The crazy wood­pecker, the juice ex­trac­tor and the mil­lion­aire maker

Finweek English Edition - - Openers - BY FRIK ELS frike@fin­

IN Fin­week’s Win The Most Ex­pen­sive Busi­ness Book in the World! Com­pe­ti­tion where we asked for ideas to make a mil­lion, we failed to men­tion in which cur­rency. Many en­trants, like james@e-glue, crossed Beit Bridge. How­ever, I don’t think the au­thor of US$995 self-help man­ual The Mil­lion­aire Maker, Matthias Sch­melz, would ap­prove of your scheme. He has a chap­ter called How to Make Money With­out In­vest­ing One Cent! and at the time of writ­ing you still had to put some­thing down for Z$1m.

Sibu­siso Maz­ibuko, I di­rect you to the same chap­ter. Your idea of trad­ing eq­uity CFDs sounds like a win­ner, but be­fore I can take you up, I first have to sell the Namib­ian hard­wood I bought on con­sign­ment af­ter read­ing that “a tree will con­tinue to grow re­gard­less of eco­nomic down­turns or busi­ness cy­cles, hence con­tin­u­ously pro­duc­ing added value” in the The Mil­lion­aire Maker chap­ters on in­vest­ing in tim­ber.

Among many would-be writ­ers was Wal­ter Scharf. He’s go­ing to write The Bil­lion­aire Maker and sell it at half the price. It’s so sim­ple it may just work, but you’ll have to share the spoils with an­other en­trant, Jean-Luc Ger­mi­quet. (Wal­ter, call me when you list your tim­ber mill on AltX as you pro­pose. Mr Sch­melz says it’s “ al­ways bet­ter to buy shares be­fore the IPO”.) Rick­y_Pa­day­achee’s idea is short and sweet: Marry a mil­lion­aire. I’m afraid this idea is con­trary to one of Mr Sch­melz’s cen­tral com­mand­ments: Be­come your Own Boss.

Many put prop­erty high on the list of money-mak­ers, but one de­vel­oper, Ju­lian Wes­son, now sees easy money im­port­ing, for ex­am­ple, toy he­li­copters from China. Oth­ers be­lieve sav­ing is the path to riches. Mar­cel van Heer­den is con­vinced that if you live like a monk you’ll be a mil­lion­aire much quicker than you think while Marié Blanche Ting learned to live be­low her means from her mil­lion­aire grand­mother.

Pule Mo­hapi says the taxi in­dus­try, tax free as it is, is the place to put your money. Trans­port is also im­por­tant to Mr Sch­meltz: “Stuck in traf­fic? Great!” he says and “a chauf­fer can be your best in­vest­ment” be­cause work­ing while com­mut­ing can save you 15 days a year. How­ever, I don’t know how to square that with page 209 where un­der The Three Keys to Los­ing Weight you find this sen­tence: “The best in­vest­ment I made in the year 2002 was a juice ex­trac­tor.” There goes your idea for a once-a-day chew­able pill to make a mil­lion and end global star­va­tion, Jo­hann Roux.

A few en­trants re­fused to share their ideas, think­ing that I’d steal them for my­self. Me? Never! That said I wish I’d the ben­e­fit of Chris Siebrits’s sug­ges­tion – in­stead of email­ing me, en­try for the com­pe­ti­tion should’ve been via pre­mium rated SMS. Also, MarkH, you don’t mind if I run with your idea of sell­ing lin­gerie to plus-size women and koek­sis­ters over the In­ter­net? I’ve some thoughts of my own on the sub­ject.

For think­ing out­side the box, Nom­fundo Vi­lakazi and Dirk van Heer­den de­serve spe­cial men­tion: Vi­lakazi takes in­spi­ra­tion from the Karate Kid film to “be one with the mil­lion” and turn a Bee­tle into an As­ton Martin, while Van Heer­den came up with the idea of sell­ing sec­ond-hand Ves­pas to met­ro­sex­u­als af­ter pon­der­ing the rea­sons for Pa­tri­cia Lewis’s singing suc­cess.

To those who said they only wanted the Mont Blanc high­lighter, I’m afraid the win­ner takes it all. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the story on page 67 about the crazy wood­pecker, which “would die sex­u­ally frus­trated, lonely and ex­hausted”. If you don’t take the ad­vice in The Mil­lion­aire Maker, that’s the fate that awaits you, says Mr Sch­melz.

*The com­pe­ti­tion ends 23 March.

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