By Stefanie O'Connell, Contributor
With record student loan balances and rampant underemployment, millennials have largely become known as the recession generation. Despite low levels of income and a median net worth below that of their predecessors, a 2014 report from The Shullman Research Center reveals a surprising 23 percent of today's millionaires are millennials.
Contrary to dreary doomsday forecasts, the opportunity to succeed is still very much available to members of Gen Y. Here are 10 tried and true strategies for making the transition from stereotypical broke millennial to millionaire.
1. Uncover Opportunity
The real estate market downturn of 2007 was painful for many American homeowners, but for Brenton Hayden it was the start of a multi-million dollar opportunity. In an article for Entrepreneur, Hayden wrote about how he helped people rent and manage their properties and founded the residential property management company Renters Warehouse, which profited $966,803 in the first year. By age 27, Hayden was able to retire a multi-millionaire.
Rather than running from real estate during the housing crisis, Hayden looked at how the industry was changing and where the opportunity was within that shift. Uncovering new opportunities and developing better approaches can be monetized into millions if you have a taste for industry-altering innovation.
2. Deliver Top Value
Named a top consultant "who avoids BS" by Forbes, millennial Ali Maadelat became a millionaire by tangibly proving his value to his clients and improving their bottom line. In an interview with The College Investor, Maadelat shared, "If you are the best at something, the money will follow ... I've met hair stylists that pull six -- almost seven -- figures a year. I've met lawyers who struggle to make the monthly payments on their Hyundai."
You should work to become the best at what you do by harnessing and leveraging your unique value and delivering that value to clients in a way that reflects in the bottom line, meriting top-dollar remuneration.
3. Bootstrap Your Way to Success
Before earning the title of millennial millionaire with her wildly successful makeup subscription company Ipsy, Michelle Phan was a waitress with a YouTube channel. Phan posted free makeup tutorials online, building a following and a presence that got the attention of major makeup brands, including L'Oréal. She leveraged her online success to become a spokeswoman for Lancôme and later used those brand relationships to launch her own company.
You have access to remarkable resources and tools that afford new opportunities to bootstrap your way to success with minimal upfront investment. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Phan and her estimated $3 million net worth, according to CelebrityNetWorth, start by building your own online platforms.
4. Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
Lewis Howes is an Entrepreneur contributor and a former professional football player, but you won't hear his name headlining any athlete bankruptcy news stories. Rather than resting on his athletic laurels or giving up on achieving success after suffering a football-related injury, Howes was able to build up a multi-million dollar online media company.
On his website, he wrote, "Hustle comes to mind when people ask me how I did it. Lots of hustle, passion, focus and consistent vision." If you're looking to make your own million, you should do the same. Hustle and do what you have to do to make your dreams of being a millionaire come true.
5. Get Some Skills
Millennial Blake Ross is one of the chief creators of the Mozilla Firefox web browser. According to CelebrityNetWorth, the 30-year-old has an estimated net worth of $150 million. Ross became a millionaire when he was only 19 years old in 2004, reports Complex. And it was largely due to his skills, such as programming.
Developing hard, in-demand skills is a sure way to earn high income. These skills can serve as valuable tools in any modern-day entrepreneurship endeavor, as evidenced by Ross and other tech-savvy millennial millionaires. Take a few classes to develop the skills you need to launch a business or nab a job that can help you reach millionaire status.
6. Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
Susan Gregg Koger is a lover of vintage fashion. She turned her hobby of scoring vintage thrift store finds into a business, growing and expanding her online platform into popular web-based retailer ModCloth. Her net worth is $15 million, reports CelebrityNetWorth.
Turning a passion into a business is not without its challenges. But, Kroger shows that it's not only possible -- it's profitable if you're entrepreneurial-minded and are motivated by a love of what you do.
7. Invest in Real Estate
Josh Simon was 18 years old when he got his real estate license and sealed his first property deal, reports The College Investor. He then launched his own commercial real estate investment firm, Simon CRE, making him a millionaire by age 25.
Millennials have largely shied away from homeownership. But as your generation ages out of the financial challenges and lifestyle impermanence of their 20s, now might be the ideal time for you to delve into real estate and amass a million of your own.
8. Develop an App
Nick D'Aloisio created a mobile news summarization app called Summly when he was just a teenager. After raising funds and revamping the app with improved customization and accessibility features, D'Aloisio sold the app to Yahoo for $30 million -- making him a millionaire at age 17.
While the app store platform is accessible to all entrepreneurs, the market is crowded and the competition fierce. To become a millionaire stand out like D'Aloisio, you will either need to provide new useful tools, like Summly, or create an app that is addicting and amusing, like Angry Birds.
9. Live the Frugal Life
In his book, "A Million Bucks by 30," Alan Corey details his journey from broke millennial to millionaire. His strategy? Saving half of his earnings from his $40,000-a-year job, limiting ATM use and eventually investing in real estate. By staying on a strict budget and investing, Corey was able to become a millionaire.
Living frugally frees up funds for you to put toward larger financial goals, such as investing, real estate, entrepreneurship and other millionaire-making tools beyond the limitations of salary and income. See how you can cut back on spending and save money to start accumulating wealth.
10. Just Get Started
Rather than waiting for startup cash to roll in, BizChair.com founder Sean Belnick dove into his millionaire-making venture with $500, reports Inc. The then 14-year-old launched the company from his bedroom. Six years later, BizChair.com had 75 employees and $24 million in revenue. According to Complex, Belnick has a net worth of $42 million.
While 66 percent of millennials report a strong desire to start their own business, actual levels of entrepreneurship among the Gen Y cohort is in decline, reports CNBC. Perfection paralysis and risk aversion might be partly to blame. Rather than waiting for the perfect time or plan to execute your entrepreneurial endeavors, you can look to millionaires like Belnick to take the leap and get started.
Keep reading: 10 Startups That Will Put Money in Your Pocket
The road to millions is paved with opportunity for you and other millennials. You just have to uncover, leverage and maximize it.
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