How Have the World’s Biggest Entrepreneurs Made Their Money?

In the modern age, we're arguably more obsessed with wealth than ever before. This probably has much to do with the fact that it's becoming increasingly difficult to save in the current climate.

After all, inflation in the UK continues to grow at a faster rate than earnings, and this is creating a preoccupation with financial wealth that would probably not exist in a more stable and positive economic climate. So, not only are people determined to cultivate their own wealth in the near-term, but they’re also increasingly interested in how the world’s richest business-owners and individuals made their own fortunes.

With this in mind, we thought it would be fun to consider how some of the biggest and most successful entrepreneurs made their money.

Warren Buffet

We’re going to start with Warren Buffet, who boasts and estimated wealth of $75.6 billion and is currently considered to be the third richest man in the world.

Buffet’s career is an interesting one, as he made the vast majority of his money through financial trading and investment rather than commerce. In fact, he is one of the single most successful investors of all-time, having purchased his first stock at the tender age of 11 and filed a tax return just two years later.

As his career expanded, he built a number of key strategic and investment partnerships, while his holding company Berkshire Hathaway currently owns around 60 companies (including the extremely popular Dairy Queen brand).

Whether you trade stocks or commodities or leverage contracts for difference, Buffet’s career should serve as an incredible inspiration in your quest for sustained success.

Jeff Bezos

Amazon lynchpin Jeff Bezos became the richest man in the world this year, as the value of his company stocks swelled by more than 57% and left him with a net worth in excess of $100 billion.

While Bezos boasts a deceptively diverse portfolio of interests, he has made the vast majority of his money from e-commerce, with Amazon dominant in this respect and the first private sector firm to turnover $100 billion in annual sales.

With the retail giants stock set to climb exponentially in the near-term, Bezos is likely to accumulate even greater and more substantial wealth.

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is one of the first entrepreneurs to generate wealth from the technology boom, having co-founded software firm Oracle back in 1977. This firm was borne out of a growing need for customer relationship management databases, and it has since become a key player in the global technology market.

Ellison now serves as the non-executive chairman of Oracle, with a real-time net worth of around $62.1 billion. Interestingly, his wealth has increased by around $10 billion during the last year, thanks largely to the companies move into hardware and Cloud computing.

We should definitely expect Ellison to become exponentially wealthier in the years ahead, particularly with Oracle now reaping the rewards of purchasing Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion back in 2010.

Amancio Ortega Gaona

Next on our list is one of the most successful retail entrepreneurs in the world, and a man who has made a fortune in the challenging world of fashion.

Now 81 years old and still going strong, Ortega has a real-time net worth of $77.6 billion and is firmly established as the wealthiest person in Europe following the sad passing of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. Not only this, but he is also ranked as the fourth wealthiest man in the world, which is no mean feat at all.

His empire revolves around the Inditex fashion group, which is best known for the Zara chain and its selection of on and offline stores. His wealth is also set to continue to rise incrementally throughout 2018, with his Zara chain having defied a raft of forecasted downgrades to deliver superb quarterly results.

Carlos Slim Helu

If ever an entrepreneurs’ success could be defined by statistics, its Mexico’s own Carlos Slim Helu. After all, the magnate’s diverse business listings currently account for an estimated 40% of the entire Mexican stock exchange, while his live net worth of $70.7 billion equates to roughly 6% of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Currently the seventh richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu has derived his fortune from a number of alternative sectors, including media, education, real estate, energy, advanced technology and financial services. Like Warren Buffet, however, he also made his initial wealth on the back of financial market trading, before using his hard-earned, personal savings of $400,000 to launch his very first venture (the brokerage firm Inversora Bursati).

This extremely successful entrepreneur has certainly diversified significantly from this point in time, however, making him a huge role model for anyone who wants to generate wealth in a sustainable way. So, despite falling from his perch as the richest man in the world in 2013, he continues to thrive as his empire grows and becomes increasingly varied.

So there you have it; five of the richest and most successful entrepreneurs of all-time and how they’ve made their money. There are more to choose from, of course, and the ability of these individuals to build wealth from a standing start should serve as inspiration for anyone who wants to improve their own circumstances in 2018.

By Zak Goldberg

About the author

Zak Goldberg is a Law & Business Graduate from the University of Leeds who has chosen to follow his aspirations of becoming a full-time published writer, offering his expertise on all areas of law, fintech and business economics.

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