Surprising Past Jobs of 10 Successful Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You!

You know the success stories of each of these individuals — you know that they are now household names in their respective industries.

But do know their complete stories? What were these seemingly easy successes doing before their businesses took off?

Read on to find out!

1. Do Won Chang — Janitor to Founder, Forever 21

image courtesy: vulcanpost

When an immigrant from Korea migrated to America with his wife, he had hopes of building himself a better life than the one he had had while in Korea — serving coffee and juice to customers.

But luck didn’t smile upon Chang in a hurry. He held 3 jobs in his initial years in the new country; working in a coffee shop in the morning, a gas station in the afternoon and as a janitor at night.

These were in addition to the array of other odd jobs he held — dishwashing, delivery, anything physically demanding.

Eventually he decided to give the fashion industry a go as, to him, all the owners of luxury cars seemed to belong to the garment industry.

And so it was that Chang and his wife opened the first store in Los Angeles called Fashion 21. Later they changed the name of their brand to Forever 21 and have now increased operations to over 50 countries and 480 stores.

2. Howard Schultz — Bartender to CEO, Starbucks

image courtesy: addicted2success

When you come from ‘the other side of the tracks’, there isn’t a lot easily available to you in the way of opportunities and resources.

But for Howard Schultz, a boy who grew up in housing projects in Brooklyn, limitations were not to stand in the way of his ambitions.

Though he had won a Football Scholarship to college, he didn’t want to keep playing, so instead paid his way through bartending gigs and even selling his blood.

Later he held a job at Xerox before moving on. It was only by the age of 29 that Schultz encountered Starbucks, a chain of 3 coffee shops, mainly selling ground coffee for home usage.

Soon after, Schultz had the epiphany of people having a personal relationship with their coffee, and the rest as they say, is history!

3. Jeff Bezos — Rancher to Founder, Amazon

image courtesy: biography

Shopping online for books was synonymous with Amazon till shopping online for anything at all became a part of the Amazon experience.

But before Jeff Bezos became the man behind the incredible shopping experience that is Amazon, he was Jeff Bezos, a young boy working on his grandfather’s ranch in Texas.

He was a right little farmhand, doing odd chores around the ranch, vaccinating and castrating cattle and fixing windmills.

He also spent a summer during school taking up a unfulfilling job as a McDonald’s empire.

Nowadays he sits atop his $4 billion dollar worth throne and enjoys as a hobby his fascination with rockets.

4. Jack Ma — Tourist guide to Founder, Alibaba

image courtesy: techinasia

When Jack Ma was a little boy riding his bicycle in isolated communist China, he’d have hardly imagined himself soon emerging as the face of Chinese e-commerce.

Before Alibaba was born, a few decades back, there was a time when Ma, a conscientious little boy, would ride his bicycle around his hometown of Hangzhou, guiding tourists to different spots in the city, in exchange for being tutored in English.

It was during his stint as a tour guide that Ma was christened ‘Jack’ by a tourist he befriended because his original name in Chinese was too difficult to pronounce.

5. Reed Hastings — High school math teacher to Co-Founder, Netflix

image courtesy: thedrum

Americans equate watching a movie or TV show with Netflix, that’s the extent to which the company has grown and become a part of people’s daily lives.

Today, of course, co-founder Reed Hastings is reaping the benefits of the genius idea he had to provide on-demand internet streaming, but there was a time when he was more modestly employed.

He was once a member of the Peace Corps and through them went to Swaziland where he ended up teaching maths to high school students.

It was this experience that emboldened him when it came to starting a business of his own.

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