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Hackernoon logo6 Solo Entrepreneurs That Have Changed Their Lives by@alexlash

6 Solo Entrepreneurs That Have Changed Their Lives

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@alexlashAlex Lashkov

journalist, tech entrepreneur

A Solo-Entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business venture and assumes full responsibility for the associated risk. Which traits will make one a good founder? 

  • Passion
  • Ability to tolerate risk
  • Leadership skills
  • Flexibility / Adaptation
  • Decision making
  • Financial Management Skills
  • Human management / relationship skills
  • Creativity / Innovation

Those traits are mostly often named as the most essential in building an enterprise from a low scale business to a multi-million-dollar company. Let’s see how 6 solo-entrepreneurs over history have changed their lives and made a positive impact on society and people around them.

Andrew Carnegie and His Steel Empire

Andrew Carnegie is a quintessential Gilded Age titan. He’s an industrialist and a self-made man who started from nothing and created an empire in steel. Carnegie was born in Scotland to a working-class and skilled labor family, and his father ended up losing everything. His family moved to the United States of America penniless; thus he had no real formal education, but he spent a lot of time reading, and he is a self-taught intellect. To meet up with life’s financial challenges, Carnegie started working as a telegrapher and worked with various companies. 

The Gilded Age was marked by an economic boom with railroads being the economic forefront, and steel is critical to the building of railroads. Carnegie recognizes this, and he saw an opportunity by the end of his career, he had a monopoly on the production of steel in the United States. So, by 1901, Andrew Carnegie is one of the richest men in the world and currently has a net worth of $310 billion. Aside being the sole-proprietor of Carnegie Steel Company, Carnegie went on to set up several enterprises like:

  • Carnegie institution of science
  • Carnegie library
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Carnegie Endowment for international peace
  • Carnegie Mellon university
  • Carnegie hero fund

Markus Frind and His Dating App

Markus Frind is an internet entrepreneur based in Germany, primarily known as the creator of popular dating social network POF. Plenty of Fish as it was initially known was established in 2003, and since its creation it has risen to become one of the most in-demand dating sites with active users in Canada, Brazil, USA, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

A graduate in computer systems technology from the prestigious British Columbia Institute of Technology (1999), he worked with several online companies and held several positions like system analyst, cybersecurity and web developer. After several unsuccessful jobs Frind followed his long ambition of being self-employed. He created POF in 2003 and by July 2013 made a profit of $1100. Now, POF serves a minimum of 1.5 billion webpages monthly and generates $100 million a year.

Vishen Lakhiani and Education Technology

Born 14th January 1976 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with lots of complications ranging from personal (poor eyesight, Asperger syndrome, skin complications) to amenities (complicated schooling system). Vishen fought through all these barriers and is currently a speaker with millions of active subscribers, an author of many books with his New York bestseller “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” selling Hundred thousand copies worldwide, most importantly he is an entrepreneur and founder of 3 companies (Mindvalley, Dealmates, and Blinklist). 

His primary company, Mindvalley, deals with education technology, spiritual development, and publishing of daily self-care software such as Omvana. Mindvalley was built with $700 and is now worth over $120 million.

In 2015, the 43-year-old Malaysian won the award for “Best New Idea” at the XPRIZE’s Visioneering event held in Culver City, California.

Ingvar Kamprad and Furniture Paradise

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, a Swedish business tycoon, popularly known for founding IKEA, an intercontinental furniture trade company. Born March 30th 1926 in Sweden, Kamprad displayed his entrepreneurship traits from an early age when he began selling Matchbox in his neighborhood, then upgraded to selling nylons, picture frames, stockings, and pieces of jewelry. In 1943, at just 17 years, he founded IKEA (a combination of his initials IK, the farm he grew up in ELMTARYD, and his village AGUNNARYD) which turned out to be the world’s biggest retailer of furniture.

In 1948 Kmaprad stopped other retail and focused chiefly on inexpensive furniture and offer home furnishing services, he expanded to renting a showroom in Sweden. Kamprad sold quality furniture at an amazingly low price which led to fast-rising popularity amongst the Swedish market. IKEA introduced flat boxed furniture in 1956 which led to a significant breakthrough and attracted interested buyers all over Europe and some parts of the world.

Kamprad went from being a childhood retailer to a global business Moghul worth over $58.7 billion.

Jaseel SK and Cheap Flights

Affiliate marketing still shines on the internet, even if it doesn’t have quite the buzz it used to. The key is to remain persistent. Many people try their hand at affiliate marketing but leave after a short amount of time if they aren’t making money.

Every day, Jaseel started earning a bit more through the Travelpayouts program. He didn’t know anything about the online market, and it took me months and long hours to get to a place where he was earning a profit. Later, he found out about Travelpayouts’ mobile SDK for both Android and iOS and he used that to develop the first version of an app for both platforms. Shortly after, he had the app published on both platforms.

Until 2018, Jaseel was slightly over $200K USD per year from Travelpayouts, and most of the income came from mobile apps. He finished college in 2018 and fully focused on online marketing opportunities. Now, he still lives in India, so it’s a pretty high income. He said he could only imagine such income from his own venture and no corporate office job.

Daymond John and Hip Hop Clothing

Fashion designer, Daymond John, founder of famous Hip Hop clothing brand FUBU was born in New York. His entrepreneurial passion started at a young age as he sold almost everything he could spare from Pencils to reconditioned Toy cars. John worked as a waiter at Red Lobsters long before starting his clothing brand.

In 1992, John kicked off business by making hats in his mother’s basement and selling them off at concerts and festivals around his neighborhood, in a bid to boost his business John mortgage his house and invested all the money into his business. FUBU an acronym meaning For Us By Us expanded their collection from just hats to the inclusion of-shirts, Hockey Jerseys, and Baseball caps which all had FUBU label embroidered in them.

John’s brand skyrocketed when entertainer LL Cool J supported him by creating awareness about the brand which quickly rose to become the trending urban clothing, setting fashion trends for African American youths and most lovers of Hip Hop.

FUBU foundation was created in 1997 by John, and it raised $1 million yearly which was donated to charity.

Proud of his achievements, John inflated his business realm with the launching of FUBU Entertainment and FUBU Records which released a 19-track musical album which helped increased popularity of the FUBU brand and increased the sale to over $100 million during its launch. Daymond John is estimated to worth around $400 million.


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