Although it’s usually the world’s richest people who get all of the attention, have you ever stopped to wonder how they got their start? Did they have money handed to them on a golden platter, as people say?
However, the reality is quite different. There are many successful people whose beginnings were humble and less than stellar, and here are some of the most prominent examples:
Elon Musk.. a farmer and a cleaner
As an example, the CEO of Twitter and American billionaire Elon Musk started his career as a farmer, then moved on to become a cleaner.
The founder of “Tesla” and “SpaceX,” Elon Musk, was born in South Africa. His family left to live in Canada when he was a child. He worked various jobs to help his family make ends meet until he landed a job as a cleaner at a wood mill where he made $18 an hour–a significant raise from his previous positions.
According to Elon Musk, working in a lumber mill is the most dangerous job in the world. He noted that workers have to wear protective clothing and jump through a small tunnel constantly to remove sand, impurities and suspended matter from the work area.
Since September 2021, Musk has held the title of world’s richest person according to Forbes, with a net worth of $185.7 billion.
Jeff Bezos.. a worker at McDonald’s
My first job. And still the same great burger. Happy Sunday! pic.twitter.com/3slx6dHUVa— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) August 28, 2022
As of November 5, 2020, Jeff Bezos is the fourth richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Earlier, the second-richest man in the world shared a picture of him eating burgers from McDonald’s through his Twitter account.
The founder of Amazon posted the aforementioned photo along with a comment, which read: “My first job … and the burger is still great as it is,” revealing that he worked at the restaurant when it was brand new.
Warren Buffett.. Newspaper distributor
Warren Buffett’s humble beginnings in the business world are well-documented. The billionaire businessman started his career at just 13 years old, delivering newspapers on his bike for the Omaha World-Herald.
This is an excerpt from “Forbes” magazine discussing Buffett’s wealth. As of now, he is fifth on the list of richest people with a net worth of $110.2 billion.
Bill Gates.. programmer
Bill Gates is a co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals. As a child, he became interested in programming and computers, which led him to start working in the field at only 13 years old.
His fortune is $ 106 billion and he is the fifth richest billionaire in the world, according to Forbes.
Mark Cuban.. a garbage bag salesman
Mark Cuban is a billionaire businessman, writer, and film producer of Russian descent. He was born in 1958 to a middle-class family ofRussian immigrants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
From a young age, Coban showed interest in business. When he was twelve, he wanted to purchase shoes but couldn’t because his father didn’t think they could afford it. One of his father’s friends advised him to get a job selling garbage bags so that he could earn enough money to buy the things he wanted–and that’s exactly what Coban did.
To earn more money, Cuban started augmenting his sources of income at an early age by selling football tickets and postage stamps in high school.
Forbes approximates Cuban’s net worth to be $4.6 billion.
Steve Jobs is a video game developer for Atari
It’s no wonder Steve Jobs was passionate about technology and invention — the late founder of Apple didn’t even finish college because he wanted to learn more about video game development at Atari. However, he quickly moved on from there when he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple a few years later when Jobs was only 21 years old.
Oprah Winfrey .. a saleswoman in a grocery store
Oprah is an influential American talk show host, actress, and celebrity.
Oprah Winfrey was raised in a poor neighborhood by her father, who was a barber, and her mother, who worked as a housekeeper. As an African American student at university, Oprah faced significant harassment. She took on a part-time job as a teenager working in a local grocery store but didn’t stay there for long. After she won a scholarship to study in Tennessee, Oprah got employed at radio station where she reported part-time. This is according to author Caitlin McInnes’ report published on The Ladders website.
Winfrey has a net worth of $2.5 billion, as reported by Forbes magazine, owing to the successes of her talk shows and television programs, in addition to her brand partnerships.
Tim Cook… Newsboy
Beginning his career with more humble beginnings, Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook first delivered newspapers in his home state of Alabama. He later worked in a paper mill and then an aluminum plant in Virginia before finally moving into the tech industry during the early 1980s.
Travis Kalanick… a traveling salesman
Prior to becoming the founder and CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick was a traveling salesman as a teenager. He began working for Cutco in the 1990s until he turned 18. By that time, he had already launched his first company–New Way Academy; a prep course for those taking the SAT test (a requirement for admittance into university if you’re an American student).
Michael Dell.. washing the dishes
As a child, DELL CEO Michael Dell was obsessed with collecting stamps. In order to finance his growing collection, he started washing dishes at a local Chinese restaurant when he was only 12 years old. He did such a good job that he got promoted soon after.
The president of Macy’s worked as an oyster shucker
Terry Landgren, CEO of Macy’s, always wanted to work with animals and become a veterinarian. However, after poor grades in school his father stopped supporting him financially so that he could not attend college for veterinary medicine. He instead got a job cleaning oysters at a local restaurant before eventually becoming the manager. With hard work and dedication Terry Landgren earned himself a degree in retail..