In Career, Discussions, Entrepreneurs, Money

What is a self-made person? Millionaire, billionaire, etc..

I heard the other day that one of these celebrities – a Kardashian of some kind Kylie Jenner – was poised to be the first “self-made billionaire”.

Would we even know who these offshoot branches of relatives are, if they were not related to the Kardashians?

I don’t think so. I can’t even keep them straight in my head. I only hear it from colleagues at work who have TV.

While I love all things money-related, and applaud how hard he or she has worked to reach that, is that really the right phrase to use?

I question the usage of:


…not that she doesn’t work hard, or is some lazy bum who fell into money. Not at all, I think she has worked very hard and parlayed her existing fame to boost herself into the echelons of things that are bigger and better. I am not disputing that.

Youngest billionaire, why not? Just not “self-made”.

Just having a lot of money to begin with, connections to the right families who are already in the spotlight and famous to begin with, and starting off with everything does not ring the bell of “self-made” to me.

When I think of self-made, I think of Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanx.

This woman, is amazing. In short, what she had to do to convince factories to even try out her idea of modern, sexy shapewear (basically, girdles) is not an easy feat.

Story goes that she was turned down by almost every factory owner except for one who brought home the concept of letting her experiment her design in his factory to his daughters, who immediately told him: Dad, DO IT. This is BRILLIANT.

THAT, is a hustler.

A real self-made billionaire whom I have very much respect for.

Another, would be Beyoncé Knowles. I know we think: Wait, but she came from a nice middle-class background!

Okay, but she had ZERO celebrity connections, and did not have millions backing her.

That girl hustled.

She worked hard, sings well, and is achieving things beyond what anyone else has done in history, that is just so admirable and very much applauded by yours truly.

These women are just examples of actual “self-made” billionaires, in my opinion.

They didn’t start from much, they didn’t have millions to begin with, and they worked to get to where they are.

Now, why all the sourpuss attitude about the usage of “self-made”, you might ask?

It’s because I think it downplays the achievements of others who are ACTUALLY self-made.

It makes it seem like she started at the same level as they did, even with an Olympian father and a hustling stepmother, and she “made it” to the top.

She didn’t make it anywhere – she was ALREADY at the top, and she just improved her situation.

I’d really rather hear profiles on normal (if we can call them) people who come from non-descript backgrounds, are not already famous in some way, or super rich, actually making it to the top.

Those people are inspiring, and it plays down their achievements by calling people who started way ahead of them in life, being put into the same group.

Well, what say you? Is it just sour grapes on my side?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. raluca

    The label self made billionaire cannot really be applied to someone whose family already has millions. Did she hustle? Yes. Is her money self made? No. The idea might be hers, but the starting capital was provided by the family (via their show). The connections to start production is also her family’s, not hers.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hence why I took a dislike to that label… she is a billionaire fine, but not self made!


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