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

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 August 16, 2018

                                16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                                16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                                The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

                                How about a unique spin on things?

                                These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

                                1. Empty your mind.

                                It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

                                Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

                                Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

                                Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

                                How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

                                2. Keep certain days clear.

                                Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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                                This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

                                3. Prioritize your work.

                                Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

                                Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

                                Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

                                How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                4. Chop up your time.

                                Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

                                5. Have a thinking position.

                                Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

                                What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

                                6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

                                To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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                                Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

                                7. Don’t try to do too much.

                                OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

                                8. Have a daily action plan.

                                Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

                                Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

                                9. Do your most dreaded project first.

                                Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

                                10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

                                The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

                                11. Have a place devoted to work.

                                If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

                                But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

                                Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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                                Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

                                12. Find your golden hour.

                                You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

                                Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

                                Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

                                Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

                                13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

                                It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

                                By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

                                Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

                                14. Never stop.

                                Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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                                Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

                                There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

                                15. Be in tune with your body.

                                Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

                                16. Try different methods.

                                Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

                                It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

                                Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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