How to make a million dollars in the next 3 years

You know what’s fun?

Money, aka fun coupons. Lot’s of em.

How to make a million dollars - Walter White


Our society is obsessed with millionaires, what it takes to become one, how millionaires spend their money, how their kids spend their money.

But do you know what’s more fun than just obsessing over millionaires? Working your ass off and earning that money yourself.

Like most people, I’ve always wanted to become a millionaire.

Unlike most people, I have also dedicated myself to making it happen.

Over the past 5 years I have been fortunate to be around some wildly successful individuals who have encouraged me to set a goal for myself and pursue it. They have been there to offer advice and mentorship along the way.

I have set a goal for myself and am steadily working towards it. Along the way I have learned a thing or two about what it is actually going to take to reach that goal.

How to make a million dollars - Lil Dicky


Want to know how to make a million dollars in the next three years? This is what it is going to take.

* Disclaimer: I am not a millionaire nor am I a finance, startup, tech or entrepreneurship expert. These are simply the observations I have made from interacting with, interviewing and spending time with people who have successfully made millions. Most of these observations come from those making money online. 

Think long term

You’re not going to make a million dollars overnight. Why did I choose three years instead of one? Because you’re not going to nail it your first time. It takes trial and error, repetition and pivoting.

The life of a self-made entrepreneur is extremely up and down and if you want to actually commit to making $1,000,000, you have to map out your plan. This is your roadmap and while it will most certainly be littered with pivots and turns, it is what will ultimately get you to your goal. Set goals for yourself each week, each month and each year.

Also, realize that making a million dollars is not that difficult. Don’t be realistic about what you are capable of and the the buzz around that word.

Commit and act

Hoping that someday you will become successful enough to make a million dollars is completely different than committing to it by actually holding yourself accountable.

Ever hear the story of how Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 before he was even close to making that amount of money? He wrote the check, then gave himself 3 years to earn it. He kept it in his wallet until he made $10,000,000 on the movie Dumb and Dumber.

Doing something like that ultimately means very little but what it represents is very important. You have to visualize, commit and then take action.

Lack of commitment is the most common reason people fail. I have seen this first hand. Everyone is looking for short-term results. But if you actually want to make $1,000,000 you’re going to not only have to commit but also take action. You’re going to have to put down that Forbes 30 under 30 list, the latest Tony Robbins book, your favorite motivational quotes and ACT.

How to make a million dollars


Truth be told, there is never a right time. You’ll never be fully prepared to get started. I fell into this trap. I have seen others do it as well. Planning and planning and planning and thinking and ideating.

Everything makes sense on paper until you actually execute and then it all goes out the window and you start over again. You might as well start NOW and begin the learning process. Nothing you read in a ‘how to book’ will make sense until you put it in action.

There is no substitute for trial and error.

Develop the prerequisite skills 

When it comes to making money, it’s not always about your product. I have learned that a lot of what goes into making serious money are the intangibles.

Game sense. Hustle. Social skills. Charisma. Awareness. Some of these are skills and character traits that you are either born with or you’re not, but some can be worked on and developed.

These are skillsets that allow you to execute effectively. I have been in sales the past 3 years and if there’s anything I’ve learned, its that personality and mindset are 80% of the game.

You have to develop your persona. You have to demand attention. Hold a conversation. Control a crowd. Get people interested in what you have to say.

How to make a million dollars - Kanye West

Why (when you have your product ready to sell) should someone buy from you? People buy relationships, so start creating those now. Not only that, but people buy personality. Work on your communication skills, your vocabulary and your knowledge of your chosen industry. Go so far as to work on your body, your looks, the way you dress. They all go hand in hand. Feel like a million bucks, make a million bucks.

Be smart

Now let’s talk about how you’re actually going to make this happen.

Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel.

Too many people have a vision in their heads that they’re going to raise VC money, quit their jobs, build their business, and then sit back and enjoy life. I hate to break it to you, but it barely works like that.

There are over 10,000,000 millionaires living in the United States at the moment. Do you think each one of them created life changing, proprietary, earth-shattering products or services? Heck no! They simply identified opportunity, built and improved on what has already been proven and then went at it with relentless hustle and ingenuity. The internet provides the opportunity to do this at almost unlimited scale.

How to make a million dollars - feet up


Don’t sit around hoping that one day your million dollar idea will come to you.

I find a lot of people thinking that to make a lot of money they have to sell a company they started, sell an app or simply make large amounts of money at one given time. By all means, shoot for the stars! But the reality is that making money in that fashion is an outlier result. To actually make your $1,000,000, slow and steady is going to win the race.

Here are the three keys I have observed in practice by those who are crushing it:

1. Pick something “boring” and consistent. I’m not saying boring in the sense that it doesn’t excite you or your potential customers. I say boring to mean that it is boring in its simplicity. Stop looking for the next big thing. Pick something that is proven and just do it a bit better.

From there, figure out what you should be selling it for. Figure out what it is going to take numerically to hit your goal.

To make $1,000,000 in 3 years (gross revenue), you only have to make $913/day. That’s it!

Here are a couple ways to arrive at $1,000,000. You have to sell:

100 items at $10,000 each

1,000 items at $1,000 each

10,000 items at $100 each

20,000 items at $50 each

A $100 product sounds pretty good. To make $1,000,000 you would have to sell 9 of those a day. That’s it!

I think this perspective is very important because it stresses the key behind this entire strategy. CONSISTENCY. All it takes is selling 9 items a day.

2. Use your own money to finance it. Don’t fall into the line of thinking that you need a ton of money and partners upfront to make your business work. I fell into this early on and went as far as almost raising capital for my first blog. I spent months working on raising money, developing business plans, thinking about partners, roles and responsibilities. Ultimately I discovered that this was all unnecessary. Bootstrap it yourself, rely on yourself and launch!

3. Figure out what it takes to get 1 sale. This is the most important rule.

Making a million is easier than most people think. The key is to identify your ‘profit centers.’

These are the areas of your business that drive revenue and are where you should focus the majority of your time. For most, marketing, promotion and sales are the core profit centers. Spend your time here, make it your strength and then outsource the other items that don’t drive sales and aren’t your strengths.

Once you figure out how much money it costs you to acquire your first customer or first sale, you’re off to the races and it all becomes a numbers game. Assuming you are able to get decent margins when acquiring customers you’ll spend your time here… optimizing and pivoting as necessary.

The most successful people I know have figured this out and understand that it takes money to make money. They spend tens of thousands of dollars a day and a week on Facebook and Instagram ads to acquire customers. They have figured out the return on these investments and it pushes them closer to a million each day.

4. Make Money While You Sleep

The best way to make money is to do it passively. The great thing about the internet is that it is quite simple to automate this process. Once you have your product and cost per acquisition locked down, it’s time to automate the process.

There are countless platforms and services dedicated to helping you automate your sales, marketing and customer service. Use them!

At this point, you’re probably wondering what are some examples of successful business models that can make you $1,000,000 in under three years. Below are some ideas, but keep in mind that you need to create your own based on what you are both passionate about and good at. If you’ve read any of my articles before you’ll recognize that I tend to lean towards online business models and e-commerce models. For first-time entrepreneurs and people looking for side-hustlers, I recommend starting this way.

Here are some ideas.

  • Self-publishing and distribute a book
  • Dropshipping
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Online products (ebooks, Guides, video courses, membership groups, etc.)
  • Consulting
  • Speaking
  • Media appearances
  • Writing opportunities.
  • Build an email list you can sell other products around

Now it’s time

My last piece of advice? If you’re going to set a monetary goal like make a million dollars, do it for the right reasons. I have seen entrepreneurs purely motivated by financial gain create absolute sh*t products that offer no value and do nothing to teach them any lessons. They ultimately fail (and look quite silly in the process I might add)

Going on Alibaba, slapping a logo on a little trinket and trying to sell it online simply because you might be able to squeeze some profit is not in-line with the above.

The above was written for driven people who want to create something derivative of their passion. They want to provide value.

If you want to make a million dollars on your own, you have to provide value.

Take your creativity and give it to others so that they can benefit from it. In return, you will be rewarded for your time and effort.

That is the hustle I want to be associated with and I hope you do too.

Photo: Lil Dickey