Advice From 4 Multi-Billion Net Worth Titans

Here are some tried-and-true insights on growing one’s fortune and finding success from the youngest self-made billionaire and the world’s most notable tycoons like Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk. 

Money can’t buy happiness, but it’s still a necessary part of living a comfortable life. While earning a billion dollars seems like a pipe dream to many, it’s not impossible—various individuals around the world have proven that. Indeed, the delicate art of growing one’s fortune and finding personal success doesn’t have to be as enigmatic as magic. The world’s most prominent billionaires all started from somewhere before making a name for themselves and establishing successful careers. 

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The road to this kind of financial success, like all journeys, is one filled with ups and downs. However, if a person is willing to take risks, shift their mindset, and implement the right practices, the endeavor may be well worth the effort. 

To those looking for some guidance on growing their wealth and joining the coveted billionaire club, below is a curated list of advice from some of the world’s richest and most successful individuals: 

Bernard Arnault 

Bernard Arnault is currently the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $186 billion, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The tycoon is the founder of luxury conglomerate LVMH, whose roster of prestigious brands include Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, and Bvlgari. 

Bernard Arnault (R) and his son Antoine Arnault (L) at the 2022 LVMH Innovation Award event
Bernard Arnault (R) and his son Antoine Arnault (L) at the 2022 LVMH Innovation Award event/Photo via Instagram @lvmh

At the age of 74, Arnault has learned a thing or two about what it means to grow a successful business; below are a few tips and insights he gave in a 2017 interview with Forbes

Profit Isn’t the Priority

To Arnault (and many other billionaire tycoons), profit is secondary. While the advice  might seem contradictory, it’s actually based on his years of experience. 

“If you do your job well, the profitability will come,” Arnault told Forbes. He encourages his employees to adopt the same mindset. “When we discuss a brand, I always tell them [the team] my real concern is what the brand will be in five or ten years, not the profitability in the next six months,” he continued. 

Stay Relevant but Rooted in Purpose

So what exactly does Arnault prioritize, and what does success look like to him? The billionaire answered this by emphasizing two key factors in maintaining a thriving business: a long-term vision to stay relevant, and a desire to remain rooted in the history and purpose of a brand. 

An interactive retro-style machine that showcases Louis Vuitton's Men's Fall-Winter 2023 collection through a virtual show
An interactive retro-style machine that showcases Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Fall-Winter 2023 collection through a virtual show/Photo via Instagram @lvmh

“I am interested in how we can make it [a brand] as admired and successful in ten years as it is today,” he shared with Forbes. “In the universe of products and brands, for me, success has always been to mix the past and the future. The roots, the legitimacy, the history of the brand and the modernity.”

Persistence and Execution Are Key

As Thomas Edison once said, genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. The same applies to financial success, apparently. When Forbes asked Arnault what piece of wisdom he could give to young entrepreneurs, he stated: “You should be very persistent. You need ideas but the idea is just 20%. Execution is 80%.” Indeed, an idea can only take flight when a person or team consistently puts in the effort to make it so. 

Elon Musk 

At present, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk supersedes Arnault in Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index with a net worth of $235 billion. He also purchased Twitter in 2022, which has since been renamed as “X.” As the richest person in the world (and reportedly the inspiration behind Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man), Musk’s journey as a multi-billionaire is certainly an eventful one. 

Elon Musk
Elon Musk/Photo by Trevor Cokley via Encyclopædia Britannica

In a 2021 interview with the BBC, Musk revealed the following tips to his entrepreneurial successes:

No Dream Is Too Big

Oftentimes the ideas that society deems as too far-fetched or ambitious are those worth pursuing. After all, where would we be if great thinkers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates didn’t believe in their big dreams? Musk explained that thinking big is a crucial part of his success as a tycoon. 

The launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Crew-7
The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Crew-7/Photo via Instagram @spacex

Much like Arnault, Musk doesn’t focus purely on the numbers. Rather, he thinks about how to further humanity’s achievements and progress. That’s why he launched SpaceX in an effort to improve space travel, particularly to Mars. His automobile company, Tesla, is working towards a future without fossil fuels. To Musk, real progress can only be achieved when people innovate and think outside the box. 

Take Risks 

Ask any big time tycoon, and they’ll say that establishing and growing an entrepreneurial endeavor requires a willingness to take risks. Musk is no exception, as he’s built a reputation for making daring decisions. In 2002, he sold his holdings in internet city guide Zip2 and the popular online payment platform, PayPal. Later on in his career, SpaceX’s first three rocket launches failed, and Tesla began experiencing production problems. 

Rather than keep a portion of his fortune to himself, he invested in fixing these problems and saving the companies. Today, he remains the richest person in the world—a title he gained not by playing it safe, but by knowing when to take a leap of faith. 

Don’t Pay Attention to the Critics

Like any famous person, Musk has dealt with his fair share of critics and hate. He shared that many people were waiting for his businesses to fail, believing his ambitions to be too lofty. However, he continued to work on his ventures despite the talk of inevitable failure, and these efforts seemed to pay off.  

In October of 2021, US investment bank Morgan Stanley valued SpaceX at $100 billion. The company still holds a good reputation, with successful launches that have sent several NASA astronauts to space. What’s more, Tesla reported strong revenues worth $24.9 billion in the second quarter of 2023, as per The Verge

Warren Buffett 

Warren Buffett is a veteran investor, and one of the most well-respected in his industry. He made his billion-dollar fortune through the multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. Even at the age of 93, Buffett is at the top of his game and continues to lead the company to unprecedented heights. As of now, he sits at seventh place in Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index with a net worth of $121 billion. 

Barack Obama (R) meets with Warren Buffet (L) in the Oval Office in 2010
Barack Obama (R) meets with Warren Buffet (L) in the Oval Office in 2010/Photo by Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout his career, he’s authored several books and guides dispensing valuable advice to investors of all kinds. Below are three of his tips that anyone can apply, as per Yahoo! Finance:

Get the Highest Value at the Lowest Price

Things that are pricey aren’t necessarily valuable. To Buffett, it’s better to focus on the value you’re getting from something, rather than its price. In fact, if possible, he recommends getting the highest value possible at the lowest price. 

In a 2008 shareholder letter he drafted for Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett wrote: “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.” People often lose money when they pay prices that exceed their actual value. In other words, it’s best to avoid purchasing things you’ll never use or things that aren’t worth the extra cash. 

Opt for a Low-Cost Index Funds 

In relation to the previous tip, Buffett advises investors to purchase index funds—specifically low-cost ones. These are investments with low expense ratios or yearly management fees that still increase an investor’s chances of superior returns. To Buffett, it all goes back to spending less for more. 

Photo by Wance Paleri via Unsplash
Photo by Wance Paleri via Unsplash

“Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund,” he wrote in a 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders.”

In a 2004 annual meeting for the conglomerate, he also stated: “If you invested in a very low-cost index fund—where you don’t put the money in at one time, but average in over 10 years—you’ll do better than 90% of people who start investing at the same time.”

Avoid Debts

Whipping out the credit card can be convenient, but it might be an obstacle to growing one’s fortune. Buffett generally recommends people to avoid any kind of debt. From his experience, many individuals have failed their entrepreneurial endeavors due to leverage or borrowed money. 

“You really don’t need leverage in this world much. If you’re smart, you’re going to make a lot of money without borrowing,” he explained in a 1991 speech at the University of Notre Dame. “I’ve never borrowed a significant amount of money in my life. Never. Never will. I’ve got no interest in it.” The high interest rates from credit cards, in particular, are what he believes people should avoid as much as possible. 

Austin Russell 

Many people have this preconceived notion that it takes a long time for anyone to become a billionaire. This does contain a grain of truth: money doesn’t grow on trees, and a big fortune can’t be built overnight. But as the saying goes, age really is just a number. The percentage of young millionaires and billionaires is increasing in this day and age. 

Austin Russell
Austin Russell/Photo by Seb Daly via Wikimedia Commons

Take Austin Russell, for example, who’s now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. In 2012, he started his company Luminar Technologies with the hope of developing hardware and software for self-driving cars. Big brands like Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have already been collaborating with the young businessman to make this ambition a reality. 

At 28 years old, Russell has some indispensable advice to give, especially to up and coming entrepreneurs:

There’s More Than One Way to Find Success

Russell was actually studying at Stanford University before he decided to drop out and focus on his business. He started Luminar Technologies with a $100,000 grant from the Peter Thiel Fellowship. At present, the company is worth a whopping $2.6 billion, which is certainly an impressive feat for someone so young. 

Though experts say that receiving a college degree is still a relevant way of finding success in future endeavors, Russell argues that it’s not the only path. 

“College is not for everyone,” he told CNBC Make It. “It’s just sort of the traditional approach around what you do and what you’re supposed to do.”

Photo by Compare Fibre via Unsplash
Photo by Compare Fibre via Unsplash

To Russell, free access to millions of online resources has made it more than possible for anyone to find success even without a college degree. That isn’t to say that education is irrelevant—only that traditional forms of learning are just one way of attaining valuable skills and knowledge. 

Russell isn’t the only college drop-out to have made it big. In fact, he joins Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who both built multi-billion dollar empires despite never having earned formal university degrees. Perhaps what can be gleaned from Russell’s advice is the fact that everyone has a different path to success—what matters is using methods that work for you, and not against you.  

Maximize the Energy and Passion of Youth

Millennials and Gen-Z individuals are known to be highly passionate and energetic when it comes to pursuing their goals. Russell is not only a key example of this, but also a big believer of the importance of youthful thinking. 

“I think a lot of people in their 20s and 30s have a more open mind to the world,” he explained to CNBC Make It.  “And then it just feels like, over time, that just gets closed off, or people get ingrained in certain ways of doing things. A lot of times, you just have to approach problems from a fresh perspective.”

He attributes a great deal of his success to the energy and care he puts into achieving his goals. Of course, older entrepreneurs can still follow suit: keeping an open-mind and staying active is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it. 

Have the Initiative and Drive to Keep Learning

Russell admits that high-energy isn’t the only thing that drove him to success. His thirst for new knowledge and desire to keep learning also helped him progress at an impressive pace. As he mentioned, information can be found everywhere nowadays. So, it’s necessary to maintain the initiative and drive to seek it out. 

“You can do all these kinds of things that were never possible. You can get through entire curriculums and annual courses in weeks if you watch it back to back. There are so many ways to get knowledge imparted upon oneself,” he shared with CNBC Make It

“You have to have the drive to do it. And particularly as an entrepreneur, there is no one that will be holding your hand along the way,” he continued. “You are directly accountable for at least all the things that are in your control, [like] what you do, what milestones you meet and what kind of product you ultimately deliver to the world.”

Banner photo by Seb Daly via Wikimedia Commons.

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