Your Dream Is Always Easier After The First Million Dollars

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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Latest posts by Heather Montgomery (see all)

dreams to make a million dollars

Most entrepreneurs have heard this encouraging fact:

The first million dollars is always the hardest.

The idea is that on the way to that first million dollars, you’ve developed the habits, mindset and beliefs that keep the momentum going. In other words, making the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th million will be automatic.

Most entrepreneurs also know there are no shortcuts to getting there.

When you are desperate to make something work — even the craziest million dollar, money-making schemes start to look pretty good.

  • $1200 for that expert video marketing to tell me what I can do to make a million dollars? Sure!
  • $2700 for a 5 week program with weekly phone conference AND live event in San Diego… and I get to know all the million dollar, money-making secrets behind mobile app development? You got it!
  • $400 a month for an “automatic system” that only the members of this “exclusive club” can get too… and it’s guaranteed to drive traffic and increase your email list? Too easy – yes!

These are all examples of the online marketing programs I get emails about every day. Some strike me as truly a benefit for legitimately growing a business. Of course, those never scream “Make a million dollars NOW” which is probably why they feel (slightly) less sleazy.

Most of us have had that light bulb moment, the 2 a.m. idea that we have to write down before the magical moment passes. And that’s where most of us leave it. Personally, I think that’s OK. If it really kicked-butt, you’d be passionate about working on it, right?

The honest truth is that the first million dollars takes tons of time, energy and investment.

Blah. That wasn’t the answer I was looking for either.

To make myself feel better I did some research on bad business ideas. I ran across this post from Jeremy Schoemaker of Shoemoney that had me laughing, and feeling much better about my harebrained schemes. Be sure to read the whole list. His #1 on the list is crazy!

What his list, and confession that his success ratio was 5 to 500, made me realize something. I have a strong tendency to make stupid desicions when desparate. Or when I have PMS.

Just a few examples of my stupid decisions…

  • At a hair appointment while PMSing, I tell my stylist I’m ready for a shorter look. The next thing I know 6 inches worth of hair lay crying on the floor. I wake up the next day completely pissed-off at myself for not paying attention to the calendar.
  • Signed up and paid WAY too much money for a coaching program “guaranteed” to get you government grant money for any business venture. I can’t tell you how much. It’s been years and it still stings. Oh, and no grant money ever magically arrived in the mail.
  • Car shopping after my car was totaled, again while PMSing. I managed to stop myself just shy of buying a used Mini Cooper for more money than the new car I ended up driving home. I love a Mini and will have one — when I don’t have teenagers to drive around.

Life is full of make a million dollar ideas that can (sometimes) be stupid. What was the last stupid million dollar idea you had?

– Heather


  • Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson

    I’ve made LOTS of mistakes on my journey – not one in particular that was extremely costly – but quitting my job to become a professional storyteller turned out to be pretty costly in the long run. Mistake? Still not sure. Some days I say I was crazy to quit my day job – and other days I realize that I never would have worked so hard if there wasn’t so much on the line! We have learned over the years to spend as little as we can on our business and to be very wise about where we do put our money. (We were warned early in the business about the vultures that were waiting to take money from us.) So we try not to buy any big ticket items – at least until I make that first million! :) But I could spend my entire life making people laugh and encouraging them – and never see a million – and be just fine with that! Somewhere along the way I realized that when you jump it doesn’t matter where you land – the true joy will come in those moments you spend in mid air.

  • Katie Eigel, Travel & Wellness coach

    Awesome post! I think about this stuff way too much and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I think about exploring this subject more in future posts. Thanks for jumpstarting it!

  • Lisa

    Heather, wow, the top 10 worst money-making ideas from Shoemoney really made me laugh… You’re right, #1 is a doozy!!!

    Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has written that his success rate is about 10% – so that his failure rate of course is about 90%. That’s higher than Jeremy quotes, since he says 5 out of 500 – in other words, a 1% success rate! Wow!

    Guess it shows you that those who are really driven to be successful entrepreneurs also generally need to have the perseverance to see multiple ideas through to the end… or to drop them when they are a “flop.” I guess you only need ONE million-dollar idea, right? :) And then the rest is a breeze?

    Anyways I’m impressed by your commitment to being a successful entrepreneur and by all that you do… and I have total faith that we will all be with you cheering you on when you make that first million sometime soon :) Let us know how we can best support you Heather!


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  • Wow great post.

    I was thinking about how when we are trying to survive tough financial times, how we can clamp down so hard on our lives we hardly notice how much until standing in the middle of beautiful Tiburon staring at SF, I suddenly realize how tight I’ve kept my life.

    I admire Remy for her tenacity in keeping her life “large” and you for such a honest post.


  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    AWESOME post. You obviously were in my head digging around for research when I wasn’t looking either. I paid 17000 for a franchise broker license and have sold zero. I have paid hundreds of dollars in books and workout equipment – and I don’t even really like to read or exercise. lol So am I making bad decisions or just not following thru on what I was committing to? Too early to think like this Im going back to bed. (up at 5 staring at the ceiling thinking of all the bad decisions I’ve made, I guess….) xox Rem

    • I’ve had that staring contest with the ceiling – more often these days than I like to admit.

      Thanks for sharing Rem! I have to go dust my workout equipment…

      – Heather