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Finding Millionaires

By Thomas J. Stanley on Mar 9th, 2010 in Studying the Wealthy

How do I go about finding many of the millionaires that I profile in my books. I read their trade journals. So, that’s like The Wall Street Journal, right?  Not really. I am referring to publications that target members of well-defined industries. You may recall my profile of Bill R. that was in The Millionaire Next Door.  He is the one who referred to the income statement affluent/pseudo wealthy as “Big Hat No Cattle.”  This young Texan, at the time of our interview, was one of the largest rebuilders of diesel motors in the world.  I found him via his 2-page advertisement in Rock and Dirt.


Assume for a moment that you own a small chain of pizza restaurants. What publications would you be interested in reading? You would likely read a trade journal that will give you critical information about trends, competition, tactics, products, markets, strategies, and suppliers. You would read Pizza Today. Some of the most economically successful people are featured in trade journals. Most millionaires don’t feel the need to have their story told in The Wall Street Journal or in USA Today. They prefer to be featured in their industry’s “trade.” They enjoy their status as Waste Age‘s cover story or National (Commercial) Fisherman‘s man of the year. Over the years, I have been impressed with many of these trade journals. Not only do they feature America’s millionaires, many of the owners of these trades have also become multimillionaires through their vocation. You might ask, “Well, don’t most of the owners or publishers of trade journals have a lot of experience and capital behind them?” Not necessarily. In fact, a lot of the founders of various trade journals had no experience in publishing at all. Most were not even journalism or English majors in college.


I received a letter from the founder of one of the top trades in America, Pizza Today. Gerry, the founder, said that in the early months of startup, an excited business advertiser called to ask him how they got their letters (business stationery) to smell “just like a pizza shop.” Gerry told him it was a trade secret. But, in fact, it was both easy and automatic since during the first two years of the trade the magazine and trade association shared space in his small Indiana pizzeria. Storage was at a premium and the pizza spices were kept on a shelf next to the envelopes and letterhead of the magazine which absorbed the distinctive odors like a sponge!


This multi-million dollar publishing firm was started by a hands-on pizzeria owner who wanted to read a trade journal about pizza, but one did not exist at the time. He saw a market need and acted on it.

One response to “Finding Millionaires”

  1. Paul @ FiscalGeek says:

    I so love these stories of ordinary people who are winning with their money because they don’t feel the need to shout from the rooftops “I’m Rich!” It’s such a refreshing and powerful change. Look for my name in a Trade Journal one of these days 🙂

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