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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Carlos Slim, investor: millionaire at 25, billionaire at 51. It took 26 years for Slim’s investments to pay off.
- 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.
- 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.
- Denise Coates, founder of Bet365: millionaire at 38, billionaire at 47. Taking 9 years to get to billionaire status.
- Zhou Qunfei, founder and CEO of Lens Technology: millionaire at 33, billionaire at 45.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?