There is a lot of pressure put on us throughout our youth to “figure it out.” Figure out what college we want to go to, what field we want to study in and ultimately what we are going to do for the rest of our lives. This pressure begins in your teenage years and follows you until you are old and grey. There is a misconception that if you don’t succeed by a certain age, your time limit expires. This is far from true. Success is reached and dreams are accomplished through hard work, perseverance and all around motivation. There is no reason to feel guilty in your twenties if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, the following ten people were once exactly like you, and now they are some of the world’s most successful and fascinating people.
What the following ten icons demonstrate is that you can’t accomplish anything by giving up. They all faced individual hardships and were rejected, fired and unemployed at one point or another. The next ten entrepreneurs demonstrate that you are never too old to accomplish greatness and that every obstacle you have faced is placed in front of you for a reason.
10. Tim Westergren – Pandora Radio
Tim Westergren started Pandora at the age of 35. Before starting this company Westergren was a struggling musician and manny (male nanny). Pandora, which started as a hardware company that allowed stores to play music, went bankrupt in their first two years. However, Wetergren managed to convince fifty employees to work without pay. Westergren’s hard work and determination in combination with his vision is what lead this entrepreneur to success. The hippy’s love of music paid off for him, as he is now worth an estimated $22 billion. Westergren only found success in his late thirties proving that it is never too late to accomplish your dreams.
9. Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is a household name; she is known worldwide and is worth an estimated $638 million. A lot of people think they know everything about Martha Stewart but what not many realize is that she published her first book at the age of 41. Martha Stewart has had an extremely fascinating life; she married at 20 and four years later she welcomed her first child into the world. At 35 she started her first business, a catering company which was doing well until her business partner and her got into a fight and Stewart left the business. She then opened a gourmet food store. She got her big break when she was hired to cater an event for a publisher, she did such an incredible job and the publisher was so impressed by her charisma that they asked her to write a cookbook. Her success came after that first book was published and the rest is history.
8. Sam Walton – WalMart
Before Walton founded WalMart and changed the retail game forever, he owned a small discount store with his father-in-law. Before he became one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, Sam Walton took out a $20,000 load from his father-in-law. He did so to purchase a Ben Franklin variety store and three years later he bought another one, 220 miles away. Although Walton owned two successful stores, he was still struggling to pay all of his employees. Then, at the age of 44, Walton took a risk and opened the first ever WalMart. The year was 1945 and from that day on, WalMart has become a humungous empire.
7. Tory Burch
Although Tory Burch’s father was a wealthy businessman and her mother a glamorous and famous actress, Burch didn’t thrive in her field until her late thirties. The blonde beauty started her career as a copywriter for Vera Wang, Harper’s Bazaar and Ralph Lauren. She always had a passion for fashion and after years of learning about the industry she decided it was time for her to take a risk. In 2004, she used an investment from her husband at the time to open her first store in New York. Since then, her company has seen an insane amount of success. Tory was 39 when she became a sensation and she is the perfect example to show that hard work truly does pay off, no matter what age you are.
6. Henry Ford – Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford was a determined man. He bankrupted his first two companies, however he didn’t let that stop him. Ford was a perfectionist who was consumed by every minor detail. When he started Ford motors, he brought that meticulous mind set to his automobiles. After years of missed opportunities and failed deadlines, his investors convinced him to hire a man names James Couzen. Couzen convinced the perfectionist to sell an “imperfect” car and to have mechanics spread throughout the country trained to fix his machines. Ford Motor Company was opened when Henry Ford was 40 years old. Ford created one of the biggest self-made fortunes in history (an estimated $199 billion) and he was way over thirty when it happened.
5. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter Empire
It is hard to believe that J.K. Rowling was once a single mother on welfare who thought of herself as a huge failure. The world’s first billionaire author came up with the idea of Harry Potter in 1990 and it wasn’t until three years later, after her marriage failed, that she began writing the first drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Most days, Rowling wrote at local coffee shops. She taught English in the evenings to earn money and day times were spent writing. She knew she had a good idea for a novel but she didn’t know just how good it was. Harry Potter is now an empire and the brand is worth $15 billion today. She was 33 years old when she got a check for her first book and she has been unstoppable ever since.
4. Jan Koum – WatsApp
When Jan Koum applied to work for Facebook and got rejected, he began to get discouraged. The San Jose State college dropout always knew that he had the potential to create something great. After leaving school he managed to land a job at Yahoo where he met Brian Action, who is now his co-founder. As previously mentioned, Koum applied to work at Facebook and was rejected, which was extremely discouraging. Then on his 33rd birthday, Koum got the greatest gift of all, his app WhatsApp got incorporated. He is now worth an approximate $7.9 billion. Not too shabby for a dropout.
3. Arianna Huffington
Arianna first got the attention of the masses in 1994 when her husband Michael Huffington ran for Senate. In her early years, she wrote numerous books including a biography on her favorite artist Pablo Picasso. However, she didn’t find success until her mid-50s. Huffington Post became known worldwide and although it is known for being left-leaning when it comes to politics, we tend to forget the Huffingtons were known conservatives. At the age of 61 Huffington sold Huffington Post to AOL for over $300 million. Although her success came later in life, her hard work and dedication paid off in the end.
2. Mark Cuban – MicroSolutions
It is hard to believe that when Mark Cuban was 28 years old he was sharing a three-bedroom apartment with 5 people – his room being a closet. Cuban graduated from Indiana University at the age of 24. His first job out of school was selling computers – the gig paid $18,000 a year. Cuban got fired for disobeying his boss’ orders. At the age of 25, Cuban decided to start MicroSolutions, which was a software consultancy company, and seven years later Cuban sold it for $6 million. With that money, he started Broadcast.com, which took him from a millionaire to a billionaire after he sold it for $5.7 billion. He is one of the most powerful and intelligent entrepreneurs, no doubt about it.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah knew what she was meant to do and she didn’t let anything stop her. After countless low paid news anchor gigs in the south, Oprah decided to take a leap of faith and move to Chicago to host the morning talk show A.M. Chicago in 1983. In 1986 she was doing such an incredible job they changed the name to The Oprah Winfrey Show and signed a syndication deal that lead her to fame and fortune. Oprah was 33 at the time and had no idea what her life was leading to. Today she is worth around $3 billion and she is not even close to being done.