List of World’s Famous Entrepreneurs Along With Their Inspiring Thoughts

by Manas Chowdhury
20 minutes read

In 2021, most of the people who want to be entrepreneurs are intrigued by the idea of being their own boss. You can say that it is what drives them to start up a new venture alone, or with family/friends as partners. And about 96% of the self-employed population do not want to go back to their regular jobs. At present, there are about 582 million entrepreneurs in the world, out of which 252 are women. You will also be stunned to know that 90% of all billionaires in America have created their own fortunes through entrepreneurship. In fact, the US has a Global Entrepreneurship Index of 83.6. 

You may think that for being an entrepreneur, one needs to have a high qualification or experience. No! Only about 30% of global entrepreneurs have a proper high-school degree. And more than 40% of entrepreneurs did not even attend business classes or have anything to do with professional qualifications. 

While these stats don’t undermine the importance of studies, one needs to understand that entrepreneurship is independent of all these factors. One just needs to have a clear mindset and a proper strategy to establish his/her business. And there is also no reason to think that most startups are destined to fail. About 78% of small businesses in the US are profitable, which shatters this myth once and for all. 

So, how do these entrepreneurs succeed? What are their mottos in life? Is there any success mantra to create a business and make it globally recognized over some time? 

You can know only when you get an idea about the success stories of some of the world’s famous entrepreneurs, who have made their mark in their fields through patience, perseverance, and hard work. Even the women of the 21st century have managed to create an impact through their entrepreneurship ventures. 

In this post, we will discuss the journeys, thoughts, and practices of the most successful and popular entrepreneurs in different business sectors to get inspired and gain the required motivation to start up. 

So, here goes:

Famous entrepreneurs from digital and technology sector

One of the biggest booms in entrepreneurship has been witnessed in the digital and technology sector. There have been many instances where a single idea shared among 3-5 people escalated to a multi-million dollar establishment in less than 10 years. The founders of these ideas, the entrepreneurs, are confident and visionary individuals, who managed to garner funds for their startups and survived all odds to transform the small businesses into global enterprises.

Besides their ideas and the strategies to establish those, innovations in technology have been the reason behind this upward trajectory. Some of the names that we could think of have been mentioned below, along with some inspiring details of their respective journeys. 

Bill Gates

One of the richest men on the globe, the founder of Microsoft, and a renowned social philanthropist through the Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates’s current net worth stands somewhere around $131 billion. He realized his eternal love for coding when he was in school and was asked to write a program for scheduling students in the classes. He even tweaked the code a bit to fit into a class with a disproportionate number of girls. Most of us know that he dropped out of college, and none other than Harvard University, to pursue his dreams and achieve his vision to establish Microsoft Corporation.

One may not know but he was not quite the dude when it came to being a boss. He was a workaholic and wanted his employees to be the same. He even memorized the license plates of their cars only to check when they arrived and left the office. However, it is his perseverance and the hard work and dedication of his employees that have made Microsoft what it is today. The company is valued at $2.493 trillion, undoubtedly making it the most valuable enterprise in the world today. 

An inspiration in himself, the world’s fourth-richest man thinks, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking that they can’t lose.” 

What he meant here is, when we become successful, we tend to forget all the good things that made us reach there. A fake sense of self-worth and the feeling of vanity that stops one from identifying the red flags should be avoided to prevent a major downfall. It is one of the greatest things about success and vanity that we learned from the horse’s mouth. 

Samantha Snabes

One of the most inspiring journeys has been of Samantha Snabes, the former NASA employee and a current tech entrepreneur and founder of re:3D. Her career graph has been something out of the ordinary, and there is little doubt that hers is a name written in gold in the history of tech entrepreneurship. She has also been a former captain of the Mississippi Air National Guard, thus adding another feather to her hat of accomplishments.

Her venture, re:3D is currently producing the world’s most affordable industrial 3D printer. But she is not going to stop at that. Samantha Snabes is also planning to go ahead with her mission to develop a printer that can recycle garbage and print 3D materials from waste. 

When asked in an interview, she narrated how she got inspired to come up with the idea while working as a deputy strategist in NASA. On her trip to Rwanda and Nicaragua with other scientists and researchers for a special project called Engineers Without Borders, she was shocked beyond words to see the amount of waste (especially plastic) that filled the land and immediately wanted to do something about it. She and her colleagues got into a chat, which laid the basis for Gigabot, her 3D printing venture.

She managed to develop the world’s first life-sized industrial 3D printer, whose current upgrade is the Gigabot X, which can turn plastic waste into something as precious as a COVID-19 face shield, along with other stuff.  

According to Snabes, “Failure is the only way we ever get to greatness.”

Elon Musk

If we start talking about all of Musk’s achievements, it will fill an entire book. So, we are going to keep it short here. He is undoubtedly the world’s richest man today, with a net worth of $335 billion, which is way more than the combined GDP of several countries. And yes, he made it all through toil and sweat. Besides being the CEO and lead designer of SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, Musk is also the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, the electric automobile company, valued at $208 billion.

Musk began his entrepreneurship journey when he was just 12, by selling his code for a video game to a tech magazine at $500. Today, his company, SpaceX, is dedicated to easing the costs and hassles of space travel. The 50-year old entrepreneur is quite cool in his life and is said to enjoy drinking whiskey and smoking marijuana. He confessed it in a live podcast interview with Joe Rogan. He is also quite the philanthropist and has donated about $5 million to Khan Academy, the online learning organization in 2021. 

Some of his quotes that inspire millions of budding entrepreneurs and the common people are:

“If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.”

“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Okay, well, we all know about him because of Facebook. But his tech career started right from mid-school when he created an instant messaging app called ZuckNet to help his dentist father know about the arrival of his patients. He also co-created the Synapse Media Player, an early Spotify, with Adam D’Angelo (the founder of Quora), which even Microsoft wanted to acquire. But Mark went ahead, refusing the offer, got the patent, and went to college.

Do you even know why the theme color of Facebook is blue? It is because Zuckerberg has a special kind of color blindness to red-green shades. After launching Facebook, he got several offers to sell it, from established organizations, like Google, Viacom, MBC, NewsCorp, and again, Microsoft. But he refused them all, and ultimately acquired Instagram in 2009 and WhatsApp in 2014. Now, the three apps are a revolution in themselves and combinedly a product of the Mark Zuckerberg brand. 

With a net worth of $120.9 billion, Zuckerberg believes, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Leah Busque Solivan

The founder of TaskRabbit, which was originally known as RunMyErrand, has an interesting story to tell about what inspired her to become an entrepreneur. One night, she ran out of dog food and targeted someone at the grocery store to get her some in exchange for a payment for their services.

When she was successful in doing that, she thought of it as a great way to start her online marketplace, TaskRabbit, which aims to connect freelance laborers with local customers and appease their demands to earn a good sum. Everyday tasks, like laundry, groceries, dropping the kids to school, etc. could be accomplished with TaskRabbit, thus reducing the hassles of local customers, as well as creating earning opportunities for interested individuals. 

However, she never thought that her idea would escalate into a successful venture, scaling more than 40 cities and raising venture capital funding worth $50 million. But it did. Also, in 2016, Leah took the position of executive chairwoman in the company from CEO. 

She had her own share of struggles though, trying to please investors and garner funding for her idea. She confessed that she went through a lot of stress, and she believes that the only way to achieve success is not to forget oneself in the run. 

To quote her words, “What I really counsel and advise my founders to do is to be very cognizant of themselves and their needs because if they are not taking care of themselves first, then it’s not a sustainable way to operate a company, operate a business, operate your life, and really, it can be dangerous.”

Steve Jobs

Is there anyone who does not know him? The co-founder of Apple in 1976, Jobs was forced to resign in 1985 and again joined the company in 1996 to serve as the CEO until he died in 2011. Besides Apple Inc, Jobs made his mark in the tech field because of several reasons. He launched the smartphone revolution and made music players portable and fun for a mass audience. He also acquired Pixar in 1986, which ultimately evolved into an animation studio.

After being marginalized by the Apple directors, Jobs went ahead and founded another company, NeXT, which though was not a market success, remained a milestone in his career and raised a lot of curiosity among programmers and academics. After returning to Apple, he made several other innovations and developed the App Store, the iTunes music store and also released the MacBook Pro in 2006. 

One may wonder how much a person can achieve throughout his lifetime, but you will be stunned to know that Jobs, like Bill Gates, was also a college dropout.

His quote, “Stay Hungry, stay foolish,” is undoubtedly one of the famous entrepreneur quotes of the millennium and continues to inspire millions. 

Larry Page

The co-founder of Google, Larry Page joined hands with his schoolmate Sergey Brin to launch the search engine giant, Google, in 1998. They were PHD students at Stanford University then. Page remained the CEO of the company before giving up his position to Eric Schmidt in 2001. He was always intrigued by computers, from a tender age of six.

And when Page was only 12, he knew that he was going to start a technology business some day. He completed graduation in computer science from the University of Michigan, and it was during his time, he developed an Inkjet printer from Lego bricks. It made him the president of the HKN in 1994 and also one of the members of the solar car team.

But did you know that the name “Google” was actually a type error by Page, when he was seeking to register his business idea in Sergey and his name? Yes, it is initially planned as “Googol”. 

Larry Page is a man who vouches for change, good change. According to him, “If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.”

He also opined, “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”

Certainly the lessons that every startup owner should abide by! 

Sergey Brin

How can we end his section without mentioning Sergey Brin when already his partner (in Google) has been? So let the drums roll for the youngest member in the Forbes 400 list of rich people in the world. Both he and Page tied on that list, and Brin was only 31 then. Then again, according to the Forbes 2016 list of rich men, Brin stood 13th.

It needs to be mentioned here that Google was started by brin and page in a garage and was funded initially by family and friends. He met Page while pursuing PhD in computer science at Stanford University. Today, his net worth is approximately $121 billion, and the man is currently working on the technology for self-driving automobiles along with his other ventures. 

One of the powerful quotes by Brin goes as, “Some say Google is God. Others say Google is Satan. But if they think Google is too powerful, remember that with search engines unlike other companies, all it takes is a single click to go to another search engine.”

Famous entrepreneurs from business and investment sector

Although all entrepreneurs are essentially business people, some are just too specific to the category and need separate mentions. They have been more into making intelligent decisions, investments, and accumulating resources in their lifetime. And these people have also made their mark in several fields (technological or otherwise) through their experience, knowledge, and the ability to make the right decisions at the right time. Let us now give you the names!

Ratan Tata

This Indian businessman has been the heart and soul of the business culture in India. The former chairman of the Tata Group, he completed business studies at Harvard and also studied architecture at Cornell University College of Architecture. The Tata Consultancy Services became public during his reign in 2004.

He was also the mind behind Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world. His primary objective was to make four-wheelers affordable for one and all. Throughout his business life, he has invested in numerous startups, like Ola, PayTM, Curefit, Snapdeal, FirstCry, Lenskart, and so on. Today, the net worth of Ratan Tata stands somewhere around $1 billion, even at the age of 83. 

He was a man of words. Some of his quotes go beyond the realm of business and can inspire one in his/her life as well. 

“I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.”

Tata also believed that “Business need to go beyond the interest of their companies to the communities they serve.” 

His constant inspiration has been the motivation for many startups – “I have been constantly telling people to encourage people, to question the unquestioned and not to be ashamed to bring up new ideas, new processes to get things done.”

Jeff Bezos

If you do not already know, he is the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, one of the world’s famous entrepreneurs, a computer engineer, and also an investor. He is the first person to have accumulated personal wealth of over $200 billion in August 2020. According to Forbes, his net worth is somewhere around $182 billion, as of January 2021. So, there’s not a shred of doubt that he is one of the richest men in the world today.

Not all of you are aware that Bezos also played an alien in a 2016 movie, where Chris Pine was quoted saying that he arrived on the set with three limousines and nine bodyguards. His appearance in the Sci-Fi movie has its origins in his passion for space travel. He has also invested resources in building space crafts and commercial rockets under his venture, the “Blue origin”.

One more thing that you should know about the man is, he owns 47% of the US eCommerce market, but all the revenue that his company garners is reinvested in market share. You can even say that there is no personal profit. 

Quoting this intelligent investor of modern times, “If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.”

He also believes, “Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”

Something to ponder, right?

Richard Branson

To everyone, he is one of the world’s famous entrepreneurs and the founder of the Virgin Group that covers multiple sectors from telecommunications, banking, music, and entertainment. But only a few people know that he is a dynamic man, an adventurer, who has swum across the Atlantic, made several balloon journeys, and is also a social media influencer with over 40 million followers. The man also blogs on several topics, from business to the environment, and has a dedicated follower list there as well. 

He always wanted to bring about positive changes in the world, and his entrepreneurial ideas date back to the time when he was just 15. His entrepreneurship services were recognized by the entire world when he was knighted at Buckingham Palace for the same in 2000. But one thing that may startle you – Branson could never afford to live in a house, as he was a school dropout, but he managed to purchase a houseboat for 2000 pounds. Well, the number 2000 does hold quite some significance in his life. Oh yes, and he also owns a submarine!

His quotes cover several topics apart from business. One can get truly motivated by those:

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

“Hard-won things are more valuable than those that come too easily.”

“How slim the line is between genius and insanity and between determination and stubbornness.”

Jack Ma Yun

The Chinese business tycoon, investor, and globally–recognized philanthropist has enough reasons to make it to this famous entrepreneurs’ list. Besides being the co-founder and former executive chairperson of the Alibaba Group, Ma also co-founded a private equity firm, Yunfeng Capital. He is known to be one of the earliest people in China to get connected to the web, and a fun fact is, his first search was for beer.

The name ‘Jack’ is also not his birth name. A tourist named him so, as he had difficulty pronouncing his real name, Ma Yun. Alibaba was not Ma’s first venture into business or entrepreneurship for that matter. It was a translation company, the Hangzhou Hope Translation Agency, which was founded in 1994 to communicate and do business with foreign investors. 

The global business magnate and intelligent investor did not believe that you should give up on ambition. Instead, he opined, “You have got to keep trying, and if it doesn’t work, you always can revert back to what you were doing before.”

Famous entrepreneurs from beauty and fashion industry

Entrepreneurship in the beauty and fashion sector is also witnessing a steady rise, owing to the demand for enhanced products and everyday style tips. Fashion is no longer a thing only for the models and the wealthy. It is all about public and social presentation these days. From getting clicked at the airport to attending work in a fashionable outfit, everything that we see around us is linked to fashion, some way or the other. 

And the beauty industry is not an exception. People are more concerned with their looks than ever. And it is not only about makeup, but a conscious awareness of how to take care of your skin in adverse weather conditions and prevent aging. Numerous brands have mushroomed all over the world led by eminent personalities (entrepreneurs) who aim to change the entire concept of beauty and fashion.

Not only women but beauty and fashion are also very much accessible to fashionable men these days. Let us get down to some names now. 

Pat McGrath

A British makeup specialist, and now the world’s famous and undoubtedly the most sought-after catwalk makeup artist, Pat McGrath has achieved immense success in the field of makeup. She launched her brand Pat McGrath labs in Europe and it is already breaking records nationally and beyond the borders. The lady is obsessive about makeup and travels with as many as 87 trunks of makeup from one capital to another.

From catwalks to advertising campaigns, photoshoots for the biggest fashion publications (online and offline), Pat has made her mark in the fashion industry for quite some time now. She accepts that she is addicted to makeup, and her regular makeup regime consists of a mix of five foundations and two lipsticks combined to create a peculiar frenzy.

In an interview with Sarah Mower in 2007 for Vogue, Pat revealed that she loved to mix the colors, as there were not many shades for the colored skin tone in her days. 

The gorgeous makeup lady with a net value of over $700 million believes, “…that the most extraordinary results occur when one feels unbound by any notion of constraint or limitation…”

Anita Roddick

The founder and owner of Body Shop, Anita never aimed to get rich. Neither did she expect it. She merely wanted to emphasize on developing body care products from natural ingredients. She also had a tremendous concern and love for the environment and wanted to preserve it as much as possible.

However, her efforts got recognized far beyond her expectations, as Body Shop Ltd. managed to garner $16 billion and went on to become a renowned global cosmetics business, making Roddick one of the richest women in the world, let alone England. 

You may not know but Anita opened a small shop to sell her cosmetics made from natural ingredients by taking a loan of $6,500 to earn a living and support her daughters. It was located in the seaside region of Brighton, the first Body Shop that is. She painted the walls green to cover damp areas and even gave discounts to the customers who promised to bring back the empty containers. Everything was so minimal about her business!

But who knows the future? In 1977, The Body Shop had become so popular that Roddick started selling franchises, and in 1984, she made it public. 

She had a strange and witty demeanor that is clearly reflected in her quotes – “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

Roddick was also an avid traveler, who “traveled enormously during the 1960’s, when you measured everything by where you traveled and what you did as travelers.”

She is no more with us, but her words will continue to inspire generations of entrepreneurs. 

Emily Weiss

The founder and CEO of Glossier, a stunning and successful beauty brand, Emily Weiss was formerly a writer. Yes, a beauty columnist for Teen Vogue, she reached marketing popularity through the years. The Gloss was her beauty blog where she wrote about the beauty habits of influential women and their wardrobes.

During her magazine internship, she carried on with blogging as a side project and worked regularly on it. She invited those influential style icons to talk about their beauty regime, which ultimately laid the foundation for her enterprise, the Glossier. Besides Teen Vogue, Emily also worked at other publications, namely, the W and Vogue. One of her success mantras is giving the right responsibilities to the right group of people at the right time. 

Quoting her, “You can make a million excuses for why something didn’t go well, but ultimately, just fix it and get on with it. Be a solutions person.”

Alex Doyle

He is a young entrepreneur seeking to break the stigmas around men’s cosmetics. His makeup line, Altr For men, has garnered a lot of popularity in recent years. You may be stunned to know that the idea was initially based on his suffering with acne throughout his young days. He sought to find accessible and affordable makeup and cosmetics for younger men with similar skin issues, and the idea has grabbed quite many eyeballs.

At first, he started his venture by selling through eCommerce giants like Amazon besides his own platform. But now, he has partnered with the online giant through its launchpad program. He has sold about 2,500 items to date, with the most popular ones being a concealer called Face Fix and a whiskey-infused moisturizer for men. 

His motivation behind Altr For Men has been “trying to reach those who feel a bit nervous about purchasing makeup never mind working out how to apply it – or those who are slyly stealing their girlfriend’s concealer when a breakout occurs! That’s why we’ve made Face Fix as simple to use as possible.”

Simon Duffy

The founder of Bulldog Skincare, Simon Duffy has had a lot of motivation to launch his first business in 2007. By that time, he saw that men were investing more in skincare than they ever did. He decided to take the trend a level up by involving natural ingredients and focusing on sustainable skincare.

From manufacturing to delivery, Bulldog Skincare does everything to keep the processes as natural as possible. It has added another feather to Duffy’s glory, leading to the company winning several grooming awards and reaching an annual retail sale of $100m.

Bulldog Skincare also has its presence in about 30 countries across the globe, making Duffy one of the most successful beauty entrepreneurs of his time. However, he sold the company in 2016 and moved on to Waken, his new venture that mainly focuses on manufacturing affordable oral products, like toothpaste and mouthwashes. He is all set to disrupt the dental industry with his products, which are now available on Amazon and Ocado as well. 

When asked about his drive in an interview, Duffy was quoted saying, “What interested me about both skincare and dental care is my passion for sustainability and for the ethics around animal cruelty. Before launching Bulldog and Waken, I found it frustrating that products in these areas were not more readily available in everyday stores like supermarkets.”

Famous entrepreneurs from social and philanthropy sector

In this age, there are some entrepreneurs, whose main drive was to do something for the entire humankind – something that would help uplift their spirits or give them a direction to lead their lives in a fulfilling manner. These philanthropists went on to become some of the world’s famous entrepreneurs with all their philosophies and achievements helping mankind some way or the other.

The social entrepreneurs of the 21st century are more concerned about the welfare of all species, let alone humans. They strive to create a balance and help people find a midway between consumerism and sustainability. Let us get down to some names now:

Oprah Winfrey

With a net worth of $3.5 billion and a fan following that spans several countries, hers is the first name that comes to mind while speaking about social philanthropists. She is lovingly called the “Queen of Media” by her followers, because of her exceptional speech quality. She has been a gifted speaker since her young days and used to speak at Church events.

However, her goal was to be a broadcast journalist, and after winning a speech pageant (Miss Teen Fire Prevention pageant), she was offered the job of newsreader in a local radio station. But it was not before she joined the TV talk show, “People Are Talking”, as a host that she recognized her calling. But it was the morning show, “A.M. Chicago”, that laid the foundation for Oprah’s empire. In 1986, this particular show was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which marked the beginning of a new dawn in her life. 

Besides being a speaker, Winfrey also acted in some movies and was hailed as the most influential woman of her generation by none other than Life magazine. The Winfrey show lasted for 25 years, and after that, Oprah Winfrey added several other feathers to her hat as a social philanthropist and a motivational speaker. 

Some of her highly influential and impactful quotes have been jotted below:

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

Azim Premji

Azim Hasham Premji is an Indian business entrepreneur, who is also known as one of the most popular social icons across the globe. Besides being the founder and chairman of Wipro Limited, he is one person to be hailed as a philanthropist, who transferred about 8.6% of his stake to the Azim Premji Foundation, one of the biggest donations in the Indian history of charity. In 2011, he was also awarded the “Padma Vibhushan”, the second-highest honor for any civilian in India. 

While there cannot be a shred of doubt regarding his success in the business world, Premji believes, “Success is achieved twice. Once in the mind and the second time in the real world.”

George Soros

One of the world’s first philanthropists, George Soros has seen the brutalities of life like few others. He was born in 1930, in Hungary, and had his taste of intolerance and discrimination at quite a tender age. His family lived through the days of Jewish torture by the Nazi forces by forging documents and resisting “an evil force that was much stronger than we were…” 

After the war, when the communists rose to power in Hungary, Soros left for London and worked as a railway porter and a waiter to gather funds for his education. In 1956, he went to the US to make his mark in the finance and investment sector.

In fact, he became one of the most successful and popular investors in the US. But Soros was not satisfied with his fortune. He wanted to make it available for others like him. So he created the Open Society Foundation with the sole aim to support freedom of expression and action, act against discrimination of any form or nature, and garner respect for human rights.

But his philanthropic journey began not before 1979 when he started giving scholarships to the colored population in South Africa. In the early 2000s, he also raised his voice in support of same-sex marriage. You will be surprised to know that George Soros has used more than $32 billion from his personal fortune to fund the Open Society Foundation, which set on to fight social adversities and achieved quite a huge popularity. 

One of his famous quotes goes like this, “I am only rich because I know when I am wrong.”

Famous entrepreneurs from sports and athletics sector

Entrepreneurship is blooming everywhere and in each business sector. Sports and athletics is not an exception. However, entrepreneurship in this sector is mainly focussed on leveraging the business skills of sports professionals and giving them enough market knowledge to switch to business in the later years of their career. 

The athletics sector also helps many brands that approach former sportsmen (or women) as sponsors or advertisers flourish. Sometimes, these former athletes become entrepreneurs or investors to help other facades of the industry. Entrepreneurship in athletics is thus concerned mainly with the manufacture, development and marketing of products, from clothing, footwear to sports equipment or accessories, and services related to various games and sports. These world famous entrepreneurs thus help enhance the business aspect of sports and athletics, which in turn, helps the industry strengthen its commercial base.

Let us now talk about the achievements and inspiration of some world famous entrepreneurs in this field.

Tony Hawk

A legendary sportsman and skater, Tony Hawk now runs an empire of skating gear, equipment, video games, and media. In his sportsman days, he earned as many as 73 titles and invented several moves, dominating the skateboarding charts for over a decade. His first entrepreneurship venture, Birdhouse, was well known for its skateboarding accessories and equipment.

Soon, he started other ventures too, like Hawk Clothing, which offered children’s skating outfits and partnered with Activision, a software enterprise, to develop a video game on skateboarding. Then he went on to establish Tony Hawk Inc. which was set up with the primary objective to look over all Hawk’s ventures.

He also developed the Tony Hawk Foundation to help set up skating parks in neighborhoods with fewer resources. The sports entrepreneur also went on to write several books on skateboarding, of which his autobiography – Hawk : Occupation: Skateboarder, co-written with Sean Mortimer, was accepted globally. 

To quote this legendary sportsperson, “You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous.”

Alex Rodriguez

A professional baseball player, Alex Rodriguez had a tragic sports career, as he acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs in multiple instances. In his words, he “fell from the top of the mountain, all the way to the ground.” he did try to overcome the suspension that came after, but to no avail. Even when he returned after the suspension in 2015, he had lost his game by then. So he went into marketing and broadcasting, an alternative career. At first, he got a job at Fox Sports and ESPN as a sports commentator. He did some advertisements too, and his relationship with Jennifer Lopez also kept him in the spotlight for some time. 

But A-Rod didn’t want to stop at that. He pushed his mettle in real estate investment, ultimately becoming one of the world’s greatest investors. He launched A-Rod Corp, which works to develop residential real estate properties, as well as invest in sectors like, health clubs, auto dealerships, and of course, an esports startup business. A-Rod is also one of the prime investors in TruFusion, the US fitness chain, and one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. 

Do you know what message Alex has for budding entrepreneurs? 

“You have to give our young players 2,500 at-bats, which is about five years before we jump in and over-evaluate these young kids. The same is true in business: You need to put in a significant amount of time and effort before you can truly evaluate success or failure. You need to acquire your 10,000 hours. You need to make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes.”

Venus Williams

She became a professional athlete at the age of 14, and there has been no looking back since then. Besides her sportswoman career, Venus also signed endorsement deals with renowned brands, like Reebok, when she was only 15. Apart from that, she also had contracts with Electronic Arts, Craft, Tide, and Ralph Lauren. However, her entrepreneurship career didn’t start before she launched her interior design brand, V Starr Interiors.

It was her first venture off the court, it took off quite well, and was hired for several projects, including a luxury condo worth $6.5 million in 2012 for Boca Raton development. Venus’ company is now being run by seven women designers, including her, thus creating a perfect inspiration for women empowerment. 

Venus, along with Kelly E. Carter has also written a book for aspiring business leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, and the likes. It is called – Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession. She was listed among the New York Times bestsellers for the same. 

Venus is known for her straightforward and no-nonsense attitude. She said once, “Some people say I have an attitude–maybe I do…But I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does–that makes you a winner right there.”

Serena Williams

Yes, you are right! She is Venus’ sister, another bright star of the Willaims family. She made a massive impact in tennis not only with her sportswoman spirit but also as a role model for colored women, who wanted to make their mark in tennis and other sports. Her career took an upward trajectory when she was listed by Forbes as one of the richest self-made celebrities in 2019. However, she reached this point only after making several investments in tech companies, securing partnerships, and launching her own venture capital firm.

She has also supported multiple charity organizations, like the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Hearts of Gold, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Eva Longoria Foundation, Cure for MND Foundation, and many more. Together with her sister, Venus, she also became part owner of the Miami Dolphins, thus being the first African-American women to have ownership in the NFL franchise.  

She is a winner by heart but she was heard saying once, “I don’t like to lose — at anything — yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks.”

Famous entrepreneurs from entertainment industry, and all things creative

When talking about entrepreneurs and investors, one cannot ignore the glitzy and glamorous media and entertainment world. Many actors that we see and applaud on screen, and many others who couldn’t make it well on the silver screen, have created amazing examples for the young generations by expanding their careers as business owners, leaders, philanthropists, and so on. Besides actors, other creative professionals also went beyond their respective fields to become global entrepreneurs. Some of these names are:

David Ellison

When the son of Larry Ellison, the CEO, and co-founder of Oracle, entered Hollywood, most people rolled their eyes. Although he expressed his love for Cinema on numerous occasions, he was treated as an outsider. And when his movie “Flyboys”, based on World War I, was released, it performed poorly. Ellison then gave acting a break and became a financier for Paramount Pictures, sponsoring movies like, “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “MI – Ghost Protocol”. But that too didn’t go well.

In 2019, Ellison gave some local hits with his new company, “Skydance Media,” but it was not before he sold 10% of Skydance to Redbird Capital, a private investor, and Korean company, CJ Entertainment, that he received his worth through streaming content. In the pandemic, Skydance managed to sell about 29 movies and TV series, like “Heart of Stone” (Netflix), “The Tomorrow War” (Amazon), “The Old Guard” (Netflix), etc. Now Ellison proudly says that they have gone beyond the capital to flaunt progressive content for the new generations. 

He was noted saying in a Zoom interview, “There was a period of time where people just looked at us as money, and we knew that. But there has been a shift. Our content — the ideas, the execution — has become more important than our capital.”

Jessica Alba

Once a successful actress, her recent works did not do well, but failure never stopped her. Today, she has gone beyond her acting career to become one of the world’s famous entrepreneurs in the environment sector. Her range of eco-friendly products has become the talk of the town. From body care products to diapers and household goods, Alba’s The Honest Company has been garnering quite some attention of late. In 2017, The Honest Company had a value close to $1 billion with $250 million sales. Today, she has a net worth of $200 million. She is also well-known for her inspiring attitude and emphasis on women’s empowerment. 

To quote this actor-turned-businesswoman, “Being perfect is being flawed, accepting it, and never letting it make you feel less than your best.”

Sandra Bullock

Okay, you may know her as the driver lady from Keanu Reeves, “Speed” (1994), but Sandra Bullock has given more hits than you can count in her days. From “Miss Congeniality” (2000) to the space-thriller, “Gravity” (2013), and “Bird Box” (2018) on Netflix, Bullock’s acting career has always been a successful one. However, she is not only known as a 90s actress. Bullock has owned several businesses, ranging from a restaurant called Bess Bistro in Austin to her own production firm, “Fortis Films”. As of 2021, her net worth stands somewhere around $200 million. 

Bullock has had a strange but open-minded view about life in general. To quote her, I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we’re supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else’s idea of our happiness – what will make you a good citizen or a good wife or daughter or actress. Nobody says, ‘Just be happy – go be a cobbler or go live with goats.’

J.K. Rowling

The true, literal ‘mother’ of Harry Potter and his world of wizardry, the creator of a fictional parallel dimension that made our childhoods memorable in so many ways, J.K.Rowling has tasted poverty like few others in her field. She was an underemployed single mother, who also suffered from depression for some time. This dark phase in her life later formed the basis for the soul-stealing Dementors in her books.

But now, the lady with magic in her pen has an approximate net worth of $1 billion. She made her fortune by publishing her Harry Potter series, selling the copyrights to moviemakers, and many other related/unrelated investments. She was also mentioned in Forbes as the first US-dollar billionaire author, someone who made a massive fortune merely through the power of her pen. 

But do you know that her Harry Potter manuscript was rejected 12 times? Lo! Could you have imagined a childhood without it? We doubt it! 

She has always been quite determined about her efforts and gave her best in everything. Rowling believes, “It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Arianna Huffington

Have you heard the name of the website Huffington Post? Yes, it was named after Arianna Huffington, the co-founder, president and chief editor of the online publication. She has been a successful author (the writer of 15 books) , a nationally-acclaimed columnist, and even a radio host. Born in Greece, she moved to the UK when she was only 16 and completed her graduation in economics from the University of Cambridge.

She was also elected as the president of Cambridge Union, the debating society in the university. Her first book was published when she was only 23, and her second book was rejected by 37 publishers. Can you believe it? Before Huffington Post saw the light of the day in 2005, Arianna also ran, another online publication that even demanded resignation of the then President of the US, Bill Clinton. Currently, Huffington’s net worth is somewhere around $100 million. 

One of the famous entrepreneurs of her time, she believes, “Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”


So that is all about our successful entrepreneurs, who have self-made their careers, faced and overcame failures, and emerged victorious in the end. They have helped shape and reshape humanity for what it is today. Although some of them are not with us anymore, we can always remember their lessons to move ahead in life. 

Do you want to include any other famous entrepreneurs name in the list?

Related Posts