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5 Self-Made Millionaires and Productivity: What’s Their Secret?

Self-Made Millionaires - What's Their Secret?

If you have a career goal, you might face obstacles trying to achieve it. Productivity can falter as you enter a dog-eat-dog world. At your low points, it’s important to remember success is achievable and others have done it before.

It’s hard to become a self-made millionaire or billionaire, especially when so many try. So what is the secret of rich people? Does it come down to luck? 

Successful entrepreneurs can stay productive through their struggles. Here are the secrets five millionaires learned along the way.

1. Warren Buffet 

As the founder of real estate giant Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet knows a thing or two about productivity. He worked his way up to a million dollars and continued growing his funds. As of 2023, Buffet’s net worth stands at more than $100 billion.

Buffet’s Secrets

Buffet has shared many tips and tricks throughout his career on staying productive. He suggests saying no to the near opportunity that comes your way. It’s not about grabbing at any string that gets you recognition but saving your “yes’s for things you’re passionate about and advancing your career goals. You will have more time to focus on the things that matter.

He also says playing the long game is worth it. Do not expect success to come all at once — sometimes, it can take years to get off the ground. According to, Buffet, every little step to success is worth it. He recommends motivating yourself to stay productive by surrounding yourself with people ahead of you in their success. If they can do it, so can you.

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2. Diane Hendricks 

After her husband and business partner passed, Diane Hendricks carried on ABC Roofing to become one of the United States’ top self-made women billionaires. Her net worth currently stands at $13.9 billion.

Hendricks’ Secrets

She recommends that any entrepreneur ensures their goal is what they truly want. It takes a lot to get started, and Hendricks says it’s crucial to know what you want before planning. Without it, you could slowly lose interest, decreasing productivity until you’re back at square one.

Hendricks also recommended you accept that your plan might go differently than you think. While you need a clear goal you’re passionate about, life happens. Just because something doesn’t go your way doesn’t mean you should give up. Learning to overcome obstacles is part of being successful. A final tip from Hendricks — create a work-life balance. Wealthy people often deal with heart issues due to increased blood pressure, so finding unique ways to beat this leading cause of death is essential.

3. Barbara Corcoran

A famous face on Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran sits at the end of a rocky road to success. In her own words, she was a “straight D student” in high school and worked “20 jobs by the time [she] turned 23.”

She borrowed $1000 to start The Corcoran Group, a real estate company she sold in 2001 for $66 million. She’s since partnered with young entrepreneurs in various business ventures, leading her to a 2023 net worth of $100 million.

Corcoran’s Secrets

Corcoran says one of her best pieces of advice is to take inspiration from the things around you. In an interview with Inc, she said she once took a color coding system from an airport she was in. You might surprise yourself with your progress by keeping your eyes and mind open.

Other tips Corcoran shared include not self-sabotaging. Believing in yourself goes a long way in staying productive and becoming successful. Also, trust your intuition when making business decisions. Your gut can tell you a lot.

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4. Janice Bryant Howroyd

Being the first black woman to build and own a billion-dollar company, Janice Bryant Howroyd knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. She founded the largest privately-held personnel company owned by minority women. She began and now serves as chief executive officer of The ActOne Group based in Beverly Hills.

Since starting the company in 1978, she’s continued her entrepreneurship and is also an author. Her current net worth is over $400 million.

Howroyd’s Advice 

When asked for advice, Howroyd told aspiring businesspeople always to be where they say they will be. Part of staying productive is staying reliable for the people who help make your dreams a reality. Being where you say you will be is a large part of staying productive.

Howroyd also stresses the importance of direct communication. Do not try to handle all your communication virtually, as face-to-face conversations go a long way to ensure everyone stays on the same page. She also says it’s essential to ask questions when you’re unsure which route to take. Many aspiring entrepreneurs need to do some sleuthing when starting and growing their businesses.

5. Jonathan Ruggiero and Michelle Luchese

This husband and wife duo fell in love online and used their passions to create Manly Bands, which makes rings with a masculine appearance. Named one of the fastest-growing startups in 2021, Ruggiero and Luchese’s company has an estimated value of more than $25 million.

Their Secrets

Ruggiero says entrepreneurs are only as good as those around them. You feed off the energy and knowledge of the people you surround yourself with, so you need mentors and a reliable team to have your back and stay productive. He also says it's important to take risks. When they began their company, the couple didn’t have other financial options, which pushed them to stay productive.

Luchese advises entrepreneurs to put themselves first. Focusing on who you want to be instead of who the world wants you to be can drive you to work towards your passions. Knowing your desires can create a plan to nurture you and your business, pushing both forward. 

What Is the Secret to Being a Millionaire?

Dreams and hard work can go a long way toward being a successful business owner. By learning the secrets of those who came before you, you can equip yourself with the tools that provide the best possible shot at achieving your goals.

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