Dandan Zhu a Self made Millionaire at 28 shares her secret to acquiring wealth at such tender age
As a millionaire by 30 and as someone who aspires to become a billionaire, I can’t stress how important my drive for wealth creation has shaped my entire life. It’s still something to this day I am largely motivated by for the following reasons:
#1. I grew up poor financially.
My family immigrated to the US with the classic $X dollars in tow. For us, it was $40. On the day my dad landed as a student, he violated his visa as every poor immigrant does and worked straight away in a restaurant as the dishwasher. My mom, while pursuing her degree, worked as a live-in nanny. That made me: the babysitter’s daughter.
I grew up wearing donated clothing and eating free lunch. While I was almost siblings with the children my parents were paid to take care of, I was certainly not a part of their world. While I attended the best public schools of the rich suburb I grew up in, I was the help’s daughter, not like the rest of the children. Subconsciously, I always understood this fundamental difference due to birth lottery and station in life due to my familial circumstances.
#2. I felt my poverty throughout highschool.
While my family was financially strapped when they landed off the boat in America, they were mentally rich. Both of my parents are not only highly intelligent academically, they are also gamechangers, fearless to pursue their goals and wants. We eventually became financially enriched, however my parents raised us like we were still poor.
I never got to wear Abercrombie (or any branded goods for that matter). I shopped at stores that people on the poverty line frequent such as Tello’s and Rainbow. I thought $20 on an item of clothing was a LOT of money. I never got to buy things because we were not allowed to keep the tips we earned nor the summer job money we procured through our 9–5 internships. My parents controlled my life.
#3. In college, I finally got a taste of what it was like to have money.
Finally, FREEDOM! College was amazing because I escaped the imprisonment that was being a child in a strict Chinese household. I got to keep my tips from bartending for school expenses. Instead of buying textbooks, I used my money on my first Abercrombie gear at the ripe age of 18, travel, and food!
I didn’t care at all about academics. College was my opportunity to live a life I never had. One of freedom, self-determination (to a certain degree, much more than I was allowed in high school). Once I got a taste of freedom, I wanted more of it. This would play into my future career: I chose a job that provided financial freedom, eventually becoming an entrepreneur within, recruitment.
#4. Once I started getting money, I only wanted more of it.
I became an eBay powerseller, a Chinese tutor, anything to make extra cash on the side. I started traveling in college, to spring breaks internationally – all self-funded through my labor on various endeavors I created or worked at. I was able to buy nice things and experience travel and food excursions that my wealthy classmates were able to do.
The only difference was that, I especially enjoyed my indulgences because I was actually capable of generating the things I wanted by myself for myself. That kind of power, control, and achievement made me crave more of it. Money started becoming more than just cash for goods and services; it became symbolic for me of what I was capable of as an individual.
#5. Money became my career choice.
After graduating from college, where I enjoyed freedom and financial success, I wanted to maintain my earning prowess into the “real world” by becoming a headhunter which is essentially a sales job, selling jobs to candidates, and selling candidates to clients. I absolutely love my career because the numbers in white-collar sales greatly exceed regular sales jobs. By 25, I clocked in over $215k in income.
#6. Money makes more money for those who know how to do it, a very fulfilling, fun, and experimental process.
At 25, I also purchased my first condo, which doubled my net worth through appreciation almost immediately. I played around with all types of investing since I was 19, equities, businesses, real estate, recruiting, and crypto. I won some, lost some; overall came out becoming a millionaire by 30 through real estate investing and recruiting.
#7. Now and to the future, money is an equivalent of my value as a business leader and a reflection of EGO.
I have enough money to live very comfortably. I can work or not work and be fine either way. Nowadays, being rich is about winning the game at life and proving to myself that I can do whatever I put my mind to. My ego desires to be recognized internationally as a business leader for my generation, my race, my gender, and my profession, recruitment and investing.
#8. Wealth provides a legacy that shows that world who you are.
My goal to become rich is not to accumulate material goods. It’s to inspire and lead others the way my idols did for me. Sales, recruiting, investing, are such positive traits and skills that I wish everyone in the world could enjoy the benefits I reaped from these activities. If everyone was financially successful, I truly believe the world would be a more responsible, happy, moral, and healthy place.
Money is not the be-all end-all. Rich people say this all the time because it’s true. Money won’t buy you happiness, won’t make you a good person, won’t spare you loneliness and misery, and won’t make you a likable person. However, the person you have to become to earn lots of money, become successful, employ others, and create business value, DOES change who you are fundamentally.
While there are exceptions related to inheritances, self-made people such as myself had to learn the hard way through hard work. Through change, through challenge, through intense discourse and disapproval by peers, parents, and society. We had to pave the way for ourselves, which makes the result so much more fulfilling that, ultimately, we proved through value generation, that we are highly valuable and that we are right.
That is ultimately the power, joy, and fruits of success, the satisfaction of ego and the achievement of financial comfort, security, and abundance.