The world is full of people trying to make money, with new business ideas and dreams that they hope to take flight into reality. Some people fail, and some people make it big.
To start the New Year with inspiring thoughts, here is a list of 10 entrepreneur role models to emulate in business and life, all for very different reasons.
10. Estee Launder
Estee Lauder was the only woman on TIME magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century. She started her business working her uncle’s company which sold beauty creams.
She started to sell them to her friends, and eventually impressed enough to sell them at a major salon. She eventually persuaded department stores to give her counter space and utilised a personal selling approach that is still used today in the beauty industry.
She felt that the secret in her success is that she never worked a day in her life without selling, and if she believed in something she would sell it. She believed in the products that she sold and believed that any woman could be beautiful.
9. James Watt
James Watt’s invention; the steam engine lay the foundation of the industrial revolution and he is considered one of the most important people in the history of the world.
He hated negotiating with people and was self admittedly a bad businessman, as he was much more of an inventor but shows that invention can take you places.
8. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is a man with a vision. Armed with an undergraduate degree in economics and a second bachelor’s degree in physics, he founded PayPal, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX – all extremely successful companies in completely different industries. With SpaceX, he aims to build reusable spacecraft for commercial space travel and eventually establish a human colony on Mars.
With his visionary inventions and determination to take humankind to new frontiers, the workaholic Musk became the inspiration for Jon Favreau’s film depiction of genius billionaire, Tony Stark in the Iron Man franchise. His latest project, the Hyperloop, promises to cut the commute from from San Francisco to Los Angeles to half an hour.
7. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is today considered the most influential woman on the world, mainly through her critically acclaimed talk show. She is significantly involved in charitable work, and her influence through her talk show is thought by many to have paved the way of acceptance of homosexuality
Oprah was born in poverty, and raised on welfare by her mother. After a difficult child she managed to get a job on a part time radio station reading the news, and moved her way up to anchor the local news on television before moving into popular media.
Oprah Winfrey is perhaps a strongest example of how someone can come from nothing and really make a positive worldwide influence.
6. Mark Zuckerberg
The newest addition to the list – Zuckerberg is part of the social media sensation of the last few years and is the director of Facebook which he created from his college dormitory.
The concept of social media was not new, and there were other sites such as Faceparty, Myspace, and Bebo, but the founder of Facebook took an existing concept and made it better.
The biggest lesson from Zuckerberg is that you don't need to be an inventor. Click To Tweet If you’re able to improve on an idea, that can be enough to propel you to the heights of success.
5. Richard Branson
Richard Branson started off selling records from a stall on the sidewalk. He then gradually built up his media empire and grew into railroads, air transport, and telecommunications, branching into any opportunity that presented itself.
Branson is a very aggressive businessman and always seeks opportunity to grow and expand. His irreverent attitude to stuffy business culture is also an example of the fact that business and fun can coexist.
4. JP Morgan
JP Morgan was an American financier, banker and art collector who dominated corporate finance and made massive inroads into industrial consolidation during his time.
He modernized the business worlds thinking and managed to notably avert a financial crisis single handedly in 1907. He represents a dogged determination and calm head in crisis.
3. Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet was a child prodigy at financial matters. At a young age he was selling bubblegum, and started a pinball machine franchise when he was a teenager.
He first delved into the stock market when he was 11, and since then has grown to become the world’s richest man in 2008.
He stands for success that comes from immersing himself in what he does and understanding business and investment. Even now he is recognized as a worldwide authority in his field and investors hang on to his every word.
2. JD Rockefeller
JD Rockefeller is most well known for his domination of the oil industry in the 1800s. He started off as a clerk earning only 50 cents a day, but even then donated 10% to charity.
He helps us realise that charity doesn’t need to start when you have made it big. You can start small and grow from there.
1. Bill Gates
Although the dominance of Microsoft has faded somewhat, he was the first to embody the dominance of the computer era.
Today, his influence has waned since he devotes most of his time to charity, but in the 1990s, his vision gave him the title of the richest man in the world.