Some times I think it gets really hard for entrepreneurs like us to see the big picture. So often we’re stuck in the trenches, working hard every day, that we lose sight of the fact that we’re not alone in our journey. I’ wrote this post about a year ago and never published it until today…during a time when I need to check myself to remember that there are others who have done what I’m doing and have succeeded. I hope this is inspiring for you!
The Top 6 Successful Entrepreneurs that Bootstrapped
Self-made billionaire Sean Parker, an experienced hacker who had already been arrested by the FBI by the age of 16 for his hacking abilities, started the Napster website from the comfort of his own home. He’d decided to skip college so that he could focus more on his personal, profitable programming projects, and he mo ved to California to pursue his vision. He was only 19 years old when he reached the spotlight with his Napster partner Shawn Fanning. After Napster, Sean went on to work with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s first president by the age of 24; he often slept on the floor of the Facebook founders’ home in Palo Alto before Facebook took off. Sean continues to network with some of the greatest minds in business, and his latest start-up project is Airtime.
Jack Dorsey, another self-made billionaire, started writing open source dispatch software at 15 years old. Dropping out of college, he moved to California and focused on selling his software online. He pitched the idea to create Twitter to the Odeo company in 2006, and two of Odeo’s executives began the project with him that has now made him famous. Jack was the first CEO of Twitter, and later he became a head chairman of the board. He’s gone on to create other notable projects like Square, which is a new credit card reader system that’s currently in use among restaurants and stores of New York City and elsewhere.
The founder of GoPro cameras, Nicholas Woodman started his entrepreneur campaign while often sleeping in a 1971 Volkswagen bus in 2002. His first passion was surfing, and he dreamed of being able to capture the exciting moments of his surfing triumphs on film to share with the world. He began selling 35 millimeter film cameras that he created by hand to capture unprecedented photographs and videos of surfing from the wrist of the surfer, and he launched his first model at a trade show in 2004. His parents helped fund his project initially, and after the first year, he sold a total of $150,000 dollars’ worth of products. In the following years, his profits doubled and tripled as he continued to develop and expand his business to include a wide range of internationally popular cameras, and now he’s a happy billionaire.
Ryan Kavanaugh became a billionaire in 2013 due to the success of Relativity Media, which he founded in 2003. His first venture capital firm had flopped, but he never gave up his dreams and went on to work as a consultant before pursuing his dream of connecting efficient financing plans with movie projects that had a high probability of success. Relativity studios have produced hits like the “Iron Man” series and “Safe Haven;” he’s expanding the company to include a TV branch, music department and sports management.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google together in a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California after they received the initial investment they needed to begin the company in 1998. Google was the improvement of their first search engine, originally called “BackRub,” that they’d developed at Stanford University. They partnered with Yahoo and became the world’s largest search engine by the year 2000, expanding the number of languages users can search in each year. In 2001, they opened their first international office in Tokyo. By 2002, they also partnered with AOL as a way to offer enhanced Google search options and sponsored links to an even larger audience. In 2004, the digital mapping company Keyhole became part of Google to start the foundations of Google Earth, and the web page content index of Google reached eight billion pages. Google Talk came in 2005 to rival Skype as a free chat service with video chat and text message options, and around the same time, Gmail became popular. In 2013, both of the Google founders now have assets of more than $20 billion dollars each due to their innovations in software, web browsers, mobile applications, and more.