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Entrepreneurs Who Found Success After Failure

how to turn failure into a success

Entrepreneurs Who Found Success After Failure

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. 

-Bill Gates 

Try and try again until you succeed. How many times have we heard that before? It’s so much easier to say, actually, than really doing it. Failure takes so much from people. It is straining, disheartening and often it will take a toll physically. There are times when you feel so low you don’t want to get up in the morning to continue working or to try again. But know that failure is not exclusive to you.

How do these successful entrepreneurs rise after failure?

There are millions of people around the world who have experienced failure. A whole lot of them simply stood up, brushed themselves off and tried again. Here are inspirational stories of entrepreneurs who turned failure into success. 

Walt Disney 

So you know him as the creator of Mickey Mouse and many other popular cartoon characters. But did you know that he was laid off from his first job? Disney’s first job was as a commercial illustrator in an art studio at the age of 19. His employer’s business wasn’t doing so good so he was laid off, which could be noted as Failure

Failure#1. Disney took it as a chance to start his own business and created the Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists with fellow cartoonist Ub Iwerks. The business was quick to fold up—chalk that up as Failure

Failure #2. Then Disney started working for a company engaged in making animated commercials. That got him interested in making live-action cartoons and so he did, which eventually resulted in the birth of Laugh-O Gram Studio.

Failure #3 was the bankruptcy of the studio, but not until he made “Alice’s Wonderland.” The short animated film was sold commercially, which finally paved the way for the Disney Brothers Studio that eventually became The Walt Disney Company, the $52 billion company people love and respect that made dozens of box-office hits and created the happiest place on earth: Disneyland.  

Disney knew that his success would not have been possible without failure. He once famously said: “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” 

Steve Jobs 

Did you know that the late tech magnate was indirectly fired from Apple, the company he co-created? Well, if you are a fan and have seen the 2015 drama “Steve Jobs,” then you must know this part already. Jobs and electronics engineer Stephen Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976. The next year, they sold the company and became incorporated. Jobs and Wozniak remained significant in the company, which went public in 1985. But Jobs, who had been known to be difficult to work with, butt heads with Apple chief executive officer John Sculley. Jobs’ power was clipped from the company, which prompted him to resign in 1985. That same year, Jobs founded the computer and software company known as NeXT. The first year of operation, the company was in the brink of bankruptcy. Good thing Jobs had a reputation for being brilliant so he was quickly able to find an investor. But Apple eventually purchased NeXT in 1997, signalling Jobs’ return to the tech giant. Jobs return also gave birth to well-loved products like the iPod and iPhone as well as software like the iTunes.  

“As you may know, I was basically fired from Apple when I was 30,” Jobs once said, “…and was invited to come back 12 years later. So that was difficult when it happened but maybe the best thing that could ever happen to me… You just move on. Life goes on and you learn from it.” 

Oprah Winfrey 

It’s hard to imagine Oprah Winfrey once being fired from work. But it’s true. Winfrey is known as the Queen of All Media and is the first African-American billionaire, but once upon a time, she was a co-anchor of a news program shortly after graduating at the Tennessee State University. According to Vogue, a producer told Winfrey that she was unfit for television news. 

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity,” said Winfrey. “Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” And stand Winfrey did. She tried again and had a stint as morning talk show host in 1984. That show eventually became the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. In 1986, she became the host of her eponymous show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which aired for 25 seasons. She bounced back better than ever as he is now a bonafide media mogul owning a publishing company, film studio and TV production company. 

Colonel Harland David Sanders 

If you think getting fired is bad, how do you think someone who had been rejected over and over again feel? The late Sanders, born in 1890, held many jobs when he was young: steam engine stoker, insurance salesman and filling station operator. He also sold fried chicken using his secret recipe. According to biographies, his recipe was rejected over a thousand times. By the 1,010th time, someone finally took notice and it became a hit. Sanders was already 56 years old by then. The chicken eventually became known as the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). The world embraced it. Sanders died in 1980 at the age of 90. By then, KFC had 6,000 stores in 48 countries. As of December 2015, KFC is already in over 123 countries.  

Despite not tasting success until he was nearly a senior citizen, Sanders was still grateful about the many failures in his life. He once said: “One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.” 

The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington wrote a book that had been rejected 36 times before a company accepted it for publication; Ford founder Henry Ford put up two automobile companies before he found success with Ford; and Milton Hershey tried his hand at opening a candy shop twice before finally finding success on this third with what is now known as the Hershey Company. If you are currently failing in your business, it’s fine to vent your frustration. But after you do, learn from the cause of the failure and try again. Remember that you are in good company: Walt, Steve, Oprah, Colonel Sanders, Arianna, Henry and Milton.

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