Work Hard (for yourself) and Get Rich

My friend Dave Ramsey sent me an article this morning.   He has already reviewed No More Mondays and knows my message about recognizing new work models.  In this article, J. Paul Getty responds to the question:  “How does one go about making a million dollars?”  He says that unless you happen to locate a sunken treasure galleon or break the bank at Monte Carlo, there is really ony one way to do it.  “By going into business for yourself.”  He goes on to encourage readers to “never mind the bogey of ‘unsettled work conditions’ as is often cited as a major factor preventing businessmen from achieving success.”  He says don’t worry about the “population explosion” or “widespread unemployment” in the trend toward automation.  Getty concludes that those fears are groundless and “the future is bright for those who are confident, imaginative, and energetic.”

Sounds like he’s reading today’s newspaper.  Actually this article was written in September of 1961 — that’s more than 46 years ago.  The same reasons are given today by people explaining why they’re trapped in jobs they hate.  Guess what — if you want more success, don’t wait for circumstances to change — just change yourself and get started.


Here’s a J. Paul Getty quotation that will make you scratch your head:

Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you’re just sitting still?

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10 Responses to “Work Hard (for yourself) and Get Rich”

  1. Gary Fisher Says:

    While many of us might be content to earn a comfortable living, Jean Paul Getty set his sights much higher. By the 1960s he was the world’s richest man, and a magazine publisher convinced him to write a series of articles for a magazine of the time. These articles, including the one Dan mentioned, were later collected and published as the book “How to Be Rich” (available on Amazon and elsewhere).

    Note that title — “How to *BE* Rich”: Getty was not writing so much to tell people how to BECOME rich, but how to live with an attitude of richness — how to recognize and then fulfill the responsibilities incumbent on anyone who has more than the basic necessities, though Getty obviously had more of that “more” than most.

    The principle is essential and, though Getty may or may not have realized it, it is also Biblical. In Ephesians 4:28, Paul says of the person who is able to work “… let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” That is, the PURPOSE of work is not to accumulate wealth but to “have something to give.” J. Paul Getty offers ways to GET rich, but more importantly he teaches how to BE rich.

    Getty made his millions in the oil business, and some might suggest he was “favored” because his father was already an oil millionaire when J. Paul got into the business. Whether J. Paul Getty had a head start because of his father’s wealth is hard to determine, but Getty certainly had the reputation of “getting his own hands dirty,” of working just as hard as those who worked for him.

    Few of us were born into millionaire families, but every Christian has a Father who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” and who has promised to reward honest, hard work. If you want to succeed, you can.

  2. Kim Bosler Says:

    Everyone wants to be like Paul Getty, but few really have the talent and determination when it comes right down to it. That’s why less than 1% of the people in the US are wealthy. And most of that is inherited. That’s why I like 48 days. It instills dreams and confidence. I would like to know what really makes a successful business person and why so few really become profitable (most small businesses fail within 3-5 years).

  3. Michael Hammoor Says:

    Behind the hesitancy to step out and pursue our dreams is, at the core, fear. The fear for most of us in financial in nature. Either we are so in debt we think we can’t give up what we know even though it is deeply dissatisfying or we are afraid to step away from the benefits that our dissatisfying jobs offer. The benefit I will mention specifically is health insurance. I personally know of people who will hold on to their current jobs because of the fear to be without health care coverage from their employer. To that end, what is the most appropriate approach to moving beyond these limitations? For those who have stepped out, how did they successfully solve the health care coverage issue? This is a concern for me as I contemplate my working future at age 50. Ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  4. John Derr Says:

    I agree. If you are using the specialized skills that GOD gave each of us, then you will prosper faster than those around you who are there merely for the money. If you have been getting the 48 Days newsletter for a while or read 48 Days To The Work You Love, you may have caught the comment made in regards to the book “The Millionaire Mind” in which 100 millionaires were asked what their definition of success is and they answered “Doing What You Love.!”

    Watch “The Big Idea” with Ron Deutsch on CNN I believe every thursday or Friday night. Everyday people get successful by changing with the market demand. One guy started a juice company from his rental apartment and a blender and selling to boaters at the local marina. His key to success in addition to “doing what I love” was “using the best ingredients!”

    We are not ALL businessmen. GOD gave those skills to others. THat is why we have engineers, cab drivers, truckers, managers, talk show hosts, lawyers, etc. Use YOUR special skill set given to you by GOD.

    Many small businesses fail in my experiences because they blow money. I saw one business owned by a friend in the last three months bankrupt after 11 successful years and am watching three businesses my friends started tanking right now, because they treat the business account as their own personal checking account. Managing our finances and adapting to the market are key in home or business.

    Our forefathers did not land here and work for a corporation, so we can do it for ourselves. I work with a guy whose parents came to Nashville, TN in 1984 from India and borrowed money from family to buy a hotel and are very wealthy. His father was given the skills for service by GOD, so he is working in a field he loves and has been rewarded for it FIND YOUR GOD_GIVEN SKILLS and remember that Dan says we must have a niche to make others want to buy from us, so don’t open a small toy store in a strip mall next to TOYS R US unless you have a niche.

  5. Ted Olkowski Says:

    As Mr. Hammoor says, There is a hesitancy to step out financially. I have been attempting to start-up the “American Dream” of self employment for the past year in the Heating, Air Conditioning, and Indoor Air Quality field, But every way that I turn their are financial barriers, I truly enjoy helping people with their problems and issues, and I am very good at what I do. I am almost debt free, house ,trucks, tractor, everything is paid for. I had to drop Health insurance on myself because $600.00 a month was just to costly, Advertising put me back in debt with little results for the effort. I have run ads in the papers with little or no return and fuel cost have really put a damper on being able to finance advertising. I am making ends meet but at a minimum and I know in my heart that I need to persist in this venture of the American Dream at age 54.5. How does one grow without going into debt and Advertise when funds are not available, I need this to work and need words of wisdom, and solutions.

  6. Lonnie Roberts Says:

    I do not know what size town you are in or the climate. I do know that if I were starting a new HVAC business, I would start with the Yellow page ad and wait until April/May to launch any newspaper, radio or billboard advertising because that is your “harvest season” in the AC business. Offer your cell phone number and answer it 24/7. Go when called, give a little extra with each service call. Target anyone who owns apartments and make a brochure/business card that is easy to read without too much info. Customers do not want your life story or religious affiliation on the card, just the facts. Distribute the cards/brochures to the mailbox of every Real Estate agent in your town at least once a month(all offices have boxes for each agent available for dropoff). Show up when you say, give when you can, remember your manners, wash your truck (and clothes) often and go in sharp. Smile. This worked for my dad & I for about 25 years. We didn’t have to resort to the billboard. Did I mention SMILE.

  7. FS Says:

    Dave, I see some interesting parallels to your work and that of Tim Ferriss , Four Hour Work Week author. (There are also some major divergences.)

    Here’s a link to his homepage/bookpage:

    Here’s a link to his blog:

    Have you read Tim’s book and what are your opinions of his philosophies?

  8. Jeff G. Says:

    Ted, I like what Lonnie had to say. It was all very good advice. I don’t know if you are a long time reader of the 48 days to the work you love newsletter or not, but several times Dan has mentioned advertising. I can’t remember if it is a book or a pdf that he gives out. However, it is titled something like “Guerrilla Marketing.” It had some really good insight into marketing techniques that are effective and free. I don’t own a business myself, so I can’t attest to the effectiveness of it, but the ideas and concepts were interesting. Gets one to start thinking outside the box. Hope that helps and good luck!

  9. Samuel Cobb Says:

    To Ted Olkowski,
    I have never purchase medical insurance for myself, but is there not a local association or group for your industry that will allow you to buy into a group insurance plan? That would be far cheaper. If not then let me know what area you are in so I can start one up. 🙂

  10. ng@passport covers Says:

    Great article and I appreciate what you are saying …..1) how you find your God given talent… I mean its ok for people who are great at something but normal people like myself are at best good or average and quite alot of things..for example I can play guitar and sing, and I use to play in a rock band but never got big, I can make a few websites, I’m can talk to people with ease, but I hate selling so really how do you know?

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