Entrepreneur Confessions are the untold stories of small business owner's adventures. From going bankrupt to making the business a success, these personal entrepreneur stories show what it is really all about.
Mark Cuban: Confessions Of A Dallas Maverick
Mark Cuban, the Texas billionaire, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, started his successful enterpreneurial streak by founding MicroSolutions, a Dallas, Texas systems integrator, in 1983. Cuban has gone on to spearhead multiple successful technology-related ventures, returned to his reseller roots at the XChange Americas conference in Dallas on August 24 to share some of the secrets of his uniquely American business philosophy in a fireside chat with Everything Channel CEO Robert Faletra. Here are some of the takeaways from 45 minutes with one of this country's most colorful and outspoken entrepreneurs. Read More: Mark Cuban
Jeff Bezos: Lesson From A 1998 Interview
The myth goes this way: In 1994, at age 30, Jeff Bezos came across a report projecting annual Web growth at 2,300 percent. To a Princeton graduate in electrical engineering and computer science, “that was a huge wake-up call.” So, three months later he walked away from being the youngest senior vice president of D.E. Shaw, a Wall Street hedge-fund firm, and set out west in an aging Chevy Blazer...
Read More: Jeff Bezos
Lawrence J. Ellison: Prophet of Software
In 1977, Ellison and two of his Amdahl colleagues, Robert Miner and Ed Oates, founded their own company, Software Development Labs. From the beginning, Ellison served as Chief Executive Officer. Ellison had come across a paper called "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks" by Edgar F. ("Ted") Codd, describing a concept Codd had developed at IBM. Codd's employers saw no commercial potential in the concept of a Structured Query Language (SQL), but Larry Ellison did..
Luis Irragori: From Colombian Hostage to American Success Story
The remarkable story of Luis Irragori, a Colombian refugee who escaped his kidnappers, came to the U.S. and built a thriving business from the ground up.
It was on a sunny day in April 2000 that Luis Irragori realized he had to flee his native Colombia with his wife and two children—immediately. Just a few months before, Irragori, the owner of five successful franchises, as well as a manager for 150 other locations, had been freed from a six-month ordeal during which he, his two young children, and about 180 other congregants were kidnapped at gunpoint while attending church.
Fred Deluca: His Story And The Subway Franchise's Mistake
Subway's Fred Deluca comes across as an unassuming sort—quiet, funny, humble, easy to talk to—not the kind of textbook corporate chief executive you'd expect to be leading the world's largest franchise operation. And Deluca's approach to business is equally as down-to-earth: For example, have a business idea? Then just get started on that business. "The key is get going, get going somehow. Don't wait forever until you take that next step," said Deluca, who founded Subway in 1965 and has grown it into a global powerhouse based in Milford, Connecticut, with nearly 39,000 stores—each of them owned and operated by a franchisee.
Michael Dell: Turned The 30-Percent Markup Joke Into Billions
Michael Dell was 8 years old the first time he held a microchip in his hand. It was 1973, and the chip was part of a pocket calculator, which in those days was a bulky basic number-cruncher—nothing like the sleek, versatile machines of today. But young Dell was intrigued. “It was a National Semiconductor model that I paid, like, $42 for,” he recalls. “All it did was add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and it didn’t do that very well. You put in twenty-two divided by seven and it would say three—you know, come close. I used to do my math homework and then pull out my calculator when my parents weren’t looking to see if I got it right.”.
Marcus Lemonis: The Lebanese Orphan Who Became The Transformer
It wasn't just any family that adopted Marcus Lemonis from a Beirut orphanage when he was nine months old. His father and grandfather ran the largest Chevy dealerships in Miami and Tampa. After graduating from Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Lemonis returned to Florida and started selling cars at his grandfather's dealership.
Wolfgang Puck's Long, Winding Road To Success And What You Can Learn From It
"I didn't like New York," Wolfgang Puck says in his thick German accent."'It was dirty, with the smoke coming out everywhere." So when he got a job offer in Indianapolis, he was excited. "I worked in Monte Carlo, with the auto racing. So I thought with the auto racing, Indianapolis must be like Monte Carlo. The restaurant owner told me they had Limoges china, so I thought it must be a wonderful city."
Walt Disney: How The Happiest Emperor Overcomes Failures
Walt Disney is one of the most powerful companies, in one of the most powerful sectors of any economy: entertainment. Before it became a $60 billion dollar company, with interests spanning the globe, Disney was more closely associated with the vision of the man after whom it was named. It was this vision that laid the groundwork for the company to become the media giant it is today. In this article we'll look at the rise of Walt Disney, both the man and the company, and the lessons found there, for entrepreneurs today.
The Journey of Starting A Food Truck Business
Ian Thackaberry who is in the process of putting the finishing touches on his food trailer and getting the last pieces of his menu in order. Like many food entrepreneurs, Ian isn’t a classically trained chef but he’s certainly done his time in a kitchen and it was that time that inspired him to start his own food truck. Over the next few days you’ll get to know Ian and the process he went through to get his business to the starting line.
The Death of a Business
A friend of mine was over recently for brunch. It was good to touch base with him to see how he was faring because he has just suffered a loss. Not a loss of a loved one or friend but the loss of his business. Death is not just about the loss of someone you have loved. Death is a transition and occurs in many places in our lives. Many times we experience these types of deaths and don't even realize that we are walking through a grief journey over this loss.
Berry Gordy - A Man of Vision, Drive, Talent and Determination
Imagine a world without Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, the Marvelettes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and you've just imagined a world without Berry Gordy, founder of Motown.
Oscar de la Hoya is as Good as Gold
Oscar de la Hoya knows that to achieve his goal outside the boxing ring, he must rely on his reputation and well-known face. De la Hoya is building an empire, using his marketability as the foundation. His Golden Boy Promotions rakes in millions annually, mostly through real estate ventures, boxing promotions and other commercial projects targeting his large Hispanic fan base. But de la Hoya wants to do more than use his fighting career as a springboard to a successful business career.
Three Brothers Bakery
Back in the early 1980s, I met a salesman who was pretty sympathetic to what I was going through in terms of trying to modernize the business. He sent me three machines worth about $40,000 just to try. They were designed to do what we had always done by hand. I had to wait until my dad went on a six-week vacation to Poland to actually pull the machines out to start to use them.
How VCs Turned My Startup Into A Nightmare
All you hear about in tech today is entrepreneurs and VCs and money changing the world. I was an entrepreneur and I met a lot of VCs and I asked for some of their money. Changing the world is not the business that you think it is.
You know that charming little cafe on New York's Lower East Side that just closed after a mere six months in business—where coffee was served on silver trays with a glass of water and a little chocolate cookie? The one that, as you calmly and correctly observed, was doomed from its inception because it was too precious and too offbeat? The one you still kind of fell for, the way one falls for a tubercular maiden? Yeah, that one was mine.
What I Know Now: A Letter to My Younger Self
In 1974, at the age of 29, I started a computer leasing company that over the next 16 years grew into one of the biggest computer leasing companies in the U.S. with offices nationwide and with two offices in Japan. The company had over $2 billion in assets and its success came not from me but from a large group of dedicated, outstanding employees.
Entire Management Team Killed: A CEO's Turnaround Story
Ingar Skaug took a deep breath as he stepped into his first CEO job. He'd be picking up new responsibilities. He'd be picking up experience in a new industry. And, he'd be picking up the pieces after the entire management team had been killed in a plane crash.
Stevenson Fitness Gets Lift from Local Small Business Development Center
When athletes—be it an NFL quarterback, or a working mother of two—want to bring positive change to a workout routine, they seek out a personal trainer. When an aspiring or existing business needs that same kind of inspiration and motivation, the owner should look to a Small Business Development Center.
Carl Daikeler: Successful Entrepreneur of a Fitness Company
When the infomercial company Beachbody introduced a $120 set of home fitness DVDs called P90X in 2005, the product bombed. Even Carl Daikeler knew it was a long shot--would home shoppers really sign up for six days a week of strenuous pushups, pull-ups, yoga, and weightlifting?
Tim Carpenter: Social Entrepreneur Success Story
Forget bingo and donuts. Social entrepreneur developer Tim Carpenter is quietly revolutionizing senior living. Through EngAGE, a nonprofit organization, Carpenter is developing affordable senior arts colonies focused on wellness, life-long learning, community building, and intergenerational arts programs. An operative word here is "affordable."
Drew Lambert, Entrepreneur, On Job Security
Drew Lambert, hedge fund refugee,
and founder of three successful companies, Cypress Settlements, Broken Line Design, and Drew Lambert Designs, talks about
balancing it all and how he thinks of job security.
Sara Blakely Spanx Creator Hits Forbes Billionaire Youngest Woman List
When Sara Blakely was a 27-year-old salesgirl with the bright idea to create shaping, smoothing undergarments, she had no idea that her creation would take her on a journey to become the youngest woman to debut on the Forbes Magazine Billionaires List.
Chinese Entrepreneur Uses Unusual Ingredient For Start Up
YA'AN, China, March 19 (Reuters) - China's national treasure, the giant panda, will become even more precious if one businessman succeeds in using their dung to grow organic green tea he intends to sell for over $200 a cup.
Confessions of a Startup-aholic
The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Maurice Kanbar. For that matter, neither does the Road Runner. In my 10-plus years of interviewing business big shots, I've never come away from a conversation more impressed by one person's energy, drive and confidence.
Magic Johnson's Fast Break Into Business
Magic Johnson was in the seventh year of his Hall of Fame career when thoughts of his basketball afterlife led him to the office of uber-executive Michael Ovitz, co-founder of Creative Artists Agency, Hollywood's most powerful agency. Johnson had watched many former athletes attempt entry into the world of business only to fail, and he was hoping for advice that would allow him to chart a different course.
Confessions of an Accidental Entrepreneur
Confession: I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I grew up in a traditional family: My dad worked at a corporation, and my mom did an awesome job of raising four kids. I excelled in school, got a full scholarship to a university, completed four internships, and then was hired for a corporate job (and was super excited about it) before graduating from college.
Damage Control for Entrepreneurs
The toughest lesson I ever had in customer service was when things went really wrong. Soon after I launched my direct-marketing firm, Marketing Informatics (marketinginformatics.com), I fought hard to acquire a large client - a national public policy think tank - that had received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to expand their membership. We were hired to conduct the market research and to orchestrate a direct mail campaign to boost donations. I assembled a team of my most trusted employees and handed off the project.
You know that charming little cafe on New York's Lower East Side that just closed after a mere six months in business-where coffee was served on silver trays with a glass of water and a little chocolate cookie? The one that, as you calmly and correctly observed, was doomed from its inception because it was too precious and too offbeat? The one you still kind of fell for, the way one falls for a tubercular maiden? Yeah, that one was mine.
The scary part is that you think you can do better.
Case Study: How to Restart a Company
Could Robin Sauve's bid to relaunch a business backfire? Here's how she managed to finance her start-up through the early stages.
Robin Sauve was growing increasingly anxious. She and her husband, John, had started Barkley Logistics, based in Enfield, Connecticut, last June, shortly after buying the assets of her former employer, Premier Logistics, which had shut down after running out of financial options. Now, four months into the life of the new business, orders were slowly picking up for Barkley, which arranges merchandise shipments and deliveries of time-sensitive materials such as coupons and promotional fliers. Though not nearly as much business as Sauve had hoped for, the flurry of new jobs was nonetheless straining her ability to finance operations, and Sauve's financial adviser had told her she would soon need to get a line of credit to finance the company's growth.
Mike Arsenault Reveals How & Why Spreadable Failed, Shares Mistakes/Lessons Learnt
Mike Arsenault was the product manager of Spreadable, a powerful word of mouth marketing tool that was developed by the Grasshopper Group. The company, which is lead by David Hauser, has been building products that make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. The parent product Grasshopper.com - a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs is their most popular and reputed product and serves over 100,000 entrepreneurs. With Grasshopper.com's enormous success in its kitty, the Grashopper Group launched Chargify - a Recurring Billing System for entrepreneurs, which is also doing pretty well. However, they couldn't achieve similar success with Spreadable and they had to shut it down.
An Entrepreneur's Story from Tragedy to Triumph
Born in 1974 in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, Bill Zapf was what you would call a hockey all-star. Having played all through his childhood and into his teen years, he eventually went on to run hockey camps and coach kids in the sport he loved. His skill allowed him to play at a very high level, until the day he was hit from behind on the ice and into the boards so hard that he became a quadriplegic.
Andrew Fashion Interview
After months of just scraping by, Andrew hit it big with ad revenue from his website, MySpaceSupport.com.
He was pulling in $100,000+ checks every month. But after a few years of living the high life, the money stream from the site dried up and Andrew went from being a millionaire to being in debt.
An Entrepreneur's Story: From Rags to Riches
Success is often achieved when the person is able to go further than most people, breaking limitations imposed by their own economic, physical and cultural boundaries. Cordia Harrington is a classic example of success, as she overcome poverty to become one of the most powerful women in businesses today.
What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur
Paul Strzelec and his partner, Dirk Liebich, founded their company, Digital Tempus, in 2001 to provide consulting and business intelligence to manufacturing companies looking to expand. But when the terrorist attacks shook the nation on September 11 of that year, they put the company on hold and decided to keep acquiring knowledge while working for others.
The Story of My Father: 3 Simple Lessons for Entrepreneurs
This is the story of my father, Burt Walker, a poor kid from Brooklyn who made millions taking the company he founded public — and then lost it all when he left my mother for a younger woman. I am sharing this personal story to help entrepreneurs.
Starting a Business is a Leap of Faith
Many entrepreneurs start their own companies after seeing potential business opportunities
from their employers. Barry Edwards, President of the Louisiana-based Creative Presentation, Inc. saw an unclaimed yet promising niche in the computer industry that his employers failed to see. Though young, inexperienced and without capital, he took the leap of faith and started his own company specializing in visual communication systems.
Jennifer Dugan: Success in the Travel Business
In June 1996, I got the news that would change my purpose in life forever. I was pregnant with my first child . Going to work each day at my full time job, I soon realized there was no way I wanted to work and have my child in daycare. This began my journey to find out how I could be at home with my baby. I began reading every thing I could get my hands on about working at home. This was before the Internet took off so resources were limited on the subject.
Lachy Groom: A Serial Entrepreneurial at 15
Lachy Groom is not your typical teenager. Yes, he goes to school, play sports and do normal teenager stuff. But unlike other teens, this 15-year-old native of Perth, Australia already has several businesses under his belt — all of which are doing quite well.
Daniel Ludwig: The Invisible Billionaire
Daniel Ludwig was a very secretive man. He lived quietly in a Manhattan penthouse, from which he generally walks to his office a few blocks away. Somewhat crippled by an old back injury, he makes his slow and painful way along the sidewalk, all alone, he can be taken for an elderly pensioner out for a breath of air.
Draft headquarters Success Story
Shawn Zobel has turned his passion into his profession. Draft Headquarters came from Shawn’s interest in the NFL draft. Now, he publishes his Draft Preview and runs www.draftheadquarters.com.
Rebecca Kousky: Empowering Women Around the World
Rebecca Kousky is deeply committed to helping the plight of the poor women and children. While doing development and social work in various Third World countries, she saw first hand the difficult lives of these people. Upon graduation, she embarked on combining her passion for social activism with design, fashion and art. Nest www.buildanest.com was born.
Liz Lange - The Right way to do Fashion
The massive success of Liz Lange, founder of the designer maternity line that carries her name, is a result of Lange’s predisposition to following her instincts.
While working at the fashion mecca Vogue magazine as a writer in 1988, a visit to the studio of an upcoming designer inspired her to go into design. As she looked at the studio and the creative activities, Lange strongly felt that this was what she wanted to do.
Former Socialite turns to Hollywood Makeup
She's known as Bloody Mary in Hollywood, where she does special-effects makeup. She sells camouflage face paint to the military. Theme parks use her name and product lines for their Halloween celebrations.
It all started in 1992, when Bobbie Weiner's "happily ever after" dreams were shattered. Her husband of nine years "took off on a Harley, saying the marriage was over," she recalls.
My Wife is my Boss
"Let's go over this again: you're going to spend our life savings on dried fruit?" I asked my wife, Noha, in 2004 when she first pitched me the idea of starting Peeled Snacks, a fruit and nut snack company.
Earlier in the year we'd both quit our jobs to go traveling before I started a stint as a public school teacher, but I'd assumed that she'd get back to work with a position lucrative enough to offset the modest teacher's pay I'd soon receive. Instead, she decided to become her own boss and make negative money.
The True Story of an Incidental Entrepreneur
My father exhibited entrepreneurial instincts, managing to create a business and move on to an allied industry when the time was ripe. He blended his personal and business life and established deep, enduring relationships with customers. If that's not the definition of an entrepreneur, then I don't know what is.
The story of Angie Hicks: www.angieslist.com
If you need a contractor to remodel your kitchen, how can you make sure that you won’t be cheated and that the contractor you will get will actually deliver? You can, of course, ask your friends and family. Or check online to find reviews for contractors in your area.
Small Business Success Story: Nutritional Coach
Tzabia Siegel is a trained coach who offers "freedom from dieting for a lifetime". Coaching services are offered through one-on-one coaching, tele-coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements. She is a certified Holistic Nutritionist with nine years of practice as a Nutritional Consultant.
But how did she get to be a successful professional doing what she loves to do? This is Tzabia's success story – a story that provides plenty of tips for anyone who wants to grow their professional services business.
From the Marines to an Entrepreneur
After 13 years in the Marine Corps, Brian Iglesias was ready to embark on a dream career in filmmaking. Prepared to pay his dues, he worked the phones, sent e-mails, and paid visits. But all he ran into were dead ends. "Not too long ago I was leading over 225 Marines in landslide relief operations in the Philippines," he says. But "I had to beg people to let me intern. Only my friends were willing to give me work."
A Filipina Entrepreneur Struggles to Succeed
Here is a story of a Filipina entrepreneur who rose to the top amidst adversity. Nine years ago, Gina opened a kiosk at the upscale Hollywood and Highland complex, peddling her one-of-a-kind photo bags. Manning the store between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. took up most of her daily routine. After the store closed, she would proceed to Starbucks where she earned seven dollars an hour working until 3:30 am.
From Nobody to Brand Name Entrepreneur in Under 3 Years
I’ve been waiting a long time to share my success story, but now that I have my own business, I feel it’s worthy of a blog post. I really hope that this story inspires you to work hard and live your dreams, regardless of your age. It’s been quite the journey, but most of you have only been following it for about three years. I have been involved in the branding and internet world since I was very young. Here is my story…
Entrepreneur's Hardships turn into a Business
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Cathy Kerns found that there was a need for fashionable walking canes and started KernsAble Enterprises, Inc.
Today, Cathy is a successful business owner who turned a negative into a positive.
Homeless but not Hopeless
Chris Gardner wears a $10,000 watch on each wrist. On the right hand is a Cartier set to Chicago time, and on the left is a Roger Dubuis set to South African time. “I was late once and it cost me $50,000,” explains Gardner. “I figure it was cheaper to wear two watches.” For a man who not too long ago had only two suits to his name and could not even afford to pay rent, Gardner has come a long way. From living on the streets and bathing in public restrooms to owning a successful multi-million dollar stock brokerage firm, Gardner is living out the American dream.
Confession of a 20 Year Old Entrepreneur
My parents were horrified and my friends were skeptical. I was 19, broke, jobless and clueless. I opened a yellow pages and started thumbing through it. Public Relations caught my eye, not because of the brilliant advertisements, but because there were only four PR companies in the city. After much twisting, I convinced friends and parents to lend me £1000, then went on to the Enterprise Allowance Scheme which paid me an extra £2000 a year. I bought an answer phone and some letterheads and started writing and phoning people telling them how much they needed to hire my services. Now I am 20 and a director of three companies - the gamble paid off.
Read More: Confession of a 20 Year Old Entrepreneur. ..
Overcoming Adversities to Succeed in the Recruiting Business
As General Patton once said, success is best measured by how high you bounce after hitting rock bottom. Billie Dragoo, President and CEO of RepuStaff and RepuCare, has experienced both highs and lows, to emerge as one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs today.
Read More: Overcoming Adversity
An Amish Entrepreneur's Old-Fashioned Approach
Imagine trying to build a national food retailing business based on mail order, far-flung distributors, and trade shows—without using the Internet. No e-mail newsletters or Web site for taking orders and handling complaints, no Facebook fans, or Google ads, or Twitter following.
Read More: An Amish Entrepreneur
Economy Stalling Your Small Business? Shift Gears
These may not be the best of times to start or run a small business, but Christopher Hazlett’s struggle to hang tough through one crisis after another may hold lessons for the legions of entrepreneurs caught between a stumbling economy and crippling credit squeeze.
Read More: Economy Stalling Your Small Business?
An Inspiring Entrepreneurial Story of Starting a Business During the Recession Without Worrying About Layoffs
I heard this quote when I was driving to work this morning and listening to NPR’s Marketplace. Ms. Battishill works for a homebuilding company in the Los Angeles area. Knowing her job is not safe, she founded ScooterGirls Inc. that offers the ScooterGirls brand of mobile advertising, scooter sales and rental, tour, and the “Commuter Line” Apparel Collection. Although she had excellent credits, no bank was willing to lend her money due to the credit crunch. Determined to take control of her own destiny, Ms. Battishill borrowed 50% of her 401k account to start the business.
Read More: Starting A Business During the Recession
Stop Thinking You Are Going To Fail Just Because Someone Says You Should
Many would be entrepreneurs don’t start their own venture because they are afraid of failure. And quite frankly, they have every right to be afraid. After all, we are constantly bombarded by vague sayings like “9 out of every 10 startups fail” or “chalk up your first startup as a learning experience”, or my favorite, “most relationships and marriages can’t survive a startup”. After you hear enough of these cliches, you soon start believing them.
Read More: Stop Thinking You Are Going To Fail
Confessions of a Tired Entrepreneur
Then something happened – something I never saw coming.
I had to stop marketing to actually do the work (which I also liked to do) – and then I had to start the process all over again… and again… and again. It was a painful cycle of ebb and flow and I got tired.
Get the work. Do the work. Get the work. Do the work.
I did this for 10 years. Fairly recently, it dawned on me that maybe I should only do one thing at a time, because I simply got too tired to care about my clients and their projects.
Read More: Confessions of a Tired Entrepreneur
Confessions of an Accidental Entrepreneur
I'm going to tell you a story about an Accidental Entrepreneur.
The accidental entrepreneur was a highly skilled intravenous nurse who thought he could do a better job administering Intravenous Therapy services than the organization he worked for.
So he borrowed $5,000 and started his own business providing intravenous services to patients in their homes. Because he took the risk of starting a business, he believed he was an "entrepreneur." And the fact that he was making money from the start, not only boosted his confidence, but it reinforced his belief that he truly was an entrepreneur.
Read More: Confessions of an Accidental Entrepreneur
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