Rags to Riches: Five Entrepreneurs Who Made Dreams Come True

Entrepreneur, business owner

An entrepreneur engages in myriad activities to build a successful business.

Whether you are a business owner looking to expand your business or new to the country and working with an attorney to transfer your business to the U.S., becoming an industry leader in a sea of competition can be intimidating. Using examples of those who came before can be helpful in discovering what you’ll need to succeed.

While it is relatively easy to name a few hundred of the most well-known entrepreneurs who made it big in past decades, and especially during the last century, the article below covers just five of the most recent. Here, we go into further detail with some of the factors that made them a success and how far-reaching their endeavors have been.

Amazon.com, founded by Jeff Bezos

Amazon’s logo.

Jeff Bezos, U.S.

Generally credited with the e-commerce explosion, Bezos turned a bookselling site named Amazon, which began in a garage with some of his parent’s retirement money, into the undisputed top retailer on the web. Today, Amazon has $61.09 billion in revenue with 97,000 employees.

Guy Laliberté, Canada

Guy started his illustrious enterprise, Cirque du Soleil, by eating fire on the streets. Born in Quebec, Canada, this performer also played the accordion and harmonica. Getting his start in street performing for the masses, he supported his unemployment insurance by trying other endeavors including managing local Canadian fairs. In 1983, the government of Quebec granted Laliberté $1.5 million Canadian dollars to produce a special program as part of Quebec’s 450th anniversary celebration of its discovery by explorer Jacques Cartier. The name of the production? “Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil.” The rest is both theatrical and entrepreneurial history!

Sir Philip Green, U.K.

Beginning with a small startup loan of £20,000, Sir Philip Green today has an estimated personal fortune of £3.88 billion. How did he do it? By importing inexpensively produced jeans from the Far East and reselling them to London retailers. Now internationally recognized as a fashion/retail guru, he went on to become the owner of the Arcadia Group, which specializes in high-end chains by the likes of Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit and Wallis.

Sir Richard Branson, U.K.

Starting off at the age of 16 by creating a student magazine with a mere £300, today Branson is worth an estimated £3.6 billion. Next on his radar was a mail-order record company and then, within a year’s time, Virgin Records. Today, covering virtually everything from telecom to space tourism, Branson epitomizes all things entrepreneurial.

Snapchat symbol and words

Snapchat’s iconic symbol.

Evan Spiegel, U.S.

As a 23-year-old co-founder of Snapchat, one can’t say he is exactly “rags-to-riches”. However, his claim to fame is a recent rejection of a $3 billion purchase offer by Facebook. Concentrating on a younger niche, Spiegel also left his pursuit of a degree at Stanford University with only three more classes to take. As a big risk taker, Spiegel’s Snapchat ended 2013 with a $2 billion valuation.

All these entrepreneurs started relatively small, but grew their goals and dreams into big-time success stories. One thing though, no matter how small these entrepreneurs started, they never took their eyes off their target–the consumer market.

About the Author:

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information protecting your own small business when new to the industry or country contact a Los Angeles immigration attorney. Brooke can be reached via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.