Successful Entrepreneurs Who Had Humble Beginnings

Some of the world’s best known entrepreneurs had surprising and fascinating first jobs, writes Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of, in this post for Business Insider.

The list of entrepreneurs with modest first occupations includes at least one late bloomer: Henry Ford, who was around 40 when he launched the Ford Motor Company. At age 15, Ford started repairing watches when he received one from his father as a gift. After the young Ford took apart and reassembled his new time piece, it didn’t take long for him to establish a reputation as the local watch repairman.

Here are a few other famous entrepreneurs and their first jobs:

Warren Buffet: Chewing gum salesman and newspaper boy

Oprah Winfrey: Grocery store clerk

Walt Disney: Ambulance driver

Michael Bloomberg:  Parking lot attendant

Andrew Carnegie: Bobbin boy at a cotton mill

As Nazar points out, “there are many journeys to success, and numerous life stories to prove it.” Some entrepreneurs go to business school. Others follow an unconventional path. Those who don’t start businesses until later in life often fall into the latter category.

And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.

About Lynne Strang

I'm a freelance writer who helps organizations and individuals meet their marketing and communications goals. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." To learn more, please visit my website:
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, Careers, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement, Success and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Successful Entrepreneurs Who Had Humble Beginnings

  1. Kelly Michalek says:

    Interesting, and yep, that is perfectly okay!!

  2. It’s assuring to be reminded that where I am now is not necessarily where I will be in the future.

  3. braggals says:

    Reblogged this on B.R.A.G and commented:
    Did you know that Warren Buffet was a Chewing Gum Salesman, and Newspaper Boy in his “Humble” beginnings?…

  4. intpageasia says:

    A belief, no matter what happens, you will never ever need someone in order for you to succeed.

  5. Reblogged this on batooltowailib and commented:

  6. hopefully I can be one of them…

  7. tjarrett3 says:

    The names on this list are incredible when you think about where they came from and what they are doing now. It just goes to show that you can do and be anything you want to be if you just put your mind to it. It is definitely possible to come from nothing and turn into something. Knowing that people such as Oprah came from a grocery store clerk to a millionaire is amazing, and it is only a testament to the fact that anything is possible. Success doesn’t come over night though, so you have to work for it. However, when you have a goal and a plan you can do anything you want as long as you stay focused.

    • lbstrang says:

      Well said. Your last two words — “stay focused” — are especially important for success, yet that’s where many people run into difficulty. Thank you for commenting.

  8. Great post, thanks!

    roman klyachkin

  9. jreeves9210 says:

    Very interesting! I’m hoping someday I can find whatever inspiration I need to make something of myself. Until then, I’ll just learn as much as I can and make money investing.

    • lbstrang says:

      I enjoyed reading your overview of the different stock exchanges. I’d say you already have made something of yourself — but if investing isn’t your passion, find out what is. Good luck!

  10. Matthew Neer says:

    It just goes to show that no matter what, you can have whatever you want in life.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Moses got his call at 80.

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