Connect with us

Business Entrepreneur

At what age did these top 21 entrepreneurs became billionaires?

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Long hours, no pay in the beginning, and endless miles of stress. But, if you stick with it, the rewards make it all worthwhile.

Published

on

warren-buffett

Going from millionaire to billionaire

So many entrepreneurs struggle with doubt. You wonder if you’re measuring up to your competitors. You feel like success isn’t coming fast enough. You have days where you wonder if you wouldn’t be better off going back to work for someone else. While, worrying and wondering are human nature, it’s equally important to reassure yourself that you know do know what you’re doing. Everyone has those doubtful days, but by and large you know you’re winning at this entrepreneur thing and you need to reassure yourself that you’ve got this thing nailed down.

Entrepreneur recently covered 21 highly successful entrepreneurs, including how long it took them to go from millionaire to billionaire. I feel like this is important. Not to celebrate the increase of income, or the almighty dollar, but rather to demonstrate that sometimes you have to keep your nose to the grindstone for years to see a tangible, financial payoff for all your hard work. On those days when you’re feeling down, consider it took Alan Sugar, founder of British electronics company, Amstrad, 44 years to go from millionaire to billionaire.

bar

Entrepreneurs that never gave up

Here are 21 entrepreneurs (plus a bonus) who kept their noses to the grindstone and didn’t give up on themselves:

  1. Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Epic Systems: millionaire at 47, billionaire at 70. That’s 23 years in between, not counting the amount of time she spent before hitting millionaire status.
  2. Sir Alan Sugar, Founder of Amstrad: millionaire status at 24, billionaire status at 68. That’s an epic 44 years of hard work to get where he wanted to be.
  3. James Dyson, Inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner: millionaire status at 47, billionaire status at 62. Dyson gave a solid 15 year effort before his efforts paid off in a more tangible way.
  4. Geore Soros, investor: millionaire at 47, billionaire at 62. Again, a solid 15 years of hard work before seeing those results and this doesn’t measure the amount of work he put in before age 47.
  5. Martha Stewart, author and television personality: millionaire at 45, billionaire at 58. Although Stewart is no longer a billionaire, she worked 13 years building from millionaire to billionaire.
  6. Warren Buffett, investor: millionaire at 30, billionaire at 56. Another long stretch of keeping your nose to the grindstone; 26 years in Buffet’s case.
  7. George Lucas, filmmaker and founder of Lucasfilm & ILM: millionaire at 34, billionaire at 52. It took Lucas a surprising 18 years to push himself into billionaire status.
  8. Carlos Slim, investor: millionaire at 25, billionaire at 51. It took 26 years for Slim’s investments to pay off.
  9. Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor, producer, and talk show host: millionaire at 32, billionaire at 49. Even with Oprah’s celebrated success, it took 17 years for her to get to billionaire status.
  10. Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle: millionaire at 42, billionaire at 49. Ellison’s journey was a bit shorter at only 7 years, but it still takes time to push yourself to where you want to be.
  11. Denise Coates, founder of Bet365: millionaire at 38, billionaire at 47. Taking 9 years to get to billionaire status.
  12. Zhou Qunfei, founder and CEO of Lens Technology: millionaire at 33, billionaire at 45.
  13. Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Chairwoman of HP, Inc., and former President and CEO of eBay: millionaire at 40, billionaire at 42. Whitman’s legacy nearly rivals Zuckerberg, proving that sometimes tangible success comes quickly, but most of the time you have to work for it.
  14. Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group: millionaire at 23, billionaire at 41: between his record and airline companies it took Branson nearly 18 years to see his hard work pay off.
  15. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx: millionaire at 29, billionaire at 41. Blakely owns 100% of her company; perhaps this is one reason why she achieved billionaire status in 12 years.
  16. Elon Musk, co-founder of Zip2, PayPal, and Tesla; founder of SpaceX: millionaire at 27, billionaire at 41. Taking 14 years, Musk’s billionaire status is attributed to the rise of Tesla stock.
  17. Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and ‘shark’ investor on the TV series Shark Tank: millionaire at 32, billionaire at 40. Taking only 8 years, Cuban’s billionaire status in attributed, in part, to the selling of his second company, Broadcast.com.
  18. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon: millionaire at 33, billionaire at 35. Bezos owns 48% of Amazon and the rapid rise of Amazon’s stock value made him a billionaire in only two years.
  19. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: millionaire at 26, billionaire at 31. Gates’ billionaire status is attributed to rapid rise in Microsoft’s stock value. He was the youngest billionaire at the time (1987).
  20. Larry Page, co-founder of Google: millionaire at 25, billionaire at 30. Retaining joint majority ownership, Google IPO makes Page and co-founder Brin billionaires in only five years.
  21. Evan Spiegel, founder of Snapchat: millionaire at 23, billionaire at 25. Spiegel’s billionaire status is directly related to the value of Snapchat’s stock.

Bonus: Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook: millionaire at 22, billionaire at 23. You read that right. It only took a year for Zuckerberg to become a millionaire making him the youngest self-made billionaire in history. You’ll notice the shorter amounts of time are the exception, not the rule.

While we’d all like to be millionaires, it doesn’t matter if you never reach millionaire status. As long as you’re doing what you love and making enough money to keep a roof over your head, you’re doing just fine. Really. Is there anyone else you’d like to see on this list?

#Entrepreneurs

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Business Entrepreneur

‘Small’ business was once a stigma, but is now a growing point of pride

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Small businesses make up the majority of companies, employers, and money makers of the American economy, that’s something to be proud of.

Published

on

American small business

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, all businesses were small businesses. Independent craftsmen served communities with vital services. Small merchants opened shops to provide the community with goods. Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals hung out a shingle to offer their services to neighbors. Small businesses were the norm. Some of the most beloved American companies started out local. John Deere, Harley Davidson, and King Arthur Flour, all got their start as small businesses.

Business changes led to a attitude change

It wasn’t until manufacturing allowed businesses to scale and produce more efficiently that the idea of big business became more important. Post-World War II, the idea of a small business became derogatory. It was the age of big government. Media was growing. Everyone wanted to be on top. Small businesses took a back seat as people moved from rural to urban communities. Small business growth plateaued for a number of years in the mid-20th century. Fortunately, the stigma of small business is fading.

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy

According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the “American business is overwhelmingly small business.” In 2016, 99.7% of firms in American had fewer than 500 workers. Firms with 20 workers or less accounted for 89.0% of the 5.6 million employer firms. The SBE also reports that “Small businesses accounted for 61.8% of net new jobs from the first quarter of 1993 until the third quarter of 2016.” Small businesses account for a huge portion of innovation and growth in today’s economy.

Modern consumers support small businesses

According to a Guidant Financial survey, the most common reason for opening a small business is to be your own boss. Small business owners are also dissatisfied with corporate America. Consumers also want to support small businesses. SCORE reports that 91% of Americans patronize a small business at least once a week. Almost half of Americans (47%) frequent small businesses 2 to 4 times a week.

Be proud of small business status

Small businesses are the innovators of tomorrow. Your neighbors want to support small businesses, knowing that their tax dollars stay in the community, and that they’re creating opportunities within their own city. Your small business status isn’t a slight. It’s a source of pride in today’s economy. Celebrate the fact that you’ve stepped out on your own in uncertain times. Celebrate the dirt under your fingernails, literally, or figuratively, that made you take a risk to do what mattered to you.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

Why and how to acquire a business – 4 tips for radical success

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Acquiring a business can be a key part of your business’s future growth, but there are some factors you should consider before signing the deal.

Published

on

A meeting room with people shaking hands over acquiring a business

Growing businesses have multiple levers that can be pulled separately or in unison to continue scaling and expanding. And while many companies choose to grow internally, there’s always the option of acquiring other businesses to supercharge results and instantly expand.

Why Acquire?

Acquiring a business is certainly a complicated path to expansion, but it’s also a highly attractive one for a variety of reasons. This includes:

  • Increased market share. If you’re acquiring a business that happens to be a competitor, you can instantly increase your market share. If you currently own 20 percent of the market share and the competition has 15 percent, you suddenly catapult to 35 percent. That might make you the industry leader overnight!
  • Expansion into new markets. Sometimes you acquire a business outside of your industry or niche. In this case, it allows you to expand vertically or horizontally. This can improve top-line revenue and/or reduce costs and benefit profit margins.
  • Advanced tech and IP. In some situations, an acquisition is about acquiring a specific piece of technology or intellectual property (IP). This may prove to be the final boost you need to accelerate growth and initiate further expansion.
  • Talent acquisition. One of the secondary benefits of an acquisition is the opportunity to welcome new talent into your team. Whether it’s a seasoned executive or a highly effective sales staff, this is one benefit you can’t ignore.

Mergers and acquisitions aren’t the correct solutions in every situation, but they often make sense. It’s ultimately up to your team to sit down and discuss the pros, cons, opportunities, drawbacks, and possibilities of pursuing this option.

Helpful Acquisition Tips

Should your business choose to move forward with the acquisition route, here are some essential tips to be aware of:

1. Assemble a Talented Team

Don’t do anything until you first develop an acquisition team. This is a very important step and should not be delayed. (Many businesses make the mistake of starting the search and then forming a team on the fly, but this results in missed opportunities and foundational errors that can compromise an otherwise smart acquisition.)

A good acquisition team should include an experienced mergers and acquisitions advisor, a responsible executive, an attorney, an HR professional, and an IT expert. You’ll also want to bring on a public relations professional as soon as possible. This will ensure you control the messaging that customers, investors, and even employees hear.

2. Do Extensive Due Diligence

With the support of a talented dream team, you’re equipped to find the best acquisition opportunities. As you narrow your targets down, you’ll want to identify and implement a very detailed due diligence process for acquiring a business. This may include an extensive, objective analysis that consists of a letter of intent, confidentiality agreement, contracts and leases, financial statements, tax returns, and other important documents.

3. Make an Initial Offer

If the due diligence checks out, then it’s time to work on formulating an offer for acquiring a business. While the first offer almost certainly won’t be the offer that gets accepted, it’s the single most important offer you’ll make. It frames the transaction and sets the tone for the rest of the negotiations. It’s generally a good idea to offer no more than 75 to 90 percent of what you’re willing to pay. It should be low enough to leave room to inch up, but not so low that the other party could potentially see it as an insult.

4. Negotiate

Your first offer won’t get accepted. But unless you’ve totally insulted the other business, they should come back with a counter. Now is where things get really interesting. Negotiations ensue and it’s time to counter back and forth. The offer consists of a variety of elements – not just a price tag – so consider all of these variables in your subsequent counters.

Adding it All Up

As valuable as an acquisition can be, the process is often filled with friction. It’s up to your team to make the transition after closing as smooth as possible.

It’s very important that you respect the products, services, employees, and customers that the acquired business has. If you come into an acquisition and attempt to shake things up on day one, you’re going to get backlash. There’s nothing wrong with making changes – you now own the business – but be diplomatic and patient. Build trust, work together, and gradually introduce changes.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

Should you use use confidentiality clauses in your severance agreements?

(BUSINESS) Confidentiality clauses and NDAs have long been tied to severance agreements – but is that notion becoming outdated?

Published

on

severance agreement

Severance agreements and their ilk have long included confidentiality clauses, often comprising an exhaustive list of actions former employees may not take should they desire to keep the benefits listed in the agreement. Carey & Associates P.C.’s Mark Carey breaks down the knowledge you’ll need to successfully incorporate a severance agreement – including a stern warning about the future of confidentiality clauses.

There is a long list of things you’ll need when curating a severance agreement, but we’ll start with Carey’s honey-do-nots.

Carey’s primary recommendation is avoiding a non-compete clause where, previously, there wasn’t one.

“As employment lawyers, we see this tactic used every day, but you do not,” he says.

This is because most employment lawyers will advise that a non-compete agreement is largely unenforceable, which sets a poor precedent for an otherwise airtight document.

Carey even recommends against reviewing prior non-compete clauses for the same reason.

He also eschews what he calls the “21 days to sign – or else” philosophy, and he advises that employers should loop themselves into the non-disparagement clause so that employees cannot be blacklisted – something he refers to as “a very real phenomenon.”

What a severance agreement should include is a non-admission provision, a payment provision, a release of all claims to cover any feasible scenarios regarding employee disclosure, a challenge to agreement, a “no other amounts are due” section to release the employer from future responsibility, and a mandate to return any company property. This is a truckload of information, so you’ll want an employment lawyer to help you through the process.

But what Carey warns against is the future of confidentiality agreements, or NDAs. While these provisions have long accounted for employee silence in the face of abusive or corrupt employers, Carey posits that, one day, “confidentiality provisions in employee severance agreements will be banned as a matter of statute and public policy.”

This assertion comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the uncovering of the manner in which powerful people were using NDAs to buy silence from the people who suffered under their direction. Carey points out that it’s a non-partisan issue; corruption isn’t aligned with one specific political party, and the option to come forward with allegations of misconduct is a courtesy that should be afforded to all.

Whether or not confidentiality agreements are ethical is a moot point, and Carey does recommend continuing to use them when necessary – but, sooner or later, one can safely assume that the landscape of severance agreements will change, arguably for the better.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!