Mark Cuban says anyone can become a millionaire by following his four rules of success. According to Forbes, the 64-year-old investor, serial entrepreneur, and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks says the strategy helped him accumulate his own wealth — a net worth of $4.6 billion.
He recently broke down his rules for GQ, noting that while they’re meant to help you earn cash, they’re really about being able to “control your destiny.” “If you want to be a millionaire, you can do it, but there are a couple of things you have to be able to accomplish,” Cuban said.
His first rule was: “Find something you can be good at.” Then, be great at it.”
Most likely, you’ll have to study your subject over and over again. Contrary to what you might think, you might also need to “cross-train” your brain by learning about other things you are interested in. In research from last year, the Association for Psychological Science found that Nobel Prize winners often have a lot of experience in many different fields.
In the same way, the research found that competitive athletes who played more than one sport as kids had “greater long-term excellence.” The authors also said that these athletes didn’t become great at their favorite sport right away, but they did show a more consistent path to mastery over time.
Cuban’s second rule is “know how to sell.” His own sales career started early.
He said that when he was 12, he sold trash bags door-to-door to make money for new shoes. The billionaire has said that the best way to make a sale is to show people how you can help them in the first few seconds of your pitch. Cuban told the School of Hard Knocks in a TikTok that selling isn’t about convincing, it’s about helping. “When you know what people need and want, you can help them,” he said. “Then you make good things happen and close deals, and that’s how you start companies.”
Sales could be a good place to start for people who want to become millionaires. A survey from the leadership consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles found that 15% of the CEOs of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies worked in sales before becoming CEOs.
The third rule: “Be curious and always learning,” Cuban said.
According to a 2020 study by finance and education researchers at the University of Waterloo, having a “lifetime learning mentality” correlates with both objective and subjective success, from the number of promotions you receive to how happy you are in your job. In April, study co-author Judene Pretti told UWaterloo’s “Alumni Know” podcast that lifelong learners could even save their employers money in the long run.
“As technology continues to move at the rapid pace it is, employers need their employees to… undertake learning and development to stay on top of the latest technologies,” Pretti said. “It isn’t a matter of needing to replace the workforce. Instead, develop and grow the existing workforce.”
Lastly, Cuban’s fourth rule is his longest—and perhaps his most important, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“When you walk into a room, you [need to] know your s—t better than anyone else in the room,” he said. “That’s when it’s time to start a company. Then, you can start to control your destiny.” Knowledge, of course, doesn’t guarantee success.
Before Cuban started his first company, he quit or was fired from three consecutive jobs and slept on the floor of a three-bedroom apartment he shared with five roommates, he wrote in Forbes in 2013.
He touched on a similar subject in his 2011 book “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” writing that it “doesn’t matter how many times” you fail. “You only have to be right once” to be “set for life,” he added. That lesson may be why Cuban seems confident enough in his four rules to stake his livelihood on them. Even if he lost everything, he’d build himself back into a millionaire again, as he told NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast in 2016.
“I would get a job as a bartender at night and a sales job during the day, and I would start working,” Cuban said. “To be a billionaire, you have got to get lucky… [but] could I become a multi-millionaire again? I have no doubt.”