How to make 1 million dollars

Funny I just came across this meme on the internet about a million dollars. As a kid, this is what I thought a million dollars can get me:

But in reality, this is what a million bucks could get you for a place in California:

As the government keeps on printing money and depreciates the value of the dollars, a million bucks that you thought won’t value the same as you think it would be ten, twenty, thirty years later. However, the method, the mindset of getting to one million, ten million, etc. is the same. Successful people may lose money, but they will never lose their minds.

I can only speak from experience, here are some of the proven methods that many self-made millionaires and wealthy people used to make their first million dollars.

Don’t invest too early. Earn more money instead

I know this is contradicting most of the articles you read on the internet. Start early they said. Investing early is good but too early is not good. Hear me out – and don’t fall into the mistake that I made. If you have 100 dollars and you invest that 100 dollars, that investment is a huge success and it gives you a 20% ROI per year, you will have $120 in one year. You can brag about that ALL day long with your broke friend but that 20 bucks will not make a single difference in your life. And since you are “into” investing and lost track of time. You spend all your energy and time on how to make 20% ROI on a $100 and forget the fact that you can make $20 bucks with just one Uber trip.

One of my mistakes could be investing too little and too early into RE. Invest in yourself and your business instead to earn more

You see the point here. Compound interest only works if you have a lot of money, not with a few hundred bucks. I know the income tax is going to be high when you earn more but there are a lot of ways you can offset it.

My advice would be to get a group job and make money using your current job as much as you can to stack up all the extra cash. Don’t spend it. we will talk about saving in a bit. challenge yourself if you can hit a million dollar mark just by working in a certain amount of year. My benchmark is $100,000. Until you can stack $100,000 into your bank account. Don’t even think about investing; keep working and getting good at your trade.

There are many rewarding careers out there, not only with high pay but will give you a path to climb to the top. Maybe focusing on school, getting good grades, and a high-paying job is not bad advice after all. Many of my real estate clients came from the University of Houston, Hewlett-Packard, and Schlumberger. These are the place I studied and worked at. I didn’t spend time investing. I worked hard, and people know me for it.

before Real Estate I worked hard at my job and build good relationships with everyone I know. Enjoy your time at Corporate America.

Investing early is good. Not just too early, or you will get stuck in a trap where everyone is congratulating you for investing early, but when you look at your bank account. It did not reflect any difference. Don’t fall into this trap as I did.

If making a million bucks at your current job is not possible, then it’s time to look at something else. Maybe a different career or side hustle for an additional income stream. I felt like I hit a ceiling at my last corporate job per se, that’s why I have to make the leap of faith.

Start a Side Hustle or Side Business

You never know when your side business will turn into a real business. The safest way to know is to start it on the side while still working your day job.

Somehow I could see my future in corporate America right after I got out of college. With my current income of $60,000 per year before income taxes, even with bonus, raise, and saving, it will take…forever to have a million dollars. I have no other option but to start a side hustle. After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I chose real estate, especially real estate investing. I know others are successful at online businesses such as Amazon, selling courses, etc. I tried and failed at those. I know what I am good at.

Reading Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of the pivotal moments in my career life.

Whatever it is for you, pick one that can generate cash flow and stick to it until you come up with a million-dollar idea for your business.

Becoming a real estate agent is one of the best side hustles and one of the essential stepping stones toward financial freedom. You will have a chance to learn much about real estate without investing any of your capital. Get your foot wet into the door and network with other successful investors.

Doing real estate part-time will force you to run your business like an actual business and not like a job simply because your time will be limited.

Remember, this is a side business and not a side job.

We often get into the habit of doing everything by ourselves, and when things get busy, we quit our current job to find out that we have jumped into another position.

Speaking about running a successful side business. Nobody does it better than May Pham. She is new in real estate, still very successful at her day job, has two kids, and is somehow able to get into the top 5% of her brokerage. Watch her full interview here. We can all learn from May

Running any successful business will require a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Most businesses fail within the 1st year or two of starting up but the good thing is that you still have your full-time job. This is the beauty of a side hustle. Take advantage of it. You can risk without losing too much.

I also personally love network marketing business. You just have to find the right product and the right group of people and stay away from all the scammy ones.

A network marketing business, when done right, required less money to start compared to others and it will teach you so much about selling, especially leadership skills, a skill that will carry you for the rest of your life.

Get your finance in order

You could make a million dollars, spent that million dollars, and net zero. Getting your finance in order is the crucial step.

Getting rich will not happen overnight, so learn to become to a good money manager and spend wisely. In the beginning, everything counts on good spending habits, shopping for car insurance, reducing health care costs, and putting money in a saving account.

A great book to read is Profit First, have multiple checking accounts, and saving accounts for different purposes. Hire a certified financial planner if you have two although I don’t recommend it. Most of them will tell you to invest in their stock market and buy mutual funds, which is one of the sure ways to your money.

One of the key skills to making a million dollars is learning to realize bad debt and good debt. bad debt costs you money and good debt made you money. Get rid of ALL your credit card debt. It is a must

Keep an eye on student loan debt if you have any. Making a million dollars from zero is hard enough. You don’t want to start your life with a negative balance. Figure out some creative ways to finance your college.

I somehow manage to save all my student loan money, not spend a dime during the 4 years in college bought a house with it and turned student loans into good debt.

Funny, at the time of writing this article. Biden just forgives student loans. It is like me telling my lender hey, I screwed up, please cancel my mortgage.

Save money

I believe saving is the foundation of any economic system that creates stability and prosperity for years to come. This sound obvious but unfortunately this mentality is fading away as people become more entitled to the government’s handout. We save to invest. A lot of people ask me where we usually come up with the down payment to buy our flip, Airbnb rental property. One of the answers is simply saving. If you ask Donald Trump what would be his advice during the economic downturn. His answer will be ” Having some cash would be nice” so SAVE!

Recommended listening Profit First: “Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” by Mike Michalowicz

Hang out with people who have a net worth of at least one million dollars

Duh! If you could get only one thing out of this blog then that is it. Figure out the high-net-worth Individual hangout and go hang out with them! I originally felt awkward about this but the reality is feathers of a bird flock together. If you hang out with the ducks, there is no way you can fly with the Eagle.

Who you hang out with will determine your future.

Go into your marketplace find out where the next real estate investing or trade show are, or nailed the guy who already did what you are trying to do and figure out how to get close to his circle!

I will give you another secret. Successful people are busy people. As long as you can provide value, add value to them and save them time, they will make friends with you. Don’t be shy!

The moment I met Jeff & Amanda, I knew that I want to stay close to them because they already achieved what I was trying to do. The best way to stay close to them is to join eXp Realty and named them as a sponsor and anyone I sponsored into eXp will have close access to Jeff and Amanda. How easy and cool is that

Recommended listening: Rags to Riches Story: from cold calling, open houses to selling 600+ Homes a year and leading an organization of 1000+ Real Estate Agents – by Jeff and Amanda Whitespeare

Travel to where the opportunities are

Sometimes you just have to pick up and go if there are no wealth-building opportunities around you. Let’s be honest, investing in California or Seattle for example will be extremely hard. It will be near impossible to find a cash-flowing property. Prices are sky-high and the state is not landlord friendly. Texas in the meanwhile still has the lowest price point in the county and the State is landlord friendly.

I am typing this blog right now at a coffee shop in Athens, I know there is so much opportunity this country has to offer.

If you looked and there is nothing in your backyard, time to pack up and move. We always welcome you here in Texas!

Pay attention to your environment

If you pushed so hard and get no result. Someone is pulling you down. You have to find out who it is and get rid of them! Again I might come across as a mean person but I am just speaking from experience have a seven-figure net worth, and you have to have seven-figure surrounding the 5 people that you looked up to or hang out the most with. Do they have a seven-figure net worth?

If you’ve heard my story, you’ll know that my first year as a new agent was not good. I could not meet my income goal after I quit my job. Life was not easy. But I did one thing right: I hung out with ICON agents. I was busy networking with them at all the conferences and learned from people one or two levels above me. I dug in and didn’t give up. Fast forward to today, I am now a 4x winner of the ICON Agents award. 

You would be surprised how significantly you can accelerate the steep learning curves in your career by staying close to top real estate agents. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel. 

Shameless plug here about my revenue-share organization at eXp Realty. our leaders sacrifice a lot to create a productive growth environment where our agents feel supported and grow at the speed of the internet. If you are in my revenue-share organization, you know what I am talking about. the force is invisible but you can feel it in the organization everywhere. Don’t take this environment for granted. Reach out to your leaders and thank them some of them gave up personal production to build this environment for you so you could fast-track your business.

Have million dollars habits

Poor people have poor habits. Rich people have rich habits. You probably heard the term: we are creatures of habit.

If you want to become a millionaire, learn what millionaires do every day. They don’t stay up for hours watching TV and Netflix that is for sure.

Something as simple as waking up earlier than you normally would, meditating, exercising, stopping using the snooze button, reading two books a month, etc. Will have a major impact on your life.

Recommended Reading “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear

Real estate investing strategy

This is another obvious one. The vast majority of people that has financial success own real estate, especially in income-producing real estate.

Investing in real estate will give you additional income streams, and reduce your taxable income, equity growth, leverage, and many other benefits. This time-tested method and one of the safe ways to make your first one million dollars.

Investing in real estate could get as complicated as you want. However, if you want to keep things simple, there is only one word that you need to know. That word is positive cash flow.

Without positive cash flow, nothing will work – use this as a foundation in everything you do.

Big deal or small deal, it will all come down to basic math. Make sure that the current rental income will be enough to cover the monthly payment. Lock interest rate at the lowest rate and longest term possible and let time work on your side.

Like most people, start with investing in long-term rental single-family homes, this is the easiest asset class to start with if you have no experience. The financing will be easier especially if you still have your job. Bankers and mortgage professionals love people with W2 Income buying long-term rentals. It is easy to forecast income and stability.

And the snowball starts from there. You can either buy single-family homes, keep buying more until you hit a million dollars in net-net worth keep on trading up using 1031 exchange to different classes such as apartment, or commercial property until you hit your goal.

After 10 years of investing in real estate, I was able to have a sizable portfolio consisting of long-term rental properties, short-to-rent properties, and syndication this well worth over a million dollars.

One of our newest Short Term Rental Home in Houston

While the profit margin of my portfolio is good. The monthly cash flow from rental income will be hard to match the amount of monthly rev-share that is coming out from my revenue-share organization.

If you have a real estate license or looking into getting one and have a strong desire to help other real estate agents and brokers around the world. I urge you to take a look at eXp Realty seriously.

As of now, no one will be able to live off from the Cash Flow of the property anymore, even in Houston.

I was an equity rich cash poor investor until I found eXp Realty. Learn from my mistake, and don’t repeat it.

Get into debt

Hopefully, by now you can realize between good debt and bad debt. If you are over a million dollars in good debt. congratulation! It is only a matter of time before that debt is paid off by someone and you are well on your way to making your first million dollars.

“Good debt will make you money and bad debt will cost you money” Robert Kiyosaki.

By getting into good debt, you are learning the art of financial leverage, which is one of the best tools for wealth building. Once you have a few deals under your belt, you will realize that the best deal is the deal in which you put no money and still get to participate in the equity growth and the cash flow.

Always find a way to structure a deal so that you can use OPM (other people’s money) and create a win-win situation for everyone involved.

For example when I found a home that I could buy for $170,000, fix it up for $30,000 and sell it for 245,000. I can use $200,000 from my saving account, Or I can partner with a person who has $200,000 and no time, offer him 20% profit on the sale, and a 5% interest rate on the $200,000. Which one do you think is a better choice? Using my own money or getting into debt?

A second example would be using the BRRRR method. BRRRR stand for Buy, Repair, Rent, Refinance and Repeat. This is by far the best investment strategy in real estate. Allows you to buy real estate using 100% borrowed money.

BRRR is our favorite way to buy property for free.

How much real estate you could buy if someone is willing to finance 100% of the cost? That’s the power of good debt

Recommended reading: “The ABCs of Getting Out of Debt: Turn Bad Debt into Good Debt and Bad Credit into Good Credit” by Garret Sutton

Stick to the 10x Rule

The vast majority of entrepreneurs, myself underestimated the amount of effort and energy it takes to make a million dollars. As a result, we often fell short of our goal.

The only way to guarantee success is that you have to 10x your goal like Uncle G said. If your goal is the star, you have to shoot for the moon. If you fail and trust me you will, You will then fail on the star instead of back to earth.

10x your goal will naturally force you to 10x your activity and effort to guarantee your success. If your goal is to make a million dollars. You have to put in the work as if you need to make 10 million dollars,

Skip this rule and you might end up making $100,000. It is no fun.

A good book to read would be the “ThX Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” by Grant Cardone.

Me and Grant Cardone

Elena Cardone is also now an eXp Agent

Protect your million dollars

Unfortunately, we live in a very litigious society and you are just one lawsuit away from losing a million dollars. the last rule of making a million dollars is don’t lose a million dollars!

It’s not a question of if you get sued, It is a question of when you get sued. You have to be ready before the lawsuit come.

Asset protection is often overlooked by most people but yet so important. Your financial future could be depended on this. working with a good lawyer and accountant to set up legal protection for your asset is a must. Most if not all successful entrepreneurs have good liability coverage and asset protection. Be a broke person when it comes to asset protection.

Recommended reading: “Veil Not Fail: Protecting Your Assets from Business Attacks” By Garret Sutton

Legally Reduce Your Tax

Your road to a million dollars will be challenging if uncle Sam keeps up to 40% on top of what you made. I am not telling you to cheat and get into a problem. problems am telling you to become a student of this subject called income taxes. Yes, there is such a thing as a tax-free income if you understand the rule and play the game correctly.

Selling a property for example is a taxable event. However, an ardent investor can either refinance the property to take the money ourout0%tax-free, still have control of the property for a tax advantage, and can now use the fund to buy another investment property, which will provide an even further tax advantage. All of that depreciation and deduction can be offset against any other taxable income such as your W2 income or your commission income.

I could go on and on on this topic but you could see the point there. With proper planning and the right tax advisor, you could legally keep uncle Sam out of your pocket, compress the time frame, and accelerate wealth building. work with a great CPA to come up with a tax structure that will best fit your business.

Each government drives its economic agenda by providing a series of incentive rules and funding. Currently in the United States the government incentives real estate, oil and gas investment, and green energy.

Recommended reading “Tax-Free Wealth: How to Build Massive Wealth by Permanently Lowering Your Taxes” by Tom wheelwright

Personal development

Rich people spend tremendous amounts of money and effort on personal development. Poor people see personal development as a waste of time. If you want to make a million dollars, first you have to become a million dollars.

Growth does not happen automatically. Growth is intentional. Most people stop growing after they reach their adult life. I strongly recommend you start focusing on personal development on your journey to make a million dollars and become a better wife, a better husband, a better for, a better friend, a better partner, better leader.

This is why we take the time away from real estate to go to BUILD the conference. We want to become better people and, better real estate agents to better serve our clients and our community.

Money naturally finds great people to park. Become a great person

I thought personal development was cheesy and neglected the time it took development. That is fine until I stepped into a leadership position and quickly realized that I am the bottleneck of my organization. Your team or your organization can only grow to the extent of yare. If you don’t grow then your organization does not grow.

Recommended Reading: John Maxwell Maxwell’s all Development Series and Leadership Series.

I am not your Guru Tony Robins

eXp biased

Of course, I am biased on this topic since I am an eXp Realty agent. But to be honest with you I never see any other real estate platform that produces more real estate millionaires than eXp Realty.

“The rich does not don’t work for money. The rich work for equity and cash flow” Robert Kiyosaki

Other real estate companies focused only on commission and this is a sure way to buy yourself into a job that you could never get out of. If you decided to pick real estate as one of your vehicles for wealth building and looking for a real estate brokerage to hang your license. Look for these two things when shopping for a broker company to hang your license. The company has an opportunity for equity and cash flow on top of regular commission.

eXp Realty has an automatic stock acquisition program that allows you to build equity in the brokerage via the purchase and rewarding of company stock.

Their revenue share program will reward real estate agents growing the company in form of residual income. more information about the eXp revenue share program can be found here.


There are many ways to make your first one million dollars. Think of real estate investing, or any other investment strategy as a vehicle to get you the first, you have to train the driver, yourself.

What we discussed in this article, from the basic saving-up accounting that you will set up, to the daily habit that you will create, the environment you put yourself in will have a monumental impact on your objective.

Real estate is not the only way but it is the proven and time-tested one that is reading this blog. It all started with a belief in yourself, the 10x commitment to do whatever it takes to get you there.

Real estate made me my first million dollars.

What is your way to your first million dollars? share with us!