This was a question I was asked on Quora. Here is my answer:
You Can Be A Millionaire
I will answer your question first, which is the hardest way to be a millionaire and then I will tell you the much easier way. Last, I will then tell you one more way.
Hard Way-Do You Constantly Think Of New Ideas
If you don’t naturally think of new ideas, it will be extremely hard. Most inventors are not rich, but they have many ideas, hundreds or more. Some are good and most aren’t. But they don’t even have to try, their brain is just wired to see it. The problem is they don’t know how to develop them. Plus before they get one idea flushed out, they have another idea. Focus is tough.
Read the books on how to generate new ideas. There are no new ideas, just tweaks on old ideas anyway. I suggest you read Borrowing Brilliance, this is a very good book on changing your perspective on how to generate new commercial ideas. For the grinding, making lists, asking people, read problems before you go to sleep and then write down answers when you wake up-then read How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster. Plus I agree with the list in the post below.
Easier Way-Start a Tried and True Business
Look for things that work and make a small change, often the change can just be branding and marketing. I strongly suggest you read, One Million in the Bank: How To Make $1,000,000 With Your Own Business,Even If You Have No Money Or Experience You don’t need a new idea, you don’t need your own money, and there is lots of free help.
Be The Guy With The Money
If you learn how to raise money and start your own company that invests in new ideas, now you just screen deals. You now will be involved in as many new and innovating ideas, products, and services as you like. You never had to think of a single one. Since 9 out of 10 may fail, you also push the risk onto the inventor. Your risk is very small. If you raise money to do this, your actual risk is zero. Of course, you have some reputation risk.
You don’t need as much money as you think, you can get a piece of many startups for a song, $10,000 or $25,000. Plus you can always raise the money deal by deal if you want. There are many ways to structure this. One Million in the Bank is good to help you learn how to raise the money. Here’s a good started article on starting a fund What Are The Steps To Starting A VC/Angel Fund? Keep in mind there are many variations on this, now that you understand you can do this, start looking into it.