The underused strategy this self-made millionaire uses to get ahead

Self-made millionaire: It's not just how you work, it's when

Before Grant Cardone hit seven-figures, he was struggling to make ends meet with his sales job at a car dealership.

The entrepreneur, who today owns and operates four companies, got ahead by putting in more hours, specifically over holidays: "Spend your time working holidays when no one else is," he tells CNBC.

After all, "if you want to change your condition — if you don't want what your neighbor has, if you want to do better than your parents did — you have to work. If you can outwork the rest of the population, you're in the game and you're going to get lucky."

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone
Courtesy of Grant Cardone

Instead of doing what the crowds do, "work when others aren't," Cardone says. Use Christmas, Thanksgiving and other conventional days off to focus on earning.

"For the first 20 years of my career, Santa beat me in my business, and then one year I was like, this guy ain't beating me anymore," the self-made millionaire says.

He decided to focus on sales over the holidays and "that was the biggest December. ... When others were saying Santa is the reason we're going to lose sales, we went out and actually expanded into Christmas and made more money."

This isn't to say Cardone completely disregard holidays — he just observes them when he wants to, rather than when or because someone else tells him he should.

"Create a life where you get to pick your vacation," he says.

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