Graduation Tip: How To Make $1,000,000/Year

What you need to know about making more money

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I was speaking to a group of college students recently about career planning. I asked them what they wanted out of their careers. They started shouting out things like:

Fun
Fulfillment
Satisfaction
Growth
Prestige
Money

That last one made everyone giggle. One student chimed in and said, "Ya, I want to make a million dollars in a year. How do I do that?" Instead of jumping into a long, boring rant about what it takes to be successful. I said, "Good question. Let's figure it out right now."

I Did The Math

I started by dividing $1,000,000 by 50 weeks. (I took out two weeks for vacation.) I came up with $20,000/week. "Wow," said the students, in a slightly intense tone.

I kept going.

Next, I took that $20,000 and divided it by five days - the number of days in a typical work week. The result was $4,000/day. The room got silent.

I moved on.

Finally, I took the $4,000/day and divided it by eight hours - the typical work day. The final number was $500/hour. Their faces went blank.

Then, I said this:

All you need to do is figure out what skills you possess that companies are willing to pay you $500/hour for all year long and you'll make $1,000,000. It's that easy.

You could hear a pin drop in the room.

The Math Was A Downer

The defeated looks on their faces told me my math wasn't impressing them. But rather, depressing them. So, I decided to turn things around by saying this:

What if, instead of asking, "How do I make $1,000,000 year?" You ask, "How do I identify the strengths I'll need to leverage and skills I'll need to develop to earn $500/hour?" The sooner you start looking at yourself as a business-of-one, the better.

The reference to being a business owner perked them up since most students love the idea of being the boss. And, the good news is, they are! In fact, we all are. I went on to spend the next 20 minutes explaining to them the following:

We Are All Businesses-of-One With Uncapped Earning Potential

We live in a country where we are free to develop our skills to the point we can charge what the market will bear. Unfortunately, many people don't think of themselves that way. They don't grow their businesses-of-one to the point they can command higher rates. Some people will immediately challenge this and say, "I can't earn more. I don't have___," citing their lack of a degree, living situation, current responsibilities, etc. as the reason their income is capped. Yet, I can point to plenty of people who came from the toughest of circumstances and now earn millions of dollars. The truth is, like it or not, we all have the potential to earn more.

Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness (Plus, The Potential to Earn More)

Our country's motto uses the word "pursuit" in the same way I am referencing "potential" when it comes to our earnings. We have the right, but it's up to us to use it.

I'm happy to say the students were all smiling when they left the room that day. You could see the wheels turning in their heads. The light bulb had gone off. Earning a million dollars per year was possible after all. They just needed to find what skill their businesses-of-one needed to develop to get them there. (I also sent them here to watch a video on the #1 fastest way to get a job after college.)

P.S - It Doesn't Have to Be $1,000,000 - But, Could You Be Earning More?

The point of this post isn't that everyone should strive to earn a million dollars. Instead, I hope people ponder ways in which they can take control and earn more in general. I realize discrimination exists, but it shouldn't make you give up on trying to earn more if you really want to. If you struggle to find ways to improve your earnings, seek some advice from a person with the career success you admire. Modeling yourself after people you respect makes a difference. The ability to earn more starts with you believing it is possible, and ends with you doing whatever it takes to make your dream a reality.

P.P.S. - If you found this helpful, you might also want to read this AOL article on why a college degree isn't enough to get a job.

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14 Comments

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utjimw

If you earn the $1000000 by working you will be taxed 40% -35%. If you earn it investing 15%

May 20 2014 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jc

MAKING ANY AMOUNT YOU WISH IS EASY.KEEPING IT IS THE PROBLEM!!!!!

April 25 2014 at 2:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rpotter161

Did I miss the bit about taxes?

April 24 2014 at 10:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dz

well that was pointless

April 24 2014 at 9:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Tris

"We live in a country where we are free to develop our skills to the point we can charge what the market will bear."

False, we live in a country where we pay money to develop our skills to the point that we can hope the market will consider investing an amount congruent with said skills, then lop off about half of that.

April 24 2014 at 5:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Go ahead, make $1 million. Don't let the Treasury Dept find out. They frown on forgery.

April 24 2014 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dwtomczyk

make 1m a yr. robbing banks

April 24 2014 at 4:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dollibug

Some people have LOTS OF LUCK and might become RICH....the majority of people though will probably have a *normal life making a normal living*....it TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY and lots of it. Most of the Hollywood people who make *millions* have relatives which did so as well. Sad but this is how it goes....whether we like it or not. And I think we all know that *money is not everything and money does NOT bring happiness*.

April 24 2014 at 4:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dollibug's comment
jspdrcrmach5

Yes,
You only become rich by being lucky, not through hard work. That's why the only way People ever become rich is by winning the Lottery or becoming a Celebrity.
No one ever goes into Business gets an Education or develops a Product, it's all done by Magic.

April 25 2014 at 1:14 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
ohmsub

Wait! You were speaking with a group of college students and you had to walk them through the simple math to calculate what $1 million/year converts to per hour?

I don't think anyone in that group will have to worry about making $1 million/year

April 24 2014 at 2:32 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
louierey

This is ludicrous. This reminds me of a bit in a standup routine by Steve Martin well over 30 years ago when he was still doing standup. He said, "I can tell you how to make a million dollars in the stock market. First, you start off with $2 million and . . ."

April 24 2014 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to louierey's comment
Judith

True!

April 24 2014 at 6:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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