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10 Real Self Made Millionaires To Celebrate

10 Real Self Made Millionaires To Celebrate

The notion of being a self made millionaire has been up for debate for some time now. You might have heard the term thrown around with people such as Kylie Jenner in recent times. Is she self made? Is she not? It doesn’t matter.

I’m here to show you a few self made millionaires (some even billionaires) who started from the bottom and really climbed their way up to the top and made their own success. Spoiler alert: they’re all women.

Jin Sook Chang

A self made millionaire (or should I say billionaire now) who founded one of the biggest fashion retailers internationally as a family owned business.

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Jin Sook Chang and her husband moved from South Korea to the US in pursuit of the American dream. Like many other immigrants, they hoped to build a better life for themselves.

They immigrated with very little money and struggled to make ends meet for a few years before moving their aspirations over to the retail industry.

Fashion 21, now Forever 21, was started by Jin Sook Chang and husband Do Won Chang in 1984 and brought in $700,000 in profit within the first year. The brand then expanded to open more stores and grow in success around the world.

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Despite the massive growth in the business, Jin Sook Chang has remained humble and instilled the same positive qualities in her children, understanding how lucky her small investment of $11,000 in the store really was.

This self made millionaire is one to celebrate as an immigrant who worked hard to get to where she is now.


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Judy Faulkner

This self made CEO of Epic Systems is a lady to be celebrated.

Epic Systems was founded by Judith Faulkner in her very own basement back in 1979 as software to store medical records for patients.

The company itself, despite it’s rapid and continued growth remains a private company with 9,000 staff members and develops all of its software in-house.

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Faulkner has also signed an agreement promising to eventually gift 99% of her Epic Systems stake to a charity of her choice.

Faulkner has done a great deal for the medical IT community and has a great heart to give back the fortune that she worked so hard to earn.

Susan Wojcicki

This CEO of YouTube watched the company grow from the start.

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Getting involved in small startups always comes with risks but sometimes the risks can pay off greatly.

Google founders set up their base in the garage of Susan’s home. She was first brought on in 1999 as Google’s first marketing manager. She worked to develop Google resources such as Google Books and Google Images and worked closely in helping the business grow over time. She also oversaw Google’s video platform which at the time was being rivalled by a startup platform, YouTube.

As Google took off she proposed the company buy YouTube due to the success it had garnered. In 2014 she became the CEO of YouTube after it was bought for $1.6 billion. Her leadership at YouTube led to positive changes such as a growth in female employees as well as continued success and many changes to the platform in order to make it safer and fairer.

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In addition to her career, she is also an advocate for getting girls and women involved and interested in technology and coding and is a strong believer in paid maternity leave. As a mother of five children, she proves to be a supermom who is leading one of the biggest advancements in the internet and the way we view entertainment.


Oprah Winfrey

A black woman at the head of entertainment and talk show culture.

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Born into poverty and abuse, Winfrey suffered a traumatic childhood. It is this difficult start in life that probably gave Oprah her very personable and empathetic approach to people.

At age 14 she was sent to live with a man she came to call father and at 19 she was co-anchor for a local evening news channel.

Oprah revolutionised talk shows by breaking taboos and allowing the LGBT community to become visible in mainstream media. It brought about positive change and more acceptance through her own acceptance and disregard for taboos. She felt like people needed to be heard and made sure they were.

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Oprah’s focus is of spirituality and mindfulness, an approach that aims to help others self-improve and feel more joy in their lives. It is true as she manages to bring a great deal of joy and black girl magic into the lives of others.

She put herself on the map as a black woman, a talk show host, and great humanitarian through her work.

Zhou Qunfei

This self made millionaire is at the head of technology’s smartphone screen supply.

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Born into a poor family, Zhou was the only child in the family to attend secondary school but dropped out at age 16 and became a migrant worker.

She had dreams of being a fashion designer but found herself working for a family company making watch parts. When the factory went under in 1993 she established her own company making watch faces along with her sister, brother, their spouses and two cousins working out of a three bedroom apartment.

In 2003 they had their first commission from Motorola to produce a glass phone screen in the era when mobile phones were moving away from plastic screens into glass ones.

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By 2007 Lens Technology was making phone screens for HTC, Samsung, Apple and Nokia, making them the dominant players in the field.

She chalks her success up to her desire to learn and proves to be an inspiration to other migrant workers trying to build a better life.


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Barbra Streisand

An underrated star who made her own success in the world.

She was living on her own at age 16 and couch hopping between friends, returning to her mother’s home whenever she wished to have a home-cooked meal. She worked low paid, menial jobs just for some income in order to support herself in her pursuit for a career in acting. Her mother did not approve of her lifestyle and begged her to stop pursuing her dreams within the entertainment industry.

Streisand continued.

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Booking gigs in nightclubs then led to her path to stardom.

She sang in nightclubs and gained a reputation for herself, finding audiences who adored her singing voice and were stunned upon hearing it. She thought she finally caught her big break one night when she was scouted to star in a musical on Broadway.

It was an unsuccessful show with terrible reviews which closed the very next day.

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She finally landed a role in 1962 which gave her a Tony nomination and a New York Drama Critics Prize for the best supporting actress.

She then released her own albums and landed the role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 1964, marking her return to Broadway. Funny Girl played a large part in introducing two of her signature songs which to this day remain iconic and associated with her.

Since her career beginnings, she has continued to capture audiences and inspire others down the same path to stardom. She did face some resistance in her career, whether it be about her appearance or career choices, yet she continued on and successfully achieved her dreams.

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Anita Roddick

Anita founded the powerhouse brand that we all know and love. The Body Shop.

She promoted ethical values with her brand and stood by these values strongly. Although the company started as a business to earn some income while her husband was away, it took off very quickly due to the quality skin care it offered with fairly paid workers, ethically sourced products, and environmentally friendly containers.

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One of Anita’s most famous ideas was that of creating the Ruby doll, a size 16 doll meant to resemble Barbie. Steve Perry was the photographer behind the famous image of Ruby that went on to become an embodiment of the campaign.

Anita sadly died in 2007 but left behind all of her estates to charities as well as leaving her entire £51 million fortune to be donated. Her philanthropy and wish to give back into the world was successful and we would do well to celebrate the wonderful industry she has created.

Sophia Amoruso

This self made millionaire is a real GirlBoss.

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Sophia’s path to current success was not easy. Leaving school at a young age to be homeschooled due to depression and ADHD. She worked odd jobs and eventually moved away when her parents divorced and started living a nomadic lifestyle, getting involved in theft and hitchhiking.

Fast forward to her career beginnings, opening her own eBay store under the name Nasty Gal Vintage marked the start of her career as a female CEO.

She grew her brand rapidly over social media and ensured the launch of her own online store Nasty Gal would be a success.

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However, formerly the CEO of Nasty Gal, Sophia filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after being named by Forbes as one of the richest self made women in the world.

Despite this failure, Sophia learned that she could inspire women in other ways. She put her tech-savvy skills to the test by creating Girlboss Media, a production company that curates content geared towards females.

She had quite a learning curve but managed to pull herself out of the ashes and find her passion through the failures in her life.

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Doris Fisher

Another self made lady who made her fortune through the retail sector.

Another family business, Doris and her husband started GAP on their mission to find the perfect pair of jeans.

They named the brand GAP referring to the term generational gap after discovering how Levi’s caters towards the younger generation and carries a slim selection of sizes.

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GAP started stocking a larger selection of Levi’s signature jeans before forming their own GAP brand jeans.

These days the brand offers a full range of their own collection and is well known on the high streets as a family friendly and practical brand for all ages.

J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling made her millions with hard work and persistence.

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Prior to her career as an author, she had a turbulent life. With her mother’s early death, a failed marriage and being a single mother, it was difficult for her to handle. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide during this low point in her life. Rowling then signed onto welfare benefits due to her lack of support and need to survive.

This all fueled her writing as she channelled a great deal of her pain into the pages of her books.

When she began writing Harry Potter she intended for the book to be aimed at teenage boys. She changed her pen name to one that would not give her away as a woman, fearing that no one would want to read her book if they knew a woman wrote it.

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The book was rejected by publishers many times before it was finally accepted and the first of the Harry Potter series was published.

The book series went on to be successful and led to a multi-million franchise with the books being adapted into films also.

Rowling created a whole culture through her books and became a self made millionaire.

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These self made millionaires have left their mark on the world through their innovative ideas, perseverance and strive. These 10 powerhouse females made their own fortunes and formed their own successful starts in life and we should celebrate that. Do you have any big dreams for the future? Let me know in the comments!

Feature image source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/104919866293576574/