Sure, it would be nice to have a private jet to take you from your Emirates Hills mansion to your summer home in Lake Como (next to George Clooney, naturally). We all have daydreams like this, but for some lucky and determined few, it is a reality due to years of hard work that resulted in material gain. Want to know how you can turn a million-dollar idea into... well... millions of dollars? Here is VIVA’s guide.
Don’t be afraid to fail
If you have a business idea that is well researched and fills a gap in the market, try to make it a reality. Learn from Sara Blakely, the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, who hit so many hurdles before her world-famous Spanx became a household name for every single woman on the planet, including celebrities. “My dad encouraged us to fail – growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week and if we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed,” she has said. “It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying.”
There will never be a “right” time
J.K. Rowling started the Harry Potter series at a time when she was living off state benefits in the U.K., dealing with divorce, and her mother’s death. It was during this bleak seven year period that she wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, publishing it in 1997 and following it with a slew of books that have gained her global recognition, won awards, and sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. Her books have become the best-selling in history and the films made about the books have become the highest grossing of all time. As for J.K. Rowling? She is consistently ranked as one of Britain’s richest women and a Forbes ranking put her earnings at a cool 560 million pounds. “I was set free because my greatest fears had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea,” she said. “And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Become an expert
In order to make the most out of any opportunity, you need to become an expert. Australian billionaire Georgina Rinehart, worth an estimated $17 billion, is a mining magnate credited with being the richest woman in the Asia-Pacific region. She knows every little detail about the mining industry, which is why she has risen to the top. “My father began to teach me about business when I was about 12 years old, when he first took me camping at the Kimberleys to actually see the iron ore country, appreciate its vastness, its importance, and to teach me about minerals,” she said. “He’s still teaching me, and the more I am with him, the more I learn.”
Build a brand
Marketing is key to getting your unique product or idea into the limelight... or at least, into people’s minds so they feel they can’t live without it. Spend time and effort into building a reputation for your brand. Miuccia Prada and her husband run the eponymous fashion house that is worth over $12.4 billion today. The atelier is showing no signs of slowing down, with recently opened stores in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. “Fashion fosters cliches of beauty, but I want to tear them apart,” she said. “I want to make clothes that are beautiful, of course, but also clothes that are interesting and considered and intelligent.”
Learn about money
To take control of your financial life, you must learn money lingo. Does your mind switch off when you hear about stocks, bonds, and retirement options? Maybe this will inspire you to perk up the next time dinner conversation turns to money markets: Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs, has earned the title of wealthiest woman in Silicon Valley thanks to her understanding of stock markets. Her $10.7 billion net worth includes being the single largest shareholder of Walt Disney Co. shares that are worth double those of Apple shares left to her by her late husband. “My relationship with money is that it is a tool to be self-sufficient,” she said.
Work really, really hard
The richest woman in Spain, Rosalia Mera, dropped out of school at age 11 to become a seamstress. She continued along this line of work when she married a tailor and helped him make dressing gowns in their home. They eventually built one of the world’s most successful retailers, Inditex, which owns Zara stores globally. Rosalia Mera is worth about $6 billion.
Colombian stunner Sofia Vergara was discovered by a photographer while she was walking along a beach in her native country and before long, she was shooting commercials, TV shows, and eventually films that have made her one of the most successful, award-winning actresses in the world. She has a net worth of about $25 million, largely thanks to her recurring role as the sassy Gloria in Modern Family. “I think it would be ungrateful if I were upset because I’m seen as attractive, it’s opened so many doors for me in my life,” she has said in the past. “I didn’t want to be an actress, I studied to be a dentist, but you never know what life will bring you.”
Embrace your passion
Is there a cause or an idea that you keep thinking about, that excites you and wouldn’t feel like “work” if it was your job? That’s probably your calling. Oprah, the queen of television, was initially told that she was too emotional and passionate to have a successful career in broadcast journalism. It’s a good thing she followed her heart, because The Oprah Winfrey Show went on to become the highest-rated talk show program in history, making its star America’s only black billionaire. “Passion is energy,” she said. “Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”