Most Successful Entrepreneurs that Started with Little to Nothing

1. John Paul DeJoria

John Paul Jones DeJoria is a philanthropist and an American entrepreneur, he was born on April 13, 1944, in Echo Park, California. He is the founder of hair products Paul Mitchell and  The Patron Spirits Company. To support his family financially John and his older brother started selling Christmas cards and newspapers at the age of nine, he also did many other jobs including door-to-door encyclopedia salesman,  insurance salesman, and janitor.

John Paul DeJoria

Johan came into the hair care world as an employee of Redken Laboratories, later he was fired from the job. In 1980, along with hairdresser Paul Mitchell DeJoria formed John Paul Mitchell Systems with a loan for $700. Patron Spirits Company was founded by DeJoria in 1989. John became an advisory board member for The Beauty Channel in 2008. Along with Jonathan Kendrick as a business partner, DeJoria founded ROKiT Group in 2018, and both of them have expanded the brand in ROKiT Telemedicine, ROKiT Phones, ROKiT Drinks, and more.

John owns a historic private railroad car the Patrón Tequila Express. He also has an interest in the film industry and is active as an executive producer and actor. DeJoria made a cameo appearance in many films and series like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Weeds, and many more, John released a documentary depicting his struggle and philanthropic work of himself in 2017 and also won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sundance. John Paul DeJoria is been described as a living example of the American Dream and as a  self-made billionaire.


2. Do Won Chang

Do Won Chang is a Korean-born American businessman, he was born on March 20, 1954, in South Korea. Chang never attended university. When Do Won first moved to America from South Korea he worked as a janitor, in a coffee shop, and at a gas station.

Do Won Chang

In 1984 Chang along with his wife Jin Sook opened a foot clothing store in 900-square in Highland Park with a saving of $11,000. They named the store Fashion 21. Later the business expanded to other locations as well. The name was been changed to  Forever 21 otherwise known as XXI. By 2015, the stores grew to 600, with 30,000 employees.

Chang and Jin Sook’s two daughters Linda and Esther founded the company, Riley Rose, it is a make-up and accessory company. Its products are been sold in Forever 21 stores. Do Won Chang also do charity work and has donated money to churches and faith groups.


3. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is an American philanthropist, billionaire businessman, and fashion designer. He was born on October 14, 1939, in New York City, U.S. Lauren graduated high school in the Bronx, New York, but dropped out his college in between to join the US Army.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph worked as a sales assistant for Brooks Brothers while working he decided to try his hand at running his own business and started selling ties and launched The Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1967. Later he launched Lauren named his first full line of menswear ‘Polo’ in 1968. He opened a freestanding store Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California in 1971, it was the first freestanding store for an American designer.

In March 1978 Lauren launched Ralph Lauren fragrances at Bloomingdale produced by Warner-Lauren, Ltd, it was the first time that a designer had introduced two fragrances. In 1981, the company went international with the opening of the freestanding store on New Bond Street in the West End of London, England.

He founded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. in 1989. Ralph Lauren is known for the Ralph Lauren Corporation, and as a collector of automobiles, he has about 100 automobiles, some being extremely rare which are been displayed in museum exhibits as well. His net worth was estimated at US$6.9 billion as of April 2022.


4. Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Christina Amoruso is an American businesswoman born on April 20, 1984, in San Diego, California. she dropped out of school due to depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and began homeschooling. As a teenager, Sophia worked at Subway restaurant, and also in a record shop and bookstore.

Sophia Amoruso

After her parents divorced and she moved to Sacramento, California, where she lived a nomadic lifestyle, after being caught stealing Amoruso stopped it and got relocated to San Francisco. Sophia worked in the Academy of Art University lobby checking student IDs when she was 22 years old. She opened an online eBay store, named Nasty Gal Vintage, the store had all the used vintage clothing and other items.

Her business grew and earned 1 million dollars yearly revenue business. In 2008, Amoruso was banned from eBay for posting hyperlinks in feedback to customers, due to which she launched Nasty Gal as its own retail website and continues growing. Sophia’s autobiography #GIRLBOSS was published in 2014 by Portfolio.  Netflix converted her autobiography into a television series called Girlboss in  2016, in the same year Sophia Amoruso was named one of the richest self-made women in the world by Forbes.


5. Jan Koum

Jan Koum is a computer programmer and Ukrainian-American billionaire businessman. He was born on 24 February 1976 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. Jan is the founder and former CEO of WhatsApp. From the age of 18, Koum got interested in programming, he went to San Jose State University and also worked as a security tester at Ernst & Young. Jan also joined w00w00.

Jan Koum

Later as an infrastructure engineer, he was hired by Yahoo! After getting his new smartphone Koum realized to develop such an application, Koum worked on his idea, and on his 33rd birthday, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California. In 2014, for US$19 billion Facebook announced that it was acquiring WhatsApp.

As of September 2022, he has an estimated net worth of US$13.8 billion according to Forbes, which makes him one of the richest people in the world. Jan donated $556 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) and  $1 million to The FreeBSD Foundation.

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