Working Hard Can Pay Off | 8 Incredible Rags to Riches Stories

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Cirque Du Soleil

Not everyone is an overnight success. In fact, some people had to make hard and miserable slogs through underprivileged backgrounds in order to become the wealthy CEOs they are today. Here are just eight stories about great individuals who started small.

1. John Paul DeJoria

Today, everyone has heard of John Paul Mitchell shampoos. Back in the ’80s, however, John Paul was selling his products door-to-door while counting pennies and sleeping in his car. It’s amazing to think that one of the world’s most famous brands got its start this way, but it’s true.

2. Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns had a very difficult childhood, living in a housing project in a rough neighborhood while her single mother ironed shirts to put food on the table. Today, Burns is the CEO of Xerox and one of the richest, most successful women in the world.

3. Steve Wynn

stephen a. wynn faced a lot of debt during college, so much so that he wound up dropping out and buying a bingo parlor. Several decades later, he’s made a name for himself as an ultra-successful business magnate, operating numerous casinos, resorts and restaurants in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

4. Leonardo Del Vecchio

If you think orphaned factory workers are only found in Charles Dickens novels, think again. Leonardo Del Vecchio worked in a factory making eyeglass frames after his mother abandoned him in an orphanage. He went on to use this knowledge to start his own business, and today he runs the largest eyeglasses/sunglasses operation on the planet.

5. Guy Laliberté

Guy Laliberté is famous for introducing Cirque du Soleil to the world, but back in the day he was a lowly street musician who played the accordion and walked on stilts to earn a few dollars at a time. It just goes to show that following your passion does pay off!

6. J.K. Rowling

It’s hard to imagine since she’s so rich and successful today. At one time, however, J.K. Rowling was a single mother on government assistance whose first “Harry Potter” manuscript was being rejected by publishers left and right. She didn’t let that stop her, and now she’s one of the most well-known authors in the world.

7. Francois Pinault

Francois Pinault grew up so poor that he actually dropped out of high school because he was being bullied about it. He was still determined to make something out of himself, however, and he clawed his way through the world of finances and investments until he became a self-made billionaire.

8. Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz was born in the Brooklyn projects and didn’t think he’d get anywhere in life. One day, however, he stumbled into a little-known cafe called Starbucks, and the rest is history.

These are just eight people who didn’t let a bad background stop them from achieving their dreams. If you’re struggling yourself, let these individuals serve as motivation to keep working hard. One day you might be the world’s next rags-to-riches story!

Who is your favorite rags to riches person?


Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.

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