What could Mark Zuckerberg, Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Schultz and JK Rowling have in common? Not their descending roots for one thing: Jewish, African-American and British to mention a few. College maybe? Oprah and Schultz both have a BA in Communications, but there is much more to these people than their college degrees. Actually, their common point is their net worth and entrance – sometimes more than once – to Forbes’ billionaires list. Moreover, most of today’s world’s billionaires have built their huge wealth from scratch.
These are five business moguls who made it big by capitalizing on nothing.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
“Creating channels between people who want to work together toward change has always been one of the ways that social movements push the world forward and make it better.”
Would you believe when you joined Facebook that a 25 year old Harvard student with fuzzy hair and flip flops is responsible for this addictive social networking site? Mark Zuckerberg, 25, is a self-made billionaire having launched Facebook in 2004 from his Harvard dorm. Today, Mark runs a social network of 500 million users, who are happy to announce in their statuses anything that goes on in their lives and spend on average 700 billion minutes monthly. Who cares if Mark dropped out of Harvard? He became the youngest billionaire in the world reporting a personal wealth of $6.9 billion (as of November 2010). Let alone, he also became a movie. “The Social Network” won the Golden Globes award for Best Picture in 2011.
2. Ralph Lauren
“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.”
Ralph Lauren, 71, hasn’t always been so glamorous. But he had always had a taste for expensive, quality clothing. And he knew how to translate his taste into business. A college drop-out from Baruch College , Lauren changed his Jewish name (Lifshitz) into Lauren in 1957 and discovered his passion for designing while working as a salesperson at A. Rivetz & Co.
Today, the globally acknowledged brand Polo Ralph Lauren features an entire line of suits, shorts, swims, shirts, sweaters, pants, dresses, skirts, jackets, handbags, belts, shoes, sunglasses, gloves, scarves, linens, fragrances, household goods and many more. Lauren himself has a personal wealth of $4.4 billion (as of September 2010).
3. Oprah Winfrey
“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from.”
If you heard it at Oprah it’s probably true. One of the most influential media personalities, a business mogul that ranked #1 in Forbes’ Celebrity 100 List and the first African-American to have joined the Forbes’ billionaires list. Having experienced a quite awkward start in childhood, full of poverty, sexual abuse and emotional instability, Oprah Winfrey, 57, has managed to built a business empire in Chicago and broadcast the Oprah Winfrey Show, one of the most acclaimed TV shows with fanatic viewers around the globe. Today, Oprah has a personal wealth of 2.7 billion (as of September 2010).
4. Howard Schultz
” My story is as much one of perseverance and drive as it is of talent and luck.”
Do you drink Starbucks often? If yes, then you are probably interested in or you have read already Schultz’s business biography “Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time.” Powerful, passionate and motivated by his poverty, Howard Schultz escaped his awful Brooklyn start and managed to acquire Starbucks’ retail unit in 1987 for $3.8 million. Today, Schultz, 57, is one of the wealthiest people in the world with a total annual compensation $21.7 million (as of fiscal year 2010). Starbucks reported net revenues of $10.7 billion for fiscal year 2010.
5. JK Rowling
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
Don’t look forward to see JK Rowling collecting her welfare in the near future. Obviously her idea of Harry Potter was brilliant, even if she hadn’t anticipated how this could appeal to the masses. Whatsoever, the Exeter University graduate has capitalized on the purchasing power of kids around the globe and joined the Forbes’ billionaires list. Today, Rowling, 46, reports a net worth is $1.0 billion (as of October 2010).