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Famous Entrepreneurs (And How They Succeeded)

· Ross Sanner,Entrepreneurship,Leadership

Entrepreneurs can be found everywhere. As long as there are needs, there will always be creative and driven individuals striving to meet those needs. Throughout history, entrepreneurs have used their ideas to change the course of lives. As we move further into the digital age and more opportunities arise for determined entrepreneurs, I’d like to take the time to look back on some of the most notable success stories of all time and how they made names for themselves.


Michael Dell


The now-famous founder of Dell Computers was actually a college dropout. His work in building computers started with him personally manufacturing and selling the machines. Making $6 million in his first year, Dell never looked back. His analytical mind was able to easily segment demographics and pinpoint areas of need and capitalize them, something that had made Dell Computers one of the largest PC makers in the world.


Madam CJ Walker


A black female self-made millionaire ahead of her time, Sarah Breedlove, who later became known as Madam CJ Walker, was born to a family of former slaves in 1867. Her interest in hair care began by observing her brothers, who worked as barbers. She went on to identify a need for cosmetic and hair products that catered to black women, a market that had not been addressed. Though Walker experienced constant resistance due to her gender and race, she revolutionized her industry and died the wealthiest black woman in America.


Benjamin Franklin


Ben Franklin, immortalized on the $100 bill, is a great example of how entrepreneurship can change history. Outside of his exploits as one of America’s founding fathers, his discovery that lightning was electrical in nature led to his invention of the lightning rod and numerous other scientific discoveries. A true Renaissance Man, Franklin’s career saw him wear numerous hats as a scientist, diplomat, inventor, and political theorist, similar to the myriad of demands placed on the modern founder of any startup.


Evan Williams


The founder of Twitter, Evan Williams is a serial entrepreneur that helps reinforce the notion that there are always more ideas to explore. Another college dropout, Williams worked in information systems before cofounding Blogger, which was later acquired by Google. After that, his work on podcast company Odeo gave rise to the idea of a microblogging platform—which became the Twitter that we all know and love later on.


Hans Christian Anderson


The famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson is responsible for a plethora of the stories that have influenced our culture today. Born into poverty, Anderson’s career involved failed attempts to become an actor or singer. Still, Anderson was determined, and after an unpleasant stint in school began to publish his writing, which became incredibly popular. Though he had earned his fame, he never forgot his origins, publishing stories inspiring by the poverty he had grown up in.


Andrew Carnegie


Our last entry on this list, Andrew Carnegie was not always the steel baron he is known as today. From a child working in factories, Carnegie strove to start his own businesses, eventually making it big with the Carnegie Steel Mill. He is immortalized in the American consciousness not only through his prowess as a businessman, but for his generosity, donating 90% of his wealth to philanthropic causes, often libraries and educational institutions. Carnegie shows us that, even in the midst of success, one should never forget to give back to others.


Originally posted on Linkedin

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