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9 Unlikely Entrepreneurs Who Changed The World

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Starting a business is hard work, but making it successful is a whole other challenge. Some entrepreneurs want to do something that’s never been done before, while others want to build upon existing business niches or ideas and become a strong competitor.

Whatever the goal may be, entrepreneurship is a tough undertaking and these nine risk takers have helped change the world for the better:

  1. Bill Gates
    It's hard to believe that the genius behind the co-creation of software giant Microsoft never finished college, but it's clear he didn't need his diploma to do big things. Gates made the decision to leave Harvard to go work with Paul Allen at Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems. This risky decision to leave school truly paid off when Gates and Allen partnered up to create Microsoft in 1975. Today, Microsoft and its line of operating systems are the biggest and most widely used in the world. His entrepreneurial spirit and incredible intellect have made him one of the world's wealthiest people and most admired entrepreneurs.
  2. George Eastman
    George Eastman was the mastermind behind the Eastman Kodak Company, in which he invented roll film and helped make photography a mainstream form of art. Eastman's roll film invention also paved the way for the movie industry with his invention of motion picture film. His incredible contributions and commitment to the field of photography and filmmaking helped change the industry in so many fundamental ways, something we take for granted today.
  3. Sergey Brin
    Sergey Brin is a co-founder of Google and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Before starting the multinational Internet and software corporation with Larry Page, Brin was a student at the University of Maryland, studying mathematics and computer science. He went on to get his PhD at Stanford University and met his future business partner Page there. Together, the two developed new search engine designs and algorithms, which led to the creation of the PageRank system and later Google.
  4. Henry Ford
    Henry Ford gave us the first affordable automobile and prompted the use of assembly lines in mass production. His incredible contributions to the American public changed the way people got from place to place and performed work. But Ford didn't become a successful businessman overnight. In fact, he had to overcome some adversities, such as dyslexia and rejecting taking over the family farm to pursue his own business ventures.
  5. Mark Cuban
    Mark Cuban is best known for his wide range of business ventures, ranging from owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks to the owner of Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, and chairman of the HDTV cable network, HDNet. But the tech-savvy businessman and investor wasn't always a huge success. Before Cuban struck gold, he was working as a bartender, then a salesman at a computer software store. Cuban was fired less than a year after working at the store, and decided to turn his attention to starting his own company, MicroSolutions. Cuban diversified his wealth and business ventures as a serial entrepreneur and influential leader in sports business.
  6. John Mackey
    Whole Foods Market might be a household name today, but back in the late '70s it wasn't quite as promising. Before becoming a supermarket chain, Whole Foods was a small natural foods store in Austin, Texas, called Safer Way Natural Foods. John Mackey and his then-girlfriend Rene Lawson Hardy opened up the store in 1978 and later partnered with Clarksville Natural Grocery owners Craig Weller and Mark Skiles to join the two grocery stores. Together, they opened the original Whole Foods Market in 1980, and it soon became a hit among health-conscious shoppers. It is now a leader of the premium natural and organic supermarkets, and thanks to Mackey's expert leadership, it has maintained its ranking as one of the 100 best companies in America.
  7. Walt Disney
    No one would have guessed that the man who created Mickey Mouse and one of the largest motion picture production companies would have ever been doubted or rejected for not being good enough. But the truth is Walt Disney and his creations weren't always a hit. In 1919, Disney was fired from his job at the Kansas City Star because he lacked imaginative ideas. He went on to create a cartoon series that later developed into what we now know as The Walt Disney Company. Walt's undying creativity, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit helped him become one of the most admired and successful businessmen of all time.
  8. Mark Zuckerberg
    Who would have guessed that a young brainiac from Harvard would create the biggest and most successful social network in the world? Facebook originally served as a directory-like website for Harvard students, but was later expanded to other colleges in Boston and in the Ivy League. Facebook quickly spread to various universities around the world and eventually became available to anyone 13 and older. The incredibly popular social network now has more than 845 million active users. Zuckerberg's creation has significantly changed the way people socialize and use the Internet.
  9. Oprah Winfrey
    It's hard to believe that anyone could ever doubt the incredibly powerful and successful Oprah Winfrey, but in the beginning, few thought she had what it takes to be a successful talk show host. The odds were against her as an outspoken black female working in a field dominated by white males. Despite the doubts and negative predictions, Oprah's talk show career became a huge success. After the initial success of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah began to explore her entrepreneurial side by creating Harpo Productions, Inc., which includes Harpo Films and Harpo Radio, Inc. After seeing how successful her Harpo Productions creation has been, Oprah joined with Discovery Communications to create a new channel called OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011.

This article was brought to you by Roxanne from Business Insurance

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Speaker & Entrepreneur “Simply Sue” Falcone on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ - The Society – Entrepreneurs Epicentre

  2. Francesco

    April 12, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Not sure that I agree with Mark Cuban and Oprah. Yes they’re unlikely entrepreneurs, but how have they changed the world? In my opinion, the world would still be the same without either one of those two.

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Why Your Business Needs a Tax ID Number

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Anyone who has ever filed taxes before knows that the amount of information needed to complete the forms can be staggering. This is especially true for small business owners, who will need to supply a variety of documents and figures in order to successfully file. One of the most important things that you will need to provide as an entrepreneur and business owner is a tax ID number. This helps the IRS identify you and follow your business. If you don’t have one yet, keep reading to find out how you can apply for a federal tax ID number and be ready when tax time rolls around.

Federal Tax ID Number Application

In order to obtain a federal tax ID number, you must complete a federal tax ID number application. This lets the IRS know that you are in need of a number in order to file your taxes correctly, and they will begin looking through your application as soon as they receive it. The process should be an overly long one, and before long you will have the federal tax ID number that you need in order to stay compliant with the IRS.

Get Tax ID Online

Are you wary about the time involved to complete the federal tax ID number application? It’s understandable to be concerned about how much time you might have to spend filling out paperwork. In reality, however, you can often fill out the application and get your tax ID online! That means that you can apply when the time is convenient for you and not have to worry about mailing or faxing in hard copies of your application. Complete the federal tax ID number application today and get your tax ID online!

Apply online for an IRS EIN/Tax ID Number at irs-ein-tax-id.com.

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What Would You Do If You Won Tonight’s $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot?

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Winning The Lottery

I’m not usually one of those people who get Powerball fever, but with a record-breaking $1.5 billion jackpot up for grabs, you’d better believe that I picked up a ticket on my way to work this morning!

The odds of winning this historic jackpot are 292 million to 1.. So while it looks like most of us will be heading off to work tomorrow, as Lloyd would say, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”

So what would you do with $1.5 billion if you won? Yeah, we’d all pay off our debt, buy a big house and fill up the garages with exotic cars. But what would you splurge on?

Take a trip to the moon for $750 million? Buy the Playboy mansion for $200 million? Stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai for $35,444 a night? Fly around the world in your own $65 million Gulfstream G650? Maybe buy a super yacht for $275 million? The possibilities are endless..

Sound off in the comments section below and let us know what you’d spend the money on!

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These Young Men Risked Everything And Funded Their Startups On Plastic

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credit cards

Capital is one of the primary inputs required for productivity. In the modern realm, a young man might have a great idea but may find it very difficult to qualify for a personal loan. Fortunately, there’s a source of capital that he might be overlooking: His credit card.

Many young men, especially college graduates, receive numerous credit card offers in the mail. What if they funded their startups using their own credit cards? These three young men risked everything and funded their startup on plastic.

Gray Line Between Business & Personal Credit Cards

Most business credit cards have much higher credit lines than personal credit cards. But for a smaller startup with virtually no overhead, personal credit cards might provide just enough money to get the ball rolling and it’s now easier than ever, with most banks offering the ability to apply for a credit card online. I’ve met some entrepreneurs who used multiple credit cards to fund their startups.

The truth is that since most small businesses are sole proprietorships, the business line of credit will actually be based on the owner’s personal creditworthiness, with the entrepreneur being the guarantor of the loan. Some entrepreneurs will spread out the risk by getting their family members involved.

There are many solid reasons for using credit cards to fund startups. First of all, it’s much easier to qualify for a personal credit card; since the Credit Crunch of 2008, small business loans are an endangered species. Secondly, credit cards can help you build up your credit history. Thirdly, each month you’ll receive a monthly statement, which can be like having your own accountant. Fourthly, plastic is ideal for the do-it-yourself (DIY) entrepreneur mentality.

1. Google Founded On Plastic
Google-HQ

In the 1990s, the World Wide Web was still taking baby steps. It had grown from being simply a VAX account for sending messages, but it was still missing something. It was difficult to conduct searches using regular human keywords as opposed to computer source code. In January 1996, two Stanford University students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, started writing the computer algorithms which would eventually become Google.

“We had to use all of our credit cards and our friends’ credit cards and our parents’ credit cards ….” – Larry Page

With the nascent idea in their heads, the two Google founders collected $15,000 from family, friends and their own credit cards to create a business plan. The rest is history.

2. Are You A Guitar Hero?
Guitar-Hero

In 2005, Charles Huang struggled to raise capital to build small plastic guitars for gaming consoles. So Huang maxed out his credit cards to finance RedOctane, the publisher of Guitar Hero, the highest grossing game in U.S. history. The series went on to sell more than 25 million units worldwide and brought in $2 billion in retail sales, prompting Activision to acquire RedOctane for nearly $100 million in 2007. Without the ability to use credit cards to finance his venture, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

3. Filmmaker Kevin Smith Finances A Cult Classic
Clerks

In the early ’90s, director Kevin Smith made the movie Clerks for $27,575. It was mainly funded by 10 credit cards that Kevin had to his name, funds garnered from store credit after he sold his comic book collection, a family donation, and paychecks from working at the Quick Stop and RST Video. The movie was filmed in the convenience store in which Smith worked, and he was only allowed to shoot at night after the store closed.

While Clerks didn’t do so great at the box office, it became an instant classic when it came out on video. The earnings from the first movie allowed him to create sequels, and he was able to further his career with several other successful movies. Today, Smith is a household name, and it was his willingness to risk it all that allowed him to achieve his dreams.

With your own credit cards, you can take the bull by the horns.

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