Never mind getting ahead – just staying afloat can be tough for any startup. Luckily, the experience of these great entrepreneurs throughout history has motivated dreamers to face the many challenges of starting a business venture.
His dream began at the local newspaper, the Kansas City Star, but everyone knows him for being the “father” of the world’s most famous mouse. He produced his first movie in a garage with a borrowed camera and the help of his friend, Ub Iwerks (who worked with him on many of his productions). All of this before he turned 20. Is the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” actually true? In Walt Disney’s case it seems that the answer is “yes.”
Thomas Alva Edison
The U.S. inventor was expelled from school after just three months, due to his clumsiness and lack of interest. He sold newspapers in order to buy scientific journals. His motivation? To prove his teachers wrong. His obsession? Electricity – that fascinating form of energy. His legacy? More than a thousand inventions – some as famous as the light bulb, alkaline batteries and the phonograph.
Auctions, second-hand products … all online. That’s eBay’s website, although very few people know about its founder or what drove him to success. He started his business by selling his wife’s candy dispensers; his first transaction was a broken laser pointer for $15. Today eBay brings in nearly $9 billion a year and operates in more than 30 countries. The website has auctioned everything from strangely-shaped cereal to kidney stones and bottles that supposedly contain ghosts.
Friendly, home-loving… and a billionaire. He was born in Turkey in 1953 and is also a Spanish citizen. Although his name is not that well-known, his fashion company Mango certainly is. Why is he considered a great entrepreneur? He started out selling his products door-to-door and later in a market in Barcelona, until 1984, when he opened his first store on the emblematic Passeig de Gràcia. Mango now has more than 2,700 stores in more than 105 countries. His brand is also an ecommerce pioneer.
Wall Street chants his name. His successful investments have given him the nickname the “Oracle of Omaha, the state where he was born and raised and began his career. Buffett worked as a paperboy, was mentored by Benjamin Graham and has become a respected financial investor. He has the honor of being the second-richest billionaire in the world, as well as the most charitable. He is a shareholder in some of the world’s largest multinationals like Coca Cola and Procter&Gamble and offers this advice to entrepreneurs: “Invest in yourself.”
His name may not be that well-known, but his legacy his. Sam Walton is the founder of two of the largest retail chains in the U.S.: Walmart and Sam’s Club. He followed the path that many young people do: he was a high school athlete, got a degree in Economics and helped out his family with sporadic jobs. Like any entrepreneur he found success after discovering what his customers wanted: to save money on their everyday shopping, discounted products and extended hours.
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