When I was 20 years old and investing every penny I could find into my summer businesses, one of my friends begged me to buy a lottery ticket she was selling to benefit the American Cancer Society. I told her that I don’t buy lottery tickets, and that they aren’t a good investment. She said she had already told her boss at her day job that she had sold all of her tickets, and if it was found out that she didn’t she said she would get fired. Begrudgingly, I bought the $1 lottery ticket just to help her out.

One week later, a representative of the American Cancer Society called me, told me I had won the raffle, and asked me to set a time when could I come pick up the grand prize of a small sailboat. The boat was worth $600, a 600-fold return on my investment of $1.

This lottery was a great win for me. However, I have found that a successful small business can have much higher return than even a winning lottery ticket. I started Adams Media Corporation, a book publishing business, with about $2,000 and sold for it for $40 million, a 20,000-fold return.

Your Best Bet for Making Money Is a Small Business

Today, running a small business is your best bet for making lots of money. In fact, the odds of becoming a multi-millionaire by running your own business are much better than your odds of making it anywhere near the top of the corporate job world.

If you make some of the right choices and work hard, how successful can you make your small business? Probably a lot more successful than you think. There are many very small, even one-person businesses where the owner makes more money than all but the very top executives at the largest corporations.

It’s probably a lot easier than you may think to succeed with your own small business. It’s also a good deal less “chancy” than entering raffles and lotteries.

The Biggest Rewards in Running a Small Business

You might be surprised to find that the real satisfaction in running a small business doesn’t lie in the monetary rewards. The real satisfaction is more likely to come from such intangible factors as:

  • The constant stimulation of tackling endless challenges;
  • The feeling of pride in the fine workmanship involved in building great products;
  • Delivering great services;
  • The satisfaction in fulfilling customers’ needs;
  • The sense of fulfillment in providing employment and career growth for those who work for you;
  • The gratification of being in control of your own destiny;
  • The pride in making a highly tangible contribution to society;
  • The thrill of achieving success.

You will never get those more meaningful satisfactions from getting lucky in the lottery. I’ve won a lottery and I’ve won at small business. Winning at small business is a heck of a lot more rewarding.