I have heard it quoted that ‘in the case of self-made millionaires, the most important thing was not the amount of money they amassed but the people that they became while getting there’.

That would suggest that if they lost their money that they probably would have the wherewithall to rebuild their wealth again. So if Richard Branson, Warren Buffett and Alan Sugar were to lose it all, as now seems to have happened our own (like it or not!) Sean Quinn, it is hard to see them being down for long, wallowing in self pity. On the contrary, in fact there are many examples over the years, of millionaires who lost their millions (some several times) and then bounced back to build even bigger fortunes – Donald Trump is a recent example and Henry Ford another!

So what are the common characteristics of these individuals which set them apart from the rest of us, and, importantly for us …….. are these characteristics ‘replicable’, so ordinary people can learn how to become millionaires too? The good news is that the answer is ‘YES’, there are specific habits which, once you know what they are, you can make choices to immitate and incorporate them into your personal and business practices.

So, here is what most self-made millionaires do, in varying degrees:

  • They dream big dreams – They set their sights on where they are going. It is very rare that I have come across a business owner that knows the answer to the question “What would your life and business look like if you got what you wanted?”. In contrast, these guys know precisely what they want.
  • They take responsibility for their current situation and accept that they are the only ones who can change it regardless of external and economic circumstances – they know that there is no point in complaining and they don’t expect anyone to rescue them. This breeds self-reliance.
  • They are passionate about what they do – they love it and, as a result, they are hugely knowledgeable about their field. They will often say that ‘it doesn’t feel like work!’
  • They commit to continuous learning and education by reading, taking courses, listening to audio programmes and speaking with people who have ‘been there, done that’ already.
  • They do not contemplate failure. They manage risk but they approach each venture with an expectation of success. They treat any problems as obstacles to be overcome because they know that nothing is ever ‘smooth sailing’.
  • They are decisive and they take action, typically following the axim ‘ready-fire-aim’. This means that they prepare well but they know that they cannot plan for everything, so they start off, then correct their course in response to feedback, moving in a zig-zag rather than a straight-line manner, in the direction of their goal.
  • They apply solution-oriented thinking, that is, they are never halted by problems – they might slow down or divert around them but they apply their minds to thinking up solutions rather than worrying and engaging in self defeating behaviour.
  • Finally, they are doggedly persistent in the pursuit of their goals. Whilst all self-made millionaires exhibit some or all of the above traits in varying degrees, persistence is by far the one they all claim as being crucial to success. However, you can only be persistent in achieving something if you know what you want (your dream or goal) and you are passionate about it!

The advice that all self-made millionaires give, is that genius is inherent in everyone and the ‘roadmap’ for emulating success is no secret – we can all do it if we follow these behaviours in the same way that Branson, Sugar and Trump have already done.

So how do you rate yourself in the practice of these millionaire habits? Why not take stock of the areas that need improving.

And what of Mr Quinn? Will he be back at the top of the Irish Rich List any time soon? Well, if he still has the vision, passion, persistence and dogged determination that got him there in the first place, it seems that history would suggest that he is likely to be back with a bigger bang in the not too distant future – whether or not that thought would be palatable for people in Ireland, well that is another matter!