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Business Inspiration

A Billionaire’s Lessons About Money that All Small Business Owners Can Appreciate


Many small business owners might think that if only they had more money, life would be easier. If you had millions of dollars in the bank, or a billion dollars, imagine all of the great things you could do for your family and friends! Imagine all of the wonderful experiences you could afford to have! Imagine the difference that you could make in the world – as a philanthropist or as an investor in other people’s business ideas!

However, life as a billionaire isn’t as simple as it might seem. According to a recent article on Inc.com, “Billionaire Ken Fisher Shares 8 Insights Only the Self-Made Super Wealthy Understand,” Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher Investments, gives some excellent advice and insights on what it’s really like to be extremely wealthy – and why “more money” isn’t always going to be the answer to your problems.

The entire article is well worth reading, but here are a few highlights:

Passion is more important than money.

Ken Fisher says that most of the wealthiest people aren’t truly motivated by money – they’re motivated by “following some dream they are passionate about, whether it’s starting and running a business, or being a rock star musician or a visual entertainer.” If you’re doing something you’re passionate about, and you’re really good at it, and people are willing to pay good money for it, then wealth will follow.

Wealthy people want to buy time.

Money gives you the freedom to buy lots of great things and enjoy lots of rare experiences – but one thing that everyone has in common, no matter how much money we have, is that we only have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Fisher says, “The wealthier you get the more you covet time.”

It’s lonely at the top.

The old saying is true – “It’s lonely at the top.” But that’s not always a triumphant statement – it’s more of a cautionary tale. Extreme wealth often isolates people from their families, and can even tear families apart. Fisher says that lots of people in a wealthy person’s family eventually grow to hate them, because they’re jealous or resentful, or because they want money that the wealthy person won’t give them. “They will wonder why you don’t simply relieve them of their suffering with money,” Fisher says, “Yet they won’t seek your time or advice in how to remove the core cause of that suffering.”

Wealthy people have to watch out for con artists.

Have you ever walked down the street and had panhandlers approach you asking for money? Or gotten an inbox full of spam emails asking you to spend your money on sketchy deals and worthless products? Imagine having that feeling every single day, everywhere you go – and that’s what it’s like to be wealthy. Lots of people will ask you to donate to their charities, fund their business idea or write a check for something they need. Even the most generous wealthy people don’t have time for all of the requests – and as a result, they tend to become a bit cold and guarded; but it’s not because they want to be rude, it’s because they need to protect their time from excessive demands and protect themselves from dubious interlopers.

Money means less as you get older.

Past a certain point, more money doesn’t buy more happiness. Fisher says that most highly wealthy people don’t have a lot of urge for material things; instead they want quality time and memorable experiences with the people they care about. In a way, it’s comforting to know that even the most wealthy people still want the same things in life as the rest of us – whether you’re a middle class small business owner or a billionaire, the best things in life aren’t “things” at all.

Wealth can liberate your mind.

Great wealth can be isolating and even stressful in its own unexpected ways, but Fisher says it’s worth it – because it gives you the freedom to think big thoughts and feel empowered to take on big challenges. “Most of your limits are now only self-imposed,” he says. In the same way, small business owners have a great sense of freedom and purpose.

There are lots of great lessons from Inc.’s  article, but perhaps the most important is that billionaires and small business owners have a lot in common – not in the size of our bank accounts, but in the way we approach problems and the way we try to structure our lives for optimum freedom and satisfaction. Even if you don’t have a billion dollars, you have the empowerment and satisfaction that comes from building a business that you’re passionate about – and you get to have the autonomy of making decisions every day that affect your future. Even though most business owners will never reach billionaire status, they all have the billionaire’s advantage of mental freedom and creative thinking – if they choose to embrace it.

What’s your favorite money lesson from this article or from your own life? Leave a comment and let us know!