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14 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires (even without College Degrees!)

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It’s likely that if you want to know the habits of self-made millionaires, you have a dream of living a better life than what you currently have. I know I do.

Worrying about how you’re going to pay for things is stressful! No one wants to worry about how they’re going to pay for an unplanned medical expense or to visit a loved one in a trying time, but nowadays, if you don’t have benefits from a job, you need to plan much bigger than 6-figures to weather storms.

My Story

In 2017, my son started getting lethargic. He would sleep 20 of 22 hours out of the day. I had just separated the military, and didn’t have the free medical coverage I once had. When I took him to the hospital, they told me it was an issue with his heart. I wanted every possible care he could get to nurse him to full health, and we did that, but I’d never seen medical bills like what came in my mailbox.

No amount of couponing or cutting on spending could give us the money we’d need to pay off the medical bills.

I quickly learned that it’s important to have a high enough income that you can live comfortably when things go well, and so you can get the support you need when things don’t go so well–that’s why I started aiming to become a millionaire (or more).

Why Being a Millionaire (or Beyond) is Good

Situations like mine happen all the time! With the astronomical rates of people acquiring illnesses like Diabetes, Heart Disease, or Cancer, many people are having to think about how to cover unforeseen medical expenses, and government insurance shouldn’t be the only way.

Even if you never experience fluke health events or crazy costs, it’s so liberating to live a life where you don’t have to ponder so much about how much things cost, or limit yourself so much because your pockets are too tight.

Can you imagine going to the store and buying what you needed and wanted without any concern for the price? It’s liberating, and a great reason to shoot much higher than targeting an income that can cover a basic lifestyle.

Most Millionaires Acquired it Themselves (some without College!)

Studies show that 83% of millionaires acquired their wealth themselves. They didn’t inherit it. They didn’t get “lucky”, they didn’t have a “wealth gene”, and 15% of them didn’t pursue college! Instead, they implemented day-to-day habits that led to compounding results and wealth.

For most, it happened incrementally over time, and what they did, you can do too.

My List of 14 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

After studying dozens of self-made millionaires like John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Lisa Nichols, Daymond John, Darren Hardy, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Grant Cardone, and so many others, I’ve compiled a list of 14 habits they each demonstrate.

1. They Set Goals and Track their Results

In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells you to imagine your funeral and how people would respond if they were there. He likens each day your alive to a brick that’s laid; bringing you closer and closer to your legacy.

With that thinking in mind, it’s important to break your goals up into tangible, bite-size pieces, or “goals”. You want to write down things you can do in small fragments of time (like days or weeks) and things you want to accomplish over longer periods of time (like 1 quarter, 1 year, or 5 and 10 years).

After you’ve written your goals, you want to make sure you back them up with action, and review your goals and results to see if your actions are significant enough to accomplish your goals within your targeted time-frame. Sometimes, goals have to be revisited and improved over and over, but it’s best to make sure you’re making significant and measurable progress.

2. They Develop High Income Skills (even if they don’t go to College)

Every generation has skills that are hot in the market. Depending on how innovation is taking place and what’s going on in the world, there could be a high demand for skills that don’t require college degrees.

When you have high income skills, you don’t have to worry about job loss as much because your skills are desirable and the supply in the market is off-balance. Having high income skills can be an instrumental part of financial independence because you can have the security of knowing that you’ll always be able to make money from the skills you have.

3. They Diversify and Create Multiple Streams of Income

Markets are constantly changing. Jobs that were once highly regarded as secure are no longer secure anymore. If you start a business, you can have periods and seasons where one service is in high demand and other periods where the same service is hardly selling.

Change happens–that’s why it’s important to build more than one income source. You may have a job and a side business, a business with several products and services, or a business with several revenue models–all of these methods can help you weather economic volatility.

4. They Join Supportive and Like-Minded Communities

Whether you want to be a good parent, a good wife, good at your trade, or a good entrepreneur, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are also pursuing similar goals, those you can help out, and those who have been where you want to go.

When you’re pursuing a goal alone, it’s much harder to stay motivated, to push past obstacles, and to navigate the terrains of a new venture. Most self-made millionaires report joining supportive communities, churches, or recreation centers where they can nurture their minds, bodies, and dreams.

5. They Find Mentors and Good Advisors

When you’re growing a business, you’re bound to have questions you can’t solve alone, problems you can’t figure out, or situations that even Google and Youtube can’t prepare you for. In confusing situations, it’s important to have people you can go to who can help you weigh pros and cons, and help you make the right decision. Each decision can take you closer to being a millionaire or further away, and if you have good advisors, it helps you to minimize the hard knocks.

6. They Master Time Management

One trait that’s common among self-made millionaires is reliability. People believe they can rely on them to be paid on time, to complete products on time, to make progress when they say they will, and to deliver on expectations–this is only possible by mastering time management. They value their time, prioritize things, and make sure to complete non-negotiable tasks, and these are skills that don’t come natural. Time management comes along with several habits that self-made millionaires usually choose to implement.

7. They Find Ways to do Things as Efficiently as they can

When I first separated the military, I remember trying to do everything from scratch. Make food from scratch, make skincare from scratch, and eat everything as naturally as possible. While my intentions were good, I found myself spending long times on meal prep, lots of time shopping for items because things went bad faster, and my “from scratch” habits meant I had less time to build my business.

When I decided to master what I’m good at, and pay people for what they’re good at, it meant I didn’t buy things from scratch as much, and I was massively more productive. I bought fresh fruit, but I might buy it cut already instead of cutting it myself. I might buy meal kits with ingredients included rather than buying everything whole,measuring, and sorting it myself.

There are tons more things I did to improve my efficiency, and I continue to work on that. Aside from me, most self-made millionaires tell stories of how they cut the amount of time they spend doing personal life tasks and business-related tasks. The 80/20 rule is commonly cited where they cut efficiency on 80% of their tasks so they can focus on the 20% that make the biggest impact.

8. They Persevere when things get Tough

Lisa Nichols tells the story of being a single mom and having a bank account with less than $20 while having no diapers for her baby. Oprah tells stories of how she faced racism or family members who were abusive. Tony Robbins tells the story of his first seminar he held that had only 7 attendees after he put his best effort into advertising.

Every self-made millionaire faced very hard times.

They weren’t able to avoid hardship. Instead, they made up in their minds that they’d continue to pursue their goals even with adversity. It takes a considerable amount of mental toughness to push past tough times, but giving up means you don’t live to your maximum potential, so those who succeed decide not to let adversity stop them.

9. They Set Boundaries and Learn to say “No”

You’ll find people, places, and things that will try to encroach on your time and change your priorities, so it’s important to have limits, to communicate and let others know what you’ll accept and what you won’t, and to say “no” when you need to. “No” isn’t always mean, sometimes, it’s honestly the best answer.

10. They’re Life Long Learners that Self-Educate

Some people rely on school or classes to educate them. Most self-made millionaires report having aggressive reading habits, attending educational events, watching educational video, or listening to audio to enrich their knowledge.

11. They Nurture Positive Relationships (and Get Rid of Toxic Ones)

Some relationships will inspire you to be all you can be, and others will choke the life out of you. It’s important to notice the effects that relationships are having on you, and make decisions that will benefit you and your dream in the long run. Like the old saying goes, “hire slow and fire fast”, or in other words, accept company into your space very slowly, and if they don’t work out, get rid of them quickly, and don’t let the toxicity marinate.

12. They Anticipate the Compound Effect (Rather than Instant Gratification)

Everyone wants to start a new venture and see immediate results. Unfortunately, according to Darren Hardy, it doesn’t happen like that. Instead, if you start a new habit today–whether positive or negative–you don’t see results today–this can be incredibly decieving.

The reason most smokers continue to smoke or most drinkers continue to drink is because in the beginning, it seems harmless and easy to stop.

Most habits don’t start to show results until 6 months or more down the line, and a massive change is usually seen after two years because of the compound effect. Those who expect to start a new habit and get results in less than 6 months are setting themselves up for a higher chance of failure because they don’t have the right expectations from the venture, and the wrong mindset proceeds from that. Regardless of whether you’re raising a child, starting a business, or losing weight, it usually takes more than 6 months on continued effort to see results.

Self-made millionaires usually develop realistic expectations of their ventures which lead to having the right perspective and the willingness to wait for incremental growth.

13. They Nurture their Mindset (like Brushing their Teeth)

Thoughts float thru your mind by the second. You’re likely to have positive thoughts and negative thoughts flowing thru your mind on a near constant basis. Practices like meditation, prayer, journaling, or even moments of solitude can help you to analyze what thoughts are true versus which ones are fears or limiting beliefs.

It’s really important to have time where the mindset is nurtured, which is why many self-made millionaires spend time daily nurturing their minds.

14. They Know How to Focus

With people all over saying “I became successful doing…” or “I made millions doing…”, it’s very tempting to jump from one thing to another. Even when you read about good practices like creating multiple streams of income, it can be tempting to start on everything at once, or invest in everything at one time.

As an entrepreneur, you could be trying to sell products, trying to sell services, trying to create partnerships, and trying to grow a reputation all at the same time, and when you’re too scattered, it leads to diluted efforts all across the board. Even if many self-made millionaires start out scattered as they learn themselves and what they want to do, at some point, they learn how to focus, so they can become masters, and consistently pave their way to success.

My Path to Self Made Millionaire

I’m not a self-made millionaire yet, but since 2017 when my family had the health scare, I’ve made it a goal. If you decide you want to become a self-made millionaire, the first step is to make it a goal, and to decide how you’ll get there.

When I made it a goal, I was already in pursuit of mastering a high income skill. Now, as my skills are developing more and more, my income is growing, and I’m able to make more decisions on how to use my money for long-term results. I chose a career field that enables me to earn a commission-based income, so my income growth isn’t limited by things like how long I’ve worked, how many years of service, or how much time I invest–that’s helping me to create a growing income as my skills develop.

My business is founded based on my primary skills, and as my business grows, I’ll be able to pay myself, give jobs, and make a larger impact, which will take me closer to self-made millionaire status, and the legacy I desire.


If you can see the benefits of becoming a self-made millionaire, and you’d like to pursue this path, don’t be afraid to say so. It’s a great aspiration and you can make it happen. I work to improve these habits on a daily basis so I can achieve my goal. Hopefully, this list of 14 habits shows you some things you can work to improve, and you begin making progress day-by-day.

If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.

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