How to Live Like a Millionaire on a Minimum Wage Salary


Photo by DAK. Written by James Wong. Apprx. read 4.5 min.

“I’m not a millionaire, nor do I particularly care to be.” – Tim Ferriss

As I write this, I am sitting on my balcony, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Central California. It’s the middle of December, but it feels like it’s about 75 degrees. I’m not a millionaire. I don’t even make six-figures. A few months ago, I worked at McDonald’s.

I’m going to guess that you might like to be a millionaire. Who wouldn’t, right? But chances are you can live the millionaire lifestyle for a lot cheaper than you think. Considering you work 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job, you could bring in about $1,320 a month. I’m going to show you how you can live the millionaire lifestyle on $1,300/month.

My definition of a millionaire lifestyle: living wherever you want, the freedom to work from anywhere you want, and the freedom to be your own boss. All of this is possible with a minimum wage salary.

Living Wherever you Want

Want to live oceanside in California? Go ahead. Worried you can’t afford it? As long as you have at least a minimum wage job, I say you can. My rent is $750/ month in Santa Barbara County and $50/month for utilities. I will admit, spending 60% of your total salary on housing is not the smartest thing to do. The point I want to make is that it is possible.

My advice: don’t live on the ocean. Honestly, it’s overrated. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but now the Ocean is no longer special to me. It’s common. I used to associate ocean view in California to ultimate success. The truth is, nice things become very old very quickly.

I can find a place in Santa Barbara for as low as $250/month. I would still feel like I’m living the millionaire lifestyle because I was still able to choose the city I wanted to live in. My advice then is to focus on is finding a city that you love, and locating the most affordable housing that you can tolerate.

There are 2 reasons you should do this 1) living in a less than spectacular place will force you to get out and explore your surroundings. I haven’t ventured outside of my neighborhood in over a month, there’s just no reason for me. 2) You will have more money to eat. When housing takes up 60% of your salary, you spend a lot of time going to Costco and cooking your own food. Casual dining is a luxury.

Rule of thumb: the general area you want to live is more important than the specific housing you choose to live in. I love Southern California. If I chose to live in a much cheaper apartment a couple of blocks from the beach, I would have had much more incentive to explore the area, and more money to eat.

Of course, this article is about living like millionaires. And millionaires can live beachside. So, we will use my rent of $800 for the sake of this article.

The Freedom to Work from Anywhere and Be Your Own Boss

Notice how this article is titled “on a Minimum Wage Salary”. I’m not specifically talking about having a minimum wage job. You can’t live like a millionaire if you serve fat people fries 40 hours of your week.

Fortunately, this is 2011. We have a massive opportunity to make money that a lot of people seem to be overlooking. Hint: your using it right now. Of course, I’m talking about the INTERNET. We have access to almost anyone in the world, and the ability to find the answer to anything right at our fingertips?! How have we not been using this? I can’t believe everyone in America doesn’t have their own personal [YOURNAME].com domain yet.

It’s quite simple to make a minimum wage salary with a few hours of work per week. Freelancing is the key.

Online freelancing is simply marketing your skill to clients on the internet, and choosing projects based on the responses you get. But, you don’t have any “skills”, you say?

Bullshit. You’re an expert at something. All “expert” means is that you can do something better than the person you’re helping. Hence, expert status is relative. You don’t have to be the best. You don’t even have to be that great, you just have to know more than your client knows.

My story.

One weekend, I devoted all of my time to learning a profitable skill. I read books on how to copywrite (write ads for businesses) all weekend. Then on Monday I registered on and other freelance websites. I decided to be overly confident on my profile and wrote something like, “I dream of making you millions of dollars!” Stupid, I know. But, it worked! Within 2 days I was booked for the whole week. I got kind of nervous. I mean, I had only learned the definition of copywriting about 5 days ago. What happened? My clients loved my work! I couldn’t believe it, some of them even offered to refer me to their friends.

So here’s what you can do:

  1. Dedicate one weekend to learning a profitable skill.
  2. Choose from: Web copy, SEO, direct marketing, or web design on WordPress software.
  3. Sign up for eLance, post your skills on Craigslist, post on social media, and scout out local businesses who are suffering.
  4. Charge $100 per project. Don’t charge for hours worked. Millionaires don’t sell their time; they sell their value.

Considering you charge $100 per project and each project takes about 4 hours to complete, you would be working about 13 hours a week… on your own schedule…. at your own house. Not too bad, right?

BONUS: Going Beyond Minimum Wage

Let’s be honest, minimum wage sucks no matter what. In this bonus section, I want to go beyond the idea of freelancing, to see how we can actually become millionaires. I have set a goal to make $1 Million in 2012. That’s pretty ballsy considering I’m broke right now. But, making a million dollars is not harder than making $100 (or so I’m told). It’s just a different level of thinking. Something called “scale”.

Think about this. Let’s say someone hires you one-on-one for your “expertise”. And let’s say you charge, oh I don’t know, $60 for the hour of your time. That’s good, but it’s not millionaire good.

Now let’s say you find 5 people, and gather them together, and still charge each of them $60. That’s $300 for one hour of your time. Ok, now we’re getting somewhere.

BUT, let’s say they each tell 3 of their friends about you. Now you have 15 more leads that you can share value with. You are a little more valuable now, so let’s say you charge $100 for a one hour seminar or webinar. You are now making… $1500 an HOUR. Oh man, I’m getting excited just telling you about this. So, they keep telling friends and you keep getting new customers. We are now on our way to millions. Is that all we can do? Wait, our new customers have already paid us, but that’s a lot of people that we are losing. We want to retain those first customers. How?

Get their emails. Ask them to sign up for an email list, and you will provide “tips” every week using an auto responder service like Aweber (Google it). Now, while you do that you are creating a new seminar/webinar that goes above and beyond your first. Then you begin telling your email list about it. They are getting excited and their interest is piqued. BUT, they might not buy. That’s a problem. Here’s the solution.

You tell them that this seminar/webinar is $500, BUT it’s limited to only 50 people. AND, the sign-up is only available for 72 hours, so they better act quickly. Now they feel exclusive, AND rushed. That $500 price tag doesn’t really matter anymore because they better hurry up and sign up. My friend, you will make $25,000 in the one hour that you present your information.

That’s how you work your way up to millionaire status.


James Wong

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