Reviewing the lives of famous entrepreneurs can help remind us that even the most successful and famous entrepreneurs started out the way everyone else does. They weren’t handed success but earned it through innovation and hard work. They succeeded by becoming leaders rather than followers.

Looking at their lives, personalities, and brands can help you, and you can replicate that success. Learning from famous entrepreneurs is a great way to avoid making costly mistakes. It can help us to hone the most important skills, capitalize on our talents, and improve our weak spots and problem areas.

Top 5 Famous Entrepreneurs to Inspire You

#1. Steve Jobs and Your Ability to Reshape the World

Steve Jobs, Apple's founder

One of the most famous entrepreneurs of our century is Steve Jobs. He and his company, Apple, are famous for setting trends rather than following them. During his life, Jobs was famous for his innovation and his knack for creating groundbreaking technology which others would scramble to mimic. Instead of letting himself to be boxed in by previously established methods and customs, he constantly blazed his own path through life.

His advice for entrepreneurs?

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

#2. J.K. Rowling: Don’t Fear Rejection

J K Rowling quote

Sometimes it can be tough to face rejection. It may feel as though your abilities simply aren’t enough, or that your ideas lack the spark they need for success.

But abandoning your efforts because you fear rejection isn’t the way to go. Many famous entrepreneurs face rejection and have to try multiple times before they finally succeed. J.K. Rowling is just one example of this. Before she finally managed to get Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone published, publishers rejected her manuscript twelve different times.

One letter of rejection she received even went so far as to give her some “helpful” writing tips. If Rowling hadn’t continued to persevere, she would have never become the famous author she is today… and we’d never have been able to read the Harry Potter series, either.

#3. Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis: Problem Solving Can Be an Opportunity

Levi Strauss jeans detail

The ubiquitous and ever-stylish jeans were born when Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss worked together to create a type of pants with rivets. These rivets helped keep the seams from ripping and made the pants last far longer.

Because these famous entrepreneurs Strauss and Davis addressed and fixed a major problem inherent in the average pair of work pants, these new riveted pants were an astounding success. Blue jeans are still around today, and they’ve remained popular throughout the decades. Even though styles and trends have changed drastically since their original creation, blue jeans have adapted and remained trendy.

If you find yourself frustrated with a problem or flaw you’ve encountered, then it’s quite likely that you’re not alone. Finding a way to solve the issue may turn into an incredible business opportunity, and give the inspiration to create something entirely new and unique. Instead of complaining, try to find innovative new solutions to make the world a better place.

#4. Walt Disney: Dream Big

Walt Disney statue

Today, Walt Disney Studios is probably the most successful and well-known entertainment brand ever. Disneyland is a widely successful attraction which brings in billions every year. But when famous entrepreneur Walt Disney’s career was beginning, it would have been hard to imagine that he would ever be so successful.

One of the things that enabled his success was Disney’s high ambitions for every project. He created the first cartoon with sound, Steamboat Willie. Despite the fact that no one had ever tried to make a feature-length animated film before, Disney worked for three years on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It was the first full-length animated film ever created and became a huge success.

Disney’s theme park originally had some trouble finding investors, but after it was created, it was an instant hit. Since then, Disneyland has had more guests than any other theme park in existence. But none of these would have been created without Disney’s desire to reach new heights with his work. He was constantly seeking to improve and sought after.

#5. Oprah Winfrey and the Power of Being Real

Oprah Winfrey outdoors

Oprah’s brand is one which has thrived through her willingness to be authentic. She shows real emotion when speaking with others, and encourages them to give their stories in an honest and genuine way.

When she offers endorsements, she does it because she genuinely likes the product, rather than simply promoting products because she’s been paid to do so. This has given her a brand which resonates with millions and helped her show run for an incredible twenty-five year period.

For many of us, it can be tempting to live with a “fake it ’til you make it” mindset. But sometimes, opening up to others and being totally honest can be a far better approach. To quote Oprah herself:

I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.

Putting It All Together

All of these famous entrepreneurs are great role models. It’s wise to avoid copying other people if you’re looking to become an entrepreneur. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn valuable lessons from them and their life stories. Studying their habits, techniques, and methods can help you hone your own.

That being said, don’t be afraid to be different from them, either. Replicating the habits and work of other people isn’t always bad, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s the best option. Be genuine, creative, bold, and ambitious in your own way.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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