Chris Gardner gives great gems on how to start your own company in a tough economy and why a tough economy is the perfect time to start.
1.John D. Rockefeller
Rockefeller was born in Richford, New York and was one of six children. His father was a traveling salesman and was a foe of conventional morality. Throughout much of his life, Rockefeller’s father tried to find tricks and schemes he could use in order to avoid hard work, or any work at all. John’s mom struggled a lot in order to keep stability in the home, especially when her husband was gone for weeks at a time. Rockefeller’s family soon moved to Moravia and then to Owego. John went through school and got a job as a bookkeeper where he made about $50 in three months. In 1859, Rockefeller decided to go into business with a friend named Maurice B. Clark. The two established a firm and built an oil refinery. The refinery was run by two other men, but soon after, Rockefeller bought out the Clark brothers firm and renamed it Rockefeller & Andrews. Soon his brother also bought into the oil business. By the end of it all, Rockefeller was able to find the Standard Oil Company and became the world’s first billionaire.
2. Andrew Carnegie
Though Andrew Carnegie proved to be one of the titans of the industrial age, he was once a poor boy from Scotland. His father was a hand loom weaver, but once the industrialization of society reached Scotland, his father’s work was no longer needed. For years, his family had tough times to make ends meet, so they decided to start anew and move to America. At thirteen, Andrew and his family moved to America and he got a job at a cotton mill. He was working twelve hour days, six days a week. Eventually Andrew got a job as a telegraph messenger. Because of his great work ethic, someone from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company offered him a job, which allowed him to earn more money and make his way up the corporate ladder. He soon started investing in railroad companies, and then hit the jackpot by investing in the steel industry. His investments would allow him to have his own steel company, which was able to bring 120 billion to his wallet.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah’s rag to riches story is probably one that you have heard or know about fairly well. Oprah was born to unwed teenage parents in Mississippi. Once she was born, the two teenagers ended their relationship. Oprah was raised by her grandmother who was poor and wasn’t able to give her much, but she did teach Oprah how to read before age three. When Oprah turned six she relocated to the city of Milwaukee to live with her mother. During this time she still didn’t have much, but she was doing great academically. Oprah became rebellious and ran away from home, so her mother sent her to live with her father in Tennessee. She continued to be a great student and was able to impress many. She went from a radio host to a news anchor, and then to a television host. Today, she has her own television show and channel, as well as a magazine.
4. J.K. Rowling
Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, which is near Bristol. She attended school and found her love for writing fantasy stories. She would often write stories and tell them to her sister. Rowling moved from village to village many times and often traveled. In December of 1990, Rowling’s mother died, and she moved to Porto, Portugal in order to teach English as a foreign language. Before her mother’s death, Rowling had already begun writing her famous Harry Potter novel. In Portugal, Rowling married, but the couple separated in 1993. However, she did have a daughter and the two moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. During this time, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and often contemplated suicide. She was unemployed and living on welfare. She was able to write and complete her first novel by going to several different cafés. Today, J.K. Rowling is worth about $1.1 billion and has been able to sell over 400 million books.
5. Chris Gardner
Chris grew up without knowing his real father. His mother married a man who completely ruined his and his mother’s life. He was chased out of his home and had nowhere to go, so he enlisted in the Navy. He soon became a medical supplies salesman, got married, and had a child. However, the medical supplies industry was changing, and Chris needed to find a new source of income. He was able to find interest in stock broking, after seeing a stock broker with a Ferrari. At this time, Chris had no money and his wife was gone. His son proved to be his motivation, even though the two slept in subway station bathrooms. Chris was able to pass a licensing exam and received a job at Bear Sterns. Here he’d make cold calls to get clients. By 1987, things had turned around for Chris. He had a home and was making money. In the same year, he was able to start his brokerage firm called Gardner Rich & Co.