Throughout the centuries there have been people who have been fuelled by nothing but grit hard work and the burning desire to achieve. Sprinkle a little luck on this, and as a result, you’ll probably get yourself one of the world’s richest persons! These stories are living proof that if you’re willing to take risk and grab the right opportunity at the right time, you’ll see yourself on the cover of Forbes.
1. SIR RICHARD BRANSON – NET WORTH: 5.2 BILLION USD
Sir Richard Branson is one of Britain’s most talked-about billionaire success story. For those of you who don’t know him, he owns a conglomerate of businesses under the “Virgin Brand”. Some of his most popular products & services go by the name of Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile and certainly Virgin Galactic.
But his humble beginnings make the journey look almost impossible. Starting off his own magazine at the age of 16, Branson showed the tendency to take risks and starting a business. He set-up a mail order record business in 1970 by the name of Virgin Records and by the 80s was expanding his empire with full pace. Spread on almost every continent, Branson’s companies are thriving day by day.
2. LARRY ELLISON – NET WORTH: 51.9 BILLION USD
An American entrepreneur who is easily one of the world’s richest persons, Joseph Larry Ellison is the co-founder of the world-famous Oracle Corporation. The company is famous for its database that goes by the same name and is a global leader in the field.
Born in New York but brought up in Chicago, Larry grew up an orphan as his mother gave him away, not meeting her until he was 48! His adopted father lost all his fortune during the Great Depression. The string of difficulties continued to haunt Larry until he attended the University of Chicago and developed an interest in computing!
3. OPRAH WINFREY- NET WORTH: 2.9 BILLION USD
A woman who needs no introduction, Oprah Winfrey belongs to a poor family in Mississippi but had her fate turned upside down when she won a scholarship from the Tennessee State University.
At a time when racial tensions were running high, Oprah became the first African American TV correspondent, that too at age 19.
In 1983, she moved to Chicago and started hosting a talk-show, which would later on become “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Today, she’s an established host, author, producer and philanthropist.
4. ROMAN ABRAMOVICH – NET WORTH: 8.4 BILLION USD
A Russian billionaire success story. It doesn’t get any classier than this. Roman Abramovich was an orphan who grew up in Southern Russia in extreme poverty. Being raised by someone else and in a subarctic region, made him tough physically & mentally.
He started off with a small company producing plastic toys but eventually ventured into the oil business, and quickly made a name for himself.
Today he enjoys watching Chelsea Football Club (acquired in 2003), has the world’s largest yacht and a lifestyle only Kings can imagine.
5. SIR PHILIP GREEN – NET WORTH: 4.7 BILLION USD
Often viewed negatively in his own country, with comparisons being made to Donald Trump, Sir Philip Green may not be the nicest person on the planet but he is a poor billionaire nonetheless.
Born in England, Sir Philip Green left school at 15 and kicked off a retail career, selling jeans to retailers. He formed the Arcadia Group eventually shooting him into stardom and billionaire status.
Today he is surrounded by a string of controversies but his hard work, devotion and humble beginnings are commendable.
6. LI KA-SHING – NET WORTH: 31.3 BILLION USD
Famous for simply being Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing made his way to the top of China’s complex eco-system with sharpness, an opportunist attitude and devotion.
Li’s father died from Tuberculosis after he returned from the Sino-Japanese war. At age 12, Li had to quit school to work at a watch-strap company. By 14, he was fully immersed in plastics. The long-hours and unforgiving managers only helped motivate Li into achieving the extraordinary.
Soon he opened up his own plastic toys and from thereon started up an entire conglomerate. Today he employs more than 290,000 people and is one of the world’s richest persons.
7. SHELDON ADELSON – WORTH: 32.2 BILLION USD
A political heavy-weight and a casino magnate; all came from nothing. Sheldon Adelson is a prime example of survival of the fittest and extreme payback of extreme risks.
He grew up on the floors of a Boston tenement and started regular work at a newspaper corner, which he bought with a loan. He then did a string of jobs before joining the army and finally settling down giving chartered tours.
He transformed the millions he earned from this business into billions from his casinos!
8. LEONARDO DEL VECCHIO – WORTH: 18.7 BILLION USD
One of the world’s richest persons, and the second-richest in Italy, Del Vecchio is the owner of Luxottica, an eyewear giant. At the age of 7, Del Vecchio was sent to an orphanage because his widowed mother did not have the strength to bear the expenses of her 5 children.
Del Vecchio payed his way through design school by working at a factory at the age of 14. He holds the firm believe that work comes before everything else, something that led him to open up his own factories and bring innovations in the field of optics!
9. ALAN GERRY – NET WORTH: 1.15 BILLION USD
Alan Gerry is a person who was surrounded by hardships until he decided to do something about them. Born to Russian immigrants, Gerry was forced to drop out of school due to his family’s financials. He joined the Marines and soon-after started a small television repair business.
From thereon, he worked ground-up and became a poor billionaire. His company expanded into a cable company, which he later sold to the Time Warner Company.
10. RALPH LAUREN – NET WORTH: 7.9 BILLION USD
Believe it or not but Ralph Lauren, the trend-setter in the world of fashion, was once a man who dreamt of achieving greatness. Born in The Bronx, New York City, Lauren grew up in an immigrant family. He had a moderate lifestyle, which passed with ease, however his dreams only became bigger with time.
From 62 – 64, he served in the Army, and then left it to work for the Brooks Brothers. There he thought of starting his own clothing lines, which he called the Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1967. The corporation eventually gave birth to brands such as Polo, Black Label, Chaps, Denim and so on.
Today, Ralph Lauren is a household name and one of the top choices for all shopaholics.