Starting your own business is no easy feat. It takes passion, hard work and creativity to create a business that’s not only successful, but also can be admired by others. While these basic qualities can be found in most successful entrepreneurs, there’s still no set path for success when it comes to creating your own business.
Here are four quick profiles of successful entrepreneurs who carved out their own path to business success. Check out the profiles below and let us know what similarities you see among the entrepreneurs (and yourself) in our comments.
1) Unlike most entrepreneurs, Sarah Kauss actually graduated from college – Harvard, to be exact. She started her business after working for more than a decade in the traditional worlds of tax auditing, consulting and real estate. You may not have heard of S’well bottles, but chances are you’ve seen them. They’ve become a sensation and can be found in any J. Crew, Container Store, Nordstrom and – her biggest client – Starbucks. Kauss has sold some 4 million bottles to date, which is good news for her, since she started the company with her personal savings and still owns 100% of it.
2) Shake Shack almost never existed. Founder Danny Meyer almost became a lawyer in the early 1980’s, but, thankfully, he decided to go with his true passion: food. He was always passionate about the customer experience, saying “it’s [about] making sure people are a little happier when they leave than when they came in.” Meyer soon opened a second restaurant and eventually became the founder of Shake Shack in 2000, which quickly blossomed into the giant franchise it is today. By February 2015, Shake Shack had opened more than 60 locations worldwide and raised $112.3 million in an IPO with Randy Garutti as CEO, whom Meyer met in 1999.
3) Nihal Mehta doesn’t have spare time in his calendar – and that’s the way he likes it. He is the founder and CEO of QUALIA (formerly LocalResponse), a start-up that provides targeted social media content towards consumers who’ve displayed intent to purchase. Mehta is a start-up expert, having founded four other companies combining more than 12 years of experience in mobile marketing technologies. You can see what a usual day in Mehta’s life is like here.
4) “Super sub” Junior Bridgeman was always interested in the business world, learning just as much about business as basketball during his time with the NBA. Off the court, Bridgeman kept to his books, studying for the LSAT and completing a degree in psychology. After retiring from the NBA, he used the negotiating skills he acquired by observing team owners to his advantage. He purchased five franchise Wendy’s restaurants in Milwaukee and more than doubled their profits. Today he owns 125 Chili’s restaurants, 45 Fannie May Chocolate stores, and various other retail franchises, as well as Bridgeman Foods, America’s second-largest Wendy’s franchise owner. Estimates of his net worth range from $250 million to $400 million.