15 Billionaires Who Were Once Dirt Poor

Wealth tends to create more wealth, but a rich background is not the only way to the top.

Some of the world’s wealthiest people started out dirt poor.

All from humble beginnings, these 15 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.

Although the rich do get richer, these rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.

Net worth: $1.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)Image

Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal. He’s now retired and invests heavily in racehorses. Starbucks’ Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.

Starbucks’ Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.

Net worth: $2 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


In an interview with British tabloid Mirror, Schultz says: “Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like.” Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company’s CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.

Investor Ken Langone’s parents worked as a plumber and cafeteria worker.

Net worth: $2.1 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


To help pay for Langone’s school at Bucknell University, he worked odd jobs and his parents mortgaged their home. In 1968, Langone worked with Ross Perot to take Electronic Data Systems (HP) public. Just two years later, he partnered with Bernard Marcus to start Home Depot, which also went public in 1981. 

Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville.

Net worth: $2.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn’t stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19. In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to work for an AM talk show which would later be called The Oprah Winfrey Show.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour.

Net worth: $3.8 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


He’s now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the U.S. from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

Mega-resort owner Kirk Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade to become a boxer. 

Net worth: $3.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


To financially help his Armenian-immigrant family, Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade and later would become a boxer called ”Rifle Right Kerkorian.” During World War II, Kerkorian worked for Britain’s Royal Air Force. He eventually turned his interest to constructing many of Las Vegas’ biggest resorts and hotels.

John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.

Net worth: $4 billion (as of Sept. 2013)



Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military. With a $700 dollar loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila, and now invests in other industries.

Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.

Net worth: $5 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


The husband-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn’t always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984. Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire that rakes in around $3 billion in sales a year.

Ralph Lauren was once a clerk at Brooks Brothers dreaming of men’s ties.  

Net worth: $7.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


Lauren graduated high school in the Bronx, N.Y., but later dropped out of college to join the Army. It was while working as a clerk at Brooks Brothers that Lauren questioned whether men were ready for wider and brighter designs in ties. The year he decided to make his dream a reality, 1967, Lauren sold $500,000 worth of ties. He started Polo the next year.

Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor. 

Net worth: $15 billion (as of March 2013)


Pinault is now the face of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor. As a businessman, Pinault is known for his ”predator” tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashed. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.

Net worth: $15.3 billion (as of March 2013)


Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widow mother couldn’t care for him. He would later work in a factory making molds of auto parts and eyeglass frames. At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyeware with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.

Legendary trader George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and arrived in London as an impoverished college.

Net worth: $20 billion (as of Sept. 2013)

In his early teens, Soros posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture in order to stay safe from the Nazi occupation of Hungary. In 1947, Soros escaped the country to live with his relatives in London. He put himself through the London School of Economics working as a waiter and railway porter. After graduating, Soros worked at a souvenir shop before getting a job as a banker in New York City. In 1992, his famous bet against the British pound made him a billion dollars.

After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.

Net worth: $31 billion (as of March 2013)


Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family. In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which manufactured plastics at first but would later expand into real estate.  

Harold Simmons grew up in a shack with no plumbing or electricity.

Net worth: $40 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


As one of the richest people in the world, Simmons grew up in a ”shack” without plumbing or electricity. He managed to get accepted to the University of Texas where he earned a bachelor’s and masters in economics. Simmons got his first big break buying a chain of drugstores, which would later sell for $50 million. He went on to become an expert in corporate buyout. Simmons recently passed away at the age of 82.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died and held odd jobs for eight years.

Net worth: $41 billion (as of Sept. 2013)


Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a single mother, Ellison was raised by his aunt and uncle in Chicago. After his aunt died, Ellison dropped out of college and moved to California to work odd jobs for the next eight years. He founded software development company Oracle in 1977, which is now one of the largest technology companies in the world.



New Survey Names Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as Worst Celebrity Neighbours Of 2013

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been named as the worst neighbours of 2013 in a new survey.

The TV personality, Kardashian, and her rapper boyfriend, West, topped the list of celebrities Americans would rather not have as neighbours, according to a survey by real estate blog, Zillow.

On the site’s annual Celebrity Neighbour Survey, one quarter of respondents claimed the couple, which is engaged to be married, made for the Worst Neighbours of 2013, bumping them up from second place last year. A mere two per cent of the Americans surveyed said they would enjoy living next to West and Kardashian in 2014.

“No one wants to live next door to a family who has cameras following them everywhere and seems to seek out as much attention as possible,” Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky said. “However, with more than one-third of surveyed Americans preferring a non-celebrity neighbour, what remains clear is that many people don’t want to live next to any celebrity, regardless of why they are famous.”According to the blog, though, those averse to West and Kardashian likely won’t have them for a neighbour unless they live next to the Bel-Air home the couple bought earlier this year. But outside of Bel-Air, prospective home owners are apparently also steering clear of homes next to music celebrities: Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga.

The most desirable celebrity to live next to in 2013 was comedian, Jimmy Fallon, according to the survey. Eleven per cent of respondents said the Late Night host would make for an acceptable neighbour. Other popular prospective neighbours include Country music couple, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton and Basketball star, Lebron James.

Zillow, however, did not disclose how many people responded to its survey.

In another development, Kardashian on Sunday posted a picture of a miniature black Lamborghini West bought for their six-month-old daughter, North West, for Christmas.

The mini black sports car is an exact replica of West’s $750,000 car, and has the same paint finish.

Kim posted the snap under the caption: “Like father, like daughter.”

Kim Kardashian: A controversial beauty

Kimberly Noel ‘Kim” Kardashian, better known as Kim Kardashian is a name that has garnered a lot of fame, albeit, controversially.

Born October 21, 1980, the gorgeous American TV personality, actress and entrepreneur came into prominence through her then-friendship with Paris Hilton, the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels and later, through a leaked scandalous sex tape showcasing her sexual exploits with her then-boyfriend, Ray J. Kardashian is also known for her successful workout videos and lavish lifestyle.

The sexy celebrity was born in Los Angeles, California to parents, Kris (née Houghton) and Robert Kardashian. Her parents divorced in 1991 and her mother remarried to the 1976 Summer Olympics decathlon winner, Bruce Jenner, the same year.

As a teenager, she attended Marymount High School, a Roman Catholic all-girls school in Los Angeles.

In 1994, her father garnered public attention as the primary defence lawyer for football player, O.J. Simpson, during his murder trial. Robert died of esophageal cancer in September 2003.

Kardashian married music producer, Damon Thomas, at age 20. Thomas filed for divorce in 2003, though Kardashian later credited their separation to physical and emotional abuse on his part. Prior to the finalisation of her divorce, Kardashian began dating singer, Ray J. In February 2007, the controversial sex tape made by Kardashian and Ray J in 2003 was leaked. Kardashian filed a lawsuit against Vivid Entertainment, which distributed the film as Kim K Superstar, and later dropped the suit and settled for $5m.

In the same year her sex tape leaked to the public, Kardashian and her family were commissioned to star in the reality television series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Its success has led to the creation of spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. In 2010, Kardashian was named the highest-paid reality television personality, with estimated earnings of $6m. Celebritynetworth.com put Kardashian’s networth at $40m as at 2013. The celebrity also co-owns a garments boutique named “D-A-S-H” with her sisters, and has released a range of clothing lines and fragrances, which prove her entrepreneurial abilities.

In May 2011, she became engaged to NBA player, Kris Humphries, then of the New Jersey Nets, whom she had been dating since October 2010. They were married in an extravagant wedding ceremony on August 20, 2013 in California. At the wedding, Kardashian donned a $2.5m 65 carat sparkling diamond headpiece by Lorraine Schwartz, a $2m 20.5 carat diamond engagement ring, and 28 carat diamond earrings worth $5m. In all, she was wearing well over $10m worth of jewellery on her big day. Not to mention the $150,000 she spent on hair and makeup. After 72 days of marriage, Kardashian filed for divorce from Humphries, citing irreconcilable differences.

Several news outlets surmised that Kardashian’s marriage to Humphries was merely a publicity stunt, to promote the Kardashian family’s brand and their subsequent television ventures. It was even said that Kardashian would do anything to stay in the news. It was later revealed that she had been dating American rapper, Kanye West, while she was legally married to Humphries.

Kardashian is still dating West, with whom she has a daughter, North. The couple are engaged and planning to soon get married. A few days after Christmas, the couple were sighted along with some of Kardashian’s family members, catching a private jet to an exclusive ski resort in Aspen for vacation.

Kardashian and West are often seen by the media and the public as two of a kind, with their extravagant lifestyles.

Apart from being a rapper, West is also a famous producer as he rose in fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records.

Recently, West bought two armoured vehicles said to have cost $1.2m each to protect Kardashian and their baby daughter. The public had wondered if the couple had received kidnapping threats due to their high profile status.

Kardashian and West also purchased a house reportedly worth $11m earlier last year. As part of the renovation process, the interior of the entire mansion has been torn down and plans are afoot to increase the total living space from 10,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet. The mansion is currently undergoing renovations which include ripping out wrought iron staircases, chandeliers and fittings – to make way for a more modern feel to their home. West’s tastes meant additional costs for gold-plated bogs worth $487,000 and luxury beds worth $75,000.The couple plan to add top of the line luxury amenities like a basketball court, bowling alley, hair and makeup salon, movie theatre, fitness centre, baby nursery and indoor swimming pool in the future.

The couple were recently singled out by President Obama for their opulent lifestyle warping the American dream.

The pretty actress seems to be quite fond of expensive cars, as, she owns a bunch of them. Kardashian bought a white Ferrari 458 Italia in 2011 for a hefty $325,000, adding up another classy ride to her existing pricey collection. She also owns a 2010 Maserati GranTurismo, a Convertible Bentley GTC Continental, a 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8 Porsche Panamera Turbo, a 2010 Range Rover. She once owned a white Rolls Royce Ghost which was subsequently traded for a newer model and black coloured Rolls Royce Phantom Series II car in December 2012 for $405,000.

Kardashian bought her 2013 Mercedes G63, worth $150,000, when the posh vehicle was yet to be released or even reached showrooms. The beauty wasted no time in bragging about her new purchase to her fans on the social media, tweeting ‘Got the first one!’ along with pictures of the vehicle.

Kardashian also enjoys vacationing as she has been sighted in tourist destinations like La Romana in Dominican Republic, charming Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Punta Mita in Mexico and Anguilla, a Caribbean Island. She has often been spotted on several occasions carrying Hermes Birkin bag, which is her favourite bag brand. An avid bag collector, Kardashian owns a collection of bags, with estimated price in millions of dollars. She once went shopping with her mother, while she was in Paris, where they spent more than $100,000 purchasing seven Hermes bags including an infrequent “crocodile skin version”, at one of the brand’s boutique.

Sources: http://www.rollingstone.com; http://www.entertainmentwise.com; http://www.nme.com; http://www.bornrich.com; http://www.celebritynetworth.com; en.wikipedia.orgImage

List of online Shopping websites in Nigeria

In the past, about 10 years ago, Nigerians were probably just used to window shopping on the internet by visiting foreign websites where there were a lot of good stuff and products which people wanted but could not have due to the restrictions placed on shipping and credit cards. Yeah, in that past, not many Nigerians were used to buying things on the internet and getting a home delivery afterwards. Then, websites like Amazon and eBAY used to rule the local internet audience. Although few people were still able to shop online at US and UK stores from Nigeria, when you compare the cost of shopping for and shipping single items to Nigeria to their retail prices locally, it somehow defeats the whole purpose of saving costs on online shopping. Nowadays, there are lots of online shopping websites in Nigeria that can offer real low prices for items you may already be seeing listed on foreign websites. This is due to the fact that they can buy at wholesale prices from dealers abroad and ship at reduced shipping costs using sea freight rather than courier services which can be expensive.

The situation is changing now with the growth of online stores in Nigeria and there are a growing number of them. These are online shopping websites that allow people to pay in Naira, get a home delivery or do a pickup themselves.

Nowadays, Customers in Nigeria who want to shop online no longer need to make payments with Paypal, have a US shipping address or make use of a US credit card before their orders are executed. No, they could simply order online and even pay on delivery afterwards.

Online shopping in Nigeria is changing the way Nigerians buy and sell and it is not just products but services as well as being sold on the internet.

What I personally love about the growing number of online shopping websites

I’ve been doing a bit of browsing lately and got in touch with some of the top websites in Nigeria.

Here is a list of shopping websites in Nigeria
1. Jumia Nigeria: This is practically like the industry leader when it comes to online shopping websites in Nigeria. They have a website located at jumia.com.ng and an office at Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. Jumia has got a great platform that allows users to register for free, order for items they want and even pay on delivery. An charge could be charged for delivery but could also be free if the buyer spends above the required minimum bill. Jumia seems to have the highest number of listed products for sale. They sell a lot of products which includes fashion, mobile phones, computers, electronics, home accessories, books, movies, tickets and wines. It’s main competitor is Konga. Jumia Nigeria has about 193,000 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

2. Konga: They have a website located at Konga.com and no office address listed but has 3 pick up addresses available in Surulere, Ikeja and Victoria Island. Konga is another great shopping website that has a great delivery service that covers most Nigerian cities. It’s major competitor is Jumia. Konga is a general shopping website that lists items relating to computers, electronics, clothing, home accessories, books, movies, mobile recharge, food and drinks. Konga has about 280,000 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

3. Kaymu Nigeria: Located at kaymu.com.ng and with an office address at Lekki Lagos Nigeria, Kaymu sells general items such as mobile phones, computers, home accessories, electronics, jewelry, health and beauty products. Kaymu has over 24,000 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

4. Taafoo: With an office address is located at Oregun Lagos and a website at Taafoo.com, Taafoo is into selling items relating to fashion and gadgets. Taafoo has over 280,000 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

5. Sunglasses: With a website located at Sunglasses.com.ng, Sunglasses is a niche shopping website that is focused on jus sunglasses. When looking for a merchant that offers the widest range of eye glasses that can help protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the Sun, this is surely the place to shop. The website has over 1.9 million pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

6. DealDey: With a website located at dealdey.com and office address at Ikoyi Lagos, Dealdey is basically a different website from others as its focus is on selling practically any product or service on wholesale. Since the items are offered to group buyers, one of the advantages of shopping for items at DealDey is that they offer one of the lowest prices. Dealdey offers one of the best deals in town when it comes to pricing for various items and services you;d regularly need. Whether it is clothes, shoes or home accessories, this website offers you the ability to tap into the power of group buying and save on your shopping costs. Dealdey has over 15600 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

7. Kara: Located at Kara.com.ng and with an office at Ikeja, Lagos, Kara sells products and services in categories such as Visa, Power systems, home appliances, phones and computers . Kara has over 3400 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time.

8. MyStore: Located at mystore.com.ng and an office at Idimu-Egbeda Rd Lagos Nigeria, this website allows people to buy products ranging from mobile phones, fashion, electronics, office supplies and home accessories. They offer deals which include free delivery within Lagos and payment options accepted include gift cards, cards and cash on delivery. Their contact office is listed on the webiste and located at Idimu-Egbeda Rd, Lagos, Nigeria. Mystore has over 2700 pages of content indexed by Google as at this time. They offer a nationwide delivery service.

9. Shopaholic Nigeria: With a website address at shopaholicng.com and office address at Amuwo Odofin Lagos, Shopaholic is basically a niche shopping website related to fashion for men and women and this includes clothes, shoes, bags, beauty products and fragrances. Next time you want to go all out just to buy clothes, you should give Shopaholic Nigeria a try. The website has over 1400 pages of content as at this time.

10. Walahi: Walahi has an official website at walahi.com and an office address at Ikeja Lagos, Walahi is a niche shopping webiste that is devoted to book lovers. If you want to buy any book online in Nigeria, you should first check out Walahi for a list of their book products. They offer books in lots of educational categories from Accounting to Tourism. They offer home or office delivery and accept payments in form of cash, bank deposit and online card payments. The website has over 270,000 pages of content as at this time.

11. HelloFood: With an office address at Lekki Lagos and a website at hellofood.com.ng, Hellofood is also a favourite online shopping destination. It’s not just clothes and computers that are sold online in Nigeria but you can buy food as well. Whether it’s for a local dish like ofe Akwu, Fufu or other dish like cakes, spaghetti and Pizza, Hellofood is one of those few local websites where you can order for food and receive it same day. Hellofood has a wide chain of restaurants that they can link you with and all it basically takes is having a free account with them and then pay on delivery. You’ll be able to choose from the local restaurants in your area, order food and have it delivered to your while it’s still hot. Hellofood doesn’t really prepare the food themselves but I think they do the delivery and packaging and collect the fee. What I lie about them is the way they list various restaurants and their menu so you don’t have to stick with just one.

12. NaijaNeeds: With a website address at naijaneeds.wordpress.com. Naijaneeds is also a favourite online shopping destination where you can advertise your new or used items and also buy new or used items. Naijaneeds which is newly opened is aimed at capturing the entire Nigerian internet user community. If u have items to sell, all u simply have to do is to contact them, give details of the item in question, your contact no and finally you wait for review before your item is placed online.

Note: This list is not conclusive!

This may not be a complete list of all the online shopping websites in Nigeria but these are the ones I’ve take most notice of.

Benefits of shopping at Nigerian websites
If you are interested in shopping online in Nigeria, then patronizing these local websites do come with some advantages such as:

– Ability to pay in Naira
– Ability to pay on delivery
– Opportunity to get a free home delivery if living in the city.
– Ability to pay with a debit or credit card
– It saves you time and energy compared to going out for your own shopping
– You can get items delivered to your home or office within 24 hrs
– Ability to make special requests for products not yet available
– No need for bargaining price since prices are already listed.

Question: Have you had any experience with shopping online in Nigeria? What is your review?

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