Some people will always pursue get rich quick schemes. Perhaps you’re one of them. In this article, I’ll share some legitimate strategies for building wealth rapidly.
To be clear, this is an MLM-free zone! These strategies won’t turn you into a pyramid scheme salesman nobody invites to parties anymore.
All get rich quick schemes (even the legitimate ones I’m about to share) involve a higher degree of risk than simply investing in broad market-based index funds. That’s the price you pay for the potential of earning a fortune rapidly.
Personally, I would rather invest in broad market-based index funds and get rich slowly while taking on less risk. I also believe that’s the right approach for 99% of people.
However, given that many people will always be inclined to chase greater returns, I think it’s worth exploring the following strategies. Just do your own research and don’t take any of what I’m about to say as financial advice.
6 get rich quick “schemes” that are actually legit
1. Investing in index funds
Yes, I’m serious.
Here’s the thing. Index funds come in many flavors. Yes, there are index funds that simply track the S&P 500 and won’t make you rich overnight. However, there are also indexes dedicated to blockchain technology, electric vehicles, real estate, and other more dynamic sectors.
From March 2020 to June 2021, for example, the Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index returned 160%. You would’ve doubled your money and then some by investing in it (i.e. through the Reality Shares ETF tracking it).
Then there’s the S&P Kensho Electric Vehicles Index, which produced a 155% return from July 2020 to July 2021.
My point isn’t to promote these specific funds but rather to show you that indexes aren’t all boring broad market-based investment vehicles that return a “measly” 10% annually. You can find index funds based on virtually any theme imaginable, including ones more likely to make you rich quickly.
2. Investing in real estate
In Canada and the United States, real estate has gone absolutely bonkers. Consequently, many real estate investors have made very tidy profits (especially when you account for rent payments they’ve collected) in recent years.
Among the major draws of real estate as a get rich quick scheme is the opportunity investors have to use leverage.
Someone with $200,000 to invest, for example, could split that money up into down payments towards four properties, each costing $400,000. They’d then have only $50,000 of their own money in each property yet still benefit from the growth of an asset worth $400,000. So if each property’s value grew by 10% one year ($40,000 per property), they’d have an unrealized gain of $160,000. That’s not bad at all for an initial investment of $200,000.
Mind you, this is an oversimplification of real estate investing. The general concept of using leverage via low-interest loans against real estate has made many people millionaires, though. In fact, many millionaires argue that real estate investing was the key to their financial success. It’s not hard to see why. There are very few other investment classes that let you take advantage of leverage the way real estate does.
Of course, leverage has a dark side. You can end up owing more than you invested. This happened to many people during the 2008 financial crisis. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; anything with the potential to make people millionaires so quickly is bound to have a nasty potential downside.
3. Starting a consulting business
If you’re a verifiable expert in a particular area, there are likely people (companies) willing to pay big bucks for your consulting services.
Digital marketing is a big one I can attest to. You’d be surprised how many major companies outsource big marketing decisions (i.e. how to spend half a million dollars per month on online ads – an actual situation I’m involved in right now) to consultants and agencies. If you can network and land these contracts for yourself, you could be bringing in retainers amounting to tens of thousands of dollars per month.
IT consulting is a huge space as well, although I only have second-hand knowledge of this.
4. Investing in your education
Of course, to start a successful consulting business, you actually need to be an expert in some area or another. That’s where this tip comes in. Investing in your education can open up a world of possibilities (and revenue streams) for you.
While going to university is a great option if you’d like to make money over the long haul (check out this article for some numbers), there are other ways to invest in your education and generate returns faster.
Websites like Coursera offer an opportunity to add new certifications to your resume within a matter of months or even weeks. Many of those certifications cost just a few hundred dollars yet can help you earn tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars more right away. Talk about getting rich quickly!
If you want to really supercharge your financial growth, take courses that build on what you already know (as opposed to those that teach completely different skill sets).
For example, while I was studying journalism, I realized the digital marketing space offered so many more high-paying opportunities. It wasn’t a huge leap from journalism, though; both fields involve writing and communication. One just pays substantially more and has helped me achieve a six-figure net worth (starting from $0) within four years.
Pivoting to an entirely new space, meanwhile, takes time and therefore isn’t really compatible with the concept of getting rich quickly.
5. Starting a creative agency
Many types of creative work (i.e. online content creation and graphic design) are important enough for companies to invest in yet not to the point of hiring full-time staff members. That’s where creative agencies come in.
If you own one of these agencies, companies will often pay you a fixed rate per deliverable (i.e. $200 per article). Your job then becomes finding someone who can create that deliverable for less (i.e. $100) while pocketing the change for yourself.
If you’re a good salesperson and have a knack for managing gig workers (which is a skill in and of itself), you can scale pretty quickly with a creative agency. Websites like Upwork fuel these sorts of businesses, providing a near-endless stream of people looking for low-commitment work (i.e. students and people who need to earn some cash on the side after work).
6. Placing asymmetric bets on cryptocurrencies
An asymmetric bet is one in which the potential gains far outweigh the potential losses. Few scenarios better encapsulate this than the concept of investing relatively small amounts of money in cryptocurrencies.
Let’s say, for example, that at the start of 2015 you had a net worth of $100,000. If you took 1% of that ($1,000) and threw it into Bitcoin, that investment would be worth more than $104,000 as of July 2021. Meanwhile, at any point, you would’ve only stood to lose $1,000. This likely wouldn’t have devastated you given $1,000 amounted to just 1% of your net worth when you made the investment.
Some (like my friend Andy, whose personal finance YouTube channel you should check out here) advocate for making this exact type of asymmetric bet. He believes Bitcoin’s value is poised to increase tenfold. Therefore, such a bet is a no-brainer to him.
I strongly recommend doing your own research before throwing money into cryptocurrencies, though. If (and only if) you agree the asset could earn you far more than it could cost you, this is a get rich quick scheme worth considering.
General tips for pursuing get rich quick schemes
Now that I’ve shared a few legitimate get rich quick schemes, here are some general best practices when pursuing these opportunities.
If you can’t see how it’d be possible to lose, run the other way
Let me reiterate something I’ve said several times throughout this article. All get rich quick schemes – even the legitimate ones – come with significant risks.
If you can’t see those risks clearly, you’re likely blinded by emotion. It’s possible someone may even be actively misleading you about the scheme’s nature, hiding inconvenient truths. This (it should go without saying) is cause for concern. It’d be enough for me to hold off on participating in the scheme until I know what the downside is.
There are no once in a lifetime opportunities
People selling illegitimate get rich quick schemes are often masters at creating the illusion of scarcity. They’ll insist you must act now or the opportunity to make so much money overnight will disappear forever.
This is hogwash. There will always be opportunities to make money. Anybody suggesting otherwise is doing so because they know you’d see right through whatever scam they’re selling if they let you sleep on it.
Be skeptical of get rich quick schemes accompanied by hard sales pitches
If someone is spending lots of time and money on convincing you to invest in a particular get rich quick scheme, something’s fishy. After all, if the scheme is really so great, why wouldn’t they just focus on it rather than spend money trying to attract other participants?
Hint: It’s because the scheme they’re selling isn’t what’s making them money. It’s a front. They’re actually making money suckering people into the scheme. This is a hallmark of multi-level marketing schemes.
There are no free lunches
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that there are no free lunches. People won’t just give you tons of money without expecting anything in return.
It seems obvious. Yet, people get scammed into thinking free lunches exist all the time. These scams are often more clever than the stereotypical email from a long-lost cousin who happens to be the Queen of England, too. Heck, sometimes they aren’t even scams.
I’ve seen well-meaning clients and employers make incredibly generous profit-sharing offers (amounting to free lunches). Those deals never last long because they don’t make logical sense. As soon as the party placed at a disadvantage by such a deal realizes this, they end it one way or another. Meanwhile, workers who make plans based on those deals get the short end of the stick.
My point? No matter how you plan on getting rich, it has to make logical sense. Otherwise, it’s an unreliable way to make money.
It’s certainly possible to get rich quickly. Just be aware you’ll need to take on a substantial level of risk. I hope this article has left you with a few get rich quick schemes that – although still risky – aren’t scams.
For more wealth-building strategies, check out my other articles about investing here.