How To Escape Poverty
This page is part of the Zero To Hero series of Financial Freedom Blueprints and provides information on how to overcome and get out of abject poverty.
First, let me say this… If you are in poverty, you are no doubt feeling the depths of despair and humiliation. You may feel worthless, but you are not. You are a valuable and essential member of society and you can recover and build yourself up to a financial success that you probably feel is impossible at this point. Make the decision to pick yourself up and make a concerted effort to tackle the impossible – the rise from Zero To Hero.
The steps found below outline what I believe are critical steps from getting out of poverty and into the middle class. In addition to that rise in achievement, the principles outlined below can help you get yourself to financial freedom and true perpetual wealth.
I realize that these steps are U.S.-centric, but the same general principles can be applied elsewhere. By being creative, problem-solving your way out of hardships, believing in yourself, and applying dedication and discipline to what you do, you can achieve what you believe to be impossible.
This video contains some of the basic steps to getting out of poverty that I cover below. Watch the video for some ideas and inspiration and then proceed to the steps further down the page for concrete step-by-step instructions for how to get out of poverty.
The following are what I consider to be the critical steps in escaping poverty and moving into a better financial position in life. I hope you never need them, but if you do I hope you find them useful. In all things, good luck and god speed!
You should work to accomplish these as soon as possible (e.g. as soon as you have some income coming in). You are going to leverage these resources to get you out of poverty as quickly as possible.
Baby Step 1: Overcome any money blocks and fears you have. You can’t build wealth if you have a mindset that’s holding you back. Find info on how to do there here.
Baby Step 2: Get safe, secure, and warm living arrangements and food. If you have to start out utilizing homeless shelters, do it. Once you start making your first money, find the least expensive option to provide a sense of security for yourself and your family. You might need to share a room with another person or family to get started. Work towards getting a place you can call your own once you make more money. Having this provides you with your absolute basic need of security.
Baby Step 3: Get access to a computer with Internet access. Public libraries, community centers, and churches are good places to go to for this. Having access to a computer will speed up your recovery time. It makes it easier to find a job, advertise your services, and build your first money machines.
Baby Step 4: Get reliable transportation. If you have no means of transportation, start out by walking to and from work and the side gigs you land. As a next step up, borrow or rent a USED bicycle to get around faster. From there, move on up to secondhand motorized scooter or public transportation as you start to make more money.
Baby Step 5: Get an inexpensive cell phone. Do NOT buy a fancy smartphone. You aren’t looking to impress anyone at this point, so don’t waste your money. Get the cheapest phone and cheapest plan you can find. Communicating with potential employers and the people you’re doing side gigs for is critical to getting ahead as quickly as possible.
Baby Step 6: Open a bank account. Save some of the cash you earn from your first job and side gigs to open a bank account. You’ll need this in order to pay bills and receive money from the money machines you’re going to build, as well as the investments you make.
Baby Step 7: Beg or borrow, but don’t steal. If you are in dire need of something (food, shelter, etc), do not hesitate to beg for help. I know it is humiliating, but you need to focus on surviving now so that you can thrive moving forward. Once you succeed financially, make sure to donate time and money to those who ask you for help. Once you get on your feet, always work to right any wrongs that you may have made along the way.
I’m not talking about begging, but if you need to beg to survive, do it. Do whatever it takes to get to a better place in life, so long as you do not harm others. Ask your friends, family, community, churches, and non-profits for help in getting started and getting access to the things you need. This can help accelerate your success in the steps I outline below. Remember those who helped you on your rise from the ashes, support their work in the future, and pay it forward to others who ask for help.
If you have a computer, look for minimum wage jobs in your area. If you do not, walk around and find local businesses that offer starting jobs that offer minimum wage. The reason I suggest getting a minimum wage job is that the requirements for starting are low, and any income is better than none. Get to work on time, do the best damn job you can, and show your value. Do NOT get stuck in a minimum wage job for long. Keep it until you find a better job that pays more. If you cannot find a minimum wage job, keep looking for a job, but start finding side gigs/jobs to start generating cash immediately (see below). Do NOT give up.
After you finish working at your primary minimum wage job, it’s not time to rest. You can’t afford to do that. You need every extra dollar to speed your ascent from poverty into the middle class. You should take on extra side jobs to earn some extra money. These can be anything people need that they are willing to pay you for. For example, mowing someone’s lawn, raking their leaves, carrying out trash, etc. Do whatever it takes to land the gigs and take whatever they are willing to pay. Show your clients that you do an excellent job and you can earn more money in the future AND you will get referrals for other clients! More of my ideas and information on side jobs can be found here.
When you get to the point where you have a job and some side gigs, you will be bringing in some cash. Congratulations on this huge first step to financial freedom! Spend your money very carefully. Do NOT blow it on anything you don’t need. Live as frugally as you can right now. Save your money so you can obtain a bank account, cellphone, and Internet access. Reserve extra money for savings and investments. You will need this leftover money to use as leverage to continue to escalate your rise out of poverty.
At every step of your journey, make absolutely sure that you invest the time and money (if you have spare money) to increase your skills and knowledge. Focus on learning about things that increase your skill on the job so you can increase your earning power. Focus on buying the tools or supplies you need to do extra side gigs, as this will help you bring in more money. Focus on learning everything you can (through free books, online videos, etc) about personal growth, personal finance, budgeting, and investing.
“Money machines” are simply things (assets) that you create or purchase that make money for you on an ongoing basis, and without much (if any) involvement from you. By using money machines to make money, you reduce your need to work on an hourly basis to make a living. You don’t have much money to buy money machines at this point, so you’ll have to build them. You need to spend any extra time you have to building some basic money machines. By building money machines, you will allow your one-time efforts to produce ongoing income. This is the secret of financial freedom. For your first money machines, you are going to write several e-books and sell them through Amazon.com, which allows you to produce and sell e-books for free. Write short books about your experiences, your dreams, and your knowledge. Do the best you can, but don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do it. Just DO IT! Once you have your first book published, promote your book and tell your story on Facebook and Twitter. Doing this will increase sales of your books and potentially allow you to achieve the moonshot of a viral success story. More information on how to write your first e-books can be found here.
Continuously find ways to increase your skills and knowledge to maximize the amount of money you can make on your day job. Live below your means and continuously invest your leftover money into additional money machines that provide cash flow. Reinvest interest and earnings from your money machines by buying new money machines or increasing the capacity of your existing machines. This is how you escape financial slavery and this is the path to perpetual wealth. More information on the money machines that you can buy can be found here.
Keep learning about success, finance, investments, and anything else that can improve your quality of life in the near-term and long-term. There are many excellent resources in your library, online on YouTube, and elsewhere. Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Facebook for additional videos and content we create that can help you succeed in the areas I mentioned above. I’d love to help you succeed even more!
If you can follow these steps and improve your life to some level (no matter what level), you will have achieved an amazing feat of going from Zero To Hero. I’d love to hear how this information helped you when you have the opportunity. Good luck and best wishes!
– Ethan Galstad, Founder