Most Famous Entrepreneurs of All Time

Early experience, not trial and error, was the path to success for Andrew Carnegie, Joyce Hall, Jan Koum and other big names

Most Famous Entrepreneurs of All Time

Some successful entrepreneurs succeed only after doing well in another career: they may have mastered work as a consultant or executive officer and used the skills they had acquired to build their own business.

Perhaps, alternatively, they started a business with almost no experience — and little money to fund their efforts.

For example, instead of raising money through crowd funding or investor financing, some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history — especially those who used crowd funding and the Internet — raised money by selling their possessions or using the resources they already had. Perhaps, instead of depending on a wealth of knowledge to guide their decisions, they learned to travel by trial and error.


It's much easier to grasp how this happens when you look at the past cases of successful entrepreneurs that have taken these particular directions. Here are some of the best examples of this:



  1. Andrew Carnegie 

You definitely remember Andrew Carnegie 's name, since he's one of the most successful entrepreneurs and wealthiest industrialists of all time. However, as a consequence of formal schooling or business-related history, he did not inherit his money. Instead, he dropped out of school at a young age and spent much of his youth doing manual labour. He was a bobbin boy at a local cotton mill, and then he became a telegraph messenger. It wasn't until he learned himself how to read and entered the railroad business that he started creating an empire that would give him (and his family) a fortune.



  1. John Paul DeJoria

You may not have heard of John Paul DeJoria, but you have definitely indulged in some of the beauty items synonymous with his name. Now a multi-billionaire and one of the most experienced pioneers in recent history, DeJoria has become a newspaper courier. He worked as a tow truck driver and a janitor to make the ends meet. He finally found a way to work at a haircare firm, where he met his future wife, Paul Mitchell. With little expertise and a $700 loan, the pair started up a firm now known as John Paul Mitchell Systems. From there, DeJoria co-founded the Patron Spirits and the Blues Building.

  1. Harland sanders 

If someone asked you for a loan to start a restaurant, but you didn't have any formal culinary training or experience, would you make that loan? It seems insane to believe that someone will become a good restaurant maker with no experience in the business, but that's just what Harlan "Colonel" Sanders was able to do. When he started his line of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, the only experience he had was cooking as a child for his siblings and working at a number of odd jobs.



  1.  Joyce hall 

The maker of Hallmark Cards did not come from a large tradition of writing greeting cards, nor did he — yes, this Joyce was a "he"—have a lot of experience as a successful entrepreneurs. Instead, he began selling cosmetics to his friends, and started selling postcards to gift shops and bookstores. It was only after the fire destroyed most of his stock that he used to make his own cards. From there, he was about to start a chain that earned him millions of people.

  1. Jan Koum

Jan Koum doesn't receive as much coverage or exposure as any other software startup creator, but his tale is both shocking and impressive. Koum immigrated with his family to California after fleeing a tiny village in Ukraine. He didn't have a lot of education, but he learned to teach himself the basics of computer science in his spare time. When he was 18 years old, considering his lack of formal schooling or experience, he was able to draw Yahoo's interest! , where he cut off his teeth as an infrastructure engineer. After operating for a few years in the new computer business, Koum saw the value of making his own software and released WhatsApp. He sold it for 19 billion dollars in 2014.

A note to take the plunge


These tales of successful entrepreneurs can serve as evidence that you can get through without experience; they can provide encouragement that you, too, can do this. What these stories are not, however, is an invitation to avoid working experience or to jump into an entrepreneurial world without thinking.

What's Your Reaction?