6 Well-Known Billionaires Who Started off with Nothing

J.K. Rowling

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A great “rags to riches” story is always inspirational. A lot people in the business and entertainment world already have their foot in the door with a parent, aunt, or a sibling. It is always refreshing to see someone make it on their own with talent and a lot of really hard work.

John Rockefeller was an American Industrialist who was born in 1839. He is most famously known for 30 Rockefeller center in New York City, which was named after him. He was one of six siblings in a very poor family whose first job only brought in 50 cents per day. After a lot of hard work, Rockefeller founded Standard and Oil Company and became one of the world’s biggest philanthropists.


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J.K. Rowling is known all around the world for being the writer of the Harry Potter Series. After Rowling’s mother died and her divorce, she was a single mother living off of welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. Within 5 years, she went from living off of welfare to being a multimillionaire.

Oprah Winfrey spent her childhood living with her grandmother on a farm, due to her teenage mother searching for work. It has been reported that she was sexually molested at an early age. Oprah won a Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant at 17, which helped her get a journalism job in Baltimore, and later to be the person we know her as today.

Li Ka-Shing is a Hong King business man. When he was 15 years old, he was forced to quit school in order to support his poor family. He world at a plastics factory, and eventually he was able to start his own business with the knowledge he learned at the factory. As of today, he is one of the wealthiest self-made billionaires in Asia, and gives billions of it to charities every year.

Ursula Burns today is the Chairman and CEO of Xerox. She grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City, back when there were even more gangs and drug addicts all over the streets. Regardless of that, her mother made sure she was able to get a college degree. Due to her mom’s help, she became the first American-American women to run a Fortune 500 company.

Richard Desmond quit school at 14 and worked as a drummer and in a coat-check room to help his mother pay the bills, who lived with him in a garage apartment. His first real job was working for Thomson Newspapers in the advertisement department. At the young age of 22, he started his first magazine and now owns dozens of titles.

Hopefully no matter what background you have had, you will find these stories inspirational and go for your passion.


About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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