6 Billionaires That Came From Nothing

We hear about their success all the time, but these known billionaires did not always have it easy. All had to experience a journey full of pitfalls before they could finally succeed.

It’s not where you start in life it’s where you end up. Your circumstances are not the reason you are not where you want to be. Let these stories inspire you.

howard schultz hugging oprah winfrey and waving to crowd

Here are six inspirational billionaires who started from the bottom and how they became wealthy.

Howard Schultz

Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz smiles during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the first open Starbucks coffee shop in Hong Kong Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Net Worth: $3.0 Billion

At the age of 7 his father lost his job as a truck driver delivering diapers. As a result, his family was forced to live in a low-income apartment in Brooklyn. To pay for school, Shultz had to take a student loan and work as a bartender.

Out of school, Schultz worked as a salesman selling coffee makers where he first encountered Starbucks. At the time, the coffee shop had only 3 stores in Seattle and grabbed Shultz’s attention when they ordered a large number of drip coffee makers.

He flew to Seattle to meet the company’s then owner, Gerald Baldwin, and fell in love with the coffee shop business and persuaded Baldwin to hire him as director of operations and marketing. Shultz wanted to bring a more Italian feel to the shops, but the idea was rejected by the founders. He left to start his own company: Il Giornale, a coffee shop that replicated the Italian coffee culture. The place was a great success and 2 years later Il Giornale was able to buy Starbucks for $3.8 million, and Schultz became CEO of Starbucks. Now, Starbucks is a household name and the company has more than 23,000 stores.

Success Habit: “I’ve always been driven and hungry. Long after others have stopped to rest and recover, I’m still running, chasing after something nobody else could ever see.”

Best Book on Howard Shultz: Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

 

Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein laughing and pointing


Net Worth: $1.1 Billion

Lloyd Blankfein was the son of a New York Postal worker who grew up in a small apartment in Brooklyn’s Linden Houses, a poor housing complex built in 1957.

Growing up, Lloyd had to share a bedroom with his grandmother. While attending high school, he would sell hot dogs and soda at Yankee Stadium making him 3 cents per sale. He saw his father lose his job and be replaced by a machine which gave him the motivation to work vigorously at school giving him a full scholarship to Harvard. From there he got into Harvard Law school landing him a job in Wall Street. The company he worked for got acquired by Goldman Sachs and from there he worked his way up to CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Success Habit: One of the things that helped him the most was reading historical biographies.

Best Book on Lloyd Blankfein: Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World

 

Oprah Winfrey

oprah winfrey smiling


Net Worth: $3.0 Billion

Winfrey was born to a teenage mother. Her poor grandmother raised her in Mississippi, but this did not prevent her from working hard in school and eventually winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University.

At only 19 years of age, she was hired as the first African-American TV correspondent for the state. She did so well that in 1983 she was asked to host a talk show in Chicago called AM. The show became so popular that it went from last place to top of the ratings charts. This success took her to national fame, and the show was later renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show. ”

Success habit: “I function very well on five-and-a-half hours of sleep. Anything less than that, I notice a lack of focus, a listlessness, a waning energy, and not-as-sharp thinking.”

Best book on Oprah Winfrey: Oprah: A Biography

 

John Paul DeJoria

John Paul Dejoria doing a peace sign

Net Worth: $3 Billion

Before the age of 10, John Paul Dejoria sold newspapers to help his family survive. But at one point his mother was unable to support him financially, so he was sent to live in a foster home. There, DeJoria made bad friends and even joined a Los Angeles gang. He had to find a bunch of odd jobs to support himself from being a janitor to driving a tow truck, even becoming homeless a couple of times.

His turning point came when he got a job working as a salesman for RedKen, a laboratory of hair products. Fired for criticizing the business strategy, he borrowed $700 and started his brand of hair products, John Paul Mitchell Systems. Over the next few years, he went door to door selling hair products and eventually partnered with hairdressers to turn the business into a huge success. He later started Patron Tequila and diversified his fortune into different industries.

Success Habit: John Paul DeJoria loves waking up early in the morning. He spends 5 minutes in bed and just lets himself be completely present without thinking of the outside world.

 

Do Won Chang

Do Won Chang CEO of Forever 21 smiling

Net worth: $5.4 billion

In 1981, Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook, came to the United States from South Korea with close to nothing. Do Won had to work as a gas station attendant, in a coffee shop and as a janitor at the same time to support the couple.

The couple later became fascinated by the American fashion industry which pushed them to open a clothing store then named Fashion 21 in Los Angeles. The couple’s relentless focus on quality and selection at a good price resulted in sales of $700,000 in the first year. They used the profits to open even more stores. The company’s name was later changed to Forever 21. The company now has over 500 stores in the United States and more than 100 stores internationally with annual sales of $4.4 billion. Even with the company’s tremendous growth, it remains a family owned business.

Success Habit: “I’m always challenged. Passion has always driven me. As an entrepreneur you have to always change.”

 

Larry Ellison

larry ellisson CEO of Oracle delivering a speech

Net worth: $49 billion

Was born in unfortunate circumstances to a single mother. His mother didn’t have the means for a child, so she had to ask relatives to raise him. Ellison later had to drop out of college after the death of his adoptive mother when he was forced to take a bunch of odd jobs to make ends meet.

Later, he was accepted at the University of Chicago, only to drop out after a semester as a result of low grades. He eventually found a job as a programmer for Ampex Corporation. In his own words: “I never took a computer science class in my life. I got a job working as a programmer; I just picked up a book and started programming. I was largely self-taught.”

At Ampex, he found his calling of working on enterprise software where he worked on a project that would later become the multibillion-dollar database management giant Oracle.

Success Habit: “The most important aspect of my personality as far as determining my success goes; has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority. While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it’s enormously useful in life.”

Best book on Larry Ellison: The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: *God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison


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