Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Some turn their dream into an amazing reality.
Here are some success stories of famous entrepreneurs who serve as inspiration to others. Although these entrepreneurs come from different walks of life, they all prove passion and perseverance go a long way toward entrepreneurial success.
Estee Lauder was born Josephine Esther Mentzer in the working-class Corona section of Queens, N.Y. She and her eight brothers and sisters lived in the apartment above her father’s hardware store. Her first job was selling skin creams devised by her uncle to beauty shops. Later, Estee and her husband began formulating their own beauty creams, and in 1947, formed Estee Lauder Inc. Estee died in 2004, leaving behind a legacy and a fortune started in her kitchen with a dream.
Colonel Harland Sanders
A late-bloomer entrepreneur, Colonel Sanders launched his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) business at the age of 65 using money from a Social Security check as startup funds. During his early years, Colonel Sanders held many jobs, including: steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, and farmer. At the age of 40, he was cooking for travelers out of his service station in Corbin, Kentucky, His cooking fame spread and soon there was heavy demand for his food. Colonel Sander’s original recipe of “special” herbs and spices used by KFC in the preparation of their chicken remains a major part of the restaurant chain’s brand identity.
Born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Sam Walton is the founder of retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club. Growing up during the Great Depression, Sam developed his work ethic while doing many chores to help his family make ends meet. After Sam got out of the Army, he borrowed money from his father-in-law and used money he saved to open a store. Sam opened several more stores over the years. He opened his first Walmart store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. After his death in 1992, the company continued to expand, including online commerce and stores around the world.
Oprah Winfrey overcame many challenges in her early life to become a media giant. Oprah was born Jan. 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to unwed teenage parents. She had a difficult childhood, living in poverty in her grandmother’s home for her first six years and then between her father’s residence in Nashville and her mother’s in Milwaukee. An excellent student, she won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University and became interested in journalism and media. After a career in broadcast news, she made the move to talk show television. With the success of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah has built a media empire which includes a magazine, film production company, and cable network.
Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield
Sometimes two heads are better than one. Ben Cohen, born March 18, 1951, and Jerry Greenfield, born March 14, 1951, are the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Ben and Jerry both grew up on Long Island and first met in junior high school in 1963. The two became lifelong friends and would eventually become business partners. In May 1978, using $8,000 of their own money and $4,000 they had borrowed, Ben and Jerry opened their first Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vt. Ben & Jerry’s is now a global ice cream business focused on social impact and activism.