May 16, 2019,   2:02 PM

These Billionaires Started Out Selling Garbage Bags, Shampoo And Newspapers

Jamila Gandhi


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While many of the wealthiest on Forbes’ list operate in varied fields, there is a common profession that keeps coming up, Sales

In the book Wealth Elite, findings indicated that roughly two in three wealthy individuals attributed their financial success to their sales skills and background. As Mark Cuban famously says, “There’s never been a business that succeeded without sales.”

Here are four billionaires whose first jobs were in sales. Doubtlessly, their time selling their first products helped them build skills that further assisted them to start businesses which subsequently earned them a fortune. 

Michael Dell – CEO and Chairman of Dell Technologies

Net worth: $41B 

The CEO of Dell Computers showed signs of a great salesman from an early age. He began practicing the skill in high school, where he made $18,000 annually from selling newspaper subscriptions. During his freshman year in college, Dell sold upgrade kits for personal computers which became the basis for Dell Computers. Dell is known for his iconic phrase “sales cures all”.


Mark Cuban – Owner of Dallas Mavericks

Net worth: $4.1B

Known for being one of the sharks on ‘Shark Tank’, Mark Cuban’s first entrepreneurial venture of selling garbage bags was far from glamorous. He sold them to earn money for a pair of sneakers after his father refused to buy it for him upfront. Cuban has held a series of odd jobs before striking out on his own. One of his lifetime achievements is probably selling his start up, an internet radio company to Yahoo for over $5 billion in 1999.

Howard Schultz – Honorary Chairman of Starbucks

Net worth: $3.8B 

Howard Schultz’s upbringing in a low-income household drove him to achieve financial success. After graduating college, he began his sales career at Xerox, a place he now refers to as the best sales school in the country. Once while Schultz was working as a kitchen appliance salesman, he walked into a small Seattle coffee shop called Starbucks. It was a combination of his immediate admiration for the coffee served and his sales training that made him realize the shop had potential for growth. Later he joined Starbucks as Director of Marketing and was responsible for growing the one coffee house to 76 countries.

John Paul DeJoria – Co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems.

Net worth: $2.6B

John Paul DeJoria kickstarted his sales career selling Redken hair products door-to-door. Earning just $600 a month, which was insufficient even to meet his living expenses, DeJoria developed resilience and grit which would later help him push his products for years before becoming a multi-million-dollar success. When he started John Paul Mitchell Systems in 1980 with his partner Paul Mitchell with only $700, he sold shampoos from his car trunk that also doubled up as his bed.

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