famous entrepreneurs

7 Famous Entrepreneurs Who Started With No Experience and What Made Them Insanely Wealthy

Anyone can become a successful entrepreneur. All you need is hard work, dedication, and insights from others who’ve shown how it can be done. Here are some of the most famous entrepreneurs who started with nothing.

Read on to get ideas to take with you on your path to success!

Famous Entrepreneurs

Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine the most successful, famous entrepreneurs ever struggling. So we’ve put together a list of entrepreneurs who started off with no fame and fortune but built their way to the top from the ground up.

Some entrepreneurs have become successful only after changing their careers. Once they have successfully mastered one area of work and have become successful entrepreneurs, they went on to build their own enterprises. However, who is a successful entrepreneur? In this list, we will talk about some of the best entrepreneurs who have gone from nothing to insanely wealthy and achieved great fame along the way.

successful entrepreneur wearing glasses and smiling

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Can You Run A Successful Business With No Experience?

You cannot run a successful company with absolutely no experience, but you can start with no experience and build a long-lasting and meaningful organization. It’s how the seven entrepreneurs we mention in this article started. It’s entirely possible for an entrepreneur to begin from scratch, even if you have no experience, only to work your way to the top.

Therefore, while you need experience and expertise to manage a successful company, you need only motivation and hard work to start. And, of course, it helps to get some great guidance to set you going in the right direction.

Who Are The 7 Successful Entrepreneurs

Here is a list of famous entrepreneurs that have achieved exceptional success. They started with nothing and worked hard to become the notable success stories they are today.

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the successful entrepreneurs who started with nothing and became a successful entrepreneur. As most of us already know, Oprah is one of the wealthiest African-Americans of the 21st century and has a net worth of $3 billion; she is arguably one of the most influential women in the world.

Her incredible success becomes more impressive if we consider that she had a very rough childhood. She is the daughter of an unmarried teenager who worked as a housemaid. Oprah’s childhood was surrounded by extreme poverty, and could not even afford to buy school dresses. She also faced sexual abuse from her family members, which she discussed with her audiences during a special airing of her show.

Her debut break was working for a local black radio station. The station managers were impressed with her passion and oratory skills, which allowed Oprah to work up to bigger radio stations. Eventually, she started appearing on television as well.

Robert Ebert offered Oprah a deal to sign for the show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. And now she’s sharing her stories of adversity and overcoming to help inspire others.

2. Walt Disney

Walt Disney is one of top the names included in this list of successful entrepreneurs. As a young boy, Walk Disney started drawing horses for fun. As he grew older, he tried to get a job as a cartoonist for a newspaper. Sadly, he could not and ended up working in an art studio where he created ads for magazines and newspapers. Eventually, he started working on commercials and later opened up his own animation company.

famous entrepreneur - Walt Disney's statue next to Mickey at Disneyland with the princess castle in the background

His first character was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. However, the character was owned by Universal Pictures because he was working under contract. Once Walt Disney left Universal Pictures, he created his most famous replacement – Mickey Mouse.

Disney soon started getting famous and successful with its animation company. However, he was not satisfied. He was determined to create the greatest and biggest park the world has ever seen – he quoted it as ‘I want it to look like nothing else in the world.’

Walt Disney is one of the most successful entertainment moguls of all time. Disney is an entrepreneurial all-star, thanks to his commitment to his vision and unrelenting spirit.

3. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is one of those female entrepreneurs who started with nothing and became one of today’s most successful entrepreneurs. She has become a household name, thanks to the beloved Harry Potter book series. However, she was not always successful. J.K. Rowling had run out of ideas before she started working on this wizarding world. Before this, Rowling was living on welfare and struggling to make ends meet as a single mother.

successful entrepreneur J.K. Rowling's book Harry Potter in a stack of books

Today, J.K. Rowling has a net worth of over $1 billion. It has been rumored that she is the president of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank; although, this is a secret that is kept among the goblins.

It has even been rumored that J.K. Rowling sold her soul to the devil in exchange for the inspiration for her Harry Potter books. Such is the level of success seen by J.K. Rowling. If people tell stories that you have made deals with the devil, you are a big deal yourself!

4. John Paul DeJoria

Entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria is known for his line of Paul Mitchell hair products and the Patron Tequila. However, little did we know that John Paul DeJoria started right at the bottom to become one of the famous small business owners today. DeJoria is a first-generation American and was born to Italian and German parents. He was sent to live in an LA-based foster home and even spent some time in a street gang.

When DeJoria first created the John Paul Mitchell Systems, he started selling hair products from one house to another; he lived out of his car. All this hard work did pay off – today, DeJoria easily earns about $900 million each year.

From the story of DeJoria, we get to understand that things only get better, even if you are at the worst phase of your life.

5. Madam CJ Walker

Also known as Sarah Breedlove, Madam CJ Walker is one of the best examples of successful small business entrepreneurship. Walker is known to be one of the first female black self-made millionaires. She was born in 1867, and her parents and older siblings were slaves on a plantation in Louisiana. She was the first of the siblings who were born free.

Walker started her own range of hair and beauty products that were specifically designed for black women. Once she saw that the market was not met, she worked to create a solution to a problem that most others did not seem interested in solving.

As time moved on, she had to fight for almost everything that she needed. An enterprising, strategic, and smart woman, Walker perfectly embodies the spirit of an entrepreneur.

6. Steve Jobs

When you are compiling a list of successful entrepreneurs, you cannot exclude Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is considered one of the best startup stories in the USA. Jobs dropped out of his college because his family could not handle the cost and burden of his education. Unofficially, he continued his audit classes and started living off free meals. He started returning Coke bottles for money. Jobs stated that his calligraphy classes served as an inspiration for the revolutionary font design and typefaces of the Mac computers.

Sooner than later, Steve Jobs started his unbelievable career and eventually started his Apple Computer Company with his childhood friend, Steve Wozniak. As soon as his company became successful, he was named ‘The Grandfather of Digital Revolution.’ Soon, Jobs changed the entire consumer electronics industry. By his death, his net worth was more than $8.3 billion, and the digital generation will feel his influence in the coming future.

7. Andrew Carnegie

One of the most successful entrepreneurs in your locality is Andrew Carnegie. Of course, we have learned about his life in our history classes. Most of us do not have much interest in Andrew Carnegie; however, it is one of the best examples of successful entrepreneurs today.

Andrew Carnegie’s life was very rough when he was growing up. Often, he would spend most of his time working in factories and would force himself to sleep to forget about his constant hunger. Eventually, he worked hard and became the superintendent for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Soon enough, he started his own successful business called the Carnegie Steel Mill.

Apart from being one of the richest beings in America, he was also very generous. Before his death, he donated 90% of his wealth to various foundations and charities. With this generous donation, a lot of educational institutions and libraries were constructed all across America. Andrew Carnegie has provided a second home to nerdy children who did not have a home to live in.

Final Thoughts on Famous Entrepreneurs

What did you learn about entrepreneurship? Whether you have heard about sewing business success stories or the same about a food chain, the common denominator here is that none of these entrepreneurs gave up. They overcame all odds by working hard to become the people that we know today. These people defied the impossible and proved that anything is possible.

Want to build your own success?

Check out our guide to building success in life

​At Finally Family Homes we help young adults aging out of foster care succeed in life. Visit here to learn about us and our mission.

Article Author’s Bio: 

Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.

Want to read more success stories?

Check out these 9 Inspirational Stories of Success and Overcoming the Odds

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