It’s one thing to succeed in the world of business, but it’s another to do so at a young age and all on your own. Incredibly, some of the world’s most successful business people are young, innovative entrepreneurs who had an idea and decided to run with it – and it paid off. They are smart, forward-thinking, hugely passionate and seriously ambitious, but most of all, they have the power of youth on their side.
It’s one thing to succeed in the world of business, but it’s another to do so at a young age and all on your own. Incredibly, some of the world’s most successful business people are young, innovative entrepreneurs who had an idea and decided to run with it – and it paid off. They are smart, forward-thinking, hugely passionate and seriously ambitious, but most of all, they have the power of youth on their side. Here’s a look at three of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires.
Nicholas Woodman – Founder and CEO of GoPro
Nicholas Woodman built his first camera prototypes in his own bedroom, using an ordinary drill and his mother’s sewing machine. Later, he would go on to create his first 35mm waterproof film camera that would make waves across the West Coast and find its place in almost every surf shop. Woodman was determined to provide amateur photographers with affordable photographic equipment that they could use to capture their own activities while doing them. The idea was to attach a camera to the body using a specially designed belt – and so the GoPro was born. The first version saw the 35mm camera being attached to the wearer’s wrist and this was eventually developed into the GoPro many have grown to know and love today.
Jan Koum – Creator of WhatsApp Mobile Messaging Service
From humble beginnings in Kiev, to a multi-billion dollar company in the United States, Jan Koum has truly made his mark on the business world. He was just 16 years old when he moved to the States and became a self-taught computer networker. After a rough start and years of struggling to make ends meet and to make a life for himself in his new home, today Jan is one of the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world. He created the mobile messaging sensation WhatsApp – the largest mobile messaging service on the planet. After selling his company to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for a whopping $19 billion, the sky seems the limit for this impressive, young, tech entrepreneur.
Sara Blakely – Founder of Spanx
It can honestly be said, that Sara Blakely single-handedly changed the face of women’s undergarments. After realising that she was not destined to be a lawyer after all, Blakely worked for an office supply company selling fax machines door to door. It was during this time that she began to experiment with pantyhose. Required to wear a pair daily for her sales role, she liked how the top part made her feel sleek and hid panty lines, yet she disliked how the seamed foot could be seen when wearing open-toed shoes. After writing her own initial patent, financing the project on her own and learning everything she could about the hosiery business, Blakely’s product finally hit the shelves. Spanx have taken the world by storm and almost everyone woman is bound to have a pair in her wardrobe. What started out as something personal, soon grow into a multi-billion dollar idea that changed women’s lives forever.
Blakely became the first woman to join The Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and one that encourages billionaires to give a portion of their wealth away to charity.
It’s never too early to start developing that great business idea you have, because you never know, it may just be the world’s next big thing.
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