Remember that post about FU Money? Here's another one.
I see a problem almost every day with people working their plan to get some FU Money. They only take one path and often time it is the wrong one. The way I see things there are five ways to get FU Money.
Marry it. Don't know anything about this.
Inherit it. Not that interesting to talk about.
Start a company that requires large outside investment. Much more interesting to talk about. But the brutal facts of reality are that your odds of success are really, really, really small. They are particularly small when you have no cash resources, domain knowledge, startup experience, or skills to make a product. People like this walk into my office every day. Many not only have small odds, they have no chance. I even have a term for them. NC. Don't be this person.
Start a company that does not need outside funding. Very smart path for the first time entrepreneur. Dave Wright did it with JungleDisk. David Cummings with Hannon Hill. Tim Dorr with A Small Orange. The Lacours with ShootQ. Ben Chestnut and the rest of the MailChimp team. Get a win. Have a great life. Go bigger.
Join a startup. It's not just the founders that get FU money, its the people that make things happen. Remember, SecureWorks minted thirty something millionaires. Be one of those. The number of people that have taken this path and then started their own company with cash resources, domain knowledge, and startup experience is countless. But with the exception of old dudes that want to jump into a funded startup at some high salary and run it or do strategy I do not see many people pursuing this path. This is the path that the majority of people need to be taking. Find an area of interest, find the startups that include equity as part of their comp package, figure out how you can help the startup, and join it as an early employee.