15 Things These Billionaires Would Do Today If They Had To Restart From Scratch

By Wesley
15 Things These Billionaires Would Do Today If They Had To Restart From Scratch

One way to discern the lessons that billionaires have learned along the way to building their world bestriding, titanic fortunes is to consider what they would do if they had to start all over again from scratch and attempt to rebuild with nothing but the knowledge they now have as billions of dollars worth of the world’s valuable resources have eagerly passed through their hands and increased under their watchful care and profoundly capable management.

This is a question that more than one billionaire has been asked in recent years and in this article on Self Made I’m going to reveal their answers and some insights into how you should think about those answers to make them the most useful to you. Because remember, while these transformed the world around them in legendary ways, they were also completely transformed by the process that made them billionaires. They have strayed so far from the safety of predictable, comfortable, and understandable. They have ventured so far into the abyss and fearlessly pushed forward in the dark, creating their own path as they went.

You cannot simply do what one of them would do if they had to start over and become a billionaire yourself. You will have to use their answers to realize what you will need to do yourself starting from scratch for the first time to get to their level.

Before we take a look at some answers to this question from luminaries like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Cuban, let’s turn our attention briefly to the apocryphal story of the Italian billionaire…

1. Buy a nice suit and go to parties…

So there’s this story of an Italian billionaire (which there are more than 40 Italian billionaires living today, so it could be a true story) who was asked if he had to start over what would he do to rebuild his wealth from zero to a > $1 billion again. His answer was simple: He would take whatever job he could find and save up $500 to buy a really nice suit. Then he would go out and find nice parties to crash where there are clearly lots of successful people in attendance. He’s sure he would meet someone at the party who would offer him a high paying job with a lot of responsibilities and get his foot in the door of middle management somewhere or would be able to make some introductions to someone else who would.

That would save him a couple years of climbing through all the initial obstacles to get to that point and he would start in earnest doing great work and moving up the company, learning the industry, and saving up to start his own business. (In the final analysis, pretty much if you want to be a billionaire you’re going to have to start your own business.)

But the real moral of the story is that networking is absolutely key for people who are on the level of billionaires. They are people. They don’t do everything themselves. How on earth could they! Your daily effort cannot scale up to a billion dollar operation. You have to find and work with and get help from and manage other people’s expertise, other people’s efforts, even other people’s money to grow anything to those proportions. You can’t do it without other people.

The Italian billionaire knows he could get hired by hanging with well-connected people in positions of authority because he’s a billionaire. He’s got the savvy and knowledge and people like the ones he’d be networking with can read other people like a book, and they would be able to tell that they want the former billionaire working for them. That billionaire level of cred probably oozes out of this guy’s pores. You’ll have to earn that yourself by doing exceptional work, tackling the problems that no one has tackled, and learning the answers that no one knows. If you are not good with people, start out by reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Then get a good book on understanding body language.

2. Commissioned sales then start a business…

Mark Cuban was once asked this very question. What would you do if you had to start over from scratch to make your billions all over again? Cuban answered: “I am not sure that I could become a billionaire again, to become one – You have to get lucky. Could i become a multimillionaire again? No doubt.”

So he said what he would do to become a multi-millionaire easily is get a job as a bartender at night and a sales job during the day (Good God this guy loves to work) and fire on all cylinders to save up enough money as fast as possible to start a business. Cuban’s a great salesperson and commissioned sales is easy to get your foot in the door. In many sales jobs you don’t need an education or credentials or even experience… if you don’t produce they just don’t pay you, so it’s no big deal, but if you perform well…  it’s a great way to make a lot of money fast.

“Knowing what my sales skills are and the products that I am able to sell, I think I could find a job selling a product that had enough commissions or rewards for me, then I would get enough money in the bank to be able to start my own business, and the rest would be history.”

Again if you’re aiming to join the three comma club, one thing they pretty much all have in common up there on the Forbes richest people list as they started their own business to get there.

3. Emerging Technologies

Speaking at a Facebook live event moderated by old Charlie Rose and broadcast out of Columbia University, Microsoft founder and the world’s richest billionaire, Bill Gates (who’s with me on getting a campaign going to start calling this man William the Great?) had this to say about starting over again if he had to: “The work in artificial intelligence today is at a really profound level. It is going to be phenomenal, so anything connected with that I think would be an exciting lifetime career.”

Gates sees massive growth and innovation in the energy industry in upcoming years: “The planet needs to find reliable, cheap and clean energy. The innovations there will be profound.”

In the rapidly expanding field biotechnology, bolstered by the exponential growth effects in price performance (as described in Moore’s Law) as biotechnology increasingly becomes an information technology, Gates foresees that the younger generations will masterfully use science to completely deconstruct and exercise control over major problems like obesity, cancer, and depression.

In 1970s Bill Gate dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft and license computer operating systems to computer hardware companies. He said during the Facebook live event that if he had to start over again today he would get into artificial intelligence, energy, or biology. “In terms of big impact, those three hard science problems would be the top for me.”

4. The same exact thing all over again

Warren Buffet, the God Tier Level, global Top 5 billionaire, iconic for his investing acumen, referred to in hushed tones of reverence as “The Oracle of Omaha” says that if he had to start all over again knowing what he knows now… he would do pretty much the exact same thing all over again and become an investor.

“I had fun when I was in my twenties, my thirties, and now I am 86 and I am having fun,” says Buffett. 86 years old. At one point the richest man in the world. Still on that pinnacle of success. He could finally sit back now if he wanted to, say, “Yeah I’ve done my part. Time to just kick back.” But the man just loves investing in businesses. He’s got that Midas touch where everything he touches turns to gold. He and money both have a gravitational pull on each other of cosmic proportions. “I would be a failure at anything else, probably,” he said once with a smile.

It doesn’t matter what new technologies are going to create the most value. While Gates would be getting in there and getting his hands dirty creating some new manufacturing process that cuts the cost of creating solar cells by 90% or hardcoding an artificially intelligent software program just like he coded early operating systems back in the day, Buffet would just be looking at financial reports like he did back in the day, doesn’t matter what the company technically does. He’d just look at all the financial records and be able to size up that the company is undervalued for its productive potential and just buy it at a great bargain.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should get into finance and investments. Buffet says: “I advise students, as much as possible, look for the job that you would take if you didn’t need a job. He says not doing what you love is more or less “sleepwalking through life,” and basically “like saving up sex for your old age. It’s not a good idea.” “You really want to be doing what you love doing… don’t give up before you find it.”

5. Stay true to a vision

Mark Zuckerberg says if he had to start all over again today with Facebook or the $71 billion in personal net worth that Facebook has made for him, he would do something similar to Facebook, something that uses digital technology and the Internet to make the world more connected and “open.” During a live Q&A on Facebook a few years back, Zuckerberg said:”The way that I think about building a company is that it’s all about what change do you want to make in the world.” The billionaire told viewers that the reason he built Facebook in the first place was that he wanted to bring people at his college together, and make his campus more connected using the resources, power, and platforms of the Internet. If he had to start over he’d make something else with the same goals. “That’s really what I care about, making the world more open and connected.”

Shout out to the marketers and developers that are focused on mobile, because Zuckerberg did say if he were starting out literally today at this stage of development in the Information Technology revolution, he would probably be thinking about a mobile application, but his core mission, his vision, the values that he would try to build into a platform would be the same.

Zuckerberg says to start with your purpose and then you will be able to figure out each next step to take to make your vision a reality: “They decide that they want to build a company rather than thinking about what change they want to make in the world. Once you know what change you want to make in the world, all of the tactics and strategies for how you do that just fit into that change.

Zuckerberg says not to try to think of what business will make you the most money but instead to focus on what you really care about and turn that into a business.

6. Start right away and push as hard as possible

What these billionaires all seem to have in common in their varying answers is that they would start with a sense of urgency and PUSH! Mark Cuban’s working two high paying jobs if he suddenly goes broke so he doesn’t have to wait a day longer than he has to start his own business and make some real money.

The thing is every day that you aren’t fiercely moving toward your goals costs far more than a day. One today is worth two tomorrows.

If that doesn’t make sense to you or if you don’t believe it, start contemplating how that could be true until you realize in terror just how badly you’ve underestimated the importance of not wasting today. And when you’ve drunk that bitter cup down to the last drop, let it invigorate you into a man or woman of inveterate action.

7. Stop calculating too much

A calculation is the breeding ground for all good business decision. One can’t manage to succeed in anything if he doesn’t have a valid plan. As good as plans can be, they can sometimes have a completely opposite effect on the quality of our businesses. In fact, planning is solely about setting up the right circumstances for the functioning of your day. It isn’t any sort of guarantee that you will “make it”. Of course, without planning – everything is likely to fall apart.

But what happens when you plan too much? Several prominent entrepreneurs and billionaires have stated that they wished they took more risks early on in their careers. Despite being successful as they are now, they’ve realized that the key to success is risks. In such uncertain situations, you have to make a split-second decision. A wrong move can break your dream, while the right one can make it. It all comes down to this in the end. No amount of planning can prepare you for a venture into the unknown.

Therefore, many of the world’s richest wished they saw things more clearly. When it comes to clarity, they mean that after all these years, decisions are just that – decisions. After a perspective change, they are aware of how in vain is over-planning. Many of them agree that they could have saved themselves a lot of stress if they just went with it. That company acquirement, the risky new product, a staff change – all of these activities boil down to the notion of simply doing something.

Billionaires are risk takers by nature, but many of them should have taken this a little bit further. They still have time so they can experiment.

8. Get into the stock trading market

When you assess the background for every prominent billionaire, a similar pattern emerges. They have all started from scratch and built an empire with minimal resources. While this is a motivating factor, it can also be a factor that makes things more difficult. It means that you have less financial resources to start with, which can be a problem. Many billionaires have started off doing menial jobs in order to support their extravagant plans.

This is why the majority of them say they should have hired a broker and started flipping stocks. Trading stocks require some preparation but can be pretty profitable with a little bit of luck and some persistence. Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and many others say that they would have definitely used the extra financial boost from trading stocks. It can give you thousands of dollars a month, which means the world when you’re an up and coming entrepreneur.

Obviously, if they’re billionaires, they’ve had to know the ins and outs of the industry before seeing success. By using that knowledge get a financial boost from stock trading, they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble. Instead of loans, slow progress and stagnation, they could have pumped money straight into their ideas. During those crucial periods, every cent counts. Thus, stock trading proves to be the right career path for young entrepreneurs and thinkers.

Not only will it give you a financial boost, but it will also boost your knowledge. The whole industry is based on the stock exchange. By mastering it, you can achieve what few others have before you. With such an advantage, the world can surely be yours. It’s just a chance, of course.

9. Cooperated with more partners

It’s true what they say – being a billionaire can sometimes be a lonely venture. If you’ve made it big because of your ideas, you have a tendency to live a fairly lonely life. It’s a common misconception that all rich people are socialites. In fact, many of them live fairly sedentary lifestyles. This is because of a multitude of reasons. The most prominent one is the fact that many individuals like to leech on others when they’ve made it big. That’s why letting someone into your life can be a risky venture.

But, it’s not to say that the loneliness doesn’t get boring sometimes. When asked about what could day have done different, around two-thirds of all surveyed billionaires stated that they should have cooperated more. A business partner means a lot to an aspiring visionary and entrepreneurs. Not only are they like-minded people, but they can also help speed up your business. By making plans with someone on your level, you are twice as efficient. Two heads are smarter than one, remember?

The question that ensued was always “But, wouldn’t you have to split your earnings with that person?” They always answered yes, but pointed out that they wouldn’t feel the change. One or two billion dollars less doesn’t make a significant life difference. A good friend and a less stressful life do, however. Solely because of this, they wish they branched out and found more likeminded individuals.

Yes, it is indeed risky to trust your future and plans with someone. Everything we do is a risk. If you’re taking one, it better be a calculated risk. If it pays off, you will strive and succeed faster, with the addition of a good friend and supporter. Branch out, people!

10. Invested in education more

Amongst the world’s elite, philanthropy is something fairly normal. These men and women are aware of the notion that they’re rich and they’re using the position to do good. It’s a noble act that distributes the world’s wealth to those who need it. By getting rid of unnecessary riches and assets, billionaires make the world a better place for those less fortunate. Many of them have a long history in this field of humanitarian work. However, despite the extensive experience, they wished they did more. Why?

The answer is education. These billionaires know that giving up half of their wealth wouldn’t impact their life quality, but they are aware of the impact it would have on others. Because of this, they wish they’ve invested in youth more. Young people are often found in unprivileged situations, without any means to succeed. Brilliant young mines are being squandered because many of them don’t have the means to get educated.

There have been numerous conferences about this subject in particular. The world’s elite agrees on the fact that the entire globe needs more finances for education. Nobody should be stripped of the right to gain knowledge. Even though they do so now, many billionaires regret the fact they didn’t invest in education more at the beginning of their careers.

It’s great that they’re spreading awareness about it now and that more and more people are chipping in on the movement. It doesn’t matter if you regret something or not, it’s important what you do about it now. That’s the only thing that counts.

11. Traveled more

Oftentimes, the formative years of a billionaire are tough and uncomfortable. We only tend to see the finished product and all the riches that ensue. What predates this lavish life is decades of hard work, dedication, and sacrifices. Such an investment in one’s future can cause a real chaotic period. Even when this phase passes, every billionaire is pretty much reluctant to relax and let things go their way. If one started off humble, he won’t be able to relax and leave everything to chance.

This is why many billionaires point out about their lack of relaxation when they could. They often say such things at an old age, where they become aware of their missed chances. The thing they yearn for the most? Travelling is oftentimes the chief reason for their old-age sadness. Even though they have private jets and can globetrot whenever they want, it’s not the same as a youthful expression of wanderlust.

Believe it or not, most of these people are like you and me. They wish they’ve visited ghettos in NYC, nature reserves and all those not-so-flashy locations around the world. Expensive hotels, private jets, and comfort aren’t the same. They don’t give you that feeling of being alive and vibrant. Richard Branson advised young people who are well-off to forego lavish investments at the expense of traveling. It’s that important!

Therefore, it’s important to balance things out. Focusing entirely on the fun will get you nowhere, whereas being bent on solely business will burn you out. By combining both worlds, you can get a taste of the best of the best and live a long, both lavish and fulfilled life. It’s that simple, having a little bit of everything.

12. Opened more hotels

Hotels are something that always brings forth revenue. People have been traveling since the dawn of time. With that being said, ever since then, there was a market for places they could stay at. From simple inns and roadhouses, we have arrived at an age where you can just want to move to your hotel.

They can be both modest and tasteful, with some leaning more to the extravagant side. They are often a great way to promote your brand. Also, you can say that they’re also a great way of giving magnitude to your ideas. Billionaires often urge architects to give the hotel a stamp of their own. A trademark, if you will.

Many of the world’s most powerful men and women wish that they’ve been more keen on investing in hotels. It’s a trend nowadays, but it hasn’t always been like that. Hotels were once modest ways of earning extra money through investments. All the world’s chief hotel magnates are constantly improving on their offer and what their branch represents. Most of them aren’t renowned billionaires. This gives many people with that amount of money a sense of regret for not knowing this branch of business. It’s a regret experienced by many. They would have bought a hotel or two if they really had to start from scratch.

Carlos Slim himself has expressed interest in the hotel industry. Jeff Bezos of Amazon has recently said that he wished he also got in on a venture or two. No matter how old are you, it’s never too late for the undertaking of an ambitious plan. Therefore, one could say that the hotel world is always waiting.

13. Invested in clean forms of energy

We’re living in the age of renewable energy forms. Too long have we sucked out the life of our planet and damaged her in the process. With oil and natural gas reserves running low, we have been forced to turn to other energy forms. This hasn’t only been a viable solution, but also a real game changer. No longer we have to worry about depleting a resource because we have infinite amounts of sun, wind, and water.

In order to kickstart the renewable energy awareness movement, we have to count on the world’s elite in order to motivate us all. Some of them regret not doing something earlier. Most older billionaires don’t really regret not investing, but being born at a wrong age. Much of these people were born decades ago, when coal, oil and other forms of energy were prominent.

When they were at the peak of their power, they could have invested much more money in the development of renewable energy sources. Alas, such sources didn’t exist at the time. Many of them try to develop as many forms of energy as it is humanely possible. Elon Musk and Bill Gates are constantly working on bringing the wonders of solar energy to impoverished countries. They are an outstanding example of what standing up for a cause really means. It was fashionable in the age to invest in oil and coal.

Many prominent individuals did so, but now regret the deed. They’ve seen what coal and similar non-renewable sources do to our environment and atmosphere. It’s never too late to invest. More and more billionaires are picking up the trend at hand. Let’s hope the movement gets even bigger.

14. Gambled more

This may sound like a lavish outburst, but it’s the most human feeling imaginable. Many billionaires contemplate their past endeavors more often than not. Sometimes, in such cases, a conclusion can be made about past regrets. Let’s face it – a difference between $20 billion and $10 billion can hardly be felt through everyday life. That’s why many entrepreneurs and businessman feel like they should have had more fun with the money.

One might ponder about the ethics of such a move, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. For a billionaire who has donated millions to charity, it’s normal to want some fun on the side. Many rich and powerful individuals enjoy taking weekend trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City in order to play roulette and blackjack. Gambling by itself isn’t bad, it’s the people who don’t know the limit. If you’re a billionaire who has money to throw around, it’s okay to have some fun. As long as you don’t endanger your well-being, it’s fine to focus on things on the side.

Some billionaires lose their status because of gambling endeavors, but most stay modest throughout their lives. As a result of that modesty, they get a late-life crisis, a phenomenon where they suddenly want to have more fun and indulge in the wonders of fun. Such a spree without supervision can prove to be deadly for one’s bank account. However, if you’re a billionaire, it’s much harder to reach that critical zone in the development of your own empire.

A rightful disposition of one’s time during youth would be a great way to tackle those old age urges. It’s all about being responsible and thinking ahead. A little fun won’t hurt.

15. Bought a sports team

The next best thing after being an actual athlete is being an owner of a sports team. Often are the cases when a rich person decided to purchase a team and invest a certain amount of money. In the eyes of laymen, owning a sports team is a game where you just sit and wait for the revenue to come pouring in. This can’t be farther from the truth. Owning a sports franchise is hard work that requires a lot of knowledge and logistics connected to the business endeavor. Nobody without sufficient knowledge would stand a chance of maintaining a successful professional sports team.

Many billionaires wish they gained the necessary knowledge needed to accomplish these goals. When you purchase a team, you forge a bond with the staff, the fans, and the athletes. A whole city depends on you to restore the team back on the track of success. If you succeed, you will become a folk hero.

If you don’t, you will feel all the rage there is in the world. As we’ve said, it’s a tricky business to tackle. Those who aren’t ready for the stress should stay clear of it for good. Many older billionaires wish they’ve taken the challenge when they still had time and energy.

More and more young rich individuals love the idea of getting into sports, which is a great idea. Even e-sports became a lucrative branch. With the right kind of people and the right decisions, dominating a sports league can be the most fun thing you’ve ever experienced. Or it could turn into living hell. Your call completely. The fun of it is the uncertainty.

 

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