Thank you for reading this article! If you would rather listen to this article, check out our YouTube channel.
Per Forbes, there are currently about 56.1 million people worldwide with a net worth of one million or higher. Of those more than 56 million people, only 2,755 people worldwide can call themselves billionaires. This makes the billionaires club one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. Who are these billionaires? They are highly successful entrepreneurs, investors, business people, and more. Each of these billionaires was once just an entrepreneur with a dream, much like many others. In this article, we will be diving into how the 5 richest people on the planet (at time of writing) made their first million.
- Elon Musk – Net Worth: $232.3 B
First up on this list is the richest man on the face of the Earth, Elon Musk. You most likely know Elon as the CEO of Tesla, founder of SpaceX, and for his active social media presence (and now as a 10% shareholder in Twitter). But, his business and entrepreneurship journies go back much further than that. Musk’s business ventures started all the way back in 1995, when he co-founded Zip2 with his brother, Kimbal Musk. The brothers worked tirelessly for years, even going as far as regularly sleeping at the office in the early days to spend as much time working and to save as much money as possible. Their hard work and dedication paid off in 1999 when Zip2 was acquired by rival company Compaq Computer for $305 million with Elon receiving $22 million in the deal. If you’d like to learn more about Elon Musk, check out our video on How Elon Musk Made His Millions.
- Jeff Bezos – Net Worth: 164.2 B
Next up is the founder of Amazon and the king of e-commerce, Jeff Bezos. Much like Musk, Jeff worked for years to grow his company, but Bezos’ path to millionaire and billionaire was much more straightforward with fewer twists and turns. Jeff Bezos graduated college in 1986 and worked in the financial industry for a few years until he started Amazon in his garage in late-1994. Amazon originally started as only an online bookstore until expanding to a full catalog and becoming the e-commerce behemoth that it is today over the next several years. Amazon was still just a fast growing start-up until its IPO in May 1997 at a valuation of $54 million. At the time, Bezos owned 42% of the company, a stake worth a little more than $22.5 million and earning himself the title of millionaire.
- Bernard Arnault – Net Worth: $158.7 B
Our only non-American on the list, Bernard Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the largest luxury goods brand in the world. Bernard began working at French Real Estate Development company, Ferret-Savinel, in 1971 and was the company’s president by 1978. He made several, mostly unpopular changes to the company in the following years, including selling most of the company’s assets and laying off over 9,000 workers, but it eventually paid off in 1987. By that point, the company was profitable again, its valuation soared, and Arnault was a millionaire.
- Bill Gates – Net Worth: $129.2 B
Bill Gates became a millionaire at only the age of 26. This came at the time of Microsoft’s IPO in 1986. Bill was the cofounder of Microsoft in 1975 while on a break from Harvard University. Microsoft was a small garage firm with small projects until its partnership with IBM in 1980. This partnership included putting Microsoft’s operating system on IBM computers and technology. This partnership was not very profitable for Gates and Microsoft, but it brought them a lot of press, praise, and more work. Microsoft went on to release their Windows operating system in 1985 and also restructure the company with Gates being named as the CEO. Gates was a 49% owner when Microsoft IPO’d in March 1986 at a valuation of $777 million. This meant Gates shares were now worth almost $381 Million and he was a millionaire.
- Warren Buffett – Net Worth: $117.7 B
Last, but not least on this list, is the Oracle of Omaha himself and one of the greatest investors in history. Warren Buffet famously started investing in the stock market at only 11 years old with money he earned from working his paper route. Soon after, he began telling friends that he would be a millionaire by 30 years old. Buffett then started his first business at 17 by setting up pinball machines in local barbershops. Over the next several years, Buffett would attend and graduate college and work several investment jobs before returning to Omaha and starting his own business in 1956. Over the next 6 years, Buffett would found several investment partnerships with different groups and investors in his area. By 1962 and at the age of 32, Buffett’s share in these partnerships had grown to $1 million making Buffet a net worth millionaire.
They say that the first million is the hardest, and that seems to be the case with these men. Each spent years building their brands and businesses before reaching a 7 figure net worth. After their first million though, they kept running, growing their wealth, and never looked back. These are, arguably, the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet who have grown several businesses to impressive heights. Whether or not you are striving to hit the one billion mark, or even the one million point, there is a lot to be learned from each of these men.