11 Real-World Strategies to Make Your First $1 Million

Updated on: by Olivia

Thirty years or so ago, it seemed like only the most prestigious businesspeople made anywhere near $1 million. Now, social media influencers, YouTubers, and online coaches are making it happen for themselves with hard work and lots of persistence. Here are 11 ways you can also achieve the dream.I hear you’re looking to get paid one million dollars!

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That’s an awesome goal to have, but let’s face it – it’s not one that’s easy to achieve.

However, it’s also not even close to impossible.

The internet has opened a lot of doors for people from all walks of life to earn their first million dollars doing stuff that wouldn’t have been possible 20 to 30 years ago, like influencing on social media or selling online courses.

The sky’s the limit, but it’s good to know some realistic ways to get to your first million before you get started.

Can You Get 1 Million Dollars Fast?

Honestly, probably not unless you win it.

Making one million dollars isn’t something to sneeze at.

That’s a lot of money.

And most people who’ve earned that much will tell you that they’ve legitimately earned it through hard work and dedication.

Even investing money takes time and patience to build a nest egg worth one million dollars.

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Most of the methods we’ll talk about below aren’t things that will help you make that much money overnight, in one week, or even in a month.

But if you have the willpower to stick with them and wait it out until you make your first million, then they absolutely could work for you.

And there’s no need to wait several years to do it.

In some cases, you may be able to earn $1,000,000 this year.

Legitimate Ways to Earn One Million Dollars This Year (Or in the Next Few Years)

Get Creative

Sometimes, the best way to make money is to do things that no one else is doing.

In other words, get as creative as possible, and you just might find your way toward a lot of money.

The biggest companies stand out from others because they do things differently than everyone else who sells a similar product or service.

So the more specific and unique you can be, the better.

For example, 14-year-old Sean Belnick was a pioneer in the dropshipping industry, something that people didn’t know much about back in 2001 when he started his first website, bizchair.com.

He started the business with about $3500 he had saved.

By the time he was 20, Belnick’s business was bringing in $38 million dollars.

It sounds crazy that one simple idea can have such a big impact on someone financially, but Sean’s story is only one of many that proves it can happen.

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Another amazing story is that of the Million Dollar Homepage.

Alex Tew started this one in 2005, selling pixels from a 1,000 pixel x 1,000 pixel grid for $1 each.

The people who bought pixels could do whatever they wanted with the pixels.

Most of them bought more than one, of course, so that they could advertise on the page.

It took Alex only a few short months to earn $1,000,000 with this odd – but undoubtedly brilliant – idea.

Self-Publish Books

If you ever thought about becoming an author but aren’t sure about paying a publisher and spending a bunch of money just to get your books out in the public eye, then self-publishing is probably the way to go.

Using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, you can, theoretically, write a book and get it published within a couple of days.

Of course, to have a book that’s really going to stand out in whatever niche you’re writing, you’ll want to spend more time on it than a day or two.

You’ll probably also need several books to really make the money you want to see, and it could take several months – or even a couple of years – to get anywhere close to a million.

But it still gives you the chance if you’re lucky enough to have your books take off on Amazon.

It’s happened before, so it’s not impossible.

Mike Omer, for example, is one author who has found massive success selling his books through Amazon, both directly to buyers and through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

You don’t necessarily even need the help of Amazon, although it couldn’t hurt.

But E.L. James (the author of the highly successful 50 Shades series) is a prime example that self-publishing works.

She published her first novel as an eBook herself, and the rest is history.

Become a YouTube Star

If you’re not already on YouTube, then now is a great place to start.

No, there’s no guarantee you’ll make it big on the video platform.

But all it takes is one viral video to carve you into a star, so the truth is, you don’t know unless you try.

Just look at all the parent-child video stars on YouTube who get paid millions to review toys and go places?

And then there are beauty influencers like James Charles, who has an estimated net worth of $12 million.

There are YouTubers who are funny, those who play games, and others who teach people DIY stuff.

Whatever your niche, there’s a spot for you on YouTube and the chance to become a huge success – and a millionaire.

Be an Instagram Influencer

You might also try the Instagram route if pictures are more your thing than videos.

Instagram is awesome for influencers in lifestyle niches, like interior decorating or health and fitness.

Keep your feed popping with gorgeous photos showcasing what you do every day, and you just might explode your following into one that coins you as an influencer in your niche.

Those with thousands of followers are the people who end up with sponsorships from big brands.

Advertise stuff from your sponsors and get paid.

Just look at accounts like The Bucket List Family and Aimee Song to see how it’s done.

Invest Your Money in Real Estate

Investing in real estate has taken over traditional investing strategies in recent years.

In fact, there are now apps that’ll help you do it without needing to be an expert in the business.

More traditional investments, like stocks and bonds, require you to pay the full amount you want to invest.

For example, a $10,000 investment will get you $10,000 in stocks and bonds.

However, using that $10k toward a real estate property can give you a $200,000 property, which obviously can net you a much bigger profit with gains.

With real estate, you only need to pay a down payment to secure the property, so you can use your investment toward that while you pay the mortgage.

Make sure your rent income is more than what you’re paying on the mortgage so you can pay it without money coming out of your pocket.

You’ll technically have that extra income you can invest as well!

Try an app like Fundrise to get started.

You can own a property for as little as $500.

Go Back to School

Going back to college – or starting at college if you haven’t gone yet – isn’t the best choice for everyone, especially those who will need to take out a lot in student loans to afford tuition.

But in some cases, getting your first degree or a second degree can give you the potential income boost you’re looking for.

You just need to know what jobs pay the best!

Many of the top degrees that result in the highest earnings from jobs are in the sciences – particularly, engineering – fields.

Pharmaceutical science, chemical engineering, and computer engineering, for example, are among the jobs that can make you more than $80k a year in salary alone.

Although that salary will take you a while to get to your first million alone, it’ll help you afford everything you need to buy and get you out of debt, making it easier for you to work toward your first million.

Combine your awesome job with some of the other techniques on this list, and you’ll be a millionaire in no time.

Sell Online Courses

I have seen some online courses sell for thousands of dollars.

I may not be able to afford them (nor do I want to drop that kind of money on a course!) but there are obviously plenty of other people who can.

These thousands-of-dollars courses seem to snatch up buyers left and right without batting an eye.

Usually, the course creators offer a discount for a one-time payment or offer to split the payments up into three or four installments to make it easier to pay.

It’s a genius idea, and one that apparently works well.

Online course creation has never been easier with platforms like Udemy and Skillshare, which help you set up your courses right on their sites and sell them to others who want to learn from you.

Udemy even has an option in which it’ll market your courses for you for a few extra dollars per month.

You can, of course, also sell your courses on your own website, too, to bring in the big bucks.

Have a couple of courses with high price tags going at one time, and you can rake in some quick money.

Let’s do the math for a second:

Course 1: $3,000 and 100 people sign up: $300,000

Course 2: $1,000 and 400 people sign up: $400,000

That’s $700,000 just from your course sales, and you can potentially do that within a couple of weeks if you already have an engaged audience and worked on making your launch successful.

Start a Business (and Flip It?)

Find something you love to do or make and turn it into a business of your own!

The beauty of a business is that you’re in control of pricing, overhead, expenses, and all that stuff that determines your profits.

You even control the marketing side of things, so you can adjust what works and what doesn’t.

And because it’s your own business, you feel a lot more attached to it and determined to help it succeed than you would a job, generally.

Some people even create businesses just to flip them 5 to 10 years down the road for a huge profit, so that’s also something to consider.

Get a Side Hustle

Side hustles can sometimes turn into bigger income earners than your regular job!

You start out doing some freelance graphic design gigs on the weekends when you’re not working.

All of the sudden, your client says, “Hey, I have this other guy who wants to use you for some work too. Mind if I send him your info.?”

And then it snowballs into having a steady gig with 5 clients a month who pay you $500 or more each for your work.

You grew your $500 a month side gig into a $2500+ business with a lot of potential for growth.

It’s easy to get started doing something like that with just your talent and one client.

You can always work on gaining more clients through a freelance marketplace like Upwork or marketing yourself on your website or through cold pitching.

When it starts as a side gig, you have your primary income to fall back on, which gives you some wiggle room and time to ramp up your business.

Win It

You could also win a million dollars – or, at least, try to.

Play the lottery, enter sweepstakes and blog giveaways online, and keep your eye open for any local sweepstakes or giveaways.

Big brands often have huge cash giveaways, too, that they’ll promote on their websites or social media channels, so make sure you follow your favorites.

Subscribing to their email lists could also help you stay ahead of the game to know when new contests start.

Set Up a 401(k)

If you have a job with a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it!

With these plans, your employer will typically match at least a portion of what you contribute to the account.

Some employers match 100% while others might match 50% or less.

Still, a 50% match means $500 to your $1,000, which is a huge help when it comes to boosting your retirement savings.

So, if retirement is your big money goal, this is the way to do it.

And if your employer doesn’t yet offer a 401(k) plan, you might want to ask other coworkers to join you in requesting that the benefit is put in place for all workers of your company.

Final Thoughts: How to Make a Million Dollars in a Year

Making a million dollars won’t be an easy task, but it’s worth the work.

Like any good thing in life, you’ll need to work for it, have patience, and stay motivated to make whatever venture you’ve decided on work.

Do you have some other ideas for earning one million dollars?

I’d love to hear them, so drop them in the comments below!

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