Alan Gerry kickstarted a TV network that went on to become Cablevision.
Net worth: $1.4 billion
The son of Russian immigrants, Alan Gerry dropped out of high school in order to pursue a career in the Marines.
In 1956, Gerry made the decision to take the $1,500 he earned from his small business, and found a cable company. The company went on to become known as Cablevision, which sold to Time Warner for an estimated $2.7 billion in 1996.
Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.
Net worth: $1.4 billion
Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.
Montpellier rugby club president and Entrepreneur of the Year Mohed Altrad survived on one meal a day when he moved to France.
Net worth: $2.6 billion
Born into a nomadic tribe in the Syrian dessert to a poor mother who was raped by his father and died when he was young, Altrad was raised by his grandmother. She banned him from attending school in Raqqa, the city that is now capital of ISIS. Altrad attended school anyway, and when he moved to France to attend university, he knew no French and lived off of one meal a day.
Still, he earned a PhD in computer science, worked for some leading French companies, and eventually bought a failing scaffolding company, which he transformed into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers, Altrad Group.
John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.
Net worth: $3.2 billion
Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military.
With a $700 dollar loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila, and now invests in other industries.
Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.
Net worth: $3.3 billion
The husband-and-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn’t always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984.
Forever 21 is now an international, 790-store empire.
At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour.
Net worth: $7 billion
He’s now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the US from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the US, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and the soccer club Fulham.
WhatsApp founder Jan Koum emigrated to the US.
Koum was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. At the age of 16, he accompanied his mother to California, where they secured an apartment through government assistance. In order to survive, he swept floors at a local store.
According to the Independent, Koum taught himself computer skills. In 2009, he cofounded the world’s largest mobile messaging service WhatsApp, which was purchased by Facebook for $22 billion in 2014.
Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.
Net worth: $23.5 billion
Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widowed mother couldn’t care for him. He would later work in a factory making molds of auto parts and eyeglass frames.
At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.
Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor.
Net worth: $32.7 billion
Pinault is now the honorary chairman of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor.
As a businessman, Pinault is known for his “predator” tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashes. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Today, he owns Christie’s, the world’s top art business.
After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.
Net worth: $33.1 billion
Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family.
In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which manufactured plastics at first. The firm later expanded into the real estate business.
Reposted from https://www.businessinsider.com/billionaires-who-came-from-nothing-2013-12 as a reminder that everyone must start from somewhere, more often than not from nothing.
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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.