How They Made It To The Top!
A business magnate and philanthropist, she has inspired millions of people around the world for over two decades. But before her stardom, Oprah’s life wasn’t as glittering as it is today.
Born in rural Mississippi to an economically-challenged family, Oprah Gail Winfrey had a very troubled childhood. Sexually abused by the men in her family, she suffered extreme physical and mental trauma throughout her growing years.
But fate was on her side and soon Oprah moved to her father’s house in Nashville. In 1971, she joined Tennessee State University and started working as a television broadcaster.
A few years later, Oprah already had the hit the show People Are Talking and the A.M. Chicago morning show under her belt. Soon, she was given a role in Spielberg’s The Colour Purple for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The movie’s success gave her the opportunity to headline her own show – The Oprah Winfrey Show – and the rest, as they say, is history.
One of the few women to reach the top of the technology world, Cher Wang, founder of HTC, is a force to be reckoned with. Before she became the business tycoon she is today, Cher was the dutiful daughter hailing from a conservative Chinese business family.
At the age of 15, she accompanied her married sister to America for a chance to live the American Dream. There, she enrolled at The College Preparatory School in Oakland and in college took up a course in economics. It was while there that Cher realised she had a real aptitude for business.
She joined her brother-in-law’s firm, selling motherboards to companies in Europe. Soon, she branched out and launched her own company selling personal computers. But the firm crashed within months.
This didn’t daunt Cher. In her travels around Europe, she had realised that companies found PCs too clumsy and heavy to transport. They wanted a computer that was small and could be carried in their hands. That’s when Cher knew what she had to do, and so HTC was born.
Shapewear has always been synonymous with Spanx. Today, Spanx’s owner Sara Blakely is one of the richest self-made billionaires in the world. But did you know that Sara wasn’t always the confident and powerful woman she is today?
Before she became the empress of the shapewear world, Sara Blakely was a failure. She failed at everything – hobbies, stand-up comedy, and even her LSAT. When she got her first job selling fax machines, she routinely faced rejection from clients. Every call ended in a resounding ‘No’. It looked like she was cursed and nothing seemed to work her way.
Then one day she realised how women did not have body-friendly clothing to hold back flab. That’s when Sara created Spanx. She spent months searching for an investor, but kept getting turned down by everyone she met. Finally, a man “took pity on her” and invested in her company. There was no turning back.
We would love to hear your own personal success story. Do you have any other Entrepreneurial story you could share with us?