(By Gil Gerretsen) Most self-made billionaires built their wealth through start-ups or, in some cases, acquisition and expansion of small pre-existing enterprises (grow-ups). They often bootstrapped it (starting a business without external help or capital) themselves until well on the way. They didn't pitch for capital. Rather, it sought them out.

Mark Cuban (Shark Tank) has said "Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is." To self-made billionaires, starting a company in a limited way allows them to build steady revenue and profits. That helps them build up enough money to invest in rapid growth once they have built a loyal customer following.

Chasing after capital too early would be a distraction from building the best product or service possible. Rather, let success draw capital to you. Positive cash flow serves to remove the need for heavy infusions of capital and allows a company founder to pay overhead and support staff. In addition, early customers who love the product or service can be called upon to provide testimonials and referrals to later clients, thereby accelerating growth.