processes that you’ve got running in your business (or businesses).

seven figures business image

You want to be maximising the return on your investments of time and energy in everything you do in your business.

We have a list of 8 proven tactics to generate new customers fast here that you could use as a framework.

Here’s an article I wrote to help you come up with ideas for building new products or generating customer-acquisition strategies to boost your revenue fast.

… And, as always, we’re going to divert profits from your business to real estate and bonds – to the tune of around $150,000 for real estate and $75,000 for bonds.

Here’s where we are at:

Year Five Investment Net Worth: $1,440,000
$600,000 in Real Estate (including appreciation)
$500,000 in Business 1 (assumed from revenue)
$150,000 in Business 2 (assumed from revenue)
$190,000 in Bonds

Year Six: Automate Your Businesses

Our original goal for this article was a net worth of multiple seven figures that pays you income without needing to work – built in 7 years.

At this point you’ve got a healthy real estate income from your investment properties, and your business/businesses are booming.

My suggestion – if it’s applicable to your goals – would be to consider hiring staff to automate as much of your business as possible.

Ideally, we’d look to sell it at the end of this process – but that may an option depending on the type of revenue model you’re following.

Regardless, you should be investing heavily in real estate and bonds again – while keeping one eye on growing your team of superstars in your business while your responsibilities and workload increase.

It’s REALLY hard to juggle all the pieces of our seven figures jigsaw puzzle by yourself – your team allows you to spread the workload and bring in new skills and ideas along the way.

Your numbers at the end of this year might look like this:

Year Six Investment Net Worth: $2,200,000
$1,000,000 in Real Estate (including appreciation)
$750,000 in Business 1 (assumed from revenue)
$200,000 in Business 2 (assumed from revenue)
$250,000 in Bonds

Year Seven: The ‘Big Admission’

Yes – we reached seven figures in six years. So shoot me.

Half of my numbers might even be wrong.

Here’s my admission of guilt:

This is a purely hypothetical exercise designed to show you the potential in following the right strategy as an entrepreneur who is solely focussed on the important goal of increasing net worth.

Year Seven is here – totally blank – to represent possibility…

seven figures potential image

Both the good kind of possibility (that your businesses might grow much faster than we expect, or your property explodes in value) and you crush your goals with incredible accuracy…

And the bad kind – like economic crashes, legal problems in your business, unexpected tax changes (by the way, here’s our guide to setting up your 401(k) for this exact reason)…

Who knows what could happen next.

The point is this: Pick a proven strategy – mine would be building a business and investing in property.

Stick to it, delay gratification, work on your skills and expertise, be sure to play the long game.

You may have to work incredibly hard in the first few years without much to show for it, but in the long run if you follow expert advice and continue to develop and educate yourself…

Anything is possible – even building a personal net worth of seven figures in seven years.

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.