Be inspired: How these billionaires started their careers

03 May 2019

Philosopher Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. Just like any successful career, every milestone needs to begin with action.

If you need some inspiration, take a read and find out how the world’s top business leaders' first jobs were before they made it big.

Li Ka-shing

Hong Kong billionaire Li’s story is one of grit and need.

At just 15, the tycoon’s father passed away and he had to quit school to support his family. He first worked in a company that made plastics and later, plastic flowers for export.

Do Won Chang

Janitor, gas station and coffee shop attendant - these job titles might not conjure up images of a successful business leader, but it is the true work history of fast fashion retailer mogul, Do Won Chang.

The Forever 21 owner had to work these low-end jobs to support his family, who had just moved from South Korea to the United States.

Jeff Bezos

The 55-year-old American started working in McDonald’s before he finished college. After, he got a job at a telecommunications startup called Fitel where he was the 11th employee.

He worked in debugging code and was later promoted to head of development, and director of customer service.

Bill Gates

The tech mogul dropped out of Harvard University to pursue his dream which will later become Microsoft.

He developed his idea of a personal computer in his dorm room. Warren Buffett

It is never too young to learn how to invest - take Buffett as an example.

He bought his first stock at 11 years old.

By the time he was 16, he made US$53,000 doing odd jobs such as selling collector stamps and used golf balls. He also had regular work delivering newspapers every morning.

Bernard Arnault

The French man’s family name may be synonymous with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, but Arnault started off in an industry far from the world of glitz and glamour.

In his youth, Arnault worked in his father’s manufacturing firm armed with an engineering degree.

Amancio Ortega

At just 14, the Spanish tycoon left school to work in a clothes company where he hand-stitched shirts.

Later on in 1972, together with his wife, family, and local seamstresses, they started a company that sold housecoats and lingerie, and soon after in 1975, fast retail Zara was launched.

Carlos Slim

Mexican telco billionaire Slim held the spot of Forbes’ world’s richest man from 2010 to 2013.

The private businessman started off with a civil engineering degree and taught algebra. His career started when he worked as a stock trader and by the time he was 25, he had enough to start his own brokerage.

Mark Zuckerberg

You might have seen part of his life story on the movie The Social Network, but did you know Facebook was not his first money-making project?

The Harvard graduate created a music player with his high school friend called Synapse. The player sparked interest from Microsoft but the pair turned the offer down and split the cost of a patent instead.

Larry Ellison

Ellison, founder of tech giant Oracle, lived in a poor neighbourhood in the American city of Chicago.

He started his first job as an employee creating a database for a government agency.

Main picture from Pexels

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