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Rich and successful people overwhelmingly have entrepreneurial backgrounds. While many might come from families in which wealth was passed down from generation to generation, a vast number of rich people earned their money through building businesses, innovating new products and creating large value for society.

What really differentiates rich entrepreneurs from regular people is how they think about money, investing, and time. Regular investors, therefore, can learn a lot from their different approach to investing and life in general.

Check out the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world. How many business owners and entrepreneurs will you find? A lot. Almost all of the richest people in the world have built their own businesses and predominantly invested in themselves.

If you change your thinking, your habits will follow, and you might very well be on your way to achieving the financial freedom that so many wealthy people seem to reach so easily.

1. The rich think about and create value
Rich people don't think about working, they think about accomplishing something.

Creating value is at the top of their to-do list, and it is accomplished by working for yourself. This can be very motivating and empowering as you immediately see the impact you have in this world. If you create value for others, the money will follow.

2. They think big
Rich people who came to money in business think in outrageously big categories. Consider Elon Musk, for instance, co-founder of Tesla Motors who not only builds electric cars but who also wants to send a man to mars.

Thinking big puts you in the right mind-set and gives you the confidence to do what you think is right -- no matter the consequences. Many business people have become rich because they brought to market an innovative product that revolutionized and disrupted existing industries. Examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

3. They are doers
Rich people are incredibly proactive. They stay on top of things and have a deep desire to remain ahead of the curve.

As you might imagine, people with such habits flourish best in an entrepreneurial environment that gives them the freedom to do things as they see fit.

4. They use other people's money
This is a big one. Rarely can someone accomplish something of magnitude solely by relying on one's own financial resources.

The rich understand this. They tap all sources of funds from other people to leverage their chances of success as well as their levels of return.

5. They think about investing, not working
Investing is a key concept for generating long-term wealth. If you find yourself without any meaningful savings or investments, it is about time to change this situation.

Investing borrowed money (see rule No. 4) is absolutely key when you want to pull off a bold business idea and establish your own company. Rich people invest in themselves and their ideas, they don't think about working for somebody else to collect a paycheck.

Rich people invest money, they don't work for it.

The Foolish takeaway
Regular people can learn a lot from how the rich think about and handle their money. They think about investing, not working, about creating value for customers and not just earning a living.

They are passionate about what they do and they believe in themselves. More important, they let other people's money work for them.

If you follow the fairly intuitive "rules of thinking" outlined above, you are differentiating yourself from 90% of the general population and you might be very well on your way to getting rich, too.