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The Myth Of The Self-Made Millionaire

There are many commonly used phrases I find fascinating.

One of them is “self-made millionaire.”  People also like to use “self-made man.”

As in:

“He built that successful business. He’s a self-made millionaire.”


  • Did he invent the personal computer that let him figure the numbers and marketing strategy for his business?
  • Did he build the car that he drove to that really important appointment?
  • Did he imagine or fund the 100 million dollar movie that inspired him to take action?
  • Did he dream up the idea for a high speed connected global infrastructure that allows nearly instant communication to all corners of the planet (A.K.A. the Internet).
  • Did he invent the light bulb that let him work late into the night and start early in the morning?
  • Did he mine, smelt, or lay the copper wiring that brought him electricity?

I know most people mean this term as a compliment when they say it.

And people who have achieved unique things should be complimented and recognized.

However, very few self-made millionaires (at least the ones I know) would identify themselves that way.

I think the challenge of this concept (the myth of a self-made millionaire) is that many people use it as a reason excuse that they can’t also make a million dollars.

They abdicate their responsibility to take full advantage of the resources available (made that way for everyone by all who have come before).

They give up their power to achieve incredible things.

While complimenting, they also use the phrase to reinforce the idea that “millionaire” is a dream that is only possible… for someone else.

Oh, she did that all by herself?
She must have something that I don’t have.


She did that using the EXACT same tools and resources you have available to you.

  • Maybe she has different education.
  • Maybe she has different contacts.
  • Maybe she has different skills.

But the tools and resources that are available to her, through the Internet (available for free at the library) and modern technology are the exact same ones available to you and me every day.

Congratulations to self-made millionaires (I’m still working on it), and to those who use the term to know that this goal is possible for anyone who works to achieve it.

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