11 Famous Successful Entrepreneurs Who Bounced Back After A Failure

The one thing that is dreaded by almost everyone is failure. Somehow, that is the reason that most people fail to venture in making moves to achieving their dreams or taking big steps in their careers, relationships etc. They hate to think that all the efforts they make will end up with them coming short.


However, despite this fear of failure or the failures itself, one should learn to accept and use such a negative incident to bounce back. It is definitely easier said than done. Most prefer lying down flat than getting back up only to fail again.

Successful entrepreneurs are not exempted from this. You will have to admit that the ride up is not and cannot in all cases be a smooth one. Numerous entrepreneurs have had their faces slapped and their ideas shoved in the gutter, yet did not stop there. They ended up making it BIG.

Here are 15…

#1. Walt Disney


You should know this one. One of the most well-known creative film-makers of the 20th century, Walt was told that he lacked creativity and was fired from a newspaper. He formed his first animation company which was called Laugh-O-Gram Films which failed in the end.

However, a couple of his first few classic films attained popularity when he found in his way to Hollywood.

#2. Bill Gates

bill gates

We all know this one, don’t we? The creator of the most popularly used software, Microsoft, had a taste of some ‘Failure’ cake himself.

Gates entered the entrepreneurial scene with a company called Traf-O-Data, which aimed to process and analyze the data from traffic tapes. He tried to sell the idea with his business partner, Paul Allen, but the product barely even worked.

However, Gates kept on exploring new opportunities, and down the line, he created his first Microsoft product.

Now he is known as one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

#3. Milton Hershey


If you are a big fan of chocolates, you should know this one. Hershey’s chocolate did not find its publicity in the blink of an eye.

Milton Hershey first started his candy production career with three separate candy-related ventures, and was forced to watch all of them fail.

He went on ahead to found the Lancaster Caramel Company, and started seeing enormous results. Later on, he founded the Hershey Company and achieved success in the industry.

#4. Arianna Huffington


Ever read Huffington Post? Well if you are a huge lover of books, you will get this one right.

Her book got rejected by 36 major publishers before it got accepted for publication. In spite of the achievement, her book got negative reviews.

Nevertheless, Huffington overcame those bouts of failure and has cemented her name as one of the most successful outlets on the web.

#5. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Who is not a fan of Apple? The main man himself experienced failure too…

Jobs found success in his 20s when Apple became a massive empire, but when he was 30, Apple’s board of directors decided to fire him. Quite ironic, right?

Despite such a kick from those he hired, Jobs founded a new company, NeXT, which was eventually acquired by Apple. He reentered Apple and proved his worth by revitalizing the Apple brand.

He is an impressive entrepreneur because of his innovations, but also because of his comeback from an almost irrecoverable failure.

#6.George Steinbrenner


A fan of baseball? Steinbrenner who acquired the New York Yankees has a sad story to tell himself.

Before his big break, he owned a small basketball team. Within a few years, as a result of Steinbrenner’s direction, the entire franchise went bankrupt.

Steinbrenner seemed to have a thing for failure especially when he took over the Yankees in the 1970s, as the team struggled with a number of setbacks and losses throughout the 1980s and 1990s. However, despite public fear and criticism of Steinbrenner’s controversial decisions, eventually he led the team to an amazing comeback, with six World Series entries between 1996 and 2003, and a record as one of the most profitable teams in Major League Baseball.

#7. Oprah Winfrey


One of the biggest names in the entertainment business, Winfrey has encountered pitfalls of her own.

Winfrey grew up as the daughter of a single mother living below the poverty line. At the age of 9, she was sexually abused. At the young age of 14, Winfrey got pregnant, only to later lose the baby.

As an adult, she struggled further. A producer at a local television station where Winfrey was working deemed her unfit for television and she was subsequently fired from her position.

She later relocated to Chicago where she became the host of an unpopular show called AM Chicago. It took her only a few months turn that low-rated show into a big bang.

Her talk show was eventually named The Oprah Winfrey Show, was syndicated, and ran for 25 seasons. Today, it still remains the highest-rated talk show in American history.

Now she is a wildly successful female billionaire with a net worth of $3 billion.

Her words: “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”

#8. Jay-Z

Jay Z

He is definitely in on this list. Shawn Corey Carter better known as Jay Z is a rapper, producer, and entrepreneur worth an estimated $550 million.

With his story starting in the Brooklyn Projects, Jay-Z tried to break into the recording business but was rejected by every major record label.

So he started his own record label, Roc-a-Fella Records, partnering with Damon Dash and Karreem Biggs. He later produced his own album which became platinum and scored a distribution deal.

He’s gone on to produce 12 number 1 studio albums, 15 total studio albums, 82 music videos, and 114 singles.

#8. Henry Ford


Founder of one of the most used cars the world over, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company and embarked into two other automotive endeavors that ended in failure prior to succeeding on the third try.

His first business, was the Detroit Automobile Company. That company went bankrupt just two years after it was founded.

Ford’s second try also ended in failure. The same year that Detroit Automobile Company went bankrupt, Ford launched his next company, the Henry Ford Company, born after the reorganization of the former company. However he had a major falling out with the financial backers and had to walk away with only the rights left to his name.

His third and final company was the Ford Motor Company, which revolutionized the automobile industry by pioneering the assembly line and helping to begin the notion of placing an automobile in the hands of every American household.

If Henry Ford were alive today, his net worth would be approximately $200 billion.

#9. Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders

Who isn’t a lover of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)? Its founder, Colonel Sanders broke ice at a late age after several failures.

At 62 years old, Sanders had a chicken recipe. His idea? To sell the franchise model of chicken to any restaurant willing to accept it. All he wanted was a small percentage of the profits.

He was turned down 1,009 times before his idea was first accepted. He worked many odd jobs. From a fireman to a tire salesman, it was his love for cooking that saw him through.

The first restaurant, which was located in Utah, that accepted his idea and sell his chicken, tripled its sales within the span of just one year. And, 75% of that income was from Sanders’ chicken.

12 years later, Sanders sold his company for $40 million. He made it in the end, that’s for sure.

#10. Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Failing to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team, she became an editor at Vogue and was passed over for the editor-in-chief position.

She later began designing wedding gowns at 40 and today is the premier designer in the business, with a multi-billion dollar industry.

Next time you experience failure, draw some inspiration from the likes of Jobs and Gates. Learn from your mistakes; reflect and accept the failure, but revisit your passion and keep pursuing your goals no matter what. 

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