When most people imagine a billionaire, they typically think of Donald Trump or Bernard Arnault – people who come from money and pass on their wealth to the next generations. However, not every billionaire was born wealthy. In this post, we’ll talk about 10 self-made billionaires who proved that you don’t need to be from money to make money.
According to Hurun Global Rich list 2020, there are 2816 billionaires from 71 countries and have a combined total net worth of $11.2 trillion. Let’s see which of these self-made billionaires grew up dirt poor and ended up becoming some of the most powerful, wealthiest, and influential people of our generation.
1. Ralph Lauren
We all know Ralph Lauren from his world-renowned clothing line. But did you know that he comes from humble origins? He is the son of two Jewish Immigrants from Belarus and the young of four siblings. From being a Bronx resident, college dropout, and an army recruit to fashion designer, businessman, and philanthropist, the self-made billionaire has come a long way.
Ralph began his fashion career as a salesman for a tie company, and soon after started the Ralph Lauren Corporation and sold ties under his name. The 28-year old entrepreneur started with a single drawer in a showroom at the Empire State Building and delivered the ties himself. A year later, Manhattan Bloomingdales picked up his tie line, which paved the way for the launch of his tailored shirts for women.
As of 2020, the self-made billionaire has a net worth of $5.8 billion.
2. Oprah Winfrey
We all know Oprah for her television fame, charity work, and her acting career. But did you know that self-made billionaire with a net worth of $2.6 billion began her life in Mississippi under the roof of a poor family? By focusing on her education and working hard, she won a scholarship to Tennessee State University and one year later, became the first African-American TV correspondent in the state.
Winfrey is the first African-American woman to own a production company, a brilliant actress, an Oscar nominee, television’s highest-paid entertainers, producer, and a successful TV host. Her incredible journey to stardom is nothing short of a fairytale.
3. Roman Abramovich
If you watch soccer, specifically the English Premier League, the Roman Abramovich should ring a bell. He is the owner of Chelsea FC, which is among the best teams in the country and Europe. Like most self-made billionaires, he has an incredible backstory. Born in Russia, Roman became an orphan at the age of two and was raised by his uncle in Northern Russia.
The Cold War was a difficult time, and anyone who escaped poverty deserves an accolade. He began a small toy manufacturing company during college and used the revenue to enter the oil business. In 2005, he sold Gazprom for $13 billion. Today, he has an estimated net worth of $12.9 billion and also owns the world’s largest yacht.
4. Howard Schultz
Love or hate coffee, but you recognize a Starbucks when you see one. Today, the giant coffee retailer has 23,000 retail stores in 73 countries and a market value close to $85 billion. But did you know that its chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, comes from a poor family? In an interview, Schultz spoke about his childhood and what it was like growing up broke.
He talked about how his family lived in a subsidized government building and that his father worked many dead-end jobs to survive without any real pay or respect. His father’s hardship motivated him to become the success he is today, with a net worth close to $3 billion.
5. J.K Rowling
J.K Rowling, the mastermind behind the Harry Potter books, is a world-renowned personality. But before she became the world’s highest-paid author, she struggled as a single parent with so little money that she had to skip meals so her daughter could eat.
Those days are long gone, and today, Rowling is one of the world’s most famous self-made billionaires with a net worth of $1.2 billion. And the philanthropist who once couldn’t afford three-time meals now spends close to $160 million in charitable giving.
6. Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson is among the elite group of college dropouts who are now self-made billionaires. He’s the owner of a $41 billion fortune who began by running vending machines, selling ads, and hosting trade shows. Born to European Jewish immigrants, he grew up in a poor Boston neighborhood, sharing a single-room apartment with three siblings.
He is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation that owns the Sands Hotel and Casino and a fleet of private jets.
7. John Paul DeJoria
If you love Patron tequila, you might have heard about its owner John Paul DeJoria whose profile usually shows up in magazines regularly. He is also the founder of a haircare company called Paul Mitchell Systems. Today, he has a net worth of around $3.3 billion. But did you know that he grew up in foster care in the Echo Park neighborhood in Los Angeles?
He started his salesmanship as a 10-year-old selling Christmas cards and newspapers t support his immigrant family. He also became a gang member and joined the military. Upon returning, he took a $700 credit loan and started his haircare company to sell shampoo. And the rest is history.
8. Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal is the CEO of ArcelorMittal, the largest steel company in the world, with revenue of $71 billion in 2019. Born to a poor family in India, he worked as a steelworker and slowly gained experience before launching his factory at the age of 26. Today, he has a net worth of $11.7 billion and owns 20 percent shares of English football club Queens Park Rangers FC.
Think Like Self-Made Billionaires
Every business starts with a dream and an idea. And the self-made billionaires in the list above prove that you don’t need to be from money to make money. The business world is slowly evolving, and there are thousands of opportunities that await you.
by Bobby J Davidson
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