15 Successful, Rich and Famous People – Their Humble First Jobs

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Jul 04 2014
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We tend to admire and wish how we were born with a silver spoon, just like how lucky Paris Hilton was. While rich background certainly helps, it’s not the only way to the top. Some of the world’s one percent wealthiest people started out dirt poor. And the reason why they’re still the wealthiest today is precisely that – they had a humble beginning hence they know how to appreciate it more than anyone.


It’s true that the rich do get richer simply because money makes money. But these successful people did it through strong determination and extreme hard work before they make it to the list of the rich and famous. For example, Warren Buffett built his savings as a kid by delivering newspapers. And Donald Trump was made to collect empty soda bottles in exchange for money while Li Ka-Shing worked 16 hours a day making plastic flowers.


Let’s take a look at 15 successful, rich and famous individuals (there’re more, of course) who made it to the top today, but they once did strange and odd jobs during their young age. So, perhaps you should learn from their humble beginnings as well.


{ 1 }  Howard D. Schultz Was A Salesman

Howard D. Schultz Was A Salesman As Schultz’s family was poor, the junior Howard saw an opportunity in sports. Schultz excelled at sports and was awarded an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University –  the first person in his family to go to college. His first job was a salesman for Xerox Corp. Later, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company’s CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 23,000 outlets worldwide today. He’s now worth US$2.1 billion.


{ 2 }  President Barack Obama Scooped Ice-Cream

President Barack Obama Scooped Ice-Cream Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States, and the first African American to serve as U.S. President. Obama lived with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii from the age of 10. He got his first job scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu. Sue Thirlwall, Baskin-Robbins’ brand operating officer, told the LA Times in 2009 that the ice-cream business has taught many employees crucial presidential skills. So, remember to send your kids to learn scoop ice-cream (*grin*).


{ 3 }  Larry Ellison Worked Odd Jobs After His Adoptive Mother Died

Larry Ellison Worked Odd Jobs After His Adoptive Mother DiedLarry Ellison is the founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, and with wealth estimated at US$52 billion, he’s the fifth wealthiest person in the world in 2014. During his second year at University of Illinois, his adopted mother died, and Ellison dropped out of college. With little money, he moved to California to work odd jobs for the next 10-years. Partnered with two of his Amdahl colleagues, they founded Oracle in 1977, and got contract to build database management system for the CIA.


{ 4 }  Richard Branson Was A Bird Breeder

Richard Branson Was A Bird Breeder Entrepreneur Richard Branson, the sifu of famous Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes, launched Virgin Records in 1973. Today Virgin Group holds more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries. According to Branson’s LinkedIn, he partnered with his good friend Nik Powell at the age of 11 and started breeding budgerigars (pet parakeet). They saw the opportunity as they were very popular with kids in school at the time. He have never had a truly job or attend any interview before. That’s because he was already an entrepreneur from a very young age.


{ 5 }  Oprah Winfrey Worked At A Corner Grocery Store

Oprah Winfrey Worked At A Corner Grocery StoreWith an estimated fortune of US$3 billion, the popular Oprah Winfrey Show was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world’s only Black billionaire for three years running. However before she made her fortune, her first job was at a corner grocery store next to her father’s barber shop in Nashville.


{ 6 }  Michael Dell Washed Dishes

Michael Dell Washed DishesWith fortune estimated at US$15.3 billion (2013), Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Michael Dell showed an early interest in technology and gadgets. At the age of 15, he purchased an early Apple computer in order to take it apart to see how it worked. But before he made it big, he had a job washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant at the age 12 – so that he could put away money for his stamp collection.


{ 7 }  Donald Trump Collected Bottles

Donald Trump Collected BottlesDonald Trump, a real estate mogul, investor and host of NBC reality show “The Apprentice” has a fortune worth US$3.9 billion (Mar, 2014). Unlike others who were borned poor, Donald’s father, Fred Trump, was a wealthy New York City real-estate developer. But his father wanted him to learn the value of money. His first job was to collect empty soda bottles with his brother, to redeem for cash. He didn’t earn much but it taught him to work for money.


{ 8 }  Michael Bloomberg Was A Parking Lot Attendant

Michael Bloomberg Was A Parking Lot AttendantMichael Bloomberg is a billionaire buisnessman and a three-term mayor of New York City. He is worth a staggering US$34 billion (June 2014), but during his early age when he was enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, Michael Bloomberg actually worked as a parking lot attendant in order to pay off his tuition loans. After being laid off from Salomon in 1981, he started his own IT company, which is now the infamous media empire Bloomberg LP.


{ 9 }  Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr.  Delivered Newspaper

Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr.  Delivered NewspaperKnown simply as T. Boone Pickens, he is the Chairman of BP Capital Management with net worth estimated at USD1.2 billion (2014). A takeover specialist, he was famous for his attempted buyouts of Gulf Oil, Philips Petroleum and Unocal. His first job as a teenager was to deliver newspaper. He was able to increase sales by expanding his newspaper route through acquiring surrounding ones.


{ 10 } Madeleine Albright Sold Bras

Madeleine Albright Sold BrasMadeleine was nominated by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99-0, to become United States first woman Secretary of State. Her first job was selling bras at Jocelyn’s Department Store in Denver. She made so little money that she couldn’t remember it but it taught her how to interact with people in situations that aren’t always easy.


{ 11 }  Shahid Khan Washed Dishes

Shahid Khan Washed DishesA Pakistani-born American billionaire, Shahid Khan  is the owner of theJacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL), the English Football League Championship team Fulham F.C., and automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate in Urbana, Illinois. When he moved to the United States at age 16 to study at the University of Illinois he spent his first night in a US$2 per night room at the University YMCA, and his first job was washing dishes for US$1.20 an hour. Now, he’s worth US$3.8 billion.


{ 12 }  Ralph Lauren Was A Sales Assistant

Ralph Lauren Was A Sales AssistantEvery woman knows Ralph Lauren, the American fashion designer who is worth US$7 billion. Born Ralph Lifshitz, he changed his surname to Lauren when he was 16 years old because his given name has the word “shit”, something which all the kids would make a lot of fun of him. It was while working as sales assistant at Brooks Brothers that Lauren was inspired to design a wide, European-style necktie he had seen Douglas Fairbanks Jr (an actor) wearing. In 1967, Lauren sold $500,000 worth of ties and started Polo the next year.


{ 13 }  Li Ka-Shing Made Plastic Flowers

Li Ka-Shing Made Plastic FlowersEverybody in Asia knows who is Li Ka-Shing, popularly known as Superman. With a net worth of US$35.2, the Hong Kong business Godfather is the richest person in Asia. When his father died, he was forced to leave school before the age of 15 and found a job in a plastics trading company. He worked for 16 hours a day. He borrowed money from friends and family and started his manufacturing company – making plastic flowers and grew to be the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia. With his newly found fortune, he expanded into real estate.


{ 14 }  George Soros Was a Railway Porter and Waiter

George Soros Was a Railway Porter and WaiterPopularly know as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” where he made a cool US$1 billion shorting US$10 billion worth of pounds during the 1992 UK currency crisis, George Soros has a net worth of US$26.5 billion. A Hungarian-born American, Soros  worked as a railway porter and as a waiter while studying at the London School of Economics. It was while he was working at souvenir shops that he realized that he should get a better job with banks.


{ 15 }  Warren Buffett Delivered Newspaper, Sold Coca-Colas & Chewing Gum

Warren Buffett Delivered NewspaperHis company, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, stock) is worth a staggering US$306 billion today. His personal fortune is USD53.5 billion. The billionaire is one of the richest person on planet Earth. Known as “Oracle of Omaha”, Warren Buffett started investing when he was only 11. But at the age of 6, he already began selling Coca-Colas, chewing gum and magazines going door-to-door, in addition to selling horseracing tip sheet and newspaper at the age of 13.


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No body can be forever remain poor if one is to make his own fate and faith with opportunity to progress in one’s life with certain luck, hard work,and ability to grab any available business opportunity.

So anyone with some courage, knowledge, learning to succeed, and some commonsense with hard work,determination, perseverance and patience, will surely able to make to the top in due course over times.

Therefore, the spirit of never given up and some good entrepreneurship and business judgement with social or political connections, apart from the above mentioned qualities, will make easier to success as billionaire sooner or latter.

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