What it’s like to be rich – and how to get there

The author of How Rich People Think, Steve Siebold spent three decades interviewing super rich people to work out what separates them from everyone else. We ask him what he learned, and how it feels to be rich himself…

Steve Siebold, 52, lives with his wife, Dawn Andrews, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He is a writer and speaker on Mental Toughness and Psychological Performance training, as well as an author.

What was your childhood like?
I grew up competing on the National Junior Tennis Tour, so the most of my childhood was spent training and touring. It was a wonderful experience that shaped the rest of my life.

Did you grow up dreaming of being an entrepreneur?
Yes, I decided to become an entrepreneur at age 17, and I’ve been self-employed ever since.

What did your parents do for a living?
My dad was a bricklayer and my mom was a homemaker.

Did you stay on in higher education?
Yes, I studied psychology and interpersonal communication. But my degree hasn’t come in useful when running my own business. For me, college was a waste of time.

When did you start your own business, what was it and what inspired you to do this?
I started teaching tennis lessons at age 17 for $12/hr. I was inspired by how working for myself gave me the freedom to control my own life.

After how long did you start to see signs of success?
It took me 13 years to make my first million, selling psychological performance training to Fortune 500 companies, so I certainly didn’t break any speed records! But I eventually learned how to create wealth on a much larger scale.

Did you and your wife choose career over kids or is that just the way it worked out?  
We never wanted kids. It was a decision we made the first year we were married.

What’s the key to building a successful business?
#1 is loving what you do. The reason is you’re going to have to work hard and long for a serious level of success and if you don’t love it you probably won’t have the psychological endurance to persist until you succeed.

When you envisaged success, what did it look like?
My dream was to live what Ayn Rand called an “Unrestricted Existence” or the ability to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, for as long as you want without ever having to answer to anyone else ever again.

How much money does someone need before they are considered ‘rich’?
Enough to never have to worry about it again.

How does it feel to be rich?
Rich is a relative term, and there are millions of people richer than I am. That being said, it feels great to have the resources to live your dreams.

What did you learn from interviewing people for How Rich People Think?
The main thing I learned from over 1200 interviews over 30 years from the super rich is that self-made wealth begins with the way you think, and if you learn how rich people think and copy it, you have created the foundation of every self-made fortune. That single lesson has been worth millions of dollars to me.

Is recognition or money the better outcome of running a successful business?
Neither, at least not for me. What I like best is actually doing the work. I love to write books and speak to audiences, and that’s what I do every day. It’s nice to have money, but it’s better to love the work that creates it.

Are there any downsides to having/earning lots of money?

Have you sacrificed time with your friends/family for your career?
Every millionaire makes sacrifices to become successful, but I would do it all over again. It was worth every sacrifice I ever made.

What are your plans for the future, career-wise?
Our firm is moving into Interactive Online Training and our goal is to drive revenue to $100M in that division. I want to write more books and reach more people with my message of prosperity through effective direction of their own psychology. It’s all very exciting!

And for your home/family life?
My wife runs our company, so we see each other every day. We’ve been married for 32 years, and as long as I continue to do what she tells me to, I think everything will be ok!