The Education of Millionaires – Michael Ellsworth


In a world where college dropouts are millionaires, billionaires, and working their dream jobs remotely, practical skills trump academic skills. When stakes are on the line, real world experience is key. Here are the 7 skills that you’ll need, not degrees from colleges or formal credentials, to thrive in this day and age.

SUCCESS SKILL #1: How to Make Your Work Meaningful and Your Meaning Work (or, How to Make a Difference in the World Without Going Broke)

The bigger the impact you want to make on the world or in your chosen field—the bolder your purpose is—the greater the risks you’re going to have to take. Which means, the greater the chance that you’ll end up making no impact at all. Other than the impact of your ass hitting the floor and failing at your purpose.

“Keeping your options open” is an illusion. Regrets largely center around things they didn’t do, not things they did do.

You need to capture what you do, identify it, and codify it, so it can be taught to many, many people. First teach it to a team, and then beyond.

“The very best things you can do when starting a new business,” Josh told me, “are, “number one, keep your overhead as low as possible, and number two, make sure you’re getting recurring revenue as quickly as possible.” Also iterate quickly – get as many at-bats as you can, even if that means going from small biz to small biz and failing.

SUCCESS SKILL #2: How to Find Great Mentors and Teachers, Connect with Powerful and Influential People, and Build a World-Class Network

Find exceptional people and surround yourself with them.

Sell them what they want, and give them what they need.” It’s like those enterprising churches that, instead of “preaching to the converted,” bring in rock bands and cage fighting matches to lure hormonal teenagers to church and then give them a dose of spirituality and uplift along with it.

Build your connection capital – perform tasks for people whom you look up to. (Tribe)

2 important questions:

  1. What’s most exciting for you right now in your life/ business?
  2. What’s challenging for you in your life/business right now?

To get value, give value. You can have anything you want in life if you will just help other people get what they want.

It’s hard to help poor people when you’re one of them. It’s difficult to be generous when you’re hungry. Yet being generous keeps you from going hungry. Do so by telling people stories about how their advice helped you. Also, know that 10% of $1 million as a tithe is more than 10% of $50,000.

SUCCESS SKILL #3: What Every Successful Person Needs to Know About Marketing, and How to Teach Yourself

You’re not going to create anything better for yourself unless you make a fundamental shift: from viewing yourself as a passive follower of paths other people set for you, to actively taking responsibility for creating your own path toward success, however you define it.

Whatever business you’re in, however large or small, and whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur—you need to become a lifelong student of marketing. Period.

Sean Parker said, “The people who are most successful, they had a problem that was gnawing at them, and they couldn’t be comfortable unless they did something to solve that problem. It was so clear to them that they needed to do this thing, that every minute they weren’t doing it, they were unhappy. It was about an outcome in the world, more than some romantic notion of making it big as an entrepreneur. It was about solving a problem.”

There is no skill, and I mean no skill at all, more highly prized by potential employers than a demonstrated ability to bring in new business. Learn to be a rainmaker.

When you’re communicating with a marketing message, you need to get inside the heads of your prospects, figure out what matters most to them in their lives, and talk to them about that, not about what you want to sell them.

Ultimately, marketing is all about listening. If you don’t listen and you don’t care, you’ll never be a good marketer: 1. Marketing (getting people to know you) 2. Sales 3. Leadership.

SUCCESS SKILL #4: What Every Successful Person Needs to Know About Sales, and How to Teach Yourself

Learn how to fail faster. In addition to becoming awesome at your craft, become awesome at the skill of success.

Sales boiled down is: “Hey, what do you really want? What matters to you? Well, this is my ability to provide that. Does that seem like a match to you?” Get to the clients most deep needs and desires.

Leadership boils down to the ability to change the hearts and minds of people.

SUCCESS SKILL #5: How to Invest for Success (The Art of Bootstrapping)

You need to have some kind of experience where you learn to overcome rejection and don’t let it get you down.

Bootstrapping involves getting to the point of profitability as quickly as possible—even if the profits are small—and then continually reinvesting profits to fuel growth.

andragogy is the theory and practice of education of adults. Adults learn by doing and solving problems. Life-long learning. Continual reading.

SUCCESS SKILL #6: Build the Brand of You (or, To Hell with Resumes!)

Your brand is what people think about when they hear your name.

Let’s say you got into Harvard and didn’t go. That’s a better story than you got into Harvard and you did go. And a much cheaper story.

Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for . . . those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.

Even if you work for another company or are building a company totally separate from your own identity, you should separately and simultaneously build up your online brand around you as a person, not around a concept, a company, or a niche.

Remember that all luxury brands today (Mercedes-Benz, Louis Vuitton) are people’s names.

When you find a job that you find saying “That’d be nice to have” for comfort, salary, or benefits, don’t do it. It’s the wrong path.

SUCCESS SKILL #7: The Entrepreneurial Mindset versus the Employee Mindset: Become the Author of Your Own Life”

Don’t go into another business industry thinking the grass is greener on the other side. What you need to do, young man is learn fundamental business skills. Because once you do, you can apply those to any industry. But until you learn how to make a business work, it doesn’t matter what industry you go into, you’re still going to fail at it.

There are two decisions you need to come to in order to be free and to be more effective. First is that you are not entitled to anything in the world until you create value for another human being first. Second, you are 100 percent responsible for producing results. No one else. If you adopt those two views, you will go far.

Find out what people in your organization need, and give them that service. That is the way entrepreneurs think—‘I’m going to fix the problem.

“A reasonable man adapts himself to his environment,” George Bernard Shaw tells us. “An unreasonable man persists in attempting to adapt his environment to suit himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

A startup needs to learn about the problem, the solution, who the customers are, the market, and getting all these pieces to fit together. An early-stage startup is a set of assumptions, and you need to test those assumptions systematically.

Tell me something that you think is true that very few people agree with.