There’s no need to worry if you don’t have a lot of money. As long as you have the intellect, an incredible passion, unshakable drive, and some luck, you can also be among the wealthy elite. It won’t be easy, but the people in the list below prove that you don’t need to come from money to make tons of it. These rags-to-riches stories will inspire you and serve as a reminder that anything is possible if you work hard enough.
1.) Sara Blakely – Spanx
After failing to make it into law school and even a Goofy suit at Disney World (she was deemed too short for the position), Blakely saved the money she made from selling fax machines and put it towards Spanx undergarments. This eventually made her a billionaire.
2.) Howard Schultz – Starbucks
Before helping Starbucks grow from 60 shops to over 21,000 worldwide, Schultz was growing up in a low-income housing unit. Today, his personal bank account boasts billions of dollars.
3.) J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter
Rowling was a single mother making less than $200 per week, until she wrote about a certain wizard kid who would go on to net her over $1 billion.
4.) Carl Lindner, Jr. – United Dairy Farmers
Lindner was 14 when he had to drop out of school to help out with his family’s dairy farm. Being the bright guy that he was, he made a bunch of savvy business decisions that were a great help to his family. One of those moves even led to the creation of United Dairy Farmers, something that would help Lindner’s personal fortune grow to $1.7 billion in his lifetime.
5.) Bert Jacobs – Life Is Good
Bert and his brother John were living in a van and selling their optimistic t-shirts door-to-door and on the streets of Boston. They eventually hit it big with their clothing line which makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Life IS good.
6.) Catherine L. Hughes – Radio One
Hughes used to sleep on the floor of her first radio station with her son, who she had when she was 16. She then founded Radio One and went on to great success in both radio and television.
7.) George Soros – Soros Fund Management
Before he went on to make billions, Soros had to escape Nazi-occupied Hungary and learn to live in foreign countries like the U.K. and U.S. Soros worked his way through the London School of Economics and made billions on Wall Street in the 1990s.
8.) John Paul DeJoria – Paul Mitchell
DeJoria worked to support his family at the young age of 10 and never looked back. At one point he was selling hair care products out of his car…but now? DeJoria is a billionaire a few times over.
9.) Oprah – OWN
It’s hard to believe that this media powerhouse was ever anything less than one of the most powerful people on the planet. Before becoming America’s taste maker, Oprah Winfrey lived in poverty.
10.) David Murdock – Dole Foods
With $900 to his name, Murdock decided to drop out of school and buy a diner, one that he would later sell for a profit. The smart business moves only continued from there, as his real estate and food operations netted him $2.7 billion.
11.) Jan Koum – WhatsApp
When Koum moved to America from Ukraine 20 years ago, his family relied on food stamps. After Facebook bought his WhatsApp messaging service, he was valued at just south of $7 billion.
12.) Ralph Lauren – Ralph Lauren Corporation
Before he could go on to create his own label, Lauren had to work as a clerk at Brooks Brothers, one of his now rivals. Today, he has many billions and definitely doesn’t have to worry about working the checkout counter any time soon.
These stories are great, but I was hoping at least one of them stumbled upon a tree that grew money. I guess that just means there will be more bills left on the branches for me to pick when I come across it.