10 Famous Entrepreneurs Who Failed in Business Before Becoming Successful

Famous Entrepreneurs that Failed in Business Before Becoming Successful

Happy Tuesday All!  I hope that you had a very pleasant Fourth of July Holiday.  Yesterday I ran across an interesting post from Addicted2Success.com that featured 15 Rich & Famous People Who Were Fired Before They Became Successful.  This post prompted me to write today’s blog post.
I have always been taught to view failure is “an opportunity to learn and grow” and that some of the experiences that we go through in our lives (particularly the bad the ones)–often times turn out to be blessings in disguise.
Today, I will be presenting a list of 10 famous people who failed in business before becoming successful – who were either fired from their jobs or experienced multiple setbacks and failures in their business before becoming successful:


1.  Walt Disney




Walt Disney is the businessman behind the very successful theme park “Walt Disney World“.  Walt Disney was reportedly fired by a newspaper editor for not having good ideas and no imagination.  Disney World is currently valued at  $35 Billion dollars.


2.  Thomas Edison





Before becoming successful, Thomas Edison tried more than 10,000 times to invent the light bulb.   When Asked about his failures, Edison stated that he knew “definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work.”


3.  Fred Smith





Founder of hugely successful company “Fed Ex” Smith’s college professor stated that his concept of Federal Express was “interesting, but not feasible”.


4.  Steve Jobs

steve jobs




Steve Jobs  was actually fired from Apple Computers,  the very company that he is responsible for making it the success it is today.  When Jobs was fired from Apple, he was quoted stating “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”


5.  Oprah Winfrey





Hailed as the “ Queen of Daytime Talk TV” Winfrey was fired from her news reporter gig at a Baltimore news station.  Oprah went on to build a successful following from her daytime talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.  Oprah’s net worth is currently valued at 2.7 billion dollars.


6.  Steven Spielberg





Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school 3 times before getting his huge break.  Spielberg is known for directing mega hits that include Jurassic Park and Jaws.


7.  Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank





Founders of the home improvement chain “The Home Depot” Marcus and Blank were fired from Corporate America in 1989.  These savvy businessmen went on to turn their Big Box store into a huge success and currently have over 2,200 retail stores in the United States with revenues exceeding 74.8 billion dollars.


8.  Tim Ferris




Known for his best selling book “The 4 Hour Workweek” was turned down by 25 publishers before it was finally picked up.  Tim’s book went on to sell millions of copies making him a force to be reckoned with in the Entrepreneurship landscape.


9.  Colonel Sanders

Col Sanders




Colonel Sanders is the entrepreneur who founded KFC “Kentucky Fried Chicken” when he was 56 years old.  His recipe was reportedly rejected over 1,000 times before a restaurant picked it up.


10.  Henry Ford




Ford founded two automotive companies that failed before he was able to gain success with the Ford Motor Company. At his time of death,  Ford’s estimated net worth was $188 billion dollars.

These stories prove that sometimes in business sometimes failure can be our best motivator. I hope that today’s blog post will give you a boost of empowerment and motivation in your small business and will help you to continue down the path of entrepreneurship.

About the Author

Chic Geek
Kim "The Chick Geek" is the founder of Small Business Sense and Websites4SmallBiz. Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.

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