If you’re finally about to start your business, you might be feeling insecure about where you’re at with it. Even if you’ve got yourself a website, a sweet business plan, and even funding, staring up at other entrepreneurs who are already at the top of the pile can make it all seem a little daunting.
But fear not – many people have been exactly where you are right now. And to prove it, we’ve gathered a few of our favourites to show you just how small some of the biggest successes used to be.
Steve Siebold, speaker and self-made millionaire
The Mental Toughness and How Rich People Think author was no child savant – he was a young door-to-door salesman. “The very first job I had was selling Christmas cards door-to-door starting at age 9,” he says. “The cards were expensive, but I made a small profit every season.”
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
We watch Netflix, he leads it. But Reed’s first job out of high school was pretty unconventional – he actually took a summer to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door. “I loved it, strange as that might sound,” Reed said of his sales job. “You get to meet a lot of different people.”
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo
She’s the head of one of the world’s most influential companies (and mentored some fabulous upstarts), but her greatest lesson – working quickly – came from her time as a checkout chick. “They measured our items per minute rate during each shift, and the only way to be eligible to work an Express Lane was to do 40 items per minute consistently over an 8-hour shift.”
Beyoncé, singer and entrepreneur
If entrepreneurialism is in your veins, you likely worked at your parents’ business as a kid. And that means you’ve got a lot more in common with Beyoncé than you think. Beyoncé and Solange’s mum, Tina Knowles, used to own a hair salon and the young entrepreneur herself earned some pocket money by sweeping up hair.
Bill Gates, software giant founder
Well, it’s not exactly as comforting as floor mopping. The young Bill actually spent his early years learning to code, which, while unsurprising, is, in its own way, heartening: if only for the fact that at some point, Bill Gates was learning, just like you.
Kat Cole, CEO of Cinnabon
Even if we don’t have this cinnamon bun chain in Australia, anyone’s who travelled to the US knows it (knows it very well, in fact). We also know the chain of restaurants known as Hooters, where Kat actually got her start as a hostess at age 17, saving her earnings to become a corporate lawyer.
Blake Mycoskie, CEO and founder of TOMS
A college-age Blake was doing laundry in college, making some good coin too. With a friend, he set up a business selling his services to do laundry for semesters at a time, at around US$300. But don’t expect him to picking that up again anytime soon.
“I absolutely refuse to do laundry now. I did more laundry than you can ever imagine. At the time, it really sucked, but like anything in life, you look back on it with nostalgia.”
Read More: The Pros And Cons Of Quitting Your 9-to-5