Leadership Inspiration: 4 Resilient Entrepreneurs Who Went From Bankruptcy to Millionaires – Leila Dorari

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Things can take a turn for the worse in life, whether it’s in private life, professionally, or multiple things combined. Some of us have been there, but for those that weren’t and have just hit the slump – it’s worth remembering all the people that have hit the bottom in the past and managed to rebound.

The usual phrase that failures are valuable experiences may piss you off at the moment, but it’s actually quite true – only if you can learn from it. There are quitters and there are those who go into a higher gear once they’re down. This article will remind you of some of the famous entrepreneurs that managed to go from broke to millionaires.

Walt Disney

Yep, the animation genius Walt Disney was there with his first studio named “Laugh-O-Grams”. Funnily enough, the film that pushed the studio in bankruptcy was based on Alice in Wonderland, a movie that he’ll come back later with great success. After the bankruptcy in 1923, Disney moved to Hollywood and opened his new studio Disney Bros with his brother Roy. Everything after 1928 and the creation of Mickey Mouse is history, as Walt Disney became one of the most famous people that lived in the 20th century. Disney was a dreamer, which is why he insisted on creating the Disneyworld amusement parks. Magical places like that didn’t exist before him, which is why so many kids are still grateful to him today.

Steve Jobs

If you’ve watched one of the movies about the Apple founder you probably know the story. Still, he’s one of the people that belong to this list as he went through a lot just to get his company back. Steve Jobs was a millionaire by the age of 23, but then he got fired from Apple by a man he hired three years earlier – John Sculley. Jobs went on to start his second company “NeXT” which would later be acquired by Apple and Jobs would become the CEO once again. And yes, in case you’re wondering – Sculley got sacked. Steve Jobs used to say that getting fired from Apple was one of the best things that could’ve happened to him – simply because he learned how the business world operates, something he struggled with in the past.

George Foreman

One of the legends from the boxing world, George Foreman was known as the fierce rival of Muhammed Ali and a World Heavyweight Champion – one that managed to win the title when he was 45 years old! If that didn’t bring a smile to your face, you should also know that he spent almost all of his money before getting an offer to lend his name for the George Foreman Grill – an act that earned him over $200 million in the future. Foreman was one of those people that you knew they’d push as long as they’ve had even a little bit of strength in them.

Cindy Lauper

The icon of the 80’s, Cindy Lauper was first a member of the band called Blue Angel. Unfortunately, the band had little success which is why they had to go through a process of members voluntary liquidation and file for bankruptcy. That wasn’t the end for Cindy Lauper though, as she recovered and recorded some of the famous hits of an era – including “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time After Time”. Topping the charts became a normal thing for Cindy Lauper, who would go on to win a Tony Award in 2013 for the musical “Kinky Boots”.

Bottom Line

There’s a reason why so many entrepreneurs see previous failures as valuable experiences. Those that haven’t failed in life won’t have the same resilience nor the will like those that have already been on the bottom. It’s important to note that the only person that may be stopping you from succeeding again is you. So do not despair and do not dwell on what could’ve been done differently – but rather take action and try to launch yourself towards the top again. The people we mentioned in this guide are proof enough that it’s possible, but only if you believe in yourself.


Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur, freelance writer and business-improvement enthusiast from Sydney.

Currently, she is consulting companies on various effects different marketing solutions can have on their business. In her spare time you can usually find her window shopping.