They say everyone has to start somewhere.
And for legends like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Estée Lauder, and Richard Branson – well, they got into the money-making game early.
From hawking golf balls to bootstrapping student magazines, many of these iconic entrepreneurs started their very first businesses in their childhood or teenage years. Not all of these enterprises fared well, but they did give these eventual magnates an early taste of the startup life.
Today’s infographic comes to us from Colonial Life, and it showcases the early endeavors of ten successful business greats:
While some business greats weren’t afraid to get started later on, people like Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos had an entrepreneurial drive at a very early age.
It likely drove their parents wild, but it seems that hitting the ground running ended up paying off in the long run.
Entrepreneurial Early Years
How did famous entrepreneurs get their feet wet in business? It generally falls into two categories.
1. Work With What You Have
People like Warren Buffett, Ingvar Kamprad, and Daymond John worked with what they had, finding the easiest route into business possible.
Buffett sold golf balls, built an ambitious newspaper route, and sold gum. Meanwhile, Ingvar Kamprad marked up wholesale matches to sell them to neighbors for a profit, while Daymond John personalized pencils in his school classes.
The lesson here? Sometimes the first opportunities you see are not glorious game-changers – instead, you need to apply hard work and creativity to a widely available opportunity and grind it out.
2. Early Passions Realized
On the other hand, entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, Max Levchin, Kevin Plank, and Estée Lauder realized their passions early, and these initial childhood ambitions were linked to their later careers.
Dell and Levchin were both involved in computers early – either building them or programming on them – and would both start renowned tech companies (Dell and Paypal) in their adult lives. Kevin Plank of Under Armour was in the apparel business early, selling t-shirts at local concerts, and Estée Lauder was selling cosmetics to her friends that were made by her chemist uncle.
Want other useful hints from the world’s best? Take a look at the Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs.