Famous People Who Started Their Success from Countless Failures

In Inspiration

The perspective

Failure does not only exist after a certain business is launched. Hence, failure is the colossal reality of all business and personal living expenses. To achieve success, one must endure failures as stepping stones. Nowadays, entrepreneurs are so focused in succeeding, when they should really embrace their failures as great life lessons. Without a doubt, failure is not an option for all of us. Below is a compelling list of famous people that had embraced the prospect of failure and survived it with successful results. They’ve chosen to come out on the stronger side, pushing all impossibilities away.


The countdown

  1. Jim Carrey

The comical Jim Carrey is best known for his prolific roles in The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Bruce Almighty. However, what most people don’t know is that Carrey came from a financially unstable family, with a dad who was struggling to maintain jobs. As a result, he was forced to drop out of school at a young age of 15. He worked as a janitor to help provide for the family.

His first comedic stand-up performance was at a Toronto club called Yuk Yuk’s and was booed off stage. His next audition was for Saturday Night Live for the 1980-81 season, and failed to secure a part. Carrey’s later successes was discussed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The show’s episode in which he guest-starred in, Carrey mentions about how he grasped the Law of Attraction as means to attract wealth. He wrote a check to himself for $10,000,000 for “Acting Services Rendered”. It was only 7 years later, that his first success came into play with a coincidental $10,000,000 for his role in Dumb and Dumber.


Image Credit: Tiki-toki

2. Katy Perry

Perry is best known for her vivid music videos and electrifying pop songs after her first hit of ‘I Kissed a Girl’ came out. Perry’s life does have some struggles involved. In the year of 1999, Perry dropped out of her high school to chase after a singing career. She was a gospel singer due to her Born Again Christian upbringing brought on by her parents. In 2001, Perry released a gospel album with Red Hill Records and was unsuccessful with it. As a result, the record company was out of business.

Perry shifted to a more modern day music direction and worked with Glen Ballard, the recording producer. In 2003, Perry was unlucky with Island Def Jam, a record company that had also went out of business. In 2004, she was made head vocalist for the band called The Matrix. Third time was no luck as well for Perry as the deal fell right into the cracks when Columbia Records turned over the project at around an 80% completion. After being dropped from 3 record labels consecutively, Perry still pursued her career. She filled her experiences singing as a back-up vocalist until 2006, she was signed to the newly-improved Capitol Music Group.



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  1. Oprah Winfrey

The iconic talk-show host Oprah has had her hard shares of life. She was raised by her young mother who had her when she was a teenager. On top of her living conditions that were unstable, Oprah experienced sexual abusive experiences at 9 years old. It was said that she was sexually abused by a family friend, cousin, and uncle. She was pregnant at 14 years old, to which her son died just after his birth. Oprah had later lived with her father, who helped educate her with her studies. As a result, the University of Tennessee rewarded her with a full scholarship with a communications major.

Oprah was able to build herself a strong understanding of communications with her major, and had embarked on her very first TV appearance on a local news station. However, she was seen as ‘not suitable’, and was transferred to another TV news station where she hosted a local talk show called People Are Talking’. In 1983, she hosted a local talk show know an AM Chicago. After a few months, the show had gathered high ratings and was later renamed to The Oprah Winfrey Show.


Image Credit: People


  1. Jay-Z

Hip hop and R&B rapper Jay-Z’s music successes did not happen overnight ladies and gentleman. In 1995, Jay-Z tried numerous efforts to gain a record label. He then opted for his own record company known as Roc-a-fella Records with his associates Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs. He worked diligently negotiating a distribution deal with other record labels until a contract was partnered with Priority. During the process of building up his music career, Jay-Z was charged for stabbing a guest at a record release party. Although he pleaded not guilty, he served a 3-year probation. Within a few months, Jay-Z had focused on producing more of his music and has had multiple songs up on the charts.


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  1. K. Rowling

The creative mastermind behind the world’s trendiest book franchise of Harry Potter comes J.K. Rowling. Rowling’s life before the popular franchise was nothing but struggle. In 1990, she had conjured up the idea of Harry Potter while boarding a train from Manchester to London. It was said that she wrote the store of out anger as he mother had passed away after 10 years from Multiple Sclerosis. In 1992, Rowling taught English in Portugal and married a man whom she had a daughter with.

The following year then took a tumble when Rowling had gone for a divorce and moved to Scotland to be reunited with her sister. It was around that time that she happened to have 3 chapters of Harry Potter in her luggage. Her various failures included being a jobless divorcee and being dependent on a government-based welfare. In 1995, her drafted script for Harry Potter was rejected by several publishing companies. However, when Bloomsbury decided to try Rowling’s script out. Her book was then published with 1,000 copies, to which 500 of them were given out to libraries.

The years of 1997 and 1998 had marked a miraculous turn for Rowling. Harry Potter had won awards from Nestle Smarties Book Prize, along with the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. In recent years, Rowling’s books have caught on and had garnered world-wide recognition to being the most successful female author.


Image Credit: Ew


  1. Stephen King

The acclaimed novelist Stephen King has written a handful of books, where certain movie adaptations were being made to them. King’s first supernatural novel Carrie was rejected about 30 times before it could ever be published. Frustrated by this outcome, King was said to have tossed the drafted script in the bin, only to have it brought out by his wife. He spent most of his early working life supplying his short stories to literary magazines. Nowadays, King has sold over 50 of his novels, selling over 350 million copies of his books.


Image Credit: Ew


  1. Bill Gates

The genius creator behind Microsoft Bill Gates has ached a great deal of failures in his life much to people’s ‘surprise. Even though Gates grew up in a stable middle-class family, he decided not to ask them for any help. Before Microsoft ever came about, his first business was a complete failure. Traf-O-Data was ventured by Gates, Paul Gilbert and Paul Allen. The purpose for the establishment of their business was to conduct reports for roadway engineers to transferable raw traffic data.

The particular machine was considered to be the biggest failure, when it was presented to a Seattle County Traffic employee. As a result, the failures from their machine, pushed Gates and Paul Allen to conjure up Microsoft. Nowadays, Microsoft is considered to be the world’s few leading tech and software specialists up on the market.


Image Credit: Time


  1. Henry Ford

The Ford Motor Company was created by Henry Ford, and was seen to be the few leading automotive companies that still exists today. Interestingly, Ford had resulted in bankruptcies, two times before the Ford production started. In 1899, he established his first company, the Detroit Automobile Company, and had gone bankrupt. His next attempt was in 1901, when he created the Henry Ford Company. However, things were turned for the better with Ford’s third attempt at creating the Ford Motor Company.  The Model T garnered more recognition when it coincidentally chose the right time when the concept of ‘driving’ became a trend. As a result, Ford’s cars were demanded more.


Image Credit: Edmunds

  1. Colonel Sanders

The iconic businessman and founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken has had some measurable failures. At 62 years old, he went on to find $105 social security check on hand, to help introduce his fried chicken recipe to restaurants. His secret recipe came about between the years 1939 to 1940. On top of all that, he worked in multiple odd jobs. It was not until 1952, that pushed him out onto the road scouting for fried chicken restaurants.

The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant that he went to was operated out of Salt Lake City. The restaurant had won great sales within the same year, where a 75% revenue was from his chicken recipe. As a result, the company was successfully distributed. In 1964, Sanders sold the company for $2 million dollars under the wing of Jack C. Massey and John Y. Brown Jr.


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  1. Thomas Edison

Many of us have heard of Thomas Edison numerous times for his invention of the great ‘light bulb’. It was said to be over 10,000 failed attempts that Edison had mastered the invention. He was fired from his first two employments for not being hardworking enough. Due to his increased failures as an innovator, a recorded number of 1, 093 U.S. patents were added to his name. It was believed that part of his successes came from the supportive help of his mother. She was able to teach him herself when his school teachers had given up on him. It was with his mother’s genuine support that motivated Edison not to give up. In today’s world, Edison’s company GE remains to be the biggest publicly-traded firms in the world.


Image Credit: Successyeti

  1. Walt Disney

The man behind the outstanding invention of Mickey Mouse. The world acclaimed pioneer animator has put on many smiles on a lot of people across the world. In 1919, Disney was fired by the editor when he was working for the Kansas City Star Paper. Disney’s entrepreneurial business direction reached bankruptcy when he acquired an animation studio under the name of Laugh-O-Gram. Disney’s company was established due to the popularity of his cartoon visuals. He was unable to pay back his hired employees and was in debt. Subsequently, Disney filed for bankruptcy and re-located to Hollywood. Despite being hit by several bankruptcy cases, it laid out the early building blocks that would mend his failures. After he established the Walt Disney Company, his past failures took a turn. Nowadays, the Walt Disney Company has gone stronger than ever.


Image Credit: Britannica 


  1. Sir James Dyson

Founder of the Dyson Company, Dyson conjured up the idea at 30 years old. His idea was to adopt the notion of cyclonic separation to help design the world’s leading bag-less vacuum cleaner. Dyson perfected the idea after turning 36 years old. Later on, he was left with no potential suppliers that would take up on his product. In 1983, he opted for a different international market with a hot pink vacuum cleaner. As a result, it won an industrial award in Japan. Three years later, he was presented with his very first US patent. After several failed attempts of not having distributors to support his product, Dyson created his own company in 1993 as a way of pushing forth his product.



Image Credit: The Finance Times UK




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