“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.”
Elon Musk (Founder Of Spacex, Tesla Motors And Contributor To Paypal): Musk, at 12 years old, taught himself to code and sold a game he made for $500. When he moved to Canada, he worked odd jobs including tending vegetables, shoveling out grain bins, and cleaning out gunk from a boiler room in a lumber mill.
In university, Elon sold computer parts to make extra cash and turned his 10 bedroom fraternity home into a nightclub on the weekends and charged a cover. Since then, he’s built several companies, including SpaceX, Tesla Motors, PayPal, and zip2.
“It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become more memorable.”
Sara Blakely (Founder Of Spanx): She started her billionaire journey when she was 27 years old, out of her Atlanta apartment and revolutionized the way women look in their clothes. She also started the Sara Blakely Foundation to help women through education and entrepreneurship and later joined the ‘Giving Pledge’, a commitment to donate the majority of her wealth to help others who truly need it.
Warren Buffett (CEO Of Berkshire Hathaway): He’s an American investment wizard and businessman who started investing in stocks at 11 years old and real estate investing at 14 years old. He’s had a few businesses and grew Berkshire Hathaway into one of the most valuable companies in the world based on his ‘invest what you know’ mentality and strategically investing in undervalued businesses for the long term in many industries.
“I don’t believe in pitfalls. I believe in taking risks and not doing the same thing twice.”
Guy Laliberté (Co-Founder And Former CEO Of Cirque Du Soleil): He started as a street performer playing the accordion, walking on stilts and eating fire. In 1987, he co-founded a circus troupe in Montreal and took a big risk moving it to Los Angeles which eventually led to it becoming the famous Cirque du Soleil.
In 2009, he became the first Canadian space tourist and his spaceflight was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues making it the first, in his words, ‘poetic social mission’ in space.
“You become what you believe. You are where you are today in your life based on everything you have believed.”
Oprah Winfrey (CEO Of Oprah Winfrey Network): Considered one of the most influential women in the world, she is an American media mogul, producer, talk show host, author and philanthropist.
She grew up in poverty and by the time she was fourteen, she suffered physical abuse, molestation, and the death of her first newborn. A few years later, she won a beauty pageant, got her degree in speech and performing arts and became an ABC news anchor.
Mark Cuban (Owner Of The Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures And Chairman Of Axs Tv): Before his billionaire days, he learned to stretch his dollar by living of ketchup and mustard sandwiches, couch surfing, and living on the cheap. In university, he made extra cash teaching dance lessons and hosting disco parties.
He lived on the cheap for a long time in order to build and grow his businesses and investments into a multi-billion-dollar empire.
Jack Ma (Founder Of China Yellowpages And Alibaba): His mental toughness and resilience got him through many failed school and university exams. After graduating, he went on to dozens of rejections from jobs.
Before becoming rich, he was kidnapped on a business trip to Los Angeles, threatened with a gun, and held captive in Las Vegas before managing to escape. His mental toughness, resilience, extreme determination and passion to achieve his goals eventually paid off and he went on to build a massive internet empire.
Zhou Qunfei (Founder Of Lens Technology): When she was 16, due to financial hardship and a need to support her blind father, she dropped out of school to work as an operator in a watch glass company.
She learned the ropes of the glass making business by studying alone at night and relying on books to create different technologies. Now, her company supplies touchscreen glass to a quarter of all smartphones in the world.
I interviewed 21 self-made billionaires about their secrets to wealth and success-here's what I learned
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