Thrive Global
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4 Inspiring Entrepreneurs Who Went from Zero to Hero

It’s one thing to build a thriving business with the accumulated wealth of a previously successful business but nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone succeeding without any capital, funding, and sometimes even education or experience.

These are the people who dared to dream, hustle, and succeed. These are the people who went on to become heroes from a complete no-one. These are the people who started from nothing and went on to become true success stories. These are the real entrepreneurs.

Let’s see how did these people accomplish such unlikely feats by going against the odds and learn a thing or two from these extraordinary entrepreneurs.

1. Dhirubhai Ambani

The entrepreneurial journey of one of the most successful entrepreneurs is reminiscent of the rags-to-riches story. His journey started at 16, when he moved to Aden (Yemen) where he worked as a gas-station attendant, and as a clerk in an oil company.

In 1958, he came back to India and set up a textile trading company. It was the turning point that changed everything for him. By 1976–77, Reliance had an annual turnover of massive 70 crore rupees. That was just the beginning. Soon after, Reliance became the first Indian company to feature in the Forbes 500 list. He was also voted as the “greatest creator of wealth in the century” by The Times of India in 2000.

Lesson learned: Futuristic outlook, indomitable will, and a burning passion.

“Successful entrepreneurs manage their tasks and time perfectly. Use ProofHub and stay on top of everything.”

2. Jan Koum

Jan Koum is the Co-founder and CEO of the globally famous mobile messaging application — Whatsapp. The man who revolutionized instant messaging was born in the rural areas of Kiev, Ukraine. He lived in a house that did not have electricity in a country having a temperature below 0 degrees mostly.

In 1992, Jan and his mother moved to Mountain View, California where he worked as a cleaner at a grocery store. Unfortunately, he lost his mother to Cancer after a few years. During this time, he developed an interest in networking and programming and got himself enrolled at San Jose State University. Jan also worked with Ernst & Young for some time. In 2009, Whatsapp was launched and the rest is history!

Lesson learned: Never too old to start a business

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3. Oprah Winfrey

Before she became a media mogul, Winfrey’s life was filled with adversities and hardships. Not only she grew up in extreme poverty, but also faced years of sexual and physical abuse. She discovered her passion for media during her high school and got a few gigs as a local anchor before landing a co-anchor position.

In 1986, she made a career-transforming move by founding a production house of her own and took ownership of the ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ that made her a lot of fortune. She is also actively involved in the entertainment business and philanthropic work.

Lesson learned: Go with your gut instinct

4. Roman Abramovich

The man who started his life as an orphan is currently known as the fourth richest man in Russia and the 50th wealthiest in the world. In his early life, Roman Abramovich did several odd jobs. He worked as a mechanic at local factories, sold perfume, toothpaste and shaving cream etc.

In 1987, he started his first business venture with a small plastic toy company. With his sharp business sense, he kept expanding his business by purchasing and selling small and medium-size companies. Soon after he took the world by storm by owning the Chelsea Football Club of U.K.

Lesson learned: Be a hard negotiator and give back to the society

So, what can we learn from these entrepreneurial stories?

The biggest takeaway from these inspirational stories is that as long as you’re willing to work hard and take necessary risks, nothing can stop you from succeeding.

Before you start your journey as an entrepreneur, bear in mind a true entrepreneur is both a dreamer and a doer. Let no one discourage you. Take risks and be your own motivation. As Peter Drucker said, “The entrepreneur always searches for a change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Are there are any entrepreneurs you admire? Yes, tell us about them in comments below and how they have inspired you to become entrepreneurs.

Author Bio:

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, “Let’s go!” instead of “Go!” many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.



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Sandeep Kashyap

Sandeep Kashyap


Internet Entrepreneur, CEO of SDP Labs and Founder of ProofHub