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10 Self-Made Billionaires In The World That You Should Learn From

10 Self-Made Billionaires In The World That You Should Learn From

In Bloomberg’s top 200 billionaires, over half are self made; 137 to be exact. Together, those 137 are worth about $2 trillion. And the percentage of self-made billionaires is growing from year to year at an amazing rate – proof that it is possible to achieve this dream.  In the last 19 years, billionaire wealth growth was strongly driven by entrepreneurial wealth creation, according to a 2015 study by PWC.

Going down the billionaire path requires a great deal of perseverance, ambition, business focus, and work ethic. Match that with an appetite of clever risk taking, influencing others to believe in your dream, and massively helping others along the way and you’ll have several of the key traits of self made billionaires. Although they are fearless visionaries, many of them also started out in the world just like you.

Here are 10 extremely valuable and insightful things you can learn from these self-made billionaires to inspire you and launch your entrepreneur journey:

1. Learn to hustle early in life: Elon Musk (Founder of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Contributor to Paypal)

Networth 13 Billion USD (Forbes)

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

self made billionaire elon musk

    Elon Musk is a South African born Canadian – American billionaire technology mogul who started hustling at 12 years old. He started his entrepreneurial journey teaching himself to code and selling a video game he made for $500. When he first arrived in Canada, he held a series of odd jobs including tending vegetables, shoveling out grain bins, and cleaning out gunk from a boiler room in a lumber mill.

    When he was in university, Elon sold computer parts and computers to make extra cash. And to help pay rent, he and his friend turned their 10 bedroom fraternity home into a nightclub on the weekends and charged cover. Since then, he’s built several companies, including SpaceX, Tesla Motors, PayPal, and zip2.

    His philosophy: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk.

    2. Learn to give to those who truly need it: Sara Blakely (Founder of Spanx)

    Networth $1.03 Billion (Forbes)

    “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become more memorable.” – Sara Blakeley

    self-made billionaire sara blakely

      Sara Blakely is an American intimate apparel billionaire and a philanthropist who has committed to donating most of her wealth away. She started her billionaire journey when she was 27 years old, out of her Atlanta apartment and revolutionized the way women look in their clothes. In 2006, she started the Sara Blakely foundation dedicated to helping women through education and entrepreneurship. In 2013, she became the first female billionaire to join the ‘Giving Pledge’, a commitment to donate the majority of her wealth to help others who truly need it. To date, there has been more than 100 billionaires that have made this pledge.

      3. Learn to grow your investments: Warren Buffett (CEO of Berkeshire Hathaway)

      Networth $60.8 Billion (Forbes)

      “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffet

      Self-made billionaire warren buffet

        Warren Buffett is an American investment wizard and businessman. He started investing in stocks at 11 years old and real estate investing at 14 years old. Before he graduated from high school, he had a few businesses under his built, including a pin ball machine business that he later sold for a handsome profit. He made his first million at the age of 30 and already had about 20 years of business experience under his belt. He grew Berkeshire Hathaway into one of the most valuable companies in the world based on his ‘invest what you know’ mentality and strategically investing in undervalued businesses for the long term in many industries.

        His philosophy is: “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” – Warren Buffet

        4. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable: Guy Laliberté (Co-founder and Former CEO of Cirque du Soleil)

        Networth: $2.1 Billion (Forbes)

        “I don’t believe in pitfalls. I believe in taking risks and not doing the same thing twice.” – Guy Laliberté

        Self-made billionaire Guy LaliberteÌ

          Guy Laliberté is a Canadian entrepreneur, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil and a professional poker player. He is used to being uncomfortable – he started his billionaire dollar journey as a street performer playing the accordion, walking on stilts and eating fire. In 1987, he co-founded a circus troupe in Montreal and took a big risk moving it to Los Angeles to make it big. The move paid off and his troupe became the famous Cirque du Soleil. In 2009, he became the first Canadian space tourist and his spaceflight was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues making it the first, in his words, ‘poetic social mission’ in space.

          5. Learn that circumstances don’t matter: Oprah Winfrey (CEO of Oprah Winfrey Network)

          Networth: 3 Billion (Forbes)

          “You become what you believe. You are where you are today in your life based on everything you have believed.” – Oprah Winfrey

          Self-made billionaire Oprah Winfrey

            Oprah Winfrey rose from a life of poverty and hardship into one of the most influential and powerful women in the world. She is an American media mogul, producer, talk show host, author and philanthropist. She grew up wearing potato sack dresses when she was living with her grandmother. By the time she was fourteen, she suffered physical abuse, molestation, and the death of her first new born. A few years later, she won a beauty pageant, got her degree in speech and performing arts, became an ABC news anchor – and the rest is history. Her cable network, the Oprah Winfrey Network, is worth billions of dollars.

            6. Learn the real value of money: Mark Cuban (Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures and Chairman of AXS TV)

            Networth: 3 Billion (Forbes)

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            “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.” – Mark Cuban

            Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban

              Mark Cuban is an American business guru and investor who understood the true power of money at an early age. Before his billionaire days, he learned to stretch his dollar by living of ketchup and mustard sandwiches, couch surfing, and living on the cheap. In university, he made extra cash teaching dance lessons and hosting disco parties. He lived well below his means so that he could deploy his money on business opportunities. He lived on the cheap for a long time in order to build and grow his businesses and investments into a multi-billion-dollar empire.

              In his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, Cuban wrote:

              “It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.”  – Mark Cuban

              7. Learn to be mentally tough: Jack Ma (Founder of China YellowPages and Alibaba)

              Networth: 22.2 Billion (Forbes)

              “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” – Jack Ma

              Self-made billionaire Jack Ma

                Jack Ma is a Chinese internet entrepreneur and billionaire. His amazing mental toughness and resilience got him through many failed school exams including university entrance exams, twice. After graduating, he went on to dozens of rejections from jobs including a managerial position at KFC. Before he became rich and famous, he was kidnapped on a business trip to Los Angeles, threatened with a gun, and held captive in Las Vegas with no money before managing to escape. His mental toughness, resilience, extreme determination and passion to achieve his goals eventually paid off and he went on building a mega billion dollar internet empire.

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                His philosophy: “If you never tried, how do you know there’s no chance?” – Jack Ma

                8. Learn to solve complex problems by turning them into something simple and beautiful: Elizabeth Holmes (Founder-CEO, Theranos)

                Networth 3.6 Billion (Forbes)

                “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.” – Elizabeth Holmes (at nine years old)

                Self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes

                  Elizabeth Holmes is an American entrepreneur who has dedicated one third of her life to her biotech blood testing company – Theranos. She is also the youngest female self-made billionaire. When she was 19 years old, she dropped out of chemical engineering to start her company because she was afraid of needles and wanted to revolutionize the blood testing industry. After starting out in the basement of her college house, she filed her first patent and worked in secrecy many years. Her company has now disrupted the laboratory industry, performing nearly 10 billion tests a year, and overturned the requirement for needles.

                  9. Learn the power of curiosity: Zhou Qunfei (Founder of Lens Technology)

                  Networth: 5.4 Billion (Forbes)

                  “The secret of my success was the desire to learn” – Zhou Qunfei

                  Self- made billionaire zhou qunfei

                    Zhou Qunfei is a self made female billionaire from China who built her glass lens company from the ground up. Her company supplies touchscreen glass to a quarter of all smartphones in the world. When she was 16, due to financial hardship and a need to support her blind father, she dropped out of school to work as an operator in a watch glass company. She learned the ropes of the glass making business before launching her own company in 1993. She self-taught herself at night, relying on books to create different technologies. In 2015, her company went public and made her an overnight billionaire.

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                    “Only through determination can you succeed, you can’t give up just because of a little setback.” – Zhou Qunfei

                    10. Learn to share your knowledge

                    Here are 5 more self made billionaires that have written books to share their wisdom to grow your entrepreneur path and teach you how to build it the easier way.

                    More by this author

                    Tracy Ma

                    Investor, Project Management Consultant, Entrepreneur

                    10 Self-Made Billionaires In The World That You Should Learn From

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                    Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                    How it helps you:

                    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                    How it helps you:

                    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                    How it helps you:

                    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                    How it helps you:

                    One word: hierarchy.

                    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                    How it helps you:

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                    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                    6. What do you like about working here?

                    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                    How it helps you:

                    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                    How it helps you:

                    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                    Making Your Interview Work for You

                    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                    More Resources About Job Interviews

                    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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