Mar 092014

Inspiration and “the big break” often come when and where you don’t expect them. We bring you these stories to help you to open your eyes to the opportunities you’re perhaps missing, or misinterpreting as risks.

The main message is: go with what your gut is telling you and you probably won’t be wrong. Take a look at what happened to them.

Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil)

Laliberté was born in Canada. He began his circus career on the streets, eating fire and walking on stilts.

In 1987 he was a manager of a moderately successful troupe that performed exclusively in Canada. Then he decided to risk everything and to take his circus to the Los Angeles Arts Festival. The risk was really big: it cost the production’s entire cash reserve to make the move,  and he would not have had the money to move the troupe back home to Quebec had it not been successful.

Today his net worth is over $2 billion.

John Paul DeJoria (John Paul Mitchell Systems)

His childhood was really rough; his parents divorces when he was two, he sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family before he turned 10, he ended up in a foster home in L.A. and became a gang member… In his twenties he lived in a car.

Eventually he took a $700 loan and created John Paul Mitchell Systems, a hair product company, selling the company’s shampoo door-to-door. And taking a $700 loan was a huge risk for him at the time.

His personal net worth is today $3 billion.

DeJoria is one of the heroes described in Rhonda Byrne’s latest book.

Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA)

Kamprad was born in a small village in Sweden and he was expected to stay on his family farm. But he had a knack for business – he started buying matches in bulk, later expanded to fish, Christmas decorations, and pens, and selling them to his neighbors.

Wanting to expand his business Kamprad took the money his father gave him as a reward for good grades and created a mail-order business that later became IKEA.

His net worth in 2007 was $33 billion – today it’s around $4 billion; a lot less, but still impressive!

J. K. Rowling (the author of Harry Potter series)

In the early 1990s, Rowling had just gotten divorced. The best way to get her daughter, Jessica, to sleep was to walk around with her, so she completed most of the first “Harry Potter” book in cafes.

She was living on welfare at the time, but she persisted. The Harry Potter franchise has become a worldwide success.

Her net worth is $1 billion.

Oprah Winfrey

You know her all right – but did you know that she spent the first six years of her life living with her grandmother wearing dresses made out of potato sacks? She was later molested by by two members of her family and a family friend so she ran away from home when she was 13.

She got a full scholarship to college, won a beauty pageant – where she was discovered by a radio station… and the rest is history. You can read her full biography here.

Oprah turned a life of hardship into inspiration for a multi-billion-dollar empire. Her personal net worth today is $2,9 billion.

If they could make it – what’s stopping you?

Whose story inspires you the most? Let us know!

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