Becoming a billionaire seems like a great goal, but unfortunately it’s only a dream for most of us. The thing is, many billionaires didn’t start out as such. Some certainly had economic and educational advantages, but even without those, their smart decisions and business choices, plus a few key characteristics, led them to their billions.

So, what can we learn about our own real-life options for becoming billionaires? (See also: J.D. Rockefeller: From Oil Baron To Billionaire.)

First things first: find a way to make money. Four of the most oft used methods of money making in the world of billionaires are: inventing, investing, innovating and being an entrepreneur. But remember that how you pursue your billions is just as important as what you do to get them.

Do: Invent

Inventing is a tough career path to take. But if you’ve got the smarts to successfully create, patent, produce and market a product that people need (and thus, will buy in droves), you can build your future billionaire life on it. Successful inventions aren’t necessarily complicated or high-tech items but can be improvements on existing items. For example, James Dyson invented a better vacuum cleaner, and Gianfranco Zaccai invented a better mop, the Swiffer.

Do: Innovate

Innovation is the fine art of considering a current mainstream market and finding a creative way to improve the current offering.

Successful innovators will identify the real needs behind customer demands, and will meet them with a smarter, better, more efficient product, or with a service that provides more than its competitors. Others may develop a business that works in a way just different enough to stand out from the rest. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad is a great example of someone who used innovation to yield billions. Furniture doesn’t seem like a very exciting market, but his approach of providing modular, economical pieces with a modern flair from…