Anthony Mahavoric’s childhood was riddled with stories of abuse at the hands of his alcoholic mother. He grew up in extreme poverty and went to work at a young age to help take care of his younger siblings. At 17 years old, he left his home for the last time after his mother chased him out with a knife and was forced to support himself on a $40-a-week janitor’s salary.
The turning point in Anthony’s life was while he was sitting alone, depressed and overweight, reading about a seminar to be hosted nearby by a man named Jim Rohn. He fearfully handed over almost his entire week’s salary and met the man that would mentor him to become one of the most successful motivational speakers in the world.
Today, Anthony Mahavoric, or Tony Robbins as you might know him, has a net worth somewhere in the ballpark of $500 million and made his first million by the time he was 24 years old.
What’s his secret?
He never gave up.
I don’t know about you, but Rag to Riches stories like these are the cornerstone of what keeps me motivated to keep side hustling even when work gets hard and I want to quit. Or when I’m not seeing results and I can’t remember the point.
Following are the rags to riches stories of four more entrepreneurs that will help you believe that anything is possible – because it totally is!
Your past does not equal your future. – Tony Robbins
Oprah Winfrey – Rags to Riches
Oprah was born to an unwed teenage mother in rural Mississippi in 1954. She very openly talks about being sexually abused as a child and giving birth to a son at the age of 14 who died in infancy. Her turning point was when she was sent to live with her father in high school and ended up winning a beauty pageant. From there she received a scholarship to Tennessee State University and became the first African-American TV correspondent. She was eventually demoted, but that was only the beginning of her Rags to Riches journey!
Turn your wounds into wisdom. – Oprah Winfrey
Harland David Sanders was a failure by anyone’s standards, including his own. He dropped out of school at 16, proceeded to lose 4 jobs in the next year and then joined the army. But he didn’t make it there either.
At 20 years old, his wife and infant daughter left, leaving him completely alone for most of his adult life. And at 65, he retired from his menial job as a cook at a local restaurant and had made up his mind to end his life. But something stirred on the inside of him as he took out a piece of paper and wrote down what he wished he had accomplished in his life. Looking back, he realized he had been a good cook.
What happened next is a true story of Rags to Riches. Colonel Sanders went door-to-door trying to sell his recipe and was rejected over 1,000 times before someone finally bought it. I think it’s safe to say that he joined the ranks of entrepreneurs who never gave up!
One has to remember every failure can be a stepping stone to something better. – Colonel Sanders
John Paul DeJoria
Today, John Paul is famous for his billion-dollar-a-year line of hair care products known as John Paul Mitchell, but he didn’t always have it easy. His parents divorced when he was a toddler and he started peddling greeting cards door-to-door at a young age to help his single mom support their family. He was later sent to live in foster care and joined a gang in L.A. as a teenager.
He turned his life around when he joined the military and later became an employee of Redken Labs. He soon discovered his own knack for product creation and borrowed $700 to start his own line, living out of his car and selling door-to-door.
John Paul DeJoria is a true American success story!
Success is how well you do what you do when nobody else is looking. – John Paul DeJoria
Sam Walton and his family name are synonymous with success. He grew up on a small family farm in Oklahoma, working alongside the rest of his family milking cows and selling milk to the neighbors to get by.
He joined the army and was able to attend college with the military program and earned his degree in economics. At 26, he became the manager of a local five-and-dime store where he learned the ins and outs of the retail business.
He then purchased a Ben Franklin craft store in Arkansas and eventually opened several chains. I don’t need to tell you what happened next. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest company, employing 2.3 million people.
I had to get up everyday with my mind set on improving something. – Sam Walton
What’s Your Rags to Riches?
Stop letting your past hold you back. These stories are proof that no matter what your circumstances, you can do almost anything you set your mind to. Rags to Riches is a relative term, so your mileage might be different. In fact, some of the most wonderful things can come out of the most wretched situations. Use what you’ve learned, move ahead and never, never, NEVER give up!