Financial Success Starts in College

November 30, 2018

Wow! College was over 4 years ago, so you can officially say I’m no longer a recent graduate.

But hey, I’ve been hustling the past 4 years and I’ve learned a bunch of stuff. In fact, most of the stuff I’ve learned relating to money, self improvement, and business should’ve been done while I was still in college. It’s not like I was too young or dumb before to grasp these concepts. It was simply a matter of not knowing to learn these things.

I have so many things I wish I did in college. I’m convinced I’d be a millionaire now if I had gotten started in business earlier.

Remember, the earlier you set yourself on the journey of entrepreneurship, the more opportunities you’ll have. You’ll be able to take advantage of the compound effect, where all your good habits compound and grow exponentially. And most importantly, you’ll realize what it is in life you want to do.

I spent way too many years of my life preparing to go to medical school. It’s sad looking back on it, because I stuck with medicine because it was “easy”. I was good at science classes, and I just didn’t know what I wanted in life. My mindset wasn’t strong enough to go out there and find my true calling in life. Being a doctor was my way out of truly finding myself, and I regret it to this day.

So, here are 5 important things I wish I had done when I was between the ages of 18-22:


1. Implement productivity habits

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by reading a million self improvement books, it’s to take action and work hard. To do this, you need some sort of purpose and also priority. Priority boils down to making it a priority in life to do things that bring you closer to business success.

It’s really hard for me to stay productive unless I have a certain reminder to do things. One thing I did was begin to write my daily tasks on a whiteboard, and cross them out when each is completed. Recently, I switched over to “to-do flashcards” since the whiteboard stopped being effective. Each night before bed, I’ll plan out my next day and write certain things to do on flashcards. These cards get put in the “to-do” box. As I complete each task, I transfer the card to the “done” box. It’s a great visual tactic!

Another thing I wish I had started doing is waking up early and practicing a morning routine. After reading “The Miracle Morning”, I was really inspired by all the people who wake up at 4 or 5AM, and get their day started early with exercise, meditation, reading, and work. Thought I’ve yet to fully implemement an early routine in my life, I know that it will eventually be what I do most days.

When you’re working longer and harder than everyone else, success will gravitate towards you.

business start

2. Begin my Amazon E-commerce business

Hindsight is 20/20 but man, if I had begun my Amazon business back in the day when the competition was less, I’d be ballin’ today. It’s never to late to start a business - in fact, the earlier the better. Like they say, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

This extends to other side gigs and businesses. No matter what you want to do in business, get started now. For one, you’ll be more established being in business for longer. People like to see that you aren’t a brand new company. Second, your business will grow with time. Spend longer on it, and the higher chance it is to be uber successful.

It really is amazing what time can do for a business. My photography business started small, with absolutely zero clients. Today, 11 years later, I don’t even advertise and I get more than enough business. As time went on, I did more and more shoots for people. People start recognizing your brand, and they start referring you to other people. With any business, you’ll really start to see the referrals rack up an insane number of clients (if you’re good at what you do).

When I just started in real estate, I had zero clients. No one even knew I did real estate! I know that with time, my presence will increase and I will start building a referral business. It’s really the backbone of any successful business, and building that system takes years and years.

If you know you’re going to be an entrepreneur early in college, then start doing it now. You’ll come out 1000% ahead if you start NOW. This applies to any business, not just the ones I have mentioned.

the compound effect

One of my favorite books - applies to ANYONE looking to be successful

3. Read books

This one’s boring, but holy crap does it work. Reading is like having a thousand mentors teaching you their ways at once. Think about how much experience and time it takes to write a good book. These authors have literally spent their entire lives learning, failing, and succeeding at their craft. They themselves are a book full of knowledge and guidance.

When you can buy a book for $10 and have access to their brain, it’s just incredible.

Learn from the best, and start early. Your mind, priorities, and purpose will start transforming when you make reading a daily habit.


4. Start saving money and investing it

I’ve written about how important it is to invest as early as you can, but I didn’t live up to this advice myself. I didn’t have investments growing for me when I was in college. Any money I was making was just being spent on things.

If you look at the difference 4 years can make on your investment portfolio, it’s unbelievable. Say you start putting $5,000 into an index fund each year, beginning at age 18 as a freshman. At age 60, you’ll have 1.6 million dollars! If you wait until you’re 22, then at age 60 you’ll only have 1.2 million dollars. That’s $400,000 difference!!! The compound effect is at work here, and magnifies the importance of starting early.

If I were in college, I’d take my money and open up a Roth IRA account - then I would try and put whatever extra money I have into buying index funds. The difference in portfolio value later on would be nuts.

If you’re in college, then this is the time to take risks! Study hard, but also focus your energy on starting your entrepreneurial journey. Who knows - by the time you graduate, you may be ballin’ hard. The longer you wait to start, the further the financial successes will be.

Where will you start?

charlie chang the finance habit

Hi, I'm Charlie

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