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Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk: 10 billionaires who started out small

While billionaires like Travis Kalanick, Warren Buffet, and Evan Speigel are today known for living a luxurious life, their first jobs were like that of any of us.

Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk: 10 billionaires who started out small

Monday August 29, 2022 , 4 min Read

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Warren Buffet, Giorgio Armani, and Elon Musk? Maybe private jets, mansions, and luxury cars?

While the prize at the top is sweet, the journey to becoming a billionaire is a difficult trek. Though some billionaires inherited businesses, most started up with regular jobs.

Can you guess what was Jeff Bezos's first job? Do you know that Uber ex-CEO Travis Kalanick started out as a door-to-door salesman? 

We have collated a list of the world’s billionaires and their first jobs to show that it’s never too late to live your dreams. Let’s take a look: 

Jeff Bezos

Listed as a Forbes billionaire in 2022, Jeff Bezos’ first job was as a fry cook at McDonald's. He started with this job in the 1980s and would earn roughly $2 per hour. But it was at this job that Bezos learned the nuances of business and went from flipping burgers to having a net worth of $167.6 billion. 

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Travis Kalanick

The founder and former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick was not born with a silver spoon. His first job was as a door-to-door salesman selling knives for Cutco. The man, whose net worth today is $2.8 billion, started with a normal day job as a teen just like most of us.

Warren Buffett

The CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway started his career as a newspaper delivery boy for The Washington Post. Back in 1994, he used to earn $175 every month and as of 2022 Buffett's net worth is a staggering $103.4 billion.

Elon Musk

The founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk is always in the news for either space launches or his tweets. But back when he was starting out, he used to sell computer games in South Africa and would make $500 from his first job. He later migrated to Canada and started working as a computer engineer. His current net worth is $263.4 billion. 

Elon Musk

Georgio Armani

The legend of the fashion industry once served the Italian military before changing the fashion world forever with his elegant designs. While on a 20-day vacation from the military, he discovered his passion for clothes, and once he completed the military service, he went to work for a well-known departmental store in Milan. 

Evan Spiegel

Though the Snapchat founder studied product design at Stanford and met his future co-founders there, Evan Spiegel interned for Red Bull, promoting energy drinks in pubs and bars. His net worth today is $4 billion. 

Bruce Nordstorm

The icon of the retail joint, Nordstorm, started his first job at the tender age of nine. Unsurprisingly, his first job was in his family company, for which he earned 25 cents an hour. Bruce used to work in the stockroom of the retailer’s shoe room during World War 2. With the knowledge of the business at such a young age, Nordstorm managed to expand the shoe stores from seven to 156 across 27 cities in Europe. 

Roger Penske

When Roger Penske started out, he wasn’t taking orders at a restaurant but was a race car driver! He used to buy race cars and sell them as a young entrepreneur. Looks like his passion for racing and race cars paid off well and that’s why he has a net worth of $1.6 billion

Alexander Spanos

Would you believe us if we told you that the American billionaire real estate developer started his career by selling sandwiches? Spanos borrowed a truck for $800 which he would drive around to sell sandwiches to migrant workers. Spanos and his wife would be up all night making sandwiches just so he could sell them the next day. Within five years, Spanos was a millionaire and started investing in real estate. 

Mark Zuckerberg

This genius built Facebook back in college so you must be wondering if he had a job before college? Well, technically, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t have a job but he managed to build a music recommendation software called Synapse which Microsoft was interested in purchasing. Zuckerberg was even offered a job but he chose to study at Harvard instead. He created history with that decision of his and today has a jaw-dropping net worth of $60.4 billion. 

Edited by Kanishk Singh