There is no greater return on investment than achieving the mindset necessary to create the results you want in your life. Chris Sacca’s path to becoming a billionaire had plenty of detours, but he was consistent in his willingness to invest in himself. Chris is an angel investor known for having the Midas touch. Some of the companies he has invested in include; Twitter, Kickstarter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, and Stripe.
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“Be cheap as hell”
When Chris was asked how someone today could repeat what he accomplished, he said; be cheap as hell and be willing to forge your own path. Of course, he was asked to elaborate and he said most people spend their money on the “desires” they have today. Yet, the people who are growing their money and creating wealth are investing it. Chris said he lived a simple life so when opportunities came, he had the money to capitalize.
You must have the money to invest
For the next 23 years, my personal mission is to change the projection of black wealth in America. It is projected to hit $0 in the year 2053 and it is something I believe cannot happen. When I visit local black businesses, it is clear there is money leaving the community and not being reinvested. On a macro level, it is a leading cause of why black wealth is decreasing.
When you look at this on a household level, if you are paid $1,000 a week and you spend a$1,000 per week; there is nothing left for you to invest. It doesn’t even have to be money you “waste” on frivolous things. Your money could all be going towards your rent, utilities, car, and food. However, it doesn’t change the fact that you lose your ability to grow your money. Once it is gone, it is gone.
To reap a harvest
As someone who has a green-thumb, I love growing fruits in the yard. One key attribute to creating a harvest is patience and an eye for the long-term.
Instead of thinking of you have a $1,000, what if you were given 1,000 seeds? You were given a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds; so for you to enjoy your produce, you must plant and nurture your seeds. If you give all your seeds away, you are not going to have any fruit to eat when harvest time comes around.
No matter the length of time that goes by, if you do not plant and nurture any seeds in your yard, you cannot achieve success.
Invest in yourself first
You need to pay yourself the same way you pay your rent and light bill. The number that you pay yourself may vary or not be much in the beginning, but that is how you create a harvest. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the fact that someone else is investing $500 per week and you can only invest $10. You have to start where you are, but the need to start is vital. If you continue to wait for the perfect scenario, you will realize the perfect scenario may never come.
The limiting belief that, “I do not have enough money to invest” is perfectionism by a different name. And the key result of perfectionism is often procrastination and inaction.
Don’t invest all your money in others
I know there are respectable people out there who tell you to put all of your money towards your bills first. While that may help someone to feel better, it is not helping you start your harvest. Continuing with the seeds analogy, if you could plant 10 seeds today, you will have started the process of producing the fruits and vegetables you can eat in the future. If you assume it takes 10 years for a seed to give you results, you have the opportunity to have trees. And however few the number, you will have trees sooner than the person who is giving all their seeds away to get out debt first.
Some seeds will not produce fruit
The story you often hear is about someone amassing wealth in a short amount of time, without much difficulty. Those are the sexy stories that often contribute to people have unrealistic expectations. This tends to lead to people quitting their journey before they get to see any results.
Chris started his investment career in the late 1990’s. He had turned a $20,000 investment into $14M in a few years. When the dot-com bubble occurred, Chris lost all of his money. He said he actually had lost an additional 4M because of the money he took from his friends and family.
With few options available, Chris fell back on his Georgetown law degree and moved out to Silicon Valley. He worked on mergers and acquisitions at a variety of tech companies, and even worked with Google as Corporate Counsel. These detours allowed Chris to improve his understanding of tech companies and eventually resulted in his ability to pick the winners we mentioned in the beginning.
Always invest in yourself
What would be seen as a failure for many was an opportunity for Chris. He used his job to reestablish himself. He continued to invest in himself and when the next opportunity came, he was ready for it. One of these opportunities came in the form of a $25,000 investment into a fledgling company named Twitter. Even though Chris had lost all of his harvest from the seeds he previously planted, he knew the only way to grow a garden was to plant more seeds.
Those who have achieved financial freedom are not overwhelmingly different than anyone else. They have made decisions and some of them work and some of them did not. The key distinction they have is their ability to learn from their challenges and to try again. The average person would read losing all their money investing as a sign they should not handle their own investments.
Create a consistent process to success
Another significant distinction between those who have achieved financial freedom and those who have not is those who have work to invest. Everyone else works to spend. They save money to purchase a home, they save money to purchase a car and they save money to take luxurious trips. Naturally, I am not telling you cannot partake in these expenditures, but I am telling you to invest more in things that “increase in value” than you do in things that “decrease in value”.
Invest in yourself, businesses, new ideas, real estate and the financial markets. You are going to spend the money anyways, but if you invest in yourself and other things that appreciate, your money has the ability to grow. If you do not put your money into something that grows, when it is gone it is gone. You have to put your seeds in the ground. Those who tell you to give all your seeds away and pay off your debt are telling you what feels good. It will feel good to have no debt, but it is not as sound of a strategy as planting some seeds so you can start growing your garden today. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is today.
You want to store money aside because you don’t want to be caught ill-prepared for the next amazing opportunity. Whether you are investing in large amounts or small amounts, you want to have something for the moment the next “Twitter” comes knocking. Even though we are in a gig economy where everyone has a side hustle, you are still trading your time for money. The goal is to get to a place where your money is working for you and you can keep your time. Because there is nothing more valuable than your time; when your time is gone it doesn’t come back. Money is something you can replenish each day.
Even though the path may not be straight, it doesn’t mean it’s not for you. Chris knew his goal was to get back into investments and he never lost track of that goal. He probably had people telling him he had a good job and should stay there or to hire a professional to handle his investments. However, Chris continued chasing happiness by rising to the challenge. When you are living for something bigger than today, you have the ability to sacrifice in the short-term to achieve financial freedom in the long-term.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs