6 Stories of Rejection From Top Entrepreneurs

We often hear of companies after they’ve become successful, but we rarely hear of the struggles the entrepreneurs had to go through to reach that level of success. After browsing the web, here are some of the stories of entrepreneurs who got rejected all the way to the top.

J.K. Rowling: The author of Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before finally being accepted by Bloomsbury. She told Twitter she “wasn’t going to give up until every publisher turned [her] down.” and that she had “nothing to lose and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.”

Warren Buffett: The Oracle of Omaha wasn’t always one of the richest people in the world. Warren became obsessed with investing at 11-years old. When he decided to apply to college, he tried getting into Harvard. After speaking with the Harvard alumnus that conducted the interview, he was immediately turned down. Thankfully, that led him to Columbia University where he met Benjamin Graham, the “father of value investing.” The lessons he learned from Graham helped mold Buffett to become the greatest value investor in the world. I wonder what would’ve happened if he was accepted into Harvard. 🤔

Brian Chesky: The co-founder of Airbnb was turned down by 7 venture capital firms. Chesky wrote in a Medium post that he was seeking $150,000 for 10% of Airbnb. He shared the actual rejection emails he received from all of the venture capital firms. According to Forbes, the company is now worth more than $38 billion. Doing the math on 10% of a missed $38 billion can make any VC firm cringe.

Walt Disney: The legendary creator and Chicago native wasn’t always considered a legend. When Disney came up with the idea for Walt Disney World, he needed financing. Disney was turned down 302 times before finally securing financing to build his dream. The rest is history.

Colonel Sanders: If you’ve heard of Kentucky Fried Chicken, you’ve probably heard of Colonel Sanders. The founder of the delicious chicken recipe was turned down 1,009 times before finding a taker for his patented recipe. As of 2013, KFC was worth over $15 billion.

Bill Gates: Although Microsoft has grown into one of the largest companies in the world, its founder wasn’t always a success. Gates founded a company called Traf-O-Data which was supposed to take raw data from roadway traffic counters and create reports for traffic engineers. The company was a true failure. Thankfully, Gates decided to partner back up with Paul Allen and created Microsoft. Gates is now worth $97.4 billion.

If this list doesn’t convince you that anyone can make a comeback, then I don’t know what will. Learn from your mistakes and keep trying.

Do you know of any other famous failures?

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