Friday, September 21, 2007

How to Become a Millionaire

"Who wants to be a millionaire?". Not just the title of a catchy tune and the name of an annoying game show but a question that is on every body's lips. At least "How to become a millionaire".

I was looking around a websites hits this weekend (obviously in the public data) to see what search terms were searched most frequently for the site to be hit. I felt a little sneaky doing so, it was like going through someones garbage, but in the interests of research I pulled on my virtual gloves and started delving. The site I refer to shall remain nameless but it is a well known personal finance site. The most frequent hit for the site was 'How to become a millionaire".

Casting aside Richard Branson's answer to the question which was "Start as a billionaire and buy an airline" I thought I would have a Friday afternoon 'dress down' post and share the webs wisdom on the subject. Many of our readers are no doubt well healed already so maybe the question should be "How to become a billionaire"

So dressed in my jeans and loud shirt here is the best web advice for the Wunderkind millionaires who want to move to the next level or those that are just starting out:

1. Moneycentral bored me to tears with such gems as "Keep your eyes peeled for better ways to do your job" and "Get your ducks in a row", however their remark on "Flex your tax savings muscles" makes sense.

In our post "How to get the UK Tax Man to buy you a jet" we talked about how the 'Monaco Boys' work in London and live in Monaco saving millions in the process which could be used to purchase your very own flying gin palace. This site might be useful if you are looking to take the plunge.

We have also discussed Switzerland and the comparative lifestyle/tax issues. We can recommend it, so can Michael Schumacher, Alonso, Jackie Stewart etc etc. If Switzerland is an option 'Switzerland is yours' is the site for you.

2. Warren Buffet has done OK, so some sagely advice from him never goes amiss. 'Dance with the one that brung ya' is not a Buffet saying but a philosophy attributed to him. Basically he is saying that once you have the winning formula investing wise (or in business) stick with it. Makes sense..

3. Virtually all of the billionaires that have interviews somewhere on the web say that they are information whores. They watch everything and are always looking for the next big thing. Obvious we know, but true. A site we like called Killer Start-Ups is somewhere that we look over for something juicy to invest in. Yes there is a ton of dross there but would you bet against the next YouTube appearing on the site? I wouldn't.

4. Start a Hedge Fund.. Appropriate for this site I think. We are in the process of putting a fund together with some partners so I would suggest investing in that as a good start... (no solicitation! - Compl)

Seriously, it seems that everyone is doing it. I even read that some fund got started somewhere because of the success of Borat the movie. It has since invested in the Die Hard Movie and some other stuff I will probably never watch but will do fantastically well.

The thing is, these days, if you have a knowledge of a particular market place or are well connected in a particular area, you don't have to be a trader to start a fund. The Huffington Post discusses how young MBA candidates were just not bothering with business school at all and just staying out in their highly paid hedge fund jobs. Who can blame them? Start your fund and recruit some hungry young grads!!

When looking for a company to discuss setting up a fund with we were pointing in the direction of International Financial Administration in the BVI. Small but perfectly formed. Go on.. you know it makes sense, there are only 9,500 other funds out there to compete with, at least there was last week...

5. Invent something. Also very obvious. However, here are some of the daftest ideas (courtesy of Madconomist) that made someone rich.

Million Dollar Homepage

1000000 pixels, charge a dollar per pixel – that’s perhaps the dumbest idea for online business anyone could have possible come up with. Still, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old who came up with the idea, is now a millionaire.


Hire another person to think of a cool domain name for you? No way people would pay for this. Actually, naming domain names for others turned out a thriving business, especially, when you make the entire process risk free. PickyDomains currently has a waiting list of people who want to PAY the service to come up with a snappy memorable domain name. PickyDomains is expected to hit six figures this year.


Create goggles for dogs and sell them online? Boy, this IS the dumbest idea for a business. How in the world did they manage to become millionaires and have shops all over the world with that one? Beyond me.

LaserMonks is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of Monroe County, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.


Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disaster idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported last year sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what military pays.


How would you like to go on a date with an HIV positive person? Paul Graves and Brandon Koechlin thought that someone would, so they created a dating site for HIV positive folks last year. Projected 2006 sales are $110,000, and the two hope to have 50,000 members by their two-year mark.

Designer Diaper Bags

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that's big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie's company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

OK, how’s that for a brilliant idea. Get a postal address at North Pole, Alaska, pretend you are Santa Claus and charge parents 10 bucks for every letter you send to their kids? Well, Byron Reese sent over 200000 letters since the start of the business in 2001, which makes him a couple million dollars richer.

Lucky Wishbone Co.

Fake wishbones. Now, this stupid idea is just destined to flop. Who in the world needs FAKE PLASTIC wishbones? A lot of people, it turns out. Now producing 30,000 wishbones daily (they retail for 3 bucks a pop) Ken Ahroni, the company founder, expects 2006 sales to reach $1 million.

If you are a budding inventor check out (the clockwork radio inventor) some years ago we were on the corporate finance team that helped him raise his initial funds.

We could go on and on but the Friday afternoon beverage is calling and its time to go. Happy hunting, or hedging, or inventing...see you Monday.

1 comment:

farouk said...

i think its clear now after reading this article that it doesnt really matter what are you going to sell, but how are you going to sell it