Think Like a BOSS: How to transition from Wage Earner to Startup millionaire


The first challenge for wage-earners looking to become millionaire entrepreneurs is overcoming the fear of going it alone,  but even after doing so, there are certain ways of thinking that they must change in order to become successful.

Dr. Venus Opal Reese, who rose from surviving the mean streets of Baltimore, Maryland at age 16 to becoming a self-made millionaire, offers some advice.  Through her coaching company Defy Impossible, Dr. V, as she monikers herself, dispenses advice, tailored to black women in business.

But her ideas and suggestions on shifting one’s mentality when transitioning to a business owner or consulting are great for any person of any race or gender.  Here are four secrets of what millionaires do differently:

1. Make money from what you “know” instead of from what you “do.”
As employees, we rent out our behaviors for a certain number of hours each day. We’re paid to use our skills and accomplish tasks that benefit our employer. We all know how to make survival money from what we do.

Give up the working-class mentality of making money from what you “do” and start making money from what you “know.” Everyone has a skill, but not everyone has your story and your unique perspective on life – what you’ve learned from walking through fire. You have a million-dollar message that can be monetized to launch your entrepreneurial dream or take the dream you’ve launched to impossible new heights. First, you must identify it.

2. DON’T leave your day job until you have replaced your income.
Keep the job that’s paying the bills while you work on the side to market your message and build your revenue stream.

If you’re panicking about keeping the lights on, you’re not going to have the enthusiasm and creativity necessary to give your entrepreneurial dream your full, amazing power. Plus, having the lights on makes it a lot easier to get things done!”

Once you’re making enough money to replace that salary or hourly wage, give up the day job!

3. Don’t position yourself as a low-cost leader.
Imagine being a Kia and then trying to be a Bentley. The market won’t believe you. If you want to go high-end, you have to stop charging low. It takes clarity, trust and confidence to up your rates, but it also forces you to get crystal clear on why people should pay top dollar to work with you. If you start low with the intention of going high, you will attract all the people looking for a deal. These people will never want to pay more. So don’t build your business on low-end items.

4. Trade on value instead of volume.
Another pitfall of charging low ticket is that it is dependent upon a high volume of people buying in order for you to earn a living. When you move into the world of high-end leadership, you don’t make your money from volume. You make your money from the value you bring your clients. The more value you provide, the more you can charge. Value can be tangible, emotional, prestige, exclusivity, or customization. When you build your business around value instead of volume, you naturally charge more — and get more — high-end clients.


photo: Getty Press conference for Brazil soccer star Robinho, who  in 2008 became the highest wage earner for Barclay Premier League