Get motivated by the stories of these legendary entrepreneurs who started with nothing and achieved success with hard work and determination.
If you take small, determined steps and focus on your goals, you will not allow anything to stand in your way to success. These 7 entrepreneurs, when faced with roadblocks, found a way to win. Let these stories of success strengthen your determination to never give up, and get you on the path toward being a great entrepreneur.
- Sarah Blakely | Spanx | Net Worth: $1.01 billion
Selling fax machines door-to-door taught Blakely that persistence was the key to success. This experience gave her the strength she needed during the development process of her Spanx business. Initially, every manufacturer she met refused to help her. But, she didn’t stop until she found someone who liked her idea. She persisted despite hearing too many no’s. Eventually she sold 8,000 pairs during the first 6 minutes of her appearance on QVC, the home shopping channel.
- Jin Sook & Do Wong Chang | Forever 21 | Net worth: $4.8 billion
Jin Sook and Do Wong Chang moved to the United States from Korea in 1981 with close to nothing. While working multiple jobs to make ends meet, the couple decided to open a clothing store in 1984: Fashion 21. Their store emulated Seoul, Korea’s fast and affordable street fashion, and customers loved it. Within one year, sales at their innovative store reached $700,000. Today, Forever 21 has 480 stores across the country and is known for its unique, stylish, youthful, and affordable apparel.
- JK Rowling | Author | $1 billion
Rowling was a single mother living on state benefits when she received a $3,000 advance—after a dozen rejection letters—to write her first Harry Potter novel. She finished the manuscript for the first novel on a manual typewriter, not being able to afford a computer. Even though it seemed like her dream wouldn’t come true, the author persisted, never giving up on her dream. To date, the series has sold over 400 million copies.
- Howard Schultz | Starbucks | $2.9 billion
Schultz grew up in a Brooklyn housing project and was able to attend college on a football scholarship. His early years in Brooklyn, college, and at Xerox taught him that perseverance was a key to success. Schultz worked his way up the corporate ladder, leading Starbucks onward and upward to its massive success today. His passion for accessible and tasty coffee led to more than 20,000 Starbucks Coffee shops opening worldwide.
- Oprah Winfrey | Media | $3.2 billion
Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi, but became the first African American television correspondent in Nashville when she was just nineteen. The Oprah Winfrey Show was launched in 1983 and was the foundation for Winfrey’s media empire in movies, radio, and publishing. Oprah’s story has inspired millions of women to overcome adversity, shoot for the stars, and carve out their own niche in the world.
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