Great lessons from self-made millionaires

Francis Muli @Francis Muli

It is often said that being born poor is not your mistake, but when you die poor you have only yourself to blame. In his book “My Excuses” ST Wainaina says excuses and pointing fingers are perhaps the geatest human failure.

He says in the book that there is only one person to blame for a failed entity, yourself. You decide whether external factors will destroy your dream or not.

Here are some basic attributes that iconic business figures have in common.

Stop dreaming, start acting

Jack Ma aka Ma Yun, one of the richest and most influential persons on earth, was rejected in the hundreds of job he applied for. In fact, he was the only one rejected during an interview with all the other interviewees getting the job. But a seminar in the US changed all that, opening his eyes to the information gap about China on the World Wide Web.  He created one of the first website containing information about China. The reason Jack Ma is a billionaire is because he saw an opportunity, took it and ran with it. Similarly, if an idea strikes you, do not wait for another person to actualise it, do it yourself.


Once a business venture dwindles, most people tend to give up. However, this is the time to try harder or change the course of the venture. Most people would think that Apple’s success story has been a sweet one. However, the company ran at a loss for 12 years and almost collapsed in the late 1990s. If Steve Jobs was not re-hired in 1997, the company would be non-existent today. However, its 12-year persistence is the reason the firm is one of the best in the world today.


Unknown to many, business mogul Chris Kirubi lost his parents at a tender age. His childhood was hard, forcing him to work as a minor to eke out a living and assist his family. His first company, a painting firm, failed terribly. He had to close it due to debts and financial constraints. He was, however, determined to be an executive, and nothing would stop him. Due to his determination, today he is one of the richest entrepreneurs in Kenya, being the Director at Centum Investments and the proprietor of other business ventures.


Businessmen who succeed mostly tend to learn from their mistakes as well as other people’s mistakes.

Even after acquiring wealth, successful people always further their education, not because they will seek employment from anyone but to open up their minds and keep abreast with the dynamic world.

When he left Harvard School, Bill Gates, the pioneer of Microsoft said, “If things (at Microsoft) had not worked out, I could always go back to school. I was officially on leave”.

You should always keep an open mind and be ready to learn.

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