Bill Gates is one personality that needs no introduction. His name is known far and wide. On Google, the name Bill Gates is searched over 1 million times every month. But who is he and what can we learn from him?
Facts about Bill Gates
- He was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington.
- As of July 2020, he had a net worth of 111.8 billion dollars.
- Best known as the co-founder of Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- He attended Lakeside Prep. School and later Harvard University where he dropped off in his second year.
- He wrote his first software at age 13 while at Lakeside Prep. School.
- He formed his first venture, Trat-O-Data at age 17 together with Paul Allen.
- Bill scored 1590 out of 1600 in his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
- He enrolled for Harvard in 1973.
- He co-founded Microsoft in 1975 together with Paul Allen. Microsoft was a combination of microcomputers and software.
- He became a millionaire at age 26 and billionaire at 31.
- He was the largest individual shareholder of Microsoft until 2014.
- Gates is considered one of the pioneers of the microcomputers revolution.
- He was the CEO of Microsoft until 2000 when he stepped down. His former Harvard schoolmate Steve Ballmer succeeded him.
- He stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in 2014. He remained technical advisers of the company.
- Bill Gates was the richest person on earth for 14 years in a row (From 1993-2007)
- In 2017, he was overtaken by Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos as the richest person on earth.
- His assets are managed by Cascade Investment LLC, a company he founded.
- Through Cascade Investments, Bill Gates has an ownership stake in many other businesses.
- He is the greatest philanthropist on earth. His foundation is the largest private charity.
As we have seen, Bill Gates has achieved what 99.999% of people only dream of. The events in his life are not ordinary and this is why he has gotten extra-ordinary results. How did Bill become a millionaire at just 26 years and a billionaire at 31? Here are the secrets.
How Bill Gates became a billionaire at 31
- Starting early
- Passion for what he did
- Taking risks
- Investing in a young scalable industry
- Associating with like-minded people
- Creativity and innovation
1. Starting early
According to the facts, Bill created his first software at 13. This means that he started coding maybe before 10. At this age, most people were still struggling to write letters well.
Bill Gates also started his first business at age 17. Most people know nothing about businesses at this age. This is why he became a millionaire at 26.
For you to have early success, you need to start early enough. This is because success takes time.
The problem with most of us is that we give excuses when we ought to be starting. We say that we are too young to start a business. This is what makes most of the people average for a better part of their lives.
2. Passion for what he did.
You will never succeed without passion for what you do. It is a passion that gives you fuel for the long and tough journey ahead.
When Bill Gates decided to drop from Harvard to pursue business interests full time, his parents supported him. They later said that they supported him because of the passion he portrayed for his business and computers.
There is nothing you cannot overcome without passion. You can cross deep valleys and climb high mountains without getting fatigued because of passion.
For you to succeed, start something to love to do. This way, the business will not seem like work, but as a hobby.
3. Taking risks
How many people can drop from Harvard? I do not think it is something logical to do. Very few Harvard applications are accepted. You have to be the best of the best to be accepted. This is the elite’s league. How then do you drop from Harvard to start a business?
Bill Gates is not the typical type. He was ready to risk something good for something even better. He got the reward.
Risk is an integral part of success. High risk often brings high returns. If you never take any risks, you are not ready to succeed big.
4. Investing in a young scalable industry
First movers will always have an advantage. It is called The First-mover Advantage. People who leap when there is uncertainty are always bound to succeed.
People who started social media sites early enough reaped big. Look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Other hundreds of social sites have been started after that and they are struggling to get market share. This is a first-mover advantage.
People who join Network marketing chains when they are first introduced in a country leap big. The rest go broke when they try to become like the first movers.
This is just how it is in all industries. If you spot opportunities early enough, you will reap big returns. Bill Gates got into the microcomputing industry when it was still in its infant stage. This is why Microsoft became a leading player in the industry.
Train your eyes to see opportunities. Do not just copy what others are doing. Spot opportunities and make a move.
5. Associating with like-minded people
There is power in association. The people you associate with determine how far you rise. The adage says that if you associate with 4 millionaires, you will be the 5th one. If you associate with 4 broke people, you will also become the 5th.
Bill Gates chose associates who became invaluable to his vision and company. One of these is Paul Allen who he met at Lakeside Prep. School. Paul later became the co-founder of Microsoft.
Another great person is Steve Ballmer. They met at Harvard. Steve dropped out of Harvard Business School to join Microsoft. He later succeeded Gates as CEO in 2000. He served in this capacity up to 2014.
It is important to note that both Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer are very wealthy. At the time of his death in 2018, Allen was ranked as the 44th richest person on earth by Forbes with an estimated net worth of 20.8 billion dollars.
By July 2020, Steve Ballmer was the 11th richest person on earth having a net worth of 71.4 billion dollars.
There is this one person you can come across and your life changes. You need to keep treating people well and expanding your networks.
6. Creativity and innovation
For you to get success, you need to be super creative and innovative. Imitating someone’s idea will not give you much success as coming up with your original idea.
Similarly, doing things as they have always been done will give you fewer returns than doing things differently would.
10 Success lessons from Bill Gates
- Be your own boss
- Stay committed
- Read a lot
- Bite off more than you can chew
- Be keen to details
- Never give up
- Failure is an ingredient of success
- Learn from your mistakes
- Be cautious when you are succeeding
- Be philanthropic
1. Be your own boss
This is the best advice anyone can give you. The chances of getting success working under another boss are very slim. Success only comes to those who have the GUTS to start their own venture, bear the risks, and anticipate the rewards.
Look at all millionaires, do you find a worker on the list? Yes, you can! However, the worker is one who is minding her own business. She is employed but is also an employer. She works for someone but she also has people working for her in her side hustle.
I am not in any way suggesting that we should not work for others. No! I am just saying that even if you work for others, have others also work for you. You can keep your day job but have your business running concurrently.
As your organization grows, you can quit your day job and concentrate on running the business. This is the best kind of transition.
2. Stay committed
Without commitment, there can be no success. You have to be super-committed to your cause to be committed.
Commitment helps people navigate the hard times without losing enthusiasm. Since hard times are guaranteed to come, those without commitment give up with time while those with commitment hold on to the end.
To commit, you need a passion for what you do and an unmatched vision for the future. The two will lubricate your wheel as you move up the path of success.
3. Read a lot
Bill Gates reads 52 books every year. This is equivalent to a book every week. This is the least anyone who needs success can do.
Just keep learning. Decide to study a certain topic per month. Read everything you can about the topic that month. The next month, pick another topic and read on it. This way, you will become an expert in areas relevant to your life.
Knowledge brings creativity. Your mind will never synthesize ideas if you do not feed it with knowledge.
4. Bite off more than you can chew
Never seem realistic. Just bite more than you can chew. Even if you will not achieve everything you would want to achieve, you will be far much ahead of people who try to be realistic in life.
Elon Musk once said that people should try to achieve what others achieve in 10 years in just 6 months. When a person does that, they probably will not hit their target but they will be far ahead of other people who want to do the same thing in 10 years.
If you want to go far, do not be realistic. Set unrealistic goals. Let people think that you are crazy.
5. Be keen to details.
Most people call them perfectionists. This is what success calls for. People who are keen on details pursue quality and excellence. This is what puts them ahead of everybody else.
In this competitive world, you cannot just produce average products. You will be out of business in no time. You have to focus on excellence and quality by taking care of any tiny detail the market might have forgotten to take care of.
6. Never give up
All successful suck at giving up. They don’t do that. They keep pushing for years just to get the success they have.
Unsuccessful people quit a lot. This is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Both of them fail a lot but the former do not quit.
If you quit, all the effort you have put already will be lost. There will be nothing to show for it. When you embark on something, never quit. Move forward until you succeed.
In this world, no one is celebrated for starting. People are only celebrated for finishing.
7. Failure is an ingredient of success.
Never stop at one failure. Never stop at 2,5, or even 10 failures. In short, never stop at any failure. Just keep moving from one failure to the other; one day, you will get your shot.
Failure should teach you invaluable lessons that you will need to get success. Failure should make you stronger for you to handle success easily.
Even if you do not love failure, just be comfortable failing. Do not fear to fail because if you can fail big and rise every time you fail, you can get success.
8. Learn from your mistakes
A mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it. A mistake that you learn from is a success.
When you make a mistake, it is not an opportunity to whine and give up; it is an opportunity to analyze the situation and start over. This time, more intelligently.
Get over what you did. Rise and start afresh. You did not fail because you were stupid but because there is a lesson you needed to learn.
9. Be cautious when you are succeeding
When you are moving from one success to the other, you need to be cautious. This is where most people lose it.
When people succeed, they allow success to get into their heads. They end up becoming proud, arrogant, demeaning, and even wicked. Their success becomes short-lived.
If you look at all billionaires, Bill Gates included, you will find an aspect of humility and self-control deeply entrenched in them. This is what has sustained their success.
10. Be philanthropic
Whether you are where you want to be or not, you have something to give. You need to give your way up.
The best time to give is when you are not ready to give. When you are still struggling financially, find a way of giving a fraction of what you have.
When you give, you increase your mental ability to attract wealth. As you give, your mindset becomes more conscious of abundance and not lack.
Be cheerful when giving. Give where your soul is nourished. Donate to charity, give to spiritual causes, and support those in need. Every time you give, you receive.
Bill Gates is an iconic figure. We have a lot to learn from him. His life and words should inspire success in all of us.
He may be talented but he is definitely not a superhuman. If he did it, we can also do it.
Just believe in your God-given potential, start taking action towards your purpose, pursue excellence, and be fearless. When you do this, you will become successful.
Founder/ C.E.O- Wealthy Wolves Consulting & Giimark Ltd/ Best-selling Author/ Speaker.