It’s common to believe that the best way to become successful in business is to go to school for 4+ years. The truth, however, is that there are many famous businessmen out there who never even finished high school. They just had a dream and took their chances with it – and as the below entrepreneurs prove, this is what really matters in the end.
Walt Disney, Founder of the Walt Disney Company, dropped out of high school at 16 to join the army but was too young. Instead, he forged a birth certificate and joined the Red Cross war effort. He landed his first job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He the founder of the Walt Disney Company and eventually was awarded an honorary high school diploma at 58.
Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, began his business from his dorm room at the University of Texas. He dropped out at the age of 19 to work full-time on the company after making almost $200,000 in his first year.
Steve Jobs will always be the leader for college drop-outs. Steve Jobs was known for his tenacity. Not only did he drop out of college after just a few months to start Apple, but he also famously said that if he had not dropped out, then he “would have become the person I always said I hated.”
Another billionaire “dropout,” Sir Richard Branson, is one of the world’s most powerful businessmen. At the age of 16, Virgin’s creator dropped out of high school to start Student magazine, which became his first lucrative business venture. He bought his own Caribbean island when he was 24, was knighted in 1999, and is now believed to be worth $4.1 billion.
Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard to concentrate on his company. Bill Gates was the world’s richest man from 1995 to 2017 when he was surpassed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, proving that degrees aren’t always needed.
Evan Williams only spent a year and a half at the University of Nebraska before leaving to pursue a career in information technology. He co-founded Twitter in 2006 and later founded the publishing sites Blogger and Medium, making him worth $2.2 billion.
Daniel Ek co-founded Spotify at the age of 21, after dropping out of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden after just eight weeks. The business currently has over 217 million users worldwide, and Ek is worth 4.5 billion dollars, making him the most influential person in the music industry.
Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook from his dorm to help fellow students learn the people’s names in their classes. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in 2004, during his sophomore year, to work on Facebook full-time and remains its CEO to this day. He is now worth an estimated $86.3 billion.
Matt Mullenweg has been an integral player in the evolution of WordPress from a blogger’s tool to the world’s most used Content Management System (CMS). Now powering over 30% of the web, WordPress is in all likelihood the most widely used CMS in existence. The former political science major dropped out of the University of Houston to work at CNET Networks. He left CNET two years later and founded Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Gravatar, Tumblr. He currently manages the WordPress Foundation.