Success never comes overnight; the best things in life always happen unexpectedly – and sometimes accidentally, except the birth of The Powerpuff Girls (pun intended). Many prominent billionaires are college dropouts who set the perfect example of successful leaders in a sense that even without a formal education, they stood tall and proved their worth to the world with true perseverance.
It’s true that failure breaks the heart into millions of pieces; however, leaders never despair and work hard until they transform their millions of pieces of a broken heart into dollars. Every wondered how many times Edison would have tried to make the bulb? Thousand times! That’s success; that’s perseverance.
According to Stephen Kaggwa, one should try and fail, but never fail to try. The billionaires that we see today have walked through hell to reach where they are right now. But that’s the problem: we only see the success, not the failures beneath the success. So, let’s go through some of the prominent entrepreneurial blunders by billionaire leaders and take a lesson from their failure stories:
1. Jeff Bezos
The CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is currently the richest person in the world with a net worth of $194 billion as of February 2021. Amazon may appear as the mammoth of wealth but the road to becoming the mammoth was not really easy.
During the early days, Jeff Bezos made some colossal blunders that may have gotten the company off its roots. In his haste to lead the company at the apex, he once over-estimated the demand for toys during the Christmas season when they had first started to sell online toys. He chaotically bought 100 million toys and stored them in the company’s warehouse.
The blunder resulted in a huge loss and they had to give away almost half the toys to create space in the warehouse. However, with his visionary thoughtfulness, Bezos managed to push Amazon through trials after many trials and setbacks. At present, Jeff Bezos is the owner of one of the wealthiest companies in the world that has a net worth of more than $1.7 trillion.
2. Christina Wallace
Christina Wallace is the VP of Growth at Bionic and an entrepreneur. In 2012, Wallace joined her former classmate at Harvard, Alex Nelson, and found Quincy Apparel. Their startup went really great, but even after receiving great reviews for her appeal brand, she had to shut her business within just 10 months. In one of her interviews, she told:
“After it was all over I spent three weeks straight in bed. Then after 21 days of sleeping, crying, I put on my big girl pants and rejoined the world. Startups are not just what you read in the press. The real story is much more volatile and human, and we do our community a disservice pretending otherwise.”
The company could not deliver quality clothing and were faced with heavy returns. Moreover, according to a report, she could not manage to gather enough funding, and investors were reluctant to fund her brand. But she didn’t lose hope after a devastating failure; she pursued her career as a successful writer, motivational speaker, podcaster, and entrepreneur.
3. Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman is the co-founder of the famous social networking company LinkedIn, but it wasn’t the first startup by Hoffman. Before LinkedIn, he launched a social networking and online dating website called SocialNet, in 1997. It was launched with the purpose to allow users to socially interact, date, and make professional networks.
Soon after the launch, the startup failed and Hoffman was scattered. In one of his interviews with Business Insider, he said:
“If you’re not embarrassed by your version one release, you released it too late. One of the things I learned from that whole experience, was that you should focus on one domain that really matters to people and just do that really well.”
At that time of failure, Hoffman didn’t know that soon he would come up with a better service that would boost his worth to billions. As of 2021, he has a net worth of $2 billion, and he co-founded company LinkedIn is one of the most renowned social networking companies in the world.
4. Melanie Perkins
Melanie Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of Canva, an Australian graphic design company founded in 2012. Melanie faced over 100 rejections while finding a seed investor for her company. Being a design instructor at a university, she knew that the world wouldn’t be the same in the coming years.
Even after myriad denials, she continued her idea, after three years of hard work, she managed to tantamount $3 million for her startup. While interviewing Elle, she said:
“At some point, I realized that if I was going to accept investment, statistically speaking I had a pretty high chance of failure. I made a conscious decision to start a company anyway, knowing that there was a high probability of failure. If you have a crazy, wild dream, the best thing you can possibly do is to get started.”
Had she not pursued her dream, she would not have been able to become the youngest female CEO of a tech startup valued at over $1 billion. Moreover, Perkins is the third richest woman in Australia as of 2020, with a net worth of 1.3 billion USD, while her company is now worth 8.6 billion AUD.
These were the failure stories of entrepreneurs with a billion-dollar net worth. The lesson that we can take from their failure is that the road to success is often rocky, but with utmost hard work and truly believe, we can achieve the impossible, because the best doesn’t come for a while, but eventually in the end.