Starting From Bottom and Making it to The Top – 5 Millionaires Who Started With Nothing


There are many people who are born into a world of wealth. While some of those stories are fascinating, they just do not seem to have the same appeal as someone who started out with nothing and then – through their own dogged tenaciousness and drive – wound up being a millionaire. Here are five of the most fascinating – and inspiring – of those stories.

Sheldon Adelson


Though born the son of a Boston cab driver in the 1930s, Sheldon Adelson, worth about $28.5 billion, is today one of the richest people in the world. He caught the entrepreneur spirit early and had a job selling newspapers when he was only 12. Once he was discharged from the Army, he opened a series of businesses including ones that focused on charter bus tours, toiletries and windshield de-icing, After having mixed results with some busts – along with a few successes – Sheldon found his stride.

Sheldon put on trade shows that highlighted new products for computers. For over two decades, his show COMDEX was the largest of its kind. In 1988, he and some business partners purchased the Sands Casino. Sheldon applied his magic to this now-iconic convention center. Today, the Sands is known as THE place to be in Las Vegas.


Born Shawn Carter, Jay-Z is today one half of an entertainment partnership that includes his wife Beyonce. His individual net worth is estimated by Forbes to be around half a billion dollars. Not bad for a kid from the Bronx who began hustling drugs on the streets of the east coast when he was 13 after his father abandoned the family.

All the while he was running drugs, Jay-Z continued to work on his rapping – a seed that was planted after he discovered some older kids belting out the rhymes in his apartment complex. He started his own record label and hustled his music. Today, Jay-Z owns Def Jam, Rocawear and numerous clubs across the globe. In addition, he owns a piece of the New Jersey Nets of the NBA and counts the President as a friend.

J. K. Rowling


The author of the best-selling literary franchise, Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling has a net worth of just under a billion dollars, making her the 15th richest woman in all of the United Kingdom. Born Joanne Rowling, she had a rather typical childhood spent being particularly studious. A voracious spinner of fantasy tales since the ripe old age of six, the tendency to do so while she was supposed to be engaged in work ended more than one job for her as an adult.

Though she married a Portuguese journalist and the marriage produced a daughter, it did not last. Moving back to England to be near her sister after her marriage failed, Joanne lived off welfare while caring for her small daughter and fleshing out the manuscript that wound up being ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.’ While the manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers, eventually one took the plunge and the Harry Potter franchise was born.

Ted Turner

Though Ted Turner had his beginnings in a modest company his father started, the founder of CNN – the very first 24-hour television news station that first came on air in 1980 – is today worth $2.2 billion and is the largest private landowner in the country – behind only John Malone.

Ted’s father owned a successful business selling billboard ads. Young Ted showed a talent for business at an early age when sales in the region that he managed doubled during his first year. In 1962, after his father’s death, Ted took over the business and changed its name to Turner Broadcasting after acquiring some radio stations. He expanded into television and dreamed up such classic stations like the Cartoon Network and Turner Network Television (TNT).

Phil Ivey


Phil Ivey is a smart, tenacious and calm man who was a former telemarketer, living in New Jersey and playing poker with his friends in between work shifts. Today, Phil, a professional poker player, is the ten-time winner of the World Series of Poker bracelet and has won a World Poker Tour title. Dubbed the ‘Tiger Woods of Poker’ Phil is worth a cool $100 million.

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