You’re constantly bombarded by stories of people who climbed to the top by revolutionizing their industries and slowly grinding to the top. However, what about people who took a different approach?
What about some people who came up with something different or just figured out a way to monetize something everyone is doing for fun? What about those who picked up something worthless from the floor and decided to sell it for millions? What about those who invested in Bitcoin while it was still $12 per coin?
Well, this is a story about those people, the most unlikely millionaires, and lessons you can learn from them.
1. Khaby Lame
Khaby Lame is a face everyone knows, and he made millions (current net worth of about $5 million) without uttering a single word. How? Well, with the help of TikTok and a unique idea.
You see, there are so many hacks, tricks, and crafts that are just amazing. However, when this trend got off, content creators started running out of actual hacks to offer, so they started selling ideas that were more complex than the original operation. A hack is supposed to save time and effort, but some of these “tools” were more complex than the original (sometimes costing as little as $2 to $5).
Khaby recognized this ironic twist and based his career on mocking this trend. He would show the “hack” and then demonstrate just how easy it was to do the thing the old-fashioned way.
His delivery was also on point. He wouldn’t utter a single word, have a facial expression of being incredibly annoyed, and his entire movement is completely minimalist. This minimalism further emphasizes how complex this “life hack” really is and why it’s so paradoxical.
Sure, there’s nothing unusual about content creation, but this type of content and achieving this global recognition without uttering a single word is something that no one had achieved since Chaplin. This alone ensures that Khaby Lame deserves a spot on this list.
2. Erik Finman
Another great example is Erik Finman, who in 2011, used a $1,000 gift from his grandmother to buy Bitcoin (whose value at the time was around $12 per coin). You already know how this story is going. Finman was 12 at the time.
In 2017, Bitcoin skyrocketed, and in 2020, Finman’s net worth was estimated at around $4.8 million. He was only 18.
Now, a bit more about Finman. According to his own words, one teacher told him that he’d never amount to anything in life. He even suggested that Finman drop out and get a job at McDonald’s.
After his crypto success, this world’s youngest crypto millionaire started investing in many different venues and assets. Still, his initial capital came from something new and unique that his brother told him about. Few people can brag about knowing about Bitcoin in 2011, and even fewer could brag about buying and holding it for six years.
This served as an inspiration to many young investors, who are now looking at best-performing coin lists in hopes of finding the best new coin to invest in. Due to the AI craze we’re currently seeing, some investors feel that AI coins may hide the next Bitcoin. AI crypto coins are digital assets that are designed to power projects that use artificial intelligence. These AI cryptocurrencies might be used to facilitate transactions with a network or may confer governance rights on their holders (Source: https://www.techopedia.com/cryptocurrency/best-ai-coins). Whether or not the next Eric Finman will be an AI coin investor, only time will tell.
3. Gary Dahl
You see, a pet rock was never about tricking anyone. It was a tongue-in-cheek joke that so many people picked up. This level of ingenuity wasn’t repeated until that one guy gathered more than $50k on Kickstarter to make a potato salad.
In 1975, Dahl introduced the concept of Pet Rock, a companion that will always be by your side. With it, you could play come, stay, roll over, and play dead (one of your pet rock’s specialties), making this rock an instant hit.
According to Dahl’s own words, he packed a joke to a very bored public.
Dahl also became an icon. He was a regular guy who picked up something completely worthless and told the world, “Hey! Wanna buy it?” To which a surprising number of people said yes.
You see, what Dahl used was the power of modern media. In the past, even the earth’s most powerful rulers had limited audiences. Today, you can send the word into the wind, and it can be picked up by millions, potentially even billions, of people. This was true even in Dahl’s time, let alone in the internet age.
The lesson hiding here is that you don’t need a brilliant idea. All it has to be is the right kind of unique.
4. Andrew Fischer
People love weird, interesting ideas, and for Andrew Fischer, this idea was selling his forehead pixels as advertising space. While this may sound too abstract to work, he made $37,375 in just one day to advertise a snoring remedy on his forehead.
Fischer did not stop there. He continued to build a viral marketing company called NURV.com and went on to run a successful website. Now, he already had some fame (or notoriety), which helped his business thrive.
After all, he was in marketing, and the fact that he managed to go viral with such a simple trick meant that many people assumed he “knew how to do it.” You can’t make a viral trend on purpose, but this idea served its purpose.
Sure, Fischer wasn’t a big fan of his early rise to fame, and he hated being known for his early gimmick, but the truth is that without it, he wouldn’t be able to build success. It’s also true that many people went viral without being able to capitalize on it.
According to Seneca, one of the fathers of Stoicism, luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and Fischer sure did use his chance. Fischer used his head to get ahead, and it worked like a charm.
5. Jen Glantz
You would be surprised at how many people have trouble rounding up their bridesmaids. Also, many bridesmaids neglect their duties or completely ignore them. They fail to support the bride the right way, or they steal the spotlight. Well, Jen Glantz offered brides nationwide the opportunity to hire a “professional” bridesmaid.
Not only that, but she also hired some help and started a company offering bridesmaids for hire.
Jen’s story is simple: one day, she opened up her closet and looked at so many bridesmaid dresses. She laughed and remarked that she had become a professional bridesmaid. That’s when she had her eureka moment. She realized that the wedding industry is worth $300 billion and figured out how to get a slice of that cake.
So, she went to Craigslist and offered her services, to which she instantly received about 250 responses. The rest is history.
The lesson behind this is quite simple – if you’re good at something, don’t do it for free. Some people are making a fortune teaching others how to play video games. Why assume that your talent is worthless or impossible to capitalize on? In today’s day and age, you have to put up your offer online and wait for some responses. You might be surprised.
All you need to make money is the right idea
Having the right idea is all you need to make money. While grinding and working on your career is the way to go, there are a lot of people who have made millions by working smarter, not harder. Instead of grinding and moving down the trodden path, they’ve stepped outside of the norm and tried something different. They started making fun of a new trend, invested in this new digital asset, or started selling rocks as pets. If it looks dumb but it works, it’s definitely not dumb.
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