The 17 Essential Habits of Self-Made Millionaires - Passive Income MD
The Essential Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

The 17 Essential Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

February 7, 2024 • 10 Min Read

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A study by Fidelity Investments recently reported that 88% of millionaires are “self-made”, meaning that they did not inherit their capital.

What separates the dreamers from the doers? What turns aspirations into realities? The answer isn't working harder; it’s about working smarter. Today, we look at the habits of self-made millionaires.

Self-made millionaires are masters of smart work. They don’t chase success; they build it into their everyday routines. The sum of these daily habits becomes the powerful catalyst for change in both their personal and professional lives. They optimize productivity, fine-tune mindset, and open doors to life-changing opportunities. 

So what are these habits? They’ve been identified by Thomas C. Corely, in his book Change Your Habit, Change Your Life. It’s based on five years of meticulous research and interviews with 177 self-made millionaires, offering the reader a rare glimpse into the routines and thought processes that pave the way to exceptional success

When I read this book, I started thinking: What millionaire habits have I naturally embraced, and what have I worked on adding into my lifestyle? As you read through each habit, my hope is that you ask yourself a similar question. Look to integrate the following habits into your daily life to transform how you approach wealth, work, and wellbeing. 

Use these habits to set yourself on the path of financial freedom and beyond. 

Table of Contents

The Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

1. Consistent Reading

Reading daily, even for 20-30 minutes each day, can be a game-changer. It helps you learn new skills and keeps your mind sharp. It’s reported that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reads around 50 books each year. An important caveat is to emphasize educational material over entertainment reading. Your education could pay dividends—literally. 

2. Regular Exercise

Becoming a millionaire takes a tremendous amount of energy, which means that the importance of physical activity, especially cardio, is essential to maintain mental sharpness. 

Most highly successful people spend 30-50 minutes each morning with a highly specialized workout routine to meet their needs. It could be the so-called Spartacus Workout, a session on the Peloton, or even something less strenuous like a treadmill. Most successful people also integrate movement into their daily work, taking meetings while walking instead of in an office.  

3. Surround Yourself With Success

You never want to be the smartest person in the room because if you are, there’ll be nothing for you to learn. Choosing instead to surround yourself with other successful people will allow you the opportunity to learn from them and grow and is essential on the pathway to success.

If you’re looking for a successful community, consider the Leverage & Growth Accelerator Community here at Passive Income MD, a group of like-minded individuals working toward financial freedom. 

4. Commitment to Volunteering

Speaking of community, volunteering and contributing to the community can lead to personal growth. When people volunteer on a regular basis, they tend to have a healthier and more motivated outlook on their future and more willing to take the steps to get there. 

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5. Practice Dream Setting

What is Dream Setting? It’s the process of scripting an ideal future by setting realistic goals. 

Here’s how it works. Imagine a specific time in your future (for example, five or ten years). In 1,000 words or less, start to describe what your dream life looks like. When you’re done, make a list of realistic, actionable steps you would need to take for this ideal scenario to come true. Then, carry out those actions!

6. Pursue Personal Goals

Most people set and pursue goals, but the difference with self-made millionaires is that they pursue their goals in a highly specific way. There are all kinds of goal-setting strategies out there, but I prefer SMART Goals.

Using SMART Goals is the process of refining your goals so that they are clearer and, therefore, more attainable. For each goal you have, clarify it using the SMART acronym: make it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you understand how long a goal will take to achieve, and what it will take to achieve it.

7. Get Adequate Sleep

We approach our work best when we’re well-rested. That means, for most people, getting at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimal energy and performance. Make sure your sleep is uninterrupted and allows your brain to recharge from the day. 

8. Wake Up Early

Tied to adequate sleep is waking up early in the morning. For self-made millionaires, it contributes to their success by giving them extra time to work and accomplish tasks uninterrupted. Most successful people wake up somewhere between 4 to 6 a.m. to get the full benefits. 

9. Generate Multiple Sources of Income

Self-made millionaires know that you shouldn’t have to work more hours to make more money. In other words, they don’t work for an hourly wage or annual salary. Instead, they set up multiple streams of passive income. Not only does this strategy have the potential to increase their total income; it also protects them if one of those streams runs dry. 

There are many ways to generate new sources of income, from passive real estate to entrepreneurship.

Join our many communities to find out more

10. Find and Consult Mentors

Leveraging mentors is crucial for accelerating one’s success. Mentors provide valuable information and resources, encouragement, as well as support both professionally and personally. Most mentors get where they are by being supported by their own mentors and are happy to pay it forward. 

11. Help Others Succeed

Be generous to your community. Giving back and helping others on the path to success is important. It signals that you can build strong relationships and you'll also likely learn new skills and knowledge, feel a greater sense of purpose, and increase your network of like-minded individuals while you’re doing it.

12. Stay Positive

It’s well known that a positive attitude can influence outcomes. It has to be practiced to become a habit; wealth does not automatically generate happiness and positivity. In fact, studies show that people with a net worth of $75,000 and above have similar happiness levels. That means we need to find ways to be intentionally positive in order to approach our daily routine with thoughtful clarity. 

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13. Don’t Conform

When self-made millionaires invest or run their businesses, they tend to think independently and avoid following the herd. There are so many examples, but think of Michael Burry, the investor who short-sold the housing market just before the 2008 crash. He was virtually the only person who didn’t conform to the thinking at the time, and it paid off nicely for him.

14. Practice Good Etiquette 

When you conduct yourself with good manners—good etiquette that demonstrates you are polite, respectful, and considerate—you are more likely to build strong relationships, make a good impression, and open doors to opportunities that would otherwise be closed. 

15. Spend Time Each Day in Thought

Dedicate time each day for reflection and thought. Make it focused and intentional, not random. Taking time to sharpen your mental acuity is essential for success, and intentional reflection does this. Most self-made millionaires would not be where they are today without this practice. 

16. Seek Feedback

Most people view the word “criticism” as negative. Successful people know that it’s essential. Constructive criticism and feedback mean one vitally important thing when heard and implemented: continuous improvement. Without feedback, we can’t get better. So ask for feedback, reflect on it, and implement the changes necessary to improve.

17. Be Resilient 

Some studies claim that resilience and perseverance are the two most shared traits among self-made millionaires. No matter what critics say, no matter the scope of the failures, successful people continue to pursue their goals, seeing any obstacles as just that: challenges to overcome

A Call to Action

I hope you feel as inspired as I do. Each habit can be a stepping stone towards not just financial abundance, but a richer, more fulfilling life. Don’t forget, these habits are not about building wealth but developing a growth mindset. The idea of the self-made millionaire is a fairly outdated concept. In my opinion, it is our habits for growth, knowledge-building, and persistence that bring our dreams of millionaire or billionaire status to fruition. Build resilience and positivity as your foundational state of being. 

Which self-made millionaire habit resonated with you the most? Which can you see yourself integrating into your daily routine? It might take some work, but try to add one at a time until you’ve done them all. Remember, the path to success isn’t about overnight changes. It’s about making small, consistent improvements. 

And if you’re looking for a community that supports and encourages these habits, consider joining like-minded individuals at one of our many conferences or at the Passive Real Estate Academy. There, you’ll find resources and mentorship to help you on your journey of personal and professional growth. It’s a space where your ambitions are understood, your efforts applauded, and your big ideas are supported. 

Never forget this: Your habits shape your future. So, start shaping the future you want today! We here at Passive Income MD hope to support and empower you along the way. 

Peter Kim, MD is the founder of Passive Income MD, the creator of Passive Real Estate Academy, and offers weekly education through his Monday podcast, the Passive Income MD Podcast. Join our community at the Passive Income Doc Facebook Group.

Further Reading

Disclaimer: The topic presented in this article is provided as general information and for educational purposes. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking action, consult with your team of professionals.

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