Friday, November 30, 2007

Millionaire story - Part 1

Beginning from today, I'll be posting a series of stories that how an ordinary individual can be millionaire. Below is the 1st story of the riches.

Being a millionaire isn't what it used to be -- but it sure beats not being one. Just ask the 8.2 million U.S. households -- an all-time record -- that had a net worth of more than $1 million in 2004, excluding the value of their primary residence. That was a 33% increase over the previous year, reports a survey by TNS Financial Services. The surge was driven mostly by consistent investing in the stock market. But there are other ways to make a million -- start a business, invest in real estate, put yourself in the right place at the right time. Kiplinger's sought out people who did all those things and more. We found that although they had taken different routes, they followed a pattern; you might call that pattern the nine habits of highly successful millionaires. And all of them had a 10th trait in common: They never lost sight of their goal.

'Do whatever it takes'

Marco and Sandra Johnson started out saving lives in their community of Lancaster, Calif., and ended up running a multimillion-dollar business whose customers come from across the United States.
The idea was born on the job. Marco, a full-time firefighter and paramedic, would come home from an incident and complain to Sandra that lives might have been saved if bystanders had been able to administer first aid. At the time, the Johnsons were trying to have a second child, and Marco was particularly upset when "children died unnecessarily because no one at the scene knew CPR," says Sandra.

In 1997, they began offering CPR and first-aid classes to local businesses. Sandra handled scheduling and other arrangements, and Marco taught classes between shifts at the firehouse. At first they borrowed material and equipment and brought it to each site; after a few months they scraped together enough money to rent a 400-square-foot office. The business started to take off when workers whose jobs require CPR certification, such as schoolteachers and bus drivers, sought them out. Then students asked them to start training emergency medical technicians because local junior colleges had a two-year waiting list for EMT classes.

Within a few years, the Johnsons had become accredited for EMT training and moved their Antelope Valley Medical College to bigger quarters. "Everything was happening fast," says Marco. Riding the momentum took seven-day-a-week stamina. Marco alternated shifts at the firehouse with classroom duty, and Sandra was "always on the phone" setting up appointments. The couple didn't want to take out a business loan, so they plowed their own income into the school and sometimes put off making mortgage payments on their house to pay their employees. Says Marco: "There were times when it was a gut check. We looked at each other and said, 'What did we get ourselves into?'" Now the Johnsons can breathe easier. In 2004, their school was expected to pull in revenues of $7.5 million, and their corporate clients have included businesses from Boeing to Burger King. That boom in business has given the couple the means to own several houses and to treat their extended family -- a group of 12 -- to vacations in Hawaii.

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