Nancy and I were thrilled when a new season of Shark Tank premiered last week.  We’re huge fans.

This may surprise you, but I believe that the average person, you and I, can become Sharks.  How do we do it?  It’s not necessarily by inventing the next Snuggie, creating a new, shippable sweet-treat or photo book, or even by getting a deal with the Sharks.

How did these folks, the “Sharks,” become Sharks?  All across the board, they built a business that became a multi-million (or -billion) dollar enterprise, and then became an investor in other companies.  All of them have incredible stories.

They are all on Shark Tank now because of that second step: they want to become investors in other companies.  They all understand on a very deep level that ownership in companies is where real money is to be made.

While I LOVE and applaud entrepreneurship, you might not have the next Snuggie.  Maybe you have a very average job in a decent company.  But you can still tap into the second part of being a Shark.

The Sharks now invest in other companies and become owners.  They pay money for an “equity stake” in a company; “equity” simply being  partial ownership in a company.  They are entitled to benefits as an owner, including a share of the profits and of the company growth.

You and I can become equity investors as well.  Single stocks and stock mutual funds both represent opportunities to become investors.  When I buy shares in a stock mutual fund, I become a (very small) owner of the companies held in that mutual fund.  Buying single stocks and mutual funds mean that I’m taking a small ownership stake in those companies.

I love mutual funds, because I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket.  When I buy into a mutual fund, I’m buying into several dozen great companies.

Just like the Sharks, I get benefits as an owner, including a share of the profits and growth of the company’s value as it continues to do well in the market.  As the company makes money, it benefits me.  As the company grows, it benefits me.  As an owner, I participate in their success.

For most people, we won’t get a chance to listen to people pitch us on their business as we sit in our leather chairs in our mahogany-paneled offices.  What we can do, though, is hustle to get out of debt so we have money to invest, live on less than we make, and invest like we mean it.

The faster you build ownership stakes in other companies, the faster you become financially independent.

Want to become a Shark?  Start owning companies.