If you simply can't wait to get a taste of the high life, consider fractional living. Using this relatively new practice, people are sharing ownership of luxury items -- homes, artwork, handbags, yachts, airplanes, cars -- with as many people as it takes to afford the goods. By sharing the cost, they're able to use the items without footing the impossible costs of (solely) owning them [source: Boggan].
Starting a Business
Are you an entrepreneur? Are you willing to put in the time and effort to build your own business? More importantly, do you have a great idea for a business? The majority of self-made millionaires gained their financial freedom, not just from one great business idea, but from several businesses that produced income streams.
Take Georgia kindergarten teacher Deanna Jump, for example. Jump relied on her income as a kindergarten teacher, along with her teacher-husband's income, yet struggled to support their family of five. So she turned to another income stream -- one that made her a millionaire.
Jump began selling lesson plans to other educators on Teacherspayteachers.com in 2008. After a less-than-stellar first year in which she made about $300, Jump began to see her profits soar. By September 2012, she had sold more than 161,000 copies at $5 to $8 each, turning her part-time business into a lucrative one. Jump attributed some of her success to her blog which alerted readers any time she had a new lesson plan [source: Winter].
Often, the secret is to find an unfilled niche just as Jump did. If you're not sure what kind of business you might want to start, do some research, network, ask questions and take notes. Look for needs that aren't being fulfilled. You may even design a product to meet a need, patent it and then license it to someone else to manufacture and sell. The most important thing is the idea -- and the willingness to take action on it.
Keep in mind, though, your big pay-off doesn't always need to come from a new product or even a new business. You might find a new way to use an old product, like using materials that are typically discarded in a new way. Or, maybe you've noticed a location that could really use a certain type of store, and maybe there's an opportunity for a franchise.
In the next section, we'll learn about other successful millionaires.