We’ve all dreamed about founding our own business at some point, whether it’s opening up a nail salon or launching a billion-pound tech company. Having dreams is all well and good, but why is it that the vast majority of us never act on them? Is it the fact that 90% of businesses fail within their first five years, or is it simply because we don’t have the confidence to believe we can succeed?
Whatever your reason is, it’s no excuse for not pursuing your goals and ambitions in life. If you think that starting your dream business seems like too much of a hassle, it’s time to learn about the people who overcame all of the odds to launch a successful company. Here are some amazing entrepreneur stories that will inspire you to finally start your business.
A Winning Hand at Poker
This first story demonstrates that all you need to change your life and realise your dreams is a single stroke of good luck. The American entrepreneur David Daneshgar had always dreamed of launching his own flower-selling business but didn’t have a penny to his name to put towards it. After a long and failed struggle to secure financing, he decided to try his luck at a poker tournament to see if he could win the capital that he needed. After borrowing the necessary funds to enter the tournament, he managed to bag the grand prize of $30,000, which just so happened to be the exact amount he needed to launch his successful online flower retail business.
From Homelessness to Billionaire CEO
The term “self-made billionaire” tends to raise eyebrows these days, but such rare people do exist. One of these is John Paul DeJoria, founder of Patron Tequila and Paul Mitchell Hair Products. Both were dreams he’d harboured since youth, but his disadvantaged background meant he could never get started. He actually spent numerous stints living on the streets, before managing to scrape together $700 to launch his first business venture. Today he’s a billionaire in his own right who uses his hard-won success to support homelessness prevention measures around the world.
Turning Your Hobby into a Global Brand
Ask any successful entrepreneur what it takes to win, and they’ll tell you that you need to be passionate about what you’re doing. This was certainly the case with the group of friends who founded Betway back in 2006, which is now one of the most successful and widely-used sports betting platforms on the planet. These guys were passionate about sports betting and wanted to provide fellow players with a system that allowed people to bet on any sport in the world from anywhere. Betway now offers more than 1000 betting lines every day and has a turnover in the billions, which just goes to show where your passions can take you.
Refugee Turned Silicon Valley God
Even people from the humblest of beginnings can go on to achieve their wildest dreams. This was certainly the case with Vladimir Gendelman, who fled political persecution in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, landing with his impoverished family in America with only $500 to their name. Once they had managed to secure public housing, the young Gendelman went on to open his first computer repair shop, before finally launching his dream tech outfit Company Folders in 2003, which was ranked the fastest growing Silicon Valley company in both 2015 and 2016.
The Power of Perseverance
Fred Smith was a university undergraduate when he first had the idea that transporting goods by plane rather than via shipping could actually be cheaper in the long run. He wrote a paper for his economics class on the idea and was subsequently graded a C-. Undeterred, he decided to found FedEx immediately after graduating. It took over a decade for the company to pull itself from the verge of bankruptcy, with Smith actually betting the company’s last $5000 on a Las Vegas blackjack game, winning $32,000 and using it to transform FedEx into one of the largest shipping companies in the world.
Age is Nothing But a Number
Sometimes great success only comes late in life. Colonel Sanders was living on a $99 a week social security cheque at the age of 65, with few people around him expecting him to achieve greatness. He didn’t have much, but one thing he did have was a chicken recipe that his friends adored. He decided to travel around the United States trying to sell his recipe to investors. He actually got over 1000 rejections before getting his first ever “yes”, which was a decision that allowed him to launch KFC, one of the highest-valued food chains in the world with over 20,000 locations worldwide.
If you have a family that supports your dreams, anything is possible. That’s what Sam Walton realised on his journey to found Walmart, the largest retail company on the planet. Walton has nothing to his name when he decided to open his first grocery store in 1945, but he did have a family that pooled their money together to finance his dream. Only 20 years later his company was valued at a whopping $176 million and Walton was at one point considered to be the wealthiest person in the United States.
Now that you know the most inspirational entrepreneur stories in history, you really have no more excuses. Get out there a follow your dreams while you still have time, whatever your age or bank balance might be.