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Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Who Used to Be Homeless

Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Who Used to Be Homeless

The origins of successful entrepreneurs vary from person to person. But did you know that the following successes were homeless at one point?

1. Tyler Perry

Tyler_Perry_-_army_mil-66455-2010-03-09-180359

    Image courtesy of Sgt. Michael Connors, via Wikimedia Commons

    Known for portraying “Madea,” Tyler Perry has amassed fortunes, fame, and fun in his career in the entertainment industry. He’s gained fame as an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author, and songwriter, specializing in the gospel genre.

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    Perry’s entered the entertainment industry in 1992 as a playwright. After listening to an episode of Oprah, where the daytime talk show host suggested that writing things down was cathartic, he decided to write his first play. I Know I’ve Been Changed was about the pain and shortcomings Perry had experienced in life.

    He was homeless for months at a time and spent many nights in pay-by-the-week hotels or in his car. He used the little money he had to get I Know I’ve Been Changed into a local theater in New Orleans, but he couldn’t seem to draw an audience to the play. However, his persistence and perseverance paid off in 1998. During a limited showing of the play, audiences began to show up in big numbers. The play was so successful, it then moved to the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

    Since 1998, Perry has written 13 additional plays and 12 films. In 2008, he opened his own entertainment studio in Atlanta, with a 400 employee workforce behind him.

    2. Dani Johnson

    successful entrepreneur
      Courtesy of Dani Johnson media kit

      If you don’t believe you can go from living out of your car with $2 in your pocket to becoming a millionaire at 23 years old, then take a look at Dani Johnson. Her life was marred by sexual abuse from her stepfather, teenage pregnancy, and being homeless, but she didn’t allow that to stop her from finding success. In fact, Johnson has turned the obstacles she’s faced into lessons and speeches that empower others to strive for greatness.

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      Johnson’s first brush with success came after she began marketing products for a health company from the back of her car. She soon became the company’s top salesperson. Her success sparked interest from others who wanted to know how to duplicate her achievements. Johnson decided to launch her own training company to teach her business skills to others. The training company later lead to the development of her own health and nutrition marketing company.

      The success of both companies turned Johnson into a multimillionaire by the age of 23.

      3.  Suze Orman

      successful entrepreneur

        Courtesy of Suze Orman media kit

        When it comes to personal finances, Suze Orman is one of the persons you think of first. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for money has made her a multimillionaire, but her road to fame and success was not easy. She had to overcome several roadblocks — including a speech impediment that caused poor performance in school, dropping out of college, and living as a homeless person.

        Growing up, Orman struggled to pronounce her R’s, S’s, and T’s properly, which hampered her reading ability throughout the student years. According to Orman, she didn’t score well on her SAT exam. This limited the colleges she could attend to either a community college or a state school. She was accepted into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but ran into another challenge her senior year: She hadn’t fulfilled her language requirement. Despite what some may consider a radical decision, she decided to drop out and take a cross-country road trip.

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        Orman ended up in California, where she found her first job at a tree service making $3.50 an hour. She couldn’t afford to find a place to stay, so she and a friend lived out of the truck she had bought.

        Orman later found a job as a waitress, which inspired her to want to open her own restaurant. Through donations she raised a total of $50,000, putting the money into a brokerage account. However, the broker mishandled her money and lost it all in three months. This caused Orman to develop a curiosity for how brokers operate. She studied the field and learned all she could about Wall Street.

        Orman later interviewed for a job as a broker and was hired, making $1500 a month. She became one of the most successful brokers at Merrill Lynch. After leaving the company, she used her knowledge of finance to teach people through TV, books, and seminars about how to effectively manage their money.

        4. Howard Schultz

        successful entrepreneur

          Courtesy of Starbucks Newsroom

          Howard Schultz is another example of the amazing amount of success you can gain by simply not allowing your situation to get you down. As a kid growing up in New York City, Schultz and his family were poor. They stayed in public housing and struggled to make ends meet. After graduating from high school, Schultz became the first in his family to attend college — with the help of an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University.

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          After a successful stint at Xerox, he took on a management role at a coffee manufacturer that worked with Starbucks at the time. He was impressed with the coffee chain that consisted of only four stores. It inspired him to open his own coffee shop, but he had one problem — money. It would cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars to open his own coffee business.

          Following years of dedication to raise the money necessary to open his first shop, he finally had enough. In 1986, he opened Il Giornale and within years he had bought the Starbucks chain and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business.

          Today, Starbucks is the universal name for gourmet coffee.

          Featured photo credit: Dani Johnson via danijohnson.com

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          Kim Beasley

          CEO/Business Visibility Strategist

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

          Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

          But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

          Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

          If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

          1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

          For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

          Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

          If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

          But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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          So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

          Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

          In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

          2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

          Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

          Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

          Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

          Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

          For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

          Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

          Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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          For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

          Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

          Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

          Bonus:

          If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

          3. Take meaningful time for yourself

          We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

          Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

          If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

          Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

          This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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          No time for me-time? Try this:

          If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

          This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

          Bonus:

          Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

          4. Get productive and feel accomplished

          Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

          When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

          While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

          Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

          No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

          So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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          Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

          This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

          Try this:

          Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

          The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

          Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

          The bottom line

          There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

          The only question is — which tip will you try first?

          Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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