The Secret Millionaires Know About “Catching Your Big Break” (And 4 Free Resources for You!)

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I have something surprising to share.

When you look at a person who has something you want — whether it’s a business you wish you started or the body you wish you had or a lifestyle you wish you lived — it’s easy to think something along the lines of, “I wonder what the turning point was for them? I wonder how they caught their big break?”

At least that’s how I often thought of things. Until the last two weeks, that is.

Let me tell you what happened.

The secret behind millionaires

I’ve spent the last two weeks interviewing dozens of entrepreneurs who have bootstrapped successful businesses. These people aren’t A–listers or celebrities. You might have heard of one of them.

But even though you don’t know their stories, these entrepreneurs have incredible tales to tell. They all started with a very small amount of money (usually $1000 or less), started a business, and are now making over $1,000,000 per year.

In other words, they are ordinary people living remarkable lifestyles.

I’m interviewing them for the biggest project yet on Passive Panda … but I’ll tell you more about that later.

What I want to talk about today is a surprising finding that I had while interviewing these people: none of them had a “big break” that turned their little business into a million dollar enterprise.

Not a single one.

Sure, sometimes they landed a big client or were featured in major media or had a stroke of good luck … but those events never changed the business for the long–term.

Don’t just glance over that last sentence because that’s a more profound discovery than it might seem.

What many of us are looking for in all areas of life is an event or a trick or a method that changes things. We think that good luck will make things easier.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. I love fitness and health and so I’m always looking for new ways to cut fat, build muscle, and become more athletic. I’m always in search of a better way to improve physically.

I’m always looking for that special diet, that perfect exercise, or that fitness secret that will be my big break. But in the end, it always comes back to eating healthy and working out consistently.

Why Big Breaks are a Myth

Don’t get me wrong — you can get lucky, but big breaks are a myth if you expect them to change the process of success. They are a myth if you expect them to make success easier.

There is a reason why luck has a way of finding people who work hard. You have to work hard for anything come from good luck!

Luck merely opens doors, it doesn’t walk through them.

Some people will say that Bill Gates was born at the perfect time in history to start a computer company, but that stroke of luck wouldn’t be worth anything if he didn’t show up to work everyday.

In your own life, you might assume that if you only had $10,000 to start a business (or $20,000 or $100,000), then it would be easier. Or maybe if you went to the right school or knew the right person or were featured on the front page of the New York Times, then success would be more simple.

Based on the conversations I’ve had over the last two weeks, however, it’s pretty clear that the resources you control don’t really change the process of success.

That process — show up everyday, listen to see what works and what doesn’t, continue to do the work and connect with people individually — that doesn’t change.

A real example

Passive Panda has grown quickly.

Part of that growth has been thanks to national media coverage. At this point, Passive Panda has been featured on the front page of Yahoo News, in US News & World Report, and by Lifehacker, American Express, The Huffington Post, and many other mainstream news sources.

Some of these outlets felt like a big break for the site. (Yahoo sent 15,000 people here in just a few hours.)

But none of them were. They didn’t change the process behind the site. They didn’t make it easier to be successful.

No matter what good luck Passive Panda has, my focus still has to be on making a difference for you (and yes, I actually mean you).

I still put in hours of work for each article I write. I still research through large amounts of content to bring you the useful strategies from all over the web. And in an industry filled with people trying to scam you or make a quick buck, I still keep Passive Panda’s prices extremely low and only sell premium level content that gets results.

In other words, the focus is still to teach you the skills you need to work for yourself and earn more money. And no string of good luck will change that focus or that process.

4 Free Resources for You

In the spirit of doing the best I can for you, I’ve built and updated 4 new resources that you may find useful.

These pages highlight useful articles that Passive Panda has on a few topics. You can think of them as Quick Start guides or Cheat Sheets for a particular topic.

  1. Freelancing 101 — Use the skills you already have to work for yourself
  2. Networking 101 — Connect with anyone and build quality relationships
  3. Sales and Marketing 101 — How to get more leads and make more sales
  4. Bootstrapping 101 — Build a successful business without a large investment

And, as always, if you would like to get immediate access to our Freelancing 101 guide, which outlines how to make $500 on the side in the next 5 weeks, then simply join the Passive Panda newsletter and it will be sent straight to your inbox!

27 Responses to The Secret Millionaires Know About “Catching Your Big Break” (And 4 Free Resources for You!)

  1. Tim says:

    Hey James, will you be able to dive into more details around how they started their business?

    Also…I’m writing a post about why your posts are so good…but wanted to know which parts of the process, including the research, energized you the both while creating them?

    • James Clear says:

      Thanks for the compliments Tim!

      There is more to come on this set of entrepreneurs … just stay on the lookout.

      As for my writing process, just shoot me an email (james [at] and we’ll talk more about it.

  2. Bruce says:

    “And, as always, if you would like to get immediate access to our Freelancing 101 guide, which outlines how to make $500 on the side in the next 5 weeks,”

    What about a post that describes the next level? I’ve cleared +$1000/month in freelancing over the past four months, but I’m struggling to get more than that done.

    • James Clear says:

      That is a great idea Bruce — and I think you’ll really enjoy an announcement I’ll be making soon.

      It’s all about getting to that next level that you mentioned. Stay tuned. :)

  3. Sinea says:

    I am really looking forward to reading your Freelancing 101! Sounds like there is valuable information in there that I need. Thanks so much. :)

  4. Tram Tran says:

    Yes, finally something to look forward to. I’m sure the success stories will be really inspirational an helpful to get us all pumped and start/ continue our paths;).
    Thank you James

    • James Clear says:

      They’re more than just great stories. They are great learning opportunities. These people have walked the walk and they are a great blueprint for successful entrepreneurs and freelancers to follow.

  5. James this reminds me of a post I recently read on John Jantsch’s DuctTapeMarketing Blog. John’s a modest guy and was revealing some of what has led to his “overnight success”. He listed how many Tweets he had done, the number of articles written, seminars given etc. It was quite the eye opener!

    • James Clear says:

      Ha — yep there is usually a lot of work that comes before overnight success. Most people see the event, but forget about the long process that came before it.

      Thanks for reading, Stephen!

  6. Shanna says:

    Can’t wait for more to come, great job again. Thanks for all the hard work you do for everyone and giving tools to help us succeed. This is why you will always succeed in life as well. This is a great site. :)

  7. XuDing says:

    Luck never brings you real success, It is the hard work and process, which will bring you success.

  8. Kathryn deBree says:

    Hi James – I just signed up and am really looking forward to Freelancing 101. I have tried to start numerous businesses in the past, but have just succeeded in spending a lot and not making much. I have recently discovered (duh!) that I have to be totally passionate about what I do in order to make a success of it. I have finally figured out that I am an artist, not a lawyer, accountant, senior goverment manager etc. I don’t believe the “starving artist” theory and am totally ready to dive right in. I am looking forward to working with you. Kathryn

    • James Clear says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      Welcome to Passive Panda. I hope you’ll enjoy Freelancing 101. It’s a great starter guide. Feel free to email me if you have any questions (james [at]

      Thanks for reading!

  9. With hard work, focus and goals… you can achieve anything!

  10. Nancy Lamb says:

    Hi James!
    Not sure how your email landed in my box today, but thank you so much. This article was the perfect answer for something I’ve been rolling around in my head. I have to forward it to someone who wants to be a business owner, but doesn’t seem to get that it takes a full days work to make a full days dollar! :)

    I love what you said. I’m going to sign on for your newsletter. I’ll also share your site with my fellow health coaches.

    I love what you said about health and fitness. It’s so true! The way to great health is steady, continued effort. Diets do not work. Quick fitness? I don’t think so. It takes dedication to a lifetime of a healthy lifestyle.

    I’m convinced that in all things, its dedicated effort — with a clear intention!

    I’m a health coach — and I help people reach their health goals, overcome their health challenges, and live a happier, healthier life.

    • James Clear says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Great to have another health-focused person in the Passive Panda community. I’m glad you signed up for the newsletter, and — of course — you’re welcome to spread the word to your friends.

      Thanks for reading! And keep an eye out for more great content soon. :)

  11. Jim Jenks says:

    I think it’s funny when people seem to be waiting for their “big break” but aren’t proactively trying to create that big break. I’m a big fan of Rob Dyrdek (an unorthodox entrepreneur) and his tagline “Make your own luck” … words that I live by.

  12. Jim says:

    I want to learn more things on freelancing and I think the Passive Panda articles could be of great help to me. Thank you very much.

  13. Dave says:

    Hi James, I totally agree with you. Luck opens the door and hard work enable us to walk right through it. Personal beliefs creates the right attitude for us to do work hard in the right direction without giving up. And to get closer to our goals. Thanks for sharing. Great article!

  14. Faith Whitfield says:

    Great post, reminding us all that it is not so much about the big break, but growing your skill set and staying the course. Thanks!

  15. David Graves says:

    Hi there!
    I’ve been following your blog for a while now (but only recently signed up for updates). I greatly appreciate the time you have taken to put together this site. It is in my top 3 favorites for freelancing info/inspiration (99% and Behance are the others).

    I am replying because your millionaire project is quite similar to a project I am in the process of putting together and I am curious if we might be able to aid each other in this. My project involves a series of portraits of what might be considered “everyday millionaires”.

    Please send me an email or let me know a direct way to contact you and I’ll give you all the details.

    Thanks again for a great blog.

  16. Good advice here, James.

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I’ve been impressed so far. I’ve been blogging for five years and progress has been slow and difficult. Partly because my initial intention with blogging was not to make money, but I’m getting there.

    As they say, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

  17. Griselda says:

    This is a post I wish I had written :) ! Thanks James for sharing these insights. I’ve noticed the same trend during my interviews and I look forward to our chat about some of the strategies you have used to grow passive panda so quickly.

    To listen to my interview of James and his entrepreneurial business growth strategies, you can check it out here

    See ya!

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