5 Billionaires Who Went From Rags To Riches – Today’s Dose Of Motivation!


Today’s Dose of Motivation: Ready!

The road to success is full of hindrances. Listed below are a few inspiring people who didn’t give up and made it through the tough times and achieved their goals.


1. Jack Ma – failed numerous times, worked for $12 a month


Jack Ma is one of my personal favorites. Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma, is now the richest man in China. Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected. When KFC came to his city, 24 people applied for the job including Ma. Everyone were offered a job but Ma. He failed 3 times in college. He applied 10 times for Harvard University USA and got rejected. Alibaba is worth more than Facebook and processes more goods than eBay and Amazon combined! He had a humble early life. His parents were musicians – storytellers who didn’t make much. As a kid, he wanted to learn English and he spent his early mornings giving free English tours for foreigners in a park nearby. It was then he met a girl who gave him the nickname ‘Jack’ for his name was too difficult to spell when they later became pen friends. He worked as an English teacher for a pay of $12 a month! He persuaded 17 of his friends to invest and involve in his new e-commerce start up – Alibaba. The company initially began in his apartment. Now, Ma’s worth is estimated to be around $29.8 billion!


2. Jan Koum – lived on food stamps


Koum’s net worth is $8.8 billion. He was born in a household in Ukraine which had no running water. After he turned 16, he and his mother immigrated to the US where they lived on welfare and food stamps. While in his high school, Koum taught himself about computers by buying manuals from a local store and then returning each one when he finished reading it. He worked at Yahoo and David Filo, Yahoo’s co-founder was a mentor to Koum. In 2012, WhatsApp caught the attention of Mark Zuckerberg. Mark first called Koum and they kept hanging out and hiking as friends. In February 2014, Zuckerberg had Koum over for dinner and put an acquisition offer on the table. Koum thought about the offer for a couple of days and came back to Mark’s house on Valentine’s Day interrupting Mark’s plan with Priscilla. Koum then sold Whatsapp for $19 billion. Later on, Koum also joined the Facebook board. Months after this deal he quietly made a $556 million donation to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. He also made $1 million donation to FreeBSD which helped him lift off poverty. Today, Whatsapp has around 900million active users.


3. Steve Jobs – walked seven miles for a good meal offered at a temple


Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955. He was adopted shortly after his birth and was brought up near Mountain View, California by a couple named Clara and Paul Jobs. He never graduated from college.  He would walk for seven miles across the town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. As the CEO of the world's most valuable brand, Jobs pulled in a comically low annual salary of just $1. Jobs joked in 2007: "I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents is based on my performance." He was estimated a worth of $10.2 billion. His estate was estimated to be worth roughly around $19 billion in 2015. He died on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56. His cause of death is claimed to be Pancreatic cancer and respiratory arrest. His story still continues to inspire many and his company still stands strong.


4. JK Rowling – was a clinically depressed single mother and was underemployed 


Her first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up. But, her publisher asked her not to use her real name – Joanne Rowling for they believed that boys wouldn’t read a fantasy book about a boy wizard by a woman. She used the pen name ‘J.K Rowling’. During her late twenties, following a failed marriage and struggling as an underemployed single mom, Rowling went through a period of clinical depression.  Her net worth is estimated to be around $1 billion. She is declared the first person to become a billionaire primarily through writing books. The first print run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was a mere 1,000 copies. However, later on the Harry Potter books have sold nearly 500 million copies worldwide.  She donated the proceeds of the two Potter companion books to Comic Relief (a total estimated at over £17 million and counting). Rowling founded the international children's organization Lumos.  Rowling donated £10 million to the University of Edinburgh to start a clinic in her mother's name.


5. Howard Schultz – led a poor early life 


Howard took a small time coffee shop into a huge phenomenal success. The success of Starbucks is mostly due to Schultz, who is praised by analysts and competitors. Howard had an uneasy childhood. Howard Schultz was born in Brooklyn. Both his parents had to work long hours to support the family. To break out from being poor, Howard turned to sports and played football, baseball, and basketball. He did well in high school and he was awarded an athletic scholarship to the Northern Michigan University. When he left New York to go to college, Shultz's father was a broke man. "I watched my dad's self-esteem fracture,". His father never overcame a low paying job and his employees treated him with no respect. Having his family's financial troubles in mind, Schultz made the most of his college days. He received a bachelor's degree in business and marketing. He was the first member of his family to attend college. He is a former owner of Seattle SuperSonics and was a member of the Board of Directors at Square, Inc. His net worth is around $2.9 billion.


Motivated enough? Thank me later! 


Ref: Google Images








Vijay Alagar
the authorVijay Alagar
Young and Ambitious; Better at Videogames than at life. Works as a creative writer by day, Batman at night.

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