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How to Be Successful? The Stories of These 15 Entrepreneurs Can Give You Some Ideas

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How to Be Successful? The Stories of These 15 Entrepreneurs Can Give You Some Ideas

Passion, motivation, the desire to take risks and confidence. These words define an entrepreneur. Perhaps these words makes you envision Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck. Maybe you see the iPhone as one of the most important ideas of all time. Or maybe when you think about an individual who brought a unique idea to the world and worked tirelessly until it changed life as we know it, you picture Thomas Edison.

Both Jobs and Edison are deserving of the Influential Entrepreneurial title, because both men impacted the world with new ways to communicate. But when I ask you to think of some of the most influential entrepreneurs in the last hundred years or so, would you have trouble listing more than two? Read on to learn about 15 of the most influential entrepreneurs.

15 Most Influential Entrepreneurs of All Time

Henry Ford

    Ford was born into a family of farmers, but he was always curious as to how things worked. After receiving a timepiece from his father as a teenager, Ford took the thing apart just to see if he could put it back together. Though Dyslexic, Ford knew he had a passion about knowing how things worked, and he was determined to do something about it.

    In 1891, Ford met with Thomas Edison (who was very intrigued by his auto-mobile ideas) who allowed him to use his warehouses to manufacture two vehicles. When he could, Ford built his own company so he could build the cars how he wanted to. Ford went on to build the Cadillac Automobile company, but he had terrible financial setbacks along the way. He believed in himself and didn’t let financial failures slow him down. Sales for the Ford group are now $190 billion.

    Oprah Winfrey

      Winfrey may be a household name because of her show and her magazines, but she’s accomplished so much more. After facing a tragic childhood and being very vocal about things she had experienced, Winfrey would gain fame in 1983 when she landed her own talk-show. While she was happy with the fame and financial success she was experiencing, she still had entrepreneurial skills. In 1988, she founded Harpo Studios. This business now has over 250 employees and is growing every year. Her personal wealth sits at a comfortable $2.7 billion.

      Larry Page

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        At just 37 years old, Page has a net worth of $15 billion! He’s the co-founder of Google. His parents were both computer science professors at the University of Michigan. He came from a wealthy family, so he was able to attend the best schools in order to complete his degree in Computer Engineering Sciences. He also earned a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford before meeting Sergey Brin in 1995.

        Brin was also a Stanford student, and the two became friends. In 1996, they went into business together and started Google Incorporated. Through networking, they were able to get financial backing from Andy Bectolsheim, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems. They would go on to be offered much more from tons of investors.

        Richard Branson

          Branson is a well-known British Industrialist, and you’ve probably seen him on commercials for the Virgin Group’s Virgin Atlantic Airways. Virgin Group spans across 360 different companies including Virgin Records, Virgin Galactic and even some charities. Branson was always of an entrepreneurial mind, as he started his first business venture in 1966 with Student Magazine. The next year, he opened his first charity, The Student Advisory Centre.

          He is heavily involved with all aspects of his company, which helps make him such a success, and part of why he’s on this list. He didn’t stop as soon as he was successful, he continued to work hard because he cares about the work he’s doing.

          Ariana Huffington

            Huffington was born in Athens, Greece in 1950 and is now one of the most professional and successful females within the blogging industry. Along with blogging, Huffington also wrote a biography on Maria Callas in 1981, and Picasso in 1989. She gained more attention in the early 90’s when she supported her ex-husband’s unsuccessful bid for the Senate.

            Always driven, she later founded the Huffington Post. This has spanned and grown and you may also recognize HuffPost Chicago, HuffPost New York, HuffPost Denver, and HuffPost Los Angeles. In 2010, she won the Webby award for the People’s Voice, and she was even named the second place winner in Time Magazine’s Best 25 Blogs of 2009.

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            Charles Kemmons Wilson

              Wilson is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the hotelier business. Supposedly, he came up with the idea for his business after a road trip helped him see the need for quality hotels. He and his business partner created Holiday Inn of America. It franchised in 1957 and grew dramatically. In fact, by 1958, Wilson and Johnson had managed to create 50 different Holiday Inns all over the country. In just five years, there were 500! And just after a decade, that already impressive number would double to 1000.

              Wilson was a true entrepreneur, as he brought innovative ideas to the market which helped leverage the way things worked as well as adding financial pressure to traditional hotels and bigger competitors.

              Anita Roddick

                Roddick created the Body Shop in 1976 with only 15 products and loads of compassion. She had sourced the products from all around the world and was determined to give shoppers in the UK access to “Greener” products. She was so motivated and passionate about what she was doing, she was able to open store after store. As of 2003, she had built an empire of 1,980 stores serving more than 75 million customers in 50 countries. She sold her company to L’Oreal and made $1.03 billion on it.

                Jeff Bezos

                  Born in 1964, Bezos is the founder, chief executive officer and Chairman of the Board for Amazon.com. Bezos started as an Exxon engineer, but he had always been interested in science. He received an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and graduated from Princeton. In 1994, after a trip from New York to Seattle, Bezos came up with the idea for Amazon. He was able to get backing and now Amazon is one of the most successful e-commerce sites in the world with a revenue of about $25 billion.

                  George Eastman

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                    You’ve probably heard of Kodak, but you probably haven’t heard of Eastman, even though he was the man who made it all happen. He founded the company in 1884, but he was more interested in creating than running the business. He hired Henry Strong as the president and in 1885, Eastman invented the roll film which was used for over 100 years.

                    Penny Streeter

                      Streeter was born in Zimbabwe in 1957, but she moved to the UK in the late eighties. After launching a recruitment business, she was left broke and homeless due to its failure. To add to her troubles, she was faced with a divorce at the same time.

                      Six years later, she decided she had nothing more to lose and started a recruitment business once more. This time, she created Ambition 24Hours and it sought to fill roles in nursing, social work, teaching, lecturing, and care-giving. In 2004, the company expanded into South Africa and in 2006, she made her first noticeable acquisition; the nursing services of South Africa. This was the largest staffing agency for nursing personnel. Streeter went from being broke to having a net worth of $117.80 billion.

                      Linda Bennett

                        Bennett truly worked her way from the bottom. Passionate about the clothing industry, she founded the luxury womenswear brand LK Bennett in the UK in 1990. She opened an accessories shop in Wimbledon with a small savings account and a bank loan. She managed to become an icon, creating shoes for the Duchess of Cornwall which she wore to marry Prince Charles.

                        In 2004, she tried to sell the business, but didn’t, as the asking price wasn’t met. Four years later she sold to a private equity firm called Phoenix Equity partners and Sirius Equity for around $110 million.

                        Madame C.J. Walker

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                          Walker died over 90 years ago, but she made an empire. Born Sarah Breedlove, Walker is known for being America’s first African-American entrepreneur, as well as one of the wealthiest of her time. Many women in the 18-1900s suffered from hair loss (thought to be due to a lack of plumbing and electricity which prevented bathing regularly). Walker recognized it was a problem and decided to make some home-made remedies.

                          They worked so well that she invested and created a business. The products were a huge success and stores across the country were selling her products. In 1908, she opened a college to train hair dressers, and in 1910 she started a factory. She would later become a teacher and lecturer, speaking to female entrepreneurs to help them find their own success.

                          Walt Disney

                            After being hired by the Kansas City film Ad Company, Disney learned how to make animations from cut-outs. He went on to have many successes and failures, but he continued to work on his animation knowledge. In 1932, he won an Academy Award for his efforts in animation. He is of course responsible for Disney Land and Disney World which are currently worth about $35 million.

                            Hans Christian Andersen

                              Anderson grew up poor, but a fortuneteller told him he would grow up to be famous. He tried and failed to become an actor and a singer, but the director of the Royal Danish Theatre took him under his wing and paid for his education. He was bullied at school and began publishing his writings after leaving. His fairy tales became famous and Disney has adapted most of them.

                              Michael Newton

                                Newton started a CCTV system in 1982 that monitored how long a person was at a bar. He introduced a line of multi-channel systems that were able to view a broad range of areas all at once in various locations. Now using this system, over 7 million images are recorded every second. In 1994, he made the move into the commercial airline industry and is now the CEO of the AD Aviation company.

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                                Last Updated on October 21, 2021

                                How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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                                How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

                                Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                                Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                                The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                                Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                                Program Your Own Algorithms

                                Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                                Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                                By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                                How to Form a Ritual

                                I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                                Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                                1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                                2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                                3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                                4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                                Ways to Use a Ritual

                                Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                                1. Waking Up

                                Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                                2. Web Usage

                                How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                                3. Reading

                                How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                                4. Friendliness

                                Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                                5. Working

                                One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                                6. Going to the gym

                                If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                                7. Exercise

                                Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                                8. Sleeping

                                Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                                8. Weekly Reviews

                                The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                                Final Thoughts

                                We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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                                Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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