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Unless you inherit a boatload of money or win the lotto, you don’t join the seven-figure club by accident. Millionaires, by and large, are savvy businesspeople who’ve amassed their fortunes through a mix of intelligence, hard work, and perseverance — as well as luck. There’s a lot we can learn from these captains of industry, as Janell Hazelwood explains in a thoughtful piece for Black Enterprise.

Scroll down to read about Hazelwood’s “3 Major Career Lessons I’ve Learned from Millionaires” and learn secrets that will help you become more successful. You might not get a yacht or mansion in Malibu, but hey, you never know.

1. Strategize — As Hazelwood puts it, “No great move that reaps lucrative results is made by happenstance.” While we sometimes think of entrepreneurs as folks who make business moves willy-nilly, following their guts, that’s just not the case. They take meetings with people they figure can help them, and they carefully think through each endeavor. “Many of their boss moves are calculated, well-researched and strategic — even those seemingly done on a whim,” Hazelwood adds.

2. Stay Motivated — Hazelwood compares millionaire businesspeople to athletes who play through pain, and that’s an apt analogy, since the people that get ahead tend to be those who come in early, stay late, and talk shop on weekends. It’s about sacrifices and rewards and knowing that today’s hard work will pay dividends tomorrow. “Average, or even above-average, just doesn’t cut it,” Hazelwood writes. “Typically, successful millionaires who have made their own fortunes talk (or think) business when others would rather not.”

3. Make Your Relationships Count — When you’re chatting up a business contact, you may be thinking, “So, what can this person do for me?” It’s only natural, but according to Hazelwood, the better play is the flip the script and built a reputation in your industry as someone who can help others. “If you really think about it, this is a better way to close the deal with someone considering it creates a sense of trust and collaboration, though any boss knows that whatever value you add, you’ll be sure to get that or more in return,” she writes.


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