It’s often so easy when you see someone very successful to be oblivious of how they got there. Mostly people get blinded by the present success and think that they came from affluent backgrounds. Of course, there are some extremely successful and wealthy people today who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. However, there are those who are successful & wealthy today but who treaded upon a thorny way to get there. Today I bring to you 5 rags to riches stories that will definitely inspire you to be in spite of how hard your life might start out.

Munyaradzi Gwatidzo

He grew up quite poor in Mbare and had to deal with his father deserting the family at an early stage. Sometime before he was about to turn 9 years of age, his mum passed away. He was so poor that at times a whole year could pass without him having tasted meat simply because he couldn’t afford it. After finishing high school he couldn’t proceed to go to university because lack of finances. Instead he found a job and worked as a filing clerk at a bank. In order to eke a living he also started purchasing damaged phones, fixed them & resold them. He took that a notch up and started doing it in Zambia. Things got a bit better because he would get payments in USD – he even went to enrol for a Computer Science degree. He then went on to become a co-founder of G-tide, but later on left & at the age of 27 he started the company Astro Mobile. Today the company sells well over 4 million mobile phones annually across 5 countries. In 2016 he even hinted that they have plans to establish a television manufacturing plant projected to employ over one thousand employees.

Do Won Chang

He emigrated from South Korea to the USA. He had to find his footing by doing menial jobs namely, dish washing (in a coffee shop), working at a fuel station & being a janitor. He juggled these three jobs simultaneously for a solid three years – basically working from dawn till midnight. At the fuel station he developed a habit of asking those who drove in with fancy cars what their occupations were. The recurring response he got from them was that they worked in the clothing industry. This nudged him to research & study about that industry ultimately deciding to open his first wholesale clothing shop – Fashion 21. This was made possible by virtue of the fact that he had saved up US$11 000 whilst juggling his three jobs. He went on to scale up the business by opening up more branches & rebranding it to Forever 21. Today the business has 600 stores & his net-worth along with his wife (whom she runs the business with) is US$6.1 billion.

J.K. Rowling

This lady had a rough start as she got rejected from college at the age of 17. When she was 25 years of age her mother succumbed to illness. Later she had a miscarriage, then got married at the age of 27. She conceived again and had a child but the husband was abusive so much that at the age of 28 they got divorced. At the age of 29 she was now a severely depressed single mother living on welfare & a year later she was contemplating suicide. She, however, managed to redirect her bitterness into something else – writing. She went on to publish her first book at the age of 31 & by the age of 35 she had published four books and clinched the accolade of author of the year. When she was 42 years of age she published a book that saw 11 million copies being bought on the day of release. This woman is the renowned author of the Harry Potter novels and her current net-worth is US$1 billion. It’s also noteworthy to indicate that the Harry Potter movie franchise is now worth at least US$25 billion.

Jan Koum

Born in Ukraine, Jan later on immigrated to the USA at the tender age of 16. Shortly after his mother passed away due to cancer & he had to live his early life on welfare. He mostly had to clean floors just to make a living. He developed an interest in computers and would research on & study manuals that he would get from stores to self-teach himself. Later on he worked for 9 years at Yahoo and then left after conceiving the idea of WhatsApp in 2009. He then went to become the CEO & Co-Founder of WhatsApp. He left WhatsApp last year but his current net-worth is now US$9.6 billion dollars.

Sam Walton

He was born & grew up at a farm milking cows and bottling the milk for sale. As a side hustle he would also do newspaper deliveries. When he was in college he worked as a waiter getting meals as payment. At the age of 26 he managed to secure a loan of $20 000 from his father-in-law, added $5 000 that he had saved up and purchased a variety store. His business then went on to grow into a big brand that most of you have heard about – Walmart. Sam Walton went to become the richest man in the world from 1982 to 1988. When he passed away in 1992 he left behind a US$100 billion fortune for his family. Today Walmart is valued at over US$400 billion. The Walton family is also now the richest family in the world with a combined net-worth of over US$160 billion.

A lot of inspiration and a well-spring of wisdom can be drawn from these stories. The renowned global tele-evangelist Rev. Dr. Chris Oyakhilome once said, “You may have been born poor, but you were not born to be poor”. You can be successful & wealthy despite the poor beginnings.