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How to make millions before you’re 30

If you’re insatiably ambitious and have a taste for capitalism’s favourite drug, then here’s some anecdotal advice from those who’ve made it, to show you what you’re probably doing wrong.

Drop out of school

Charles Saatchi and Richard Branson have two things in common. They made a million, or two, before they hit 30 and they never finished their education. A 15-year-old Branson was famously told by his headmaster that he would end up in prison or a millionaire, it was a risk he decided to take.

Winning is all that matters

Mark Zuckerberg built a technology empire by letting nothing stand in his way. Immortalised in film, his willingness to sacrifice his best friend and his Harvard degree in pursuit of his vision is a testament to the attitude required to make millions (or billions) before turning 30.

Go on holiday

The idea for Instagram’s now-famous filters came to founder Kevin Systrom on vacation in Mexico when his girlfriend jealously showed him a friend’s holiday snaps taken using filters that, at the time, were only used by professional photographers. Systrom coded them into his app to allow user’s photos to look as unique as those taken by professionals and Instagram was born. Maybe it’s time for you to take a break and get the creative juices flowing.

Don’t get stuck in a rut

Founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, advised students at MIT to carefully consider which circle of friends they hung out with and the effect their friends have on their potential for success. He went on to say that watching his friend Adam go from coding in his boxers because the air conditioning was broken to winning a $5 million investment from Sun Microsystems for his startup, in the summer after his graduation, gave him the “kick I needed. It was time for change.” The lesson: if you hang around winners, you’ll be a winner too.

Learn from the best, then go it alone

As a young copywriter, Charles Saatchi worked for a successful advertising agency in Soho but he bought his first Ferrari with the money he made by going it alone. At 25 he’d left his original firm, started up his own consultancy and launched an anti-smoking campaign that garnered national acclaim. Two years later he made the front pages again by starting the now gargantuan advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi. He may have taken risks, but he reaped the rewards.

Make money while you sleep

Whilst money never sleeps, the men that make it have to but that doesn’t mean they have to stop earning. For those that want to cash in before their 30th birthday, there are two important accelerators. Invest your money wisely, remember that a little bit of insider trading never hurt anyone and watch your net worth rocket. The other key to earning as you sleep is to grow your business and have people working for you.

Jack of all trades, master of one

Musicians, artists and sports stars make up the majority of those who hit six figures before they celebrate their milestone birthday. They all made their money by passionately pursuing a singular skill until they had surpassed all their peers. Putting aside the odd eccentric, most success stories have a number of strings to their bow to accompany their mastery of one skill – their ability to learn quickly and be a ‘jack of all trades’ accelerates the progression of their central talent.

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