But a significant shareholding in a small-medium business that provides a valuable product/service and ends up generating steady cash flows over the long term seems like the optimal approach in terms of risk/reward, and is something that a lot of people in the world could figure out how to do if they put their mind to it over a long enough period of time.
Sp500 Average real return is 6.5% per year. So If you invest $1'000 per month, you will be a millionaire in today dollars in 30 years with just over 1.1 Million Dollars
That is a save income of around $38'500 per year.
Sure – if you're lucky enough to have that amount of spare money to invest, that's great. Many people don't. (i.e., they aren't that lucky - remember this is about how to do well without relying on luck).
Some people who do have that amount to invest may want to get better returns and invest in something over which they have more control.
But let's not get stuck in the weeds over the specifics.
Either path is far better than wasting money on costly, depreciating status symbols.
If you have nothing to invest in it, and if it needs capital to get started, then you need to borrow funds to invest or sell part of the company to an investor.
In the former case your net worth will be the value of the company less the value of your debt. In the latter case you'll own less of the company, but you can still own most of it.
This applies whether you're in a rich western country starting a company that needs big amounts of capital, or in a developing country and starting a small business with micro-loans or micro-investments through bodies like Kiva.
But none of this is about what is easy. It’s never easy to attain something that is prized and scarce.
It's about what decisions will give the greatest probability of the outcome you want, given the opportunities and resources that you have available to you.