America is a land of the self-made, where many people have made fortunes from scratch. The country’s millionaires and billionaires are engaged in a variety of different industries, but the value of hard work is constant. Click through to see how these entrepreneurs built up a fortune from next to nothing.
Rupert Murdoch was born in Australia to a regional newspaper magnate. He is now a media titan who owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times of London. Recently, Murdoch sold the film and television arms of 21st Century Fox to Walt Disney, Co. for $52.4 billion.
Born in Mississippi and raised by a single teen mom, Oprah Winfrey had a tough childhood. However, she overcame these hardships and became the first African-American billionaire in the US. Oprah founded the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2008, and still, she has her talk show that was started in the ’90s, making her a $2.6 billion net worth.
Bill Gates has managed to turn his reputation as a computer whiz into billions. He dropped out of Harvard part way through his degree and decided to start Microsoft. Gates was the person who wrote the first code for the majority of Microsoft Software. He then cooperated with IBM to develop software for their computers. Ever since those early days, his businesses and fortunes have thrived. Bill is now known as the world’s biggest philanthropist for giving $35 billion to charity.
Sister of Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, though only 22 years old, has become an international businesswoman thanks to her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics. She designed a product that would mimic the look of lip fillers. When Kylie Lip Kits, liquid lipstick and liner kits to plump lips, was put out, it sold out almost immediately.
Born to a psychiatrist and a dentist, Mark Zuckerberg began writing code for computers in middle school. By the time he attended Harvard, Zuckerberg had already had a reputation as a software genius. He created Facebook in 2004 initially as a way to rate how attractive people were at Harvard. Unexpectedly, it took off, but Havard banned it. Zuckerberg then left Harvard to pursue Facebook, which quickly grew into a social media giant, transforming him into a billionaire in the process.
This model and beauty magnate got her start on the reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians that documented the family’s rich lifestyle. Kim Kardashian is also an entrepreneur, owning a store line, Dash, and a beauty line, KKW Beauty, selling a wide range of products from eyeshadows to setting powder to highlighters.
After Steve Jobs passed away, Tim Cook took over the CEO of Apple, which is currently valued at more than one trillion dollars. Despite his fortune, Cook leads a frugal life, buying discounted clothing. He plans to donate his stock earnings to charity after paying his nephew’s college tuition. Besides Apple, Cook now also sits on the board for Nike and the NFL.
Beyonce, a superstar singer, actress, and businesswoman, is one of the most famous women on the earth. She started singing and dancing at a young age. After Destiny’s Child, a singing group she formed, took off, Beyonce became a solo artist, releasing albums and winning countless awards. She also founded Parkwood Entertainment that produces music and films.
Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person and is the founder of the world’s largest e-commerce retailer, Amazon. Bezos was born in New Mexico to a mother who was a high school student and a father who was a bike shop worker. After his parents split up, he was adopted by his stepfather, an immigrant from Cuba. Bezos graduated from Princeton University and founded Amazon as an online book store in 1994. From humble beginnings, Bezos has worked his way to the top.
A Google spokeswoman, Marissa Mayer was the former CEO of the online giant Yahoo! After Yahoo merged with Verizon Wireless for nearly $5 billion, Marissa left the company and founded Lumi Labsw, focusing on consumer media and artificial intelligence. She also sits on the boards of a number of major companies, including the Walmart and Jawbone.
Born Shawn Corey Carter, rapper Jay-Z has won 21 Grammy awards. With a net worth of nearly $1 billion, this businessman founded Roc-A-Fella Records, a division of Russell Simmons’ Def Jam records. Jay-Z also started an online streaming service, Tidal, which owns 60 million tracks, over 200,000 music videos, and podcasts.
Tyra Banks started her career as a model at just 15. In 2003, the model and actress founded the hit reality show, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), where models compete to win lucrative contracts with major fashion brands. Banks then started another show, The Tyra Banks Show which has won two Daytime Emmy awards.
Nick Cannon is well known as the host a slew of television shows, including The Nick Cannon Show, America’s Got Talent, The Masked Singer, etc. This rapper and producer has also built up an acting career, landing roles in films like Roll Bounce and in comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood. Nick even founded a media company named Ncredible Entertainment.
Kanye West has always been on the headlines for long. He started out as a producer for Jay Z and others and then became a rapper and owns a record label, GOOD Music. Recently, the eccentric singer got into designing clothing and shoes for his label, Yeezy, which is extremely popular among celebrities thanks to his wife Kim Kardashian West.
Elon Musk was born in South Africa, but also holds Canadian and U.S. citizenship. He is most famous as the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, two companies that are leading the world’s next era in transportation. The controversial billionaire has tried his hand at many fields, including space transport, artificial intelligence, his own brand of tequila, and perhaps even the Hyperloop someday. Elon Musk’s name often pops up in the headlines these days, but not always for good reasons.
Born Andre Young, Dr. Dre is a rapper, actor, entrepreneur, and producer. He founded Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics that is a popular headphone and sound system company. Dr. Dre has managed and produced for celebrities including Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and more. He recently appeared in Straight Outta Compton, a film about his life with the members of N.W.A.
Jack Dorsey was born to a common worker and a homemaker. He turned his talent for computer programming and coding into billions. Dorsey co-founded the social media site Twitter, and also founded Square, a mobile payment company. He has three business principles: craftsmanship, constraint, and simplicity.
Diane Hendricks was the daughter of dairy farmers in Wisconsin. She now leads ABC Supply, one of America’s largest wholesale distributors of construction materials, including windows, siding, and roofing materials. Hendricks also produced movies, including The Stoning of Soraya M. and An American Carol. When Beloit, a Wisconsin town was hit hard by bad economic times, Hendricks turned her focus to turn Beloit into a new mecca.
Sheldon Adelson was born into a low-income family. His father was a taxi driver while his mother, an English immigrant, ran a knitting store. Adelson started out running a computer trade show called COMDEX. He later sold COMDEX to venture into the entertainment industry. He bought the Sands Hotel & Casino, a Vegas hotspot for celebrities, and turned it into an empire.
Doug McMillon first joined Walmart as an associate in high school. He later became a general buyer, then was appointed as the CEO of the company’s Sam’s Club division in 2005. Under McMillon, Sam’s Club emphasized marketing to small business owners. He then led Walmart International from 2009, until he became the Walmart CEO in 2014.