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Lemons, Job Seekers & Opportunities

July 29th, 2010

I like reading success stories so an artilcle on AOL titled Richest Americans You’ve Never Heard Of piqued my interest.  Maybe it’s too cinderalla or pollyanna, but I found something interesting in the article.  It talks about:

  • Fred Deluca, who opened his first Subway (not called Subway back then) store when he was 17, as well as his investor, Peter Buck, who invested $1,000 to get Fred started.  They are both worth 1.8 BILLION today (good investment, eh?)
  • Jack Crawford Taylor (rich people get their entire name used, apparently), who started Enterprise Rent-a-Car (not called that back then) in 1957. His net worth is 7 billion.
  • David Murdock, who dropped out of high school and now is the chariman of Dole (the food company).  Worth 2.5 billion.
  • Min Kao and Gary Burrell, the founders of Garmin (think: GPS) just a few years ago in 1989.  One is worth 1.6 billion and the other is just worth 1 billion.
  • Clayton Mathile who joined Iams (pet food) in 1970 and became the CEO and chairman, eventually purchasing the entire company.  Worth 1.7 billion.
  • Donald Hall, chairman of Hallmark (son of the founder).  Worth 1 billion.
  • Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A, worth 1.5 billion. I read his autobiography (delighful).
  • Daniel Abraham, the guy who invented Slim-Mint gum and later launched Slim-Fast, which was sold to Unilever for 2.3 billion. Daniel is now worth of 1.6 billion.
  • William Kellogg, who was a store manager at Kohl’s and eventually become the chairman (good career path, eh?).  He’s worth 1 billion.

As I was reading the brief stories about these people who are worth more money than I can imagine I thought about their early days.

What did they have in common (except for Hall, who was born in the family business)?

  • They took risks.
  • It wasn’t always glamorous.
  • They (probably) went through some very hard times, personally.
  • Some of them may have borrowed and leveraged themselves beyond what they “should have” (or, more than what any family or advisors told them).
  • They were probably lonely many times, working towards a vision that only they understood.

We may see billionaires today but we weren’t with them 20 or 50 years ago when they were struggling, trying to find purpose, believe in a vision, etc.

Right now YOU are struggling, trying to find purpose, believe in the vision of who you are, etc.

DO NOT GIVE UP.  Even if you are a hundredaire or a thousandaire right now you have a journey ahead of you that will take you to different places.   It might not be money that you are after, but if you are in a place where you feel you can’t make a difference, and you want to, just keep on the journey, one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there… you just have to get through some hard times (and these won’t be the last of them).

One foot in front of the other…

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6 Responses to “Lemons, Job Seekers & Opportunities”

  1. They probably were passionate about their job/career and it probably wasn’t the money that drove them to the top.
    Good post.

  2. Jason Alba says:

    the top could be title, ownership, money or something, perhaps it was different for each person. But I’m guessing it wasn’t money that was the primary driver of their success (and who knows what failures they had along the way – do they still have friends and family?). Nonetheless, each of these people started somewhere, took risks, moved forward, and they made it out of tough times… just like many people who are reading this blog :)

  3. Darlene says:

    Jason, this email couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I have been in a state of flux between what I love to do and what I can make money doing. It’s only a phase and I’m not quitting 300 feet before I hit the mother lode so thanks for the well-timed words of encouragement.

  4. Darlene says:

    P.S. Kody Bateman, CEO of Sendoutcards.com (based in SLC) isn’t a billionaire yet, but he’s well on his way…and he’s been “there” on the verge of broke a couple of times.

  5. Jane Cooke says:

    Nice post Jason. Most of them had to work hard obviously. Luck does play a part, but a lot has also to do with their efforts, perseverance and building on each success, not getting satisfied easily. It is not always the hard times when you give up, but the good times when you can slack off as well.

  6. Hi Jason,

    I love reading success stories like these (I love ‘Success Magazine’ for that reason). It gives us all hope that maybe one day, our little idea or small business will become like these stories. :)

    Thanks.

    Erin

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