5 Most Shocking Entrepreneur Success Stories

most shocking entrepreneur success stories top entrepreneurial tales

Running a business is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Being an entrepreneur is not something to take lightly, and success is never guaranteed. That shouldn’t be a shocking statistic if you are familiar with the blood, sweat, and tears needed for entrepreneurial success. Around half of small businesses fail in the first few years, so some inspirational success stories in entrepreneurship may be just what you need to keep going.


Some entrepreneurs won’t let anything get in the way of their success. It was through perseverance that they prospered and profited. These entrepreneur success stories will remind you that other people started with nothing, worked harder than ever, and came out on top. Take a look at these 5 epic entrepreneur success tales to learn lessons needed in entrepreneurship!

1. Trader Joe’s

Before Trader Joe’s was a health food store, it was billed as an alternative to gas station convenience stores. Founder Joe Coulombe knew some college students didn’t want to eat junk, so he started a healthier grocery store based on a tropical theme.

With great alcohol choices and employees who loved the high pay rate, Coulombe was able to add healthy food choices and open more stores. Today, new stores are added every year and it has a very high reputation within the grocery, health food, and retail industries. It is no shock that Trader Joe’s is a major player in the U.S. and international grocer game.

2. Entrepreneur Success: AriZona Tea

If you have ever had an AriZona tea, then you have benefited and contributed to the success of two men: John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio.

You won’t find them on a list of famous entrepreneurs, but in the 1970s they started distributing pop and beer in their Volkswagen van. They didn’t even start making their most popular beverage until the 90s, the AriZona Iced Tea that is so popular even in 2024, which shocks nobody with food and beverage experience.

3. Paul Mitchell Hair Care

John Paul DeJoria probably had no idea he’d eventually have a net worth over $3 billion. He started out with nothing, working janitor and newspaper jobs to put food on the table. Later he even got fired from another hair care company, Redken.

He was living in his car when he took out his first loan for $700 with business partner and hairdresser, Paul Mitchell. Together they formed the hair care company that grew to be the success story that is John Paul Mitchell Systems.

DeJoria also founded the Patrón tequila company. Today he spends time teaching people about agriculture to help them work their way out of poverty. DeJoria is one of the richest veterans in America in terms of net worth.

4. Working 4 Hours a Week

Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneur who prides himself on automating his lucrative businesses so he only has to work 4 hours a week. His book, The 4-Hour Workweek, gives you the story of his success, as well as step-by-step instructions for following the same formula and succeeding in your own business.

While technically one of many celebrity entrepreneurs, Ferriss talks a lot about ordinary business tips like outsourcing business tasks. He gives practical advice about using virtual assistants and other services. Visit our Business section to learn more about outsourcing your most-dreaded business tasks.

5. Debbi Fields, Cookie Queen

Debbi Fields is one of many motivational entrepreneurs with an incredible success story. She came from a large family and hardworking parents, who set an example for her. She became a ball girl for the Oakland A’s, a pro baseball team.

Using the baseball money, Debbi bought ingredients to make cookies and started her trip to fame by bringing milk and cookies to the umpires at break time. With only a two-year degree from a community college, Debbi went on to found Mrs. Fields’ Original Cookies Inc. about ten years later and they have generated tens of millions of dollars ever since.

Inspiration and Success Starts With You

These five top entrepreneur success stories are only a few of the many businesses that began with nothing. With the drive to succeed and some hard work, you can follow in the footsteps of these inspiring entrepreneurship leaders. You may even be able to bootstrap your way to a $1 million net worth like entrepreneur Mike Schiemer without having to take on any business investors or loans. That is the American Dream right there.

Did you find this article on entrepreneur success helpful? Check out the rest of our Everything Entrepreneur website for more information and tips to be successful in your entrepreneurial business ventures!