If 80% of millionaires are first-generation millionaires, then becoming a millionaire is easy, right? No. Easy isn’t the word to describe becoming a self-made millionaire. The lesson from this statistic is that becoming a millionaire is more accessible than most think, but it still requires particular characteristics.

To be sure, successful entrepreneurs must fuel their mind, body and spirit with the good stuff and not the bad – GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). When many of us are binge watching our favorite Netflix drama, first-gen millionaires are making and creating. When we’re catching up on extra sleep, these aspirational workers are meditating, journaling and exercising.

Let’s discuss critical points of the millionaire mindset.

First-generation millionaires are entrepreneurial in spirit

Most of us go to school, get a job and work for someone else most of our lives. All along, we spend beyond our means to make ourselves feel better. Why? It’s because that’s what our parents did and what most of our friends do. That’s the worker-spirit, not the entrepreneurial spirit.

After earning her masters and racking up $38,000 in student loans, Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents figured out how to pay off those loans in seven months. She now has a personal finance blog where she helps others become debt free.

Schroeder diversifies her income stream from affiliate marketing and advertising on her blog by teaching others how to become bloggers and leverage advertising and affiliate marketing relationships. Schroeder says, “Have multiple income streams that are diversified and save your money. I make over six figures each month and save a lot of what I make. You won’t become a millionaire if you spend it all!”

First-generation millionaires invest steadily over time; there are no shortcuts

When two of the world’s richest and wealthiest, like Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett, agree on something, it’s worth considering.

Currently worth about $2.7 billion, Cuban started his career as a bartender in Dallas, Texas and went on to found MicroSolutions in the early 1980s. He eventually sold MicroSolutions for approximately $2 million.

About getting rich, Cuban says, “There are no shortcuts.”

The Oracle of Omaha, Buffett isn’t a first-generation millionaire. With his estimated $80 billion fortune, he often sits on the seat as the world’s richest person when his buddies Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos aren’t perched there. Buffett agrees with Cuban and continues, “It’s pretty easy to get well-to-do slowly. But it’s not easy to get rich quick.”

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First-generation millionaires always, always, always live below their means

Grant Cardone is many things, including a motivational speaker, real estate investor, author and television personality, but he didn’t start life as a millionaire and is now a millionaire several times over.

“I didn’t buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income. I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I had become a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy,” says Cardone.

Even for the eventual-millionaire, committing to live below your means is hard in a consumption society when you have little means. But, studies often confirm what Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door and student of the millionaire mindset found, “Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth. Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.”

First-generation millionaires know that failing is learning

Many of history’s most successful people were deemed failures at least once in their lives. The Wright Brothers’ first flight lasted 13-seconds, and many said that was proof that man couldn’t fly. Thomas Edison humorously said he didn’t fail 1,000 times with inventing the light bulb; he just learned the 1,000 steps it took to make one.

Sara Blakely founded Spanx and we all, men included, can thank her for letting us look skinnier over the holidays. Blakely grew up in Clearwater, Florida in a middle-American household. She planned on following in her father’s footsteps and become an attorney but got low scores on her LSATs. Despite this seeming failure, Blakely is now worth over $1 billion.

Blakely says, “I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. It is liberating. Most people attach failure to something not working out or how people perceive you. This way, it is about answering to yourself.”

First-generation millionaires seek to serve others

Currently worth $13.3 billion, Elon Musk started from humble beginnings in South Africa. Now a Canadian-American, Musk has founded businesses from PayPal to Tesla Inc. to SpaceX. His motto is “seek to serve others.” Musk says, “First of all, I think if somebody is doing something that is useful to the rest of society, that’s fine. Stuff doesn’t need to change the world just to be good.”

If you find a product or service that enough people want, the money will follow. Mega-Millionaire Mentor, Dr. Dimartini, asks attendees to his popular workshops how many of them have used Microsoft Windows. Invariably everyone raises their hands. Martini says, “Bill Gates figured out how to create something everyone wanted, and he’s a billionaire for it.”

Find a product or service that serves others and the market will serve you.

First-generation millionaires never quit

Everyone knows what Steve Jobs became, but few know that he started life with his blue-collar adoptive family in San Francisco. Jobs’ adoptive father was a “repo-man,” and his adoptive mother was a stay-at-home mom.

Jobs went on to become one of history’s most influential people, up there with J.D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford. He once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

As any entrepreneur knows, the path to success is a roller coaster. There are ups, and there are downs. There are the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Persistence is vital because, as transformational coach Lisa Nichols says, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”

Stanley, also, said in The Millionaire Next Door, “One of the reasons that millionaires are economically successful is that they think differently.” The above first-generation millionaires have proved they think differently. Our responsibility, if we want to join them, is to make sure our thinking doesn’t align with 97% of Americans.

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John Schneider

John Schneider

John is a personal finance writer and speaker. His work has appeared in Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Time and others. He writes about money at Debt Free Guys and talks about money on the Queer Money podcast, a podcast about the financial nuances of the LGBT community. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter.