How I Made My First $1 Million at 25

Ben Grapevine
4 min readAug 14, 2022

When I tell people I’m a millionaire, their first reaction is to doubt me. I don’t blame them. I’m young, I’m hot, and I carry myself more like a foreign model than a businessman. And yet I drive around in one of my three 2020–2022 model sportscars, own property in several cities, and regularly charter private jets for flights to the best hubs of sex tourism the orient can offer. Yeah, I guess I’m living the life.

Once they get over the surprise (and that can take a while), their next move is to ask how I did it. Some millionaires keep their tricks to themselves, but not me. I love attention. These are the secrets that have worked for me. If you want to know the tricks of the trade, first pay up for that Medium membership because, as I always say…

  1. Never don’t make money — Anything that’s worth doing is worth getting paid for. I learned this the first time my disabled grandmother asked me to help her buy groceries. Being able to reach the top shelf in the soup aisle is a skill and no skill should go unmarketed. That’s supply and demand. There’s a reason she asked me.
  2. Don’t waste money — Any economist will tell you that the worst thing you can do with your money is spend it. Everyone knows about the familiar traps of shelling out all your hard-earned dollars on espresso and avocado toast, but there are more pitfalls that you might not be aware of. A lot of folks end up donating portions of their income to charity, but this is money that’s disappearing from your pocket; science shows that most charities don’t work anyway. Video games are for nerds and all other media can be pirated. Another common mistake is to pay for insurance — if you’re a high-value earner, you’re making enough money to pay for disasters on your own, and paying into insurance is just helping low-value earners commit to not trying hard enough. Similarly, if you’re not making use of tax code loopholes, your money is being wasted on infrastructure and welfare programs. Any dollar not in your pocket at the end of the day is a dollar wasted. Remember that.
  3. Leverage your connections — Networking is the name of the game. Never talk to anyone who can’t make you more money. Everyone’s journey is different but I’ve found my best connections come from my fraternity brothers. Rushing the shadiest frat on my Ivy League campus was the best decision I ever made: the people who routinely do the most heinous shit are the people with the most connections, and the people with the most connections have the most money. Befriend the popular kids no matter the cost. If you’ve gotta sneak a condom of Czech designer drugs through Ordway for a theme party once or twice, the dividends will make it all worth it.
  4. Have a high-paying job — I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  5. Outsource your labor — If you’re a money-maker, your time is valuable. When I landed my first gig as a software developer, my friends asked me if I even knew how to code, as they’d never seen me do it. I didn’t, and I still don’t. My secret?. Arjun. Most people don’t know this but people in the developing world have skills too. The difference between them and us is that they don’t know how to market them. Since India doesn’t have colleges with business programs yet, I’ve taken it upon myself to educate Arjun. Every week, I send my latest projects to him. Once he’s finished, I send him $200 and an inspirational quote. $200 doesn’t seem like a lot, but in India that can buy you the Taj Mahal. Also I tell him it’s 70% of what I’m making.
  6. Let your grandfather die — Let’s face it: old people have a lot of money but they don’t know how to use it. My grandpa built one of Baltimore’s biggest companies from humble beginnings, but when I asked him to invest in my crypto portfolio he refused. Sometimes it’s time to let the old give way to the new, and so when my mom came to me asking about a surgical procedure that could keep him alive I used my knowledge from half a semester as a bio major to convince her it wasn’t worth it. Landing that early inheritance really helped me build my portfolio. Not everyone has marketing skills and not everyone has a great business idea, but almost everyone is born with a grandpa who can die.

Follow these tips — actually, do better than that. Print this out and tape it up next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see every morning. Live your life by this text, set up a recurring payment (of whatever amount over $100 you think is fair) to my Venmo, and you’ll be rich in no time.