3 Secrets of Wealth I Learned from Robert Johnson

You may have seen recent news stories about Robert Johnson. He has been honored in various venues lately for his many achievements of outstanding entrepreneurial success and for breaking down or moving past barriers to success and much more. His story serves as an inspiration and offers valuable secrets of wealth.

Who is Robert L. Johnson?

Robert L. Johnson was born in Hickory, Mississippi, and he was the ninth of ten children. Eventually, his parents moved the family to Freeport, Illinois, to take advantage of the higher factory wages that were available. Robert credits his parents for teaching him a key idea when he was growing up. This idea was that there is no such thing as lowly work, as long as the work is honest.

After high school, Robert went on to attend the University of Illinois. After graduating from U.I.C., he learned about an opportunity to go further at Princeton. At that time, Princeton was actively recruiting minorities, and Robert seized this opportunity and went on to earn his Masters degree. Afterwards, he worked various jobs and finally ended up working with the National Cable Television Association where he encountered John Malone.

Looking at the latest satellite technology, Robert realized that there was an opportunity to deliver service to underserved markets. After sharing his idea with John Malone, he formed Black Entertainment Television (BET) along with John, who provided the initial funding. Although there were numerous challenges along the way, BET went on to thrive and prosper.

Robert made history when he took BET public in 1991, becoming the very first ever company owned by an African American to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Later, in 2000, he took BET private again, only to sell BET to Viacom for $3.2 billion, thus putting Robert in the record books again as the first African American billionaire.

Since then, Robert has gone on to establish RLJ Companies, a network of businesses in various industries from real estate to sports to entertainment and much more.  Currently estimated to be worth about 550 million dollars, Robert ended up handing over more than half of his net worth to his ex-wife after an acrimonious divorce. Nowadays, Robert is focusing on empowering African Americans.

3 Secrets of Wealth I Learned from Robert Johnson

The number one secret I learned from Robert Johnson is to leverage existing opportunities. Another way to state that is to say that you don’t have to wait for the next trendy thing. Your best opportunity is most likely there in front of you. Look back at Robert’s story, and you can see how he took advantage of the fact that a leading university was actively recruiting minorities in order to earn his Master’s degree. Later, he acted on an opportunity he spotted while working at National Cable Television Association. He quickly realized new satellite technology could provide service to underserved markets.

The number two secret I learned from Robert is the value of personal confidence. He has been quoted as saying how much he valued self confidence as his most valuable asset. Robert showed personal confidence early on, not only attending and graduating college but continuing on and completing his Master’s degree. Imagine a poor boy from Mississippi with a Master’s degree from Princeton, of all places. This personal confidence also rubbed off on others. Without his personal confidence, it is unlikely that Robert would have inspired John Malone to help him with the initial funding of BET.

The last of the three secrets of wealth I learned from Robert Johnson is the importance of personal passion. Robert clearly illustrates the importance of following your passion. That is, doing something that is close and personal to your heart. Following a passion allows you to bring about a positive change as Robert is doing now as he strives to enable the African American community.

The story of Robert L. Johnson serves as both an inspiration and a guidebook for wealth creation. By following the three secrets of wealth that I learned from Robert Johnson, you can also have the wealth you desire. To take Robert’s lessons to the next step, you should check this out.



  • If the BET awards is anything to go by, the story of Robert Johnson becomes all the more inspiring. Here is a man who have dedicated his life to promoting and improving the lives of others. If I can take away a lesson from this; personal confidence, I think when you believe in yourself others are likely to believe in you and be sold on your vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Teach me how to improve my finances, 

so that I can buy a home

and stop wasting my money on rent