I listened to an audiobook called “Seven Figures in Seven Years” by Michael Masterson. His book has a 7 figure success formula that tells six steps to seven figures in seven years. I’ve used creative liberty to disclose the 7 figure success formula with information that was valuable from my own research, including Masterson’s book and those of other self-made millionaires In this blog post, I plan to summarize the information I’ve learned from these resources.
If you want to hear his version of the strategy by Michael Masterson, a self-made millionaire who has mentored other self-made millionaires to achieve the 7 figure success formula in seven years or under, you can do so here. I highly recommend it!
- 1 A Little About Me
- 2 How This Affects You
- 3 1.) Step #1 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Set a Goal that lead to Seven Figures in Seven Years or Less
- 4 2.) Step #2 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Created A Life Plan Around his Goal
- 5 3.) Step #3 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Identified Conflicts between His Current Situation and His Goal
- 6 4.) Step #4 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Renegotiated Deficient Contracts That Impeded Him from Achieving Seven Figures
- 7 5.) Step #5 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Lived Below His Means and Increased His Savings Rate
- 8 6.) Step #6 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Pursued Lucrative Side Hustles and Invested what was Required to Make Them Work
- 9 7.) Step #6 in the 7 Figure Success Formula: Sacrifice, Persevere, Commit, and Adjust in Favor of The Goal
- 10 Now, it’s your turn…
A Little About Me
I began my working life at age 18; for about a year, I worked at McDonald’s making $8-9 dollars an hour. Then, after identifying the glass ceiling there, I looked for a way to increase my income, and I joined the Air Force. In 2015, after dedicating nine years of my life to the Air Force, I decided my family needed something different. I wanted to stabilize geographically so that my husband’s business could take off, and my son needed a boost in his education that his school wouldn’t offer. So, I took the dive into making all of our “side hustles” our primary income earners, and also, becoming a homeschool mom.
I jumped from Active Duty Air Force into a General Contracting business that was producing irregular income, and a publishing business that was still in the concept phase. I wouldn’t suggest doing what I did, but I can write about that in another post if enough people comment that you’re interested in hearing about my career change.
Now, two years and some change later, I make five figures (a little over 2/3 of the income I made while Active Duty in the Air Force) from home as a homeschooling mom working part-time. My income is just enough to cover our monthly expenses.
Side note: Out of respect, I leave my spouse’s income out of my blog posts unless he says it’s okay for me to share, so what I share with you is my results individually; however, I can say that with our combined income, we make enough to get by and save some money.
Despite the reality of my 12 years of working, I’ve always had a burning desire to be wealthy. I HATE “just getting by,” and I HATE seeing people who suffer from the oppression of “just getting by.”
People who are “just getting by” are not able to make the best decisions. We have to make the decisions that are within our confinement of “having just enough.” I declared at the beginning of my working life that I would never live “just getting by.” However, I have come to a greater understanding of what that means for me and my family now, so I redeclare regularly that I will not live “just getting by,” and I will live in abundance. I don’t simply make declarations: I say, I believe, and I act on them.
I write this blog as an act on my declarations. Here, I want to add enough value to enough people that I can see it in my wallet.
I don’t want to simply cover my essentials: water, electricity, groceries, clothes, transportation, and housing! I want to pay for my kids’ college, retire without the stress of fluctuating social security rates, give to causes that create paradigm shifts for billions, and leave an inheritance that impacts generations. The truth is…five figures just isn’t enough to do everything I want to do for myself or for my family.
I’ve dabble in quite a few business opportunities and side hustles to get out of the “just getting by” zone, but I have not yet put all of the personal finance pieces (budgeting, living below my means, investing, and continually increasing my income by leveraging my knowledge from past success) together well enough to hit seven figures.
I’ve tried side hustles : from fish farming to ATMs, from freelancing to mystery shopping, and I have learned my favorite business ventures to focus on. Many of the hustles I tried were profitable, but some were complete flops – like my fish farm (it was fun though) or the mystery shopping venture that I talked about here. Of them all, I favor blogging, writing books, and freelance consulting over everything else I’ve done professionally to make money. Despite this, I still have yet to achieve seven figures, and if I can achieve seven figures in less than seven years, I would be ecstatic. Accordingly, I read and listen to people like Michael Masterson who have achieved what I want to achieve, and I apply their advice.
How This Affects You
You may be like me. You may have explored different things to make money. Like me, you may be sick and tired of “just getting by.” If you’re here, I think you should first complete the steps in my post on investing while living paycheck to paycheck, then move onto the strategies here.
Like you and I, the author of Seven Figures in Seven Years also thought accumulating wealth (especially seven figures in seven years) was a steep goal before he had done it. Michael Masterson spent the majority of his working life making $35,000 per year or below. He worked in the Peace Corps, then as an editor for a publishing firm. He was a pretty average guy, right? So…you’re probably wondering, how did he make the 7 figure success formula and achieve seven figures in seven years? Here’s how:
1.) Step #1 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Set a Goal that lead to Seven Figures in Seven Years or Less
Financial things did not start happening for him until he went to a Dale Carnegie seminar on goal setting. There, they made each participant publicly announce one goal. They were not allowed to focus on more than one goal. Masterson set the goal to get wealthy. At the time, he was 35 years old, and he began planning his life around that goal.
If you have not begun life planning yet, please take advantage of my free e-course that includes a life planning printable!
After setting the goal and publicly proclaiming it, he didn’t want to fail because other people would know he failed. Sidenote: There is power in accountability and publicly proclaiming goals (even if you don’t know how to achieve them yet). Once you make a public commitment, out of desire to maintain your integrity and a desire to inspire others, you feel a greater sense that the goal is not optional. The pressure and responsibility of your commitment adds a greater level of desperation to the achievement of your goals, maximizing your potential.
2.) Step #2 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Created A Life Plan Around his Goal
I used my personal liberty to add this step. Masterson did not say that he did a life plan, however, you can hear that he began deliberating about the output of his time and money as you would do while creating a life plan.
He shifted his paradigm, and began to see each of his decisions as a building block towards his ultimate goal of becoming wealthy. He saw things that he was spending his time on that impeded him from becoming wealthy.
Darren Hardy wrote about the compound effect of our decisions. Each decision builds you one step closer or one step further from your ultimate goal. Your willingness to be intentional about how your decisions are compounding is up to you. You choose your primary focus for your income. You choose to take less income than what you need to achieve your goal. You choose to be sandwiched into a position because you choose to believe you cannot have anything better.
You could be choosing a job. It could be a business. Maybe you choose to focus your primary effort on education, which leads you into a job. When planning your path, you have to calculate things logically by asking questions like…
- “What is the epitome of professional success for me?”
- “What are my current skills and what skills do I need to acquire to reach my definition of ultimate success?”
- “Is formal education the best route for me to acquire the necessary skills or can I acquire them thru coursework like Udemy, Skillshare, a professional consultant, or an apprenticeship?”
- “What income bracket am I striving to become a part of?”
- “What are the best ways to position my skills in the market to acquire my income bracket?”
- “Who has successfully positioned themselves similar to how I want to position myself, and how can I learn from them?”
3.) Step #3 of the 7 Figure Success Formula: He Identified Conflicts between His Current Situation and His Goal
If you’re not budgeting already, you NEED to budget, track your expenses, and set spending limits. There is no way around budgeting when starting out with a tight budget.
I told you I had success in many ventures, but I had “off and on” periods with budgeting. When I told my money where I wanted it to go, I could happily look at it, and see the compound effect of my decisions. When I didn’t, I would look at my bank account, and question if I used the money as effective as I could. TRACK YOUR SPENDING!
After tracking your spending, challenge yourself with spending limits and budget cuts. Find a comfortable spending budget.
Highlight the deficiencies. Income is almost always a deficiency if you’re trying to get to seven figures in seven years. If you are at five figures with a family (husband, wife, and kids – or – single parent and kids), there will be strict limits on what you can and cannot do–even in regards to your mandatory essentials. There will be few choice luxuries and not a high enough potential savings rate to get to seven figures in seven years. You can get by on five figures and enjoy life, but you can travel, send your kids to school, invest in your community, and so much more when you aspire to achieve six or seven figures or more.
Masterson and those he’s mentored to seven figures in seven years or less have identified deficiencies in their current situations, then made adjustments accordingly. The first step was identifying deficiencies. Masterson noticed that if he stayed in his current contract with his job (making $35,000/year), he was taking the long road or the “never road” to wealth.
He was spending too much time and too much money at his current job to launch himself into wealth quickly elsewhere. He decided that he couldn’t continue being an editor at the firm he worked for under the current contract because it would take too long to compile his earnings to become wealthy. Even if he stayed making $35,000 per year with a 50% savings rate and 10% interest annually, he would not become a millionaire for another 20 years! Having one million dollars after 20 years is very commendable, however, most people don’t want to wait 20 years to become wealthy (especially if they are willing to work hard). How did Masterson make decisions that would change his trajectory, and get him to seven figures in seven years?
4.) Step #4 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Renegotiated Deficient Contracts That Impeded Him from Achieving Seven Figures
Many finance teachers or business proponents will “jump ship” from their jobs (as I did) or recommend doing so. Quitting your job may not be the best option for most and may counter your progress towards the 7 figure success formula.
Business has a learning curve, and it takes an investment of money and time to stabilize a business. Often times, there is a lot of experimentation in the startup phase even for a seasoned entrepreneur.
The startup phase of a business is not that stable for business income, and you have to re-invest for working capital, business growth, marketing/advertising, and so much more. It’s best to maintain a stable income–whether by saving six months or more of savings as a startup investment in the business, or staying in your job (especially if you have a family).
I wish I knew in 2015 or before (when I was preparing to separate from the military) what I know now! I truly believe the saying “hindsight is 20/20.” I went through a period where I was on social services (Food Stamps, WIC, and others) because of my choice to separate from the military without sufficient savings while my businesses were in the startup phases.
That period of my life was very hard and stressful. I took clients at a VERY discounted rate when comparing my skills and education because I was desperate to provide for my family. My husband and I did our best, and we’ve come a long way, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to jump out of a stable job without the necessary backup plan of savings or sufficient operating revenue. We’ve had a rollercoaster for two years, and we are just now glimpsing stability.
In comparison to many others who I saw separating from the military, I had 0% retirement or disability income, and I was not going into a stable job opportunity. Therefore, my separation was a lot more of a bumpy ride to stabilize, and I am still recovering from the trauma of my decisions.
I was overly confident in our ability to stabilize the business income, and did not realize the learning curve in our teamwork that would need to take place. Parts of my bumpy ride were epic fails, BUT I learned from them, and I’m advising you to learn from them also. Analyze the pros and cons of leaving your situation: whether through career change or otherwise, and prepare yourself by savings or securing a stable opportunity.
Masterson advises those who desire to achieve seven figures in seven years to make themselves invaluable in their jobs. He says you don’t want to only be superior or a great employee. You want to be a “can’t operate without” employee.
You become a “can’t operate without” employee by learning the connection of your work activity with the business sales and revenue. Maybe you are an administrative person who responds to customers. A “can’t operate without” employee learns how their administration work translates into revenue for the business, and manages aspects of their daily tasks to spike the revenue and achieve the business goals. An invaluable employee has the leverage to renegotiate their pay and contract terms.
Masterson worked in a business that sounds like a small business. He had direct access to the owner of the company. After he decided to achieve his goal of being wealthy, he decided to make friends with those in sales and marketing to do an unofficial apprenticeship with them. He learned how topics they wrote on (in the publishing business he edited for) directly affected the revenue and sales. He began proposing that they write on topics that increased the readership and sales of the company. He also proposed new newsletter segments that added revenue to the business.
With the business owner intrigued by the added value of his ideas to the wellbeing of the company, Masterson had leverage. He used the leverage he had acquired to renegotiate the terms of his work contract, which enabled him to double his income from $35,000 to $70,000, convert from employee to work from home consultant for the company, and earn an equity share in the newsletter segment he proposed!
Other employees have negotiated contracts that enable them a similar creative freedom as entrepreneurship while maintaining income stability like an employee. People like Chris Hogan, Christie Wright, and the Dave Ramsey personalities wear the brand of Dave Ramsey, which offers them credibility and trust among millions of people; yet, they perform on incentive-based contracts that offer them unlimited income potential. Similarly, Masterson recommends you to negotiate the terms of your contract to relieve the glass ceiling of income potential in your current job.
5.) Step #5 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Lived Below His Means and Increased His Savings Rate
I mentioned earlier how you have to begin tracking your spending. An app like Everydollar or Personal Capital can help you track your spending and the increase in your net worth! I use both of these apps to help me babystep closer and closer to seven figures in seven years.
Once you begin to track your spending, you will notice how you spend 15% on groceries, 20% or more on a mortgage, 20% on consumer debt repayment, or so on (these are just examples). The apps calculate percentages for you. Once you notice your spending patterns, you can compare your spending patterns with others, and use that information to make plans to change where your money is going.
When comparing my spending habits with others, I have been able to learn strategies for decreasing my spending on many normal things like I’ve written about here. I’ve cut grocery spending. I’ve held disciplined myself to limit luxuries for a period of time, so I can ensure a savings rate of 5% or more. I want to do better, but we have to start somewhere, right?
Most people don’t have room in their budget to save even 5%! They live paycheck to paycheck UNTIL they begin investing as I mentioned in my post here. Tracking your spending is a must to innovate a plan that you can leverage to get out of “just getting by”. You’ll be able to pay off debts and slowly increase your savings rate from 0% to 1%, 1% to 2%, and so on. The key is to decrease your expenses while simultaneously increasing your savings goals.
Living below your means, means if you make $35,000/year, you are not spending $35,000/year. You have to live below the cap of your income to give yourself the wiggle room to protect yourself in emergencies and to build your future. You can use a future value calculator like the one here to play with numbers and find a comfortable saving, interest, and wealth accumulation goal.
Masterson says he did not increase his spending much when he got his raise from 35,000/year to $70,000/year. With a five-figure raise, and five-figure investing ability, he could have stashed away $35,000/year in an investment vehicle somewhere (he did not say).
I’m filling in the blanks that he didn’t disclose here, but if you use the future value calculator, you will see that with $35,000 of savings annually, he could save up six figures in 10 years! Without calculating taxes or inflation, and entering $35,000 at 10% annual interest for ten years (which is possible thru investment vehicles like Vanguard mutual funds), he would have been able to save up to $670,074.26!
Masterson said living frugally (or being mindful of expenditures) will not get you to the seven figure success formula or seven figures in seven years, and neither will having a high savings rate; however, having a high savings rate and being mindful of expenditures is necessary to increase net worth, accumulate assets, become wealthy and to stay wealthy.
Being mindful and increasing savings rate are two essential pieces in the seven figures in seven years puzzle. After negotiating himself into a $70,000/year position plus receiving a profit-sharing percentage of the product ideas he created for his job, he chose to live below his means. Now, living below his means, maintaining a high savings rate, and investing at 10%+ still hasn’t completed the strategy for seven figures. In fact, we have only calculated ourselves into six figures, so what did he do to go from six figures into seven figures?
By living below his means, he was able to invest in side hustles that generated a high return on investment. He also was not debilitated when his boss decided to retire and close the company due to a health condition. When the company closed, he already had enough money stashed away to live financially independent, so he dedicated time to passions and no-profit hobbies for one whole year until a business partnership opportunity came up.
Save your money and aspire to financial independence, so the risk of job loss, fluctuating markets, and other financial movement is mitigated!
6.) Step #6 in the 7 Step Success Formula: He Pursued Lucrative Side Hustles and Invested what was Required to Make Them Work
In addition to tracking money spending, you have to track your time spent the same way to achieve the 7 figure success formula, and live below your means! You have to set a plan, and go back to compare the plan with the outcome. Over time, after you’ve scrubbed your budget and your schedule well, you will resolve with a schedule that accurately reflects your values. If you need help creating a schedule that increases your productivity, check out my post on that here.
When your budget and schedule are in a good place, you will find time and money to invest in side hustles that can give you high returns. Some side hustles can be started for as low as $100 and 5-10 hours of your time weekly!
Side hustles come in many shapes and sizes nowadays. From blogging to vending machine businesses, writing business to consulting, there are many different fits for different folks. You can find opportunities to make side cash if you keep your eyes open. Some side hustles can return 10% or more of what you’ve invested annually, giving you a nice nest egg over the years. Unfortunately, solely focusing on side hustles or investing at 10% will not grow your money fast enough to grow seven figures in seven years. You want a side hustle that you can profit from upwards of five figures, and that returns upwards of 25% annually if it’s your sole focus.
You probably won’t start out getting 25%+ returns on your side hustle, but you MUST watch your profits and losses closely. When you identify a business activity that stimulates revenue, you want to scale up carefully, ensuring that you are continually returning winning ROIs.
Masterson and others who have turned a side hustle into a business–making 25% or more from their investment of money–all are careful to study their activity in comparison with its outcome on sales. Side hustles are a key to achieving the 7 figure success formula! They have to cut activities that don’t work and re-appropriate their attentions on things that do.
Masterson mentioned no money down real estate investing, real estate wholesaling, and other intellectual property investments like direct marketing, book writing, and publishing. Every side hustle or business requires sales, so each thing you choose to pursue is going to draw from your experience or willingness to sell (even if you choose to sell behind a screen, in a video, on a podcast, or on a phone).
Sales (whether written like copywriting, direct, or affiliate) removes income glass ceilings, so it’s something worth investing time learning if you desire to make seven figures in seven years. Because of your skills and your knowledge, you have to decide what business or side hustle you can use to leverage the skills you have. You can check out my post on 25+ side hustles to get ideas for things you can do to increase your income. You should check it out if you’re wondering where to start to make more money and implementing the 7 figure success formula from where you are
7.) Step #6 in the 7 Figure Success Formula: Sacrifice, Persevere, Commit, and Adjust in Favor of The Goal
If you read over this post and your first response was “I can’t…” or skepticism, the first place to begin is with mental restoration. You have to retrain your mind to achieve the 7 figure success formula.
Self-made millionaires who achieve the 7 figure success formula and get to seven figures in seven years believe they can before they do. Some people begin believing the possibility of achieving seven figures in seven years while at four figures, five figures, six figures, or no figures. At some point, they each believed in their potential, then they committed, persevered, and adjusted in favor of their goal to be wealthy.
Masterson admitted he sacrificed work-life balance to achieve the 7 figure success formula. Some people will sacrifice sleep, health, money, time, heartache, reputation, or other things to achieve their goals. You have to jot down your values. I suggest participating in my free life planning e-course to help you assess your values and how you want to contribute to your values while aspiring to become wealthy.
You don’t have to sacrifice relationships to be wealthy. Many wealthy people will confirm you can have some level or seasons of work-life balance and become wealthy. Masterson says in his book that he regrets making that sacrifice, and he encourages others to maintain a balance while aspiring to be wealthy. It can be done.
You will have to sacrifice something to achieve the 7 figure success formula and be wealthy. You choose what you want to sacrifice. Will it be your hobby time? Personal time? Sleep? Your latte budget? You know what “chess pieces” you have to play. In order to go from where you are to the 7 figure success formula, you will have to move some of them around.
Masterson and those he has mentored moved their lives around, re-adjusted when they saw things that were not returning on their investments fast enough, and they tried again. You have to experiment, notice what works, and scale a working system up from five figures to six figures to seven figures, and be diehard about it, so it can happen in seven years.
Now, it’s your turn…
What will you do to propel yourself into the 7 figure success formula making seven figures in seven years? Leave your comments below. Will you aspire to achieve the 7 figure success formula and make seven figures in seven years like I am? If so, stay tuned for future blog posts as I chronicle my journey to saving more money, making more money, and becoming a better person.