10 Famous Entrepreneurs
[toc]So, you’re sitting there in the daily grind of your nine-to-five job. It’s not the perfect occupation, but it pays the bills and puts food on the table. But, you wonder where you would be now if you had pursued your dream and became one of the famous entrepreneurs.
Believe it or not, some of most famous entrepreneurs started off in a routine job. Then one day, they had a brilliant idea or talent and put their dream into action. Through hard work or luck, the dream became a reality. Before they knew it, they were famous entrepreneurs of their own multi-million dollar corporations. Granted, some entrepreneurs had fame and fortune handed to them on a silver platter, but there are those that put their hearts and souls into making a fortune by earning it. Some succeeded, some failed or even went bankrupt time and time again, but what did they do? They got up, brushed themselves off, and tried again.
Here are 10 of the most famous entrepreneurs that have made a difference in the world:
1. Walt Disney
An American cartoon animator, film producer, and director, Walt Disney’s net worth is set at $5 billion. Walt Disney Productions is one of the most well-known 20th century motion picture companies in the world. Disney created fictional characters such as Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphonies, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.
Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1901. Walt took art and animation courses at Chicago Art Institute. In the 1920’s, Walt opened Disney Brothers Studio in California. In 1925, Walt married cartoon artist Lillian Bounds and had two daughters.
In 1937, the color cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered. Over the new few years, full-length animated classics Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi were completed. In 1955, Walt opened Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA, and was the first to feature full-color programming with his Wonderful World of Color in 1961. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966.
2. Oprah Winfrey
One of the most influential female television hosts, media mogul and author Oprah Winfrey has a net worth of about $2.9 billion, with an annual salary of $300 million. Growing up poverty-stricken and enduring physical abuse, in high school was presented an academic scholarship to Tennessee State University. Oprah was hired by a local radio station as a newscaster, and by 1984, was on television. The Oprah Winfrey Show rose to the number one national talk show, surpassing ratings for the Phil Donahue Show.
In 1985, Oprah received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the Color Purple, Her production company, Harpo Productions, has produced several successful films. She has published two magazines and five books, and owns the Oprah Winfrey Network(OWN).
3. Bill Gates
The Chairman of the Microsoft Corporation, published author, and philanthropist Bill Gates is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. His net worth is approximately $73 billion, with an annual salary of $1 million. Gates revolutionized the personal computer industry, and along with business partner Paul Allen, co-founded the Microsoft software company.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Gates was a 1973 graduate of Harvard University. He and Paul Allen created a software company after seeing the interest the public had with the MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer. In 1976, Gates and Allen formed a partnership with the creators of the microcomputer and introduced the BASIC interpreter for the platform.
4. Steve Jobs
Until his death in October of 2011, Steve Jobs, an American pioneer of the personal computer industry, was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Computers, and had a net worth of $10 billion. Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and others helped design, develop, and market the first commercially successful personal computer, the Apple II.
Steven Paul Jobs was born on on February 24, 1955 to two college students at the University of Wisconsin and was put up for adoption. As a baby, he was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, and was taught electronics by his dad.
Jobs revolutionized technology through computers, smartphones, LaserWriters, and Mac computers.
5. Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson is CEO of the Virgin group of over 400 companies, including Virgin Mobile, Virgin Records, Virgin Airways, and Virgin Galactic. With a net worth of $4.6 billion, this eccentric billionaire is known for his non-traditional business practices.
Born in England on July 18, 1950, Branson dropped out of school at age 15 due to dyslexia. Even though he was not a good student, he started his own Christmas tree business, but failed. However, he made enough money selling cut-out records out of his car to open his own record shop in London, which was the first successful Virgin company. He then purchased an estate and a recording studio. After becoming owner of the Virgin label, he sponsored controversial artists such as Mike Oldfield, the Sex Pistols, and Culture Club.
6. Mary Kay Ash
The founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mary Kay Ash was innovative in finding a career for women who wanted to be a housewife and mother, and contribute to the family income by selling cosmetics.
Born in Texas on May 12, 1918, Mary Wagner Ash was married at age 17 to a military man. Even with three children, she peddled books to help with finances. After a divorce, Mary Kay landed a job with World gift Products, but resigned when promotion was given to a man. This encouraged her to write a book to prove that women could be just as successful in business as men. This book just happened be a flawless business plan. In her mid 40s, she took her own advice, and with $5000 invested by her son, created Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Mary Kay’s motto was God ~ family ~ career. The signature Pink Cadillac was the ultimate reward for topping sales charts. Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics is worth $2.2, and employs 1.8 billion beauty consultants. Mary Kay died in 2001.
7. Coco Chanel
Born Gabrielle Bohneur Chanel on August 19, 1883 in France to an unwed mother, her mother died when she was a child, and she was raised by relatives. Gabrielle changed her name to Coco when she became a cafe singer, and was the mistress to many influential men, through which she was able to begin her career as a designer. She opened her own shop in Paris in 1913. Her new, modern designs were simple and did not require women to wear corsets.
In 1921, Coco and perfumer Ernest Beaux created Chanel No. 5 perfume, and the name was given because 20 fragrances were made for her to sample, she liked the 5th scent. Today, Chanel No. 5 remains the number one perfume in the world. She died in January 1971. Chanel still has a net worth of $4.5 billion.
8. Larry Page
With a net worth of $23.9 billion, Lawrence “Larry” Page is an American computer scientist, CEO and co-founder of Google, the world’s largest search engine. Google was created along with partner Sergey Brin while both were students at Stanford.
Page was born on March 26, 1973 in East Lansing Michigan. A graduate of University of Michigan and Stanford, Page holds a Ph.D in computer engineering. He is married to research scientist Lucinda Southworth, and they have a son. Page and Brin developed the Page Rank algorithm, which was used to connect one web page to another, making Google possible.
9. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Elliott Zuckerberg was born May 14, 1984, and is an American computer programmer that is one of the five co-founders of Facebook, a popular social networking website. He is now the chairman and CEO of Facebook, with a personal net worth of approximately $17 billion. His annual salary is $1.00.
Facebook was launched from Zuckerberg’s Harvard dormitory room along with four other college roommates. At first, it was meant for college students only, but soon reached worldwide to people of all ages. By the age of 23, Zuckerberg was a billionaire. Mark was also featured on our 25 under 25 list of successful entrepreneurs.
10. Donald Trump
Donald trump is and American and international real estate developer, television personality, and published author who has created a successful business empire. With an annual salary of $60 million, Trump’s net worth is around $2.9 billion.
Raised in New York City, he earned a degree in economics, then worked with his dad at the Trump Organization. Trump also owns Trump Tower, Trump World Tower, resorts, casinos, and is a television personality on The Apprentice, a reality TV show in which Trump portrays himself.
Trump has been married three times and has five children: Ivana Zelnickova (3 children); Marla Maples (1 child); and Melinia Knauss (1 child).
As shown here, famous entrepreneurs can work hard for money or they can be born into money and not have to work at it at all. However, whichever way it was done, each and every one changed our world for the better!
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Sources for images: Flickr & google