Get-rich-quick schemes don’t work, of course, but this masks an important truth about American society and the economy. The truth is that many people do rise from very limited circumstances to significant wealth in fairly short periods of time. This has been the American story for nearly two decades, and it’s as true today as it ever was. In fact, since America is less racist now than ever before (yes, seriously!), it’s probably easier for more people to get rich now than at any time in the past.
The key, however, is that “quick” is rarely part of the equation. Most people who become rich do so through hard work, great effort, patience, and a bit of luck. They find themselves in a particular job or profession, and they see a way to improve upon the status quo in some very small ways. They pursue their vision, and they work relentlessly. And then they wake up one day and realize that they have a very strong business that’s generating tons of profits. In other words, they are rich.
They didn’t do it by being geniuses. They didn’t do it by inventing something new. They didn’t do it by cheating someone else, or cheating the government. They did it simply by doing what they were trained to do, but doing it in a way that’s a little different than whomever trained them. I have seen it over and over again among relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances. I’ve seen it in businesses as diverse as rent-to-own furniture, dentistry, real estate sales, magazine publishing, and government contracting. None of the folks who got rich would call themselves especially smart. They just knew their business very well, and they worked hard at it.
So if you want to get rich, my suggestion is to focus on what you know already and are good at doing. Then figure out a way to start your own business in that field.