Eight Ways to Make a Million

Don’t just dream about striking it rich. Learn from those who did.

How can you become a self-made millionaire? The answer varies widely depending whom you ask.

Twelve years ago, for instance, Julie Aigner-Clark was looking for a way to expose Aspen, her 18-month-old daughter, to music and the arts. So she and her husband, Bill, shot a video in the basement of their home. "We borrowed equipment from a friend, put up a black velvet background and used the toys my daughter liked," she says.

The star of the video is a dragon puppet that Aspen used as a washcloth. Other scenes feature Julie’s hand slowly turning the crank on a jack-in-the-box. It’s all very low-budget, but also quite soothing. Can you imagine the path to becoming a millionaire starting with such a mundane project?

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Here at Kiplinger’s, we’re old-fashioned. We think it’s a lot more fun becoming rich than being born that way. Our culture and economy encourage risk-taking, pursuing good ideas and dogged determination. Luck plays a part, too.

There’s no denying it. But you can also make your own luck through perseverance.

To inspire you, we looked for people who have become rich. Just how did they do it? For some, like Julie and Bill, everything flowed quickly from one good idea. Others spent a working lifetime patiently building wealth. We also asked what they’ve done with their wealth -- and what advice they have for others. We demonstrate how to find the cash to invest your way to millionaire status.

Look, we know it may not happen. But a growing number of Americans are achieving millionaire status. And in these eight stories, you’ll find information to make your life richer, whether you become a millionaire or not.


1. The Video That Took on a Life of Its Own

Julie-Aigner Clark and husband Bill learned about the power of "word of mouth," as their Baby Einstein empire took off.

2. Know When to Make the Call

Mark Wilson took the leap from managing a corporate call-center to starting his own, Ryla Teleservices, providing a much needed alternative to offshore outsourcing.

3. Pounce When the Time Is Right

Real estate is an accessible path for independent investors to make money. Robert Norton, a former entertainment lawyer, shares his method.

4. It Started Over Cocktails

The Internet has made many millionaires, but don't expect an overnight success story. Mediabistro's Laurel Touby reveals what it takes to make it big on the 'Net.

5. A Thirty-Year Plan to Make a Mil

So you'll never leap to start your own business and do not trust the real estate market, you can still build a million the old-fashioned way -- just ask Gary Gardelli.

6. Breaking With Family Tradition

One of the first to produce eggs from cage-free hens, Cyd Szymanski can tell you it pays to go against convention when you believe in what you are doing.

7. Accumulating A Fortune on $11 a Hour

There's more than a money lesson behind Paul Navone's story of accumulated wealth from a wage-paying job.

8. Suddenly It Clicks

You don't have to go it alone. Gurtej Sandhu has earned his wealth creating patents at Micron Technology.


2005: How to Make a Million

2006: How to Make a Million

2007: Yes, You Can Make a Million

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