What Does Self-Made Mean?

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I write quite a bit about self-made millionaires. Most of the comments I get on my articles are favorable and appreciative. But a minority of comments are unfavorable and very critical.

The critical comments always seem to follow the same logic – there is no such thing as a self-made millionaire. Millionaires are successful and wealthy because of the many people who helped them become successful and wealthy.

If you follow this line of reasoning, no one is self-made.

You wouldn’t exist if you weren’t born and didn’t survive childhood, so your parents are partly responsible for your success.

Your teachers helped teach you how to read, write and do math, so your teachers are partly responsible for your success.

Your baseball coach taught you how to compete, so your baseball coach is partly responsible for your success.

Of course others helped you along the way.

But in order to become a self-made millionaire, you have to make an individual decision that YOU want to break out of poverty or the middle class.

So, the more accurate definition of a “Self-Made Millionaire” is someone who was raised in poverty or the middle class, who decided they wanted to be rich and who took individual action in the pursuit of success and wealth.

The catalysts that prompt every future self-made millionaire to take action are almost always three things:

  1. A Clear Vision of Your Ideal, Future, Wealthy Life
  2. The Dreams That Must be Realized and
  3. The Goals That Transform Dreams into Reality

Yes, during the pursuit of your dreams and goals, as a matter of course, you will run into or seek out individuals who can help move you forward in the realization of your dreams and the achievement of your goals.



  1. coral wong on October 12, 2021 at 8:48 PM

    hi Tom,
    perhaps I am one of those self made millionaire. I came from a poor family and when I married and came to New Zealand, my husband worked on minimum wage and we have 3 children and money was always tight. Once the youngest one started kindergarten, I went to high school to get my university entrance and then to uni for a bachelor degree to qualify as a chartered accountant (as an adult student with 3 kids in tow). after many twists & turns and warding off all the nay sayers, (I was too old, over qualified and under expereinced), I started my own business as a public accountant, I also made a goal of having $10million when I retire via investment properties. I am now retired and I have more than achieved my goals. my husband and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage in 2023, and we have happy children and grand children. yes, i set goals and I went for it, there were many negative voices along the way, but I have fend off them and keep marching on. are there self made millionaires? yes, I am one of them.

    Coral Wong, Auckland New Zealand

    • Robin Wood on October 18, 2021 at 7:57 AM

      Hi Coral

      Congratulations on achieving your goals.
      What a lot of people do not realise is that along the way to achieving your goals you become a better person than when you started out. The money that you make is really a byproduct of the goals that you achieve. I have found that you basically forget about making money and your focus turns to achieving your goals. The satisfaction you get comes from the realization of your dreams. A quote by Napoleon Hill that I totally agree with is “Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.” All the best in the future and congrats once again for a job well done. Regards Robin Wood

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