What are the first words that come to mind when you think of a self-made millionaire? Lavish? Materialistic? Arrogant? You may be pleasantly surprised how different the reality is from the misconceived perceptions that many people have of these seven-figure net worth individuals.
Not only that, but my book What Self-Made Millionaires Do That People Don't, based on interviews with 30 individuals who created their seven-figure net worth from scratch as well as my own experiences, shows that anyone has what it takes to achieve this status.
As Andy Hidalgo, chairman and CEO of H/Cell Energy Corporation and one of the self-made millionaires featured in the book, likes to say, "You can do it. You just have to want it."
Haughty, humble or nice?
Many self-made millionaires came from nothing. Some were forced to go to bed hungry. Some ate out of dumpsters growing up. Others thought they were lucky if they received an orange and pair of socks on Christmas Eve from old St. Nick.
Perhaps these individuals were given the best gifts of all -- those of wanting and humility. Their childhood experiences motivated them to become the successful persons they are today.
Here are the 10 qualities that self-made millionaires possess that differentiate them from spoon-fed trust fund babies:
1. They know the definition of sweat equity
These self-made individuals work for everything they have. It takes some of them a lifetime to achieve success. They are never too proud to do menial tasks to earn money, whether it be sweeping floors or selling popcorn.
2. They delay short-term gratification
While others are living a charmed life, these self-made millionaires in the making delay short-term gratification. They do this by working two or more jobs, saving rather than spending and not worrying about impressing others. Instead, they keep their eye on their bull's-eye -- financial freedom.
3. They give "hand-ups" rather than "handouts"
They teach others to fish rather than giving them the fish. They do this by employing others so that they, too, can develop a strong work ethic. Many of these self-made millionaires instill the confidence and know-how in others to begin their own businesses.
4. Many pay a high tuition
For those looking in, the climb to the top looks easy. Many self-made millionaires know better. They paid a high tuition from the school of life by learning from their mistakes. They turned their pivotal moments of failures into learning opportunities rather than beating themselves up emotionally. Many saw their unexpected failures as one step closer to their intended success.
5. They treat money for what it is -- a tool, rather than a god
Once they make it, most do not have the need to flaunt it. They have already proven to themselves that they can get to the end of the road less traveled without all of the material things that scream "look at me."
6. They like to stay under the radar
Most of these self-made individuals prefer to blend into a crowd rather than to stand out by driving the latest model car, living in the most affluent part of town and dressing ostentatiously.
7. They focus on others rather than themselves
Many of these individuals are quiet. They do not have the need to be in the limelight. Instead, they position others to have the stage by lending an ear rather than having the "me, me, me" syndrome.
8. They remember their roots
These individuals remain humble. While their status may be seven figures, their inner core is a reflection of the person who got them to where they are today.
9. They go that extra mile
Whether it is getting up earlier or staying up later, they do whatever it takes to get the job done. Perseverance is a quality that makes these ordinary people extraordinary when it comes to accomplishments.
10. They start a business based on an identified need
From creating a cleaning service to a home improvement company, from developing a clean air organization to one that finds, buys, sells and leases land for mineral rights, these individuals tune in to a need and then build their thriving business around it. They create their brand by taking even the most basic need that is in front of many and build on it.
The next time you are in a large group of people, see who is talking and who is listening. See who has a widget company that offers a basic and needed service. Observe whose words, dress and demeanor shout "I need to be noticed" vs. the person who is understated. You may be within an arm's length of the millionaire next door.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors