The world had 937 billionaires to its credit in 2010, according to Forbes. That’s a pretty small club, and you have to imagine that the top 10 richest people would have a few things in common, besides their wealth that is. In fact, they do.
Some people may tell you that extreme wealth is a matter of hard work, determination, education, opportunity, and a little bit of luck. While all that may be true, I have read about and studied many of the top richest people and how they reached that elite club and found, becoming a self-made billionaire may be anything but a random set of circumstances.
A study, which focused on commonalities of self-made top 10 richest people on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans, found that a significant percentage of them had these five traits in common:
Seven of the Top 10 richest people from Forbes’ 2010 list are self-made. Most entrepreneurs have skill sets to offer products & services we need to buy. While a degree definitely helps, many of the most successful entrepreneurs have no degree, including legendary adman David Ogilvy and David Oreck, whose name you may recognize on your vacuum cleaner. The “street-smart” entrepreneur have a dream for success too. Apparently getting rich is not about education but, specialized knowledge.
Being frugal can mean anything from clipping coupons to questioning the purchase of a brand new expensive piece of business equipment vs used equipment. Being frugal is not about being cheap. Frugality is about being smart with your money. In the mind of a billionaire, there is no sense in wasting money if you can prevent it. Billionaires focus on value received from the money spent and normally do not make spending decisions based on emotions or impulse.
The vision of a thousand-aire is different from the vision of a millionaire, just as a millionaire’s vision is different from a billionaire. Vision is mainly based on foresight. Most billionaires have a vision of what they think the world will be like in the future – and how they can capitalize on it. Look at Sergey Brin and Larry Page, cofounders of Google. The two saw the possibilities for the World Wide Web as an instrument for opening up the world of information to people, so they started a business, Google, based on a supreme search engine that would help this vision turn reality.
The top 10 richest people also have a seemingly ravenous appetite for risk. But they are calculated risk. Risk taking is an integral part of business and life, but so few people know how to manage it properly. Most view taking risk as typically a fast-moving, imperfect, and make-it-up-as-you-go process, no matter how well planned or implemented. When calculated risk are taken, most billionaires tend to have a keen sense of the outcome before hand, or at least have a low probability of failure.
Not only do the top richest people tend to be able to pounce when the moment’s right, they also make patience a habit. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com in 1994, didn’t turn a profit until 7 years later in fourth quarter of 2001. That goes to show, a good seed that is sown on Monday does not bear bountiful fruit to harvest on Tuesday. After all, sometimes it takes a while for a good idea to pay off.
These are the top 5 common traits of self-made top 10 richest people. If you took inventory of yourself, how many of these traits fit you? If you posses all five you at least have a few pieces of the inner wealth puzzle within you.