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Terry Crews didn't focus on saving when he 'literally had nothing'—here's what he did instead

Before Terry Crews became one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, he was sweeping floors at a factory for $8 an hour, reflecting on a brief career in the NFL that didn't make him rich or famous. In the early 2000s, his acting career began to slowly take off — but, as jobs came and went, he and his family had to struggle.

"With the ups and downs of acting, there were times when we had to dig in to [savings]," Crews, now 50, tells Money. "That's what made me so afraid. There were times when we literally had nothing."

In a response to those hard times, he didn't focus on bulking up his emergency fund or 401(k). He focused on something else: earning. "Instead of massively saving, I decided I was going to get massively busy," he says. "Instead of having one job, I would try to get three."

That strategy led him to embark on a remarkably versatile career. Since his first big break in the stoner comedy "Friday After Next," he has starred in "The Expendables" film franchise and the comedy "White Chicks," as well as the beloved sitcoms "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Everybody Hates Chris."

He has also made appearances, both minor and major, in countless other movies and shows and even Old Spice commercials. Seriously, check out his IMDb page.

"I know a lot of actors who feel like, 'I have my job, I feel at peace.' But I would never feel like that," he says. "I was literally ready to do anything to make sure some money was coming in."

Author Tom Corley, who wrote the book "Rich Habits" about what he learned from studying self-made millionaires, would approve: Establishing multiple streams of income is a great way to build wealth, he says.

Crews stays busy outside of acting, too. A few years ago he wrote a book titled "Manhood" and he has an upcoming a children's book. He designs high-end furniture. He hosted "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," but only for a season, because he said he had too much else going on.

He paints, plays the flute and does the robot. Crews is a Renaissance Man.

And he has no plans to slow down. "I will never, ever retire. My next 20 to 30 years are probably going to be my best time," he says.

"That doesn't mean I'll act forever, it just means I'll shift to something else. I might go be an artist, or design furniture in Milan, or have my own farm. Who knows? But there's never going to be an end for me. I have too many ideas."

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