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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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          Published on November 19, 2018

          10 Ways to Build Positive Work Relationships and Work as a Team

          10 Ways to Build Positive Work Relationships and Work as a Team

          Behind the corporate veil, the actual members who work towards achieving the company goals are the ultimate assets.

          It is very important for every team member to maintain focused goals on a professional front, at their individual level and at the organizational level. With even the slightest discord between two employees, the entire team might suffer and have to adjust with the downsize in organizational success that they realize ultimately.

          As humans, each and every employee is bound to have different opinion and feel inclined to meet their personal goals, just as much as they meet the goals of their company. Hence, it is essential that work relationships among different employees are friendly and cordial. This will help the fellow team members to work together as an efficient team. The ultimate outcome of which will be a capable work force, poised to gather the gains of organizational success.

          Let us take a look at some of the ways to build positive work relationships and help employees work together as a team:

          1. Respect Your Peer’s Time

          No matter which specific domain you work in or in which your organization deals in, each arena entails performance of various jobs by the employees. Within this organization, there are a set of cumulative jobs which ought to be performed at a specific pace, and within a set period of time.

          Sometimes, there might also be a sequence to the performance of actions and processes, so that the next process in the sequence can be performed. Some procedures are dependent upon the performance of an action by a certain member of the team, so that the other members can carry out the subsequent steps in the sequence. The ultimate target with this planning is that the work must be completed on time and there should be no delay in meeting the deadlines which have been set for the purpose.

          Thus, in situations where you are placed in a role where other people are affected by your actions or performance, it is essential that you respect their time and effort, and ensure that the ball is not pent up in your court.

          At the same time, remember that you should make yourself available for other people, should they require your help. Ultimately, your aim must be focused at ensuring that work is not pending and you get it done like experts doing the work.

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          2. Ensure that You Are Cautious With Social Media

          With the ongoing trend in the digital space, it is easy to feel compelled and drawn towards the idea of connecting with your peers and colleagues on the social media. Although there is not much harm in the practice, it is essential to observe caution while making these connections.

          The simple reason behind this is that one wrong move can dampen your reputation or else, cause your peers to gather an incorrect impression about you.

          It makes sense to ensure what the social media policy of your organization is before treading on this path. If such policies restrict the association of fellow employees, then you must respect them.

          3. Communication is the Key

          Communication is essentially one of the most vital keys which impact how your relationships with peers and other employees are. The role of effective communication cannot be stressed enough. It is vital in attaining the goals of working together in an organization and carrying out the jobs which will help in attaining success.

          However, there is a very big danger with communication. As part of the human nature, it is easy to assume that the person ahead of us has understood what we intend to say. This might not be true at all times.

          Therefore, taking feedback is important. This will help you understand if your message has been understood in the intended manner. If the message has not reached the intended party as expected, corrective actions can be taken at the same time.

          Poor communication has the disadvantage of adding stress and distrust among fellow employees. It can sometimes causes crucial message failed to be delivered, leading to organizational turbulence, after which the blame game is hard to end.

          In order to avoid the confusion and misunderstanding, communicate through a formal chain of command and follow formal mode of communication. Thus, communicating through mails or any other formal channel of communication would be the appropriate way to communicate in order to keep everything on record. This will help in referring to the communications later, should any dispute arise.

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          4. Feedback is Important

          As important as it is to take feedback from other people, it is also important to give your feedback. It is not just you who needs feedback but also your peers, in order to understand how well they are performing.

          Your feedback will help other people progress in their work as much as it will help you progress in yours. Giving constructive feedback to your fellow peers at the right time and in the right state will help them advance, and ultimately lead to the success of the organization.

          Your co-workers are bound to value your opinion and regard you in a positive light, if you provide them with the feedback that you require from them.

          5. Make Use of Common Day Courtesies

          Greeting a co-worker may sound like something so ordinary that you might wonder how it ended up on this list. However, as long as we are talking about ways to build a positive work environment, this one cannot be ignored.

          You maybe surprised by bidding your co-workers simple common day courtesies! Being humble never hurt anyone, even if you do not exactly receive something in return.

          Moreover, you must maintain eye contact with your fellow peers if you wish to gain their trust. This will provide the necessary infrastructure to build a capable team.

          6. Get Into the Habit of Helping Yourself

          While at work, accept that you are never going to receive the pampered behaviour which you do at home. No one at your workplace wakes up in the morning and makes themselves available at the  to hear you rant or constantly answer your questions. However, you might come up with situations nevertheless, which require you to ask for help or advice.

          In this scenario, try to gather some information about your question, say, from the manuals which you receive upon joining, or from the web and equip yourself with some concrete information about the question which you may be ready to ask from someone else.

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          At least when you approach someone with your doubts, along with the information gathered you’ve gathered, they will appreciate you for having made the effort to find out the answer.

          This will make them feel important as well, answering your questions and helping you achieve your goals or tasks.

          7. Treat Everyone as Equals

          As a member of your team, it is not your job to point out who is better and who is not. Organizational politics can be a deadly game to play and as long as you are not a pro player, it is always risky to put yourself in a situation that will tarnish your image.

          Gossiping is a strict no and spreading rumours is something you must avoid at all costs. Behave in a humble manner and even if someone tries to pull you into a conversation, avoid it in a respectful manner. Do everything you can to pull yourself out of that situation.

          While talking behind people’s backs may sound like a refreshing fun activity initially, it will definitely come to bite you behind the back in the future.

          Also, it will be wise to remember that no one in the organization is permanent. People change and so can their designation. It will be better for you to keep your personal views about someone in your head.

          As long as you maintain the idea of treating everyone as equal, you will find yourself amidst a positive working environment at all times.

          8. Acknowledge Your Mistakes

          Mistakes happen and one of the more noteworthy facts about mistakes is that they can be made by anyone. The wisest thing you can do is to admit mistakes you’ve made.

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          Playing the blame game will not only tarnish the name of your peers but also your own. It is always good to avoid getting into a tiff with others. Admit your mistakes and think of remedies or solutions to fix it. For a positive working relationship with your peers, you will need to adopt this quality.

          9. Learn to Take on Responsibilities

          Passing on your work load might be required when you are overburdened with work. However, when entrusted with a job, you should try to accept it as your responsibility and avoid putting it off to someone else.

          Putting off work all the time will only end up creating a block between you and your peers, while they may start avoiding communicating with you at all. When you work in a team, your duty is to cooperate and build a positive working relationship with your teammates.

          10. Engage in a Follow-up Routine

          As a part of a team, it is necessary to express the fact that you care about your team members and you are also poised to achieve the targets set by your team.

          Whenever you get the chance, do not hold back from asking your co-workers about your work performance and whether they think there’s anything you should improve.

          Be prepared to be available to change and improve. This will go a long way in presenting yourself as a responsible and willing to learn employee.

          The Bottom Line

          These are just some of the ways in which fellow team members can build positive work relationships among themselves and work towards taking the organization to new heights. This attitude is  best to achieve overall success for the organization and create an environment of trust and honesty among the employees.

          Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via unsplash.com

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