3rd Period: Making It Big – Napkin Finance

3rd Period: Making It Big

Of course, some people are not just successful—they are wildly and famously successful.

In most cases, making it big has nothing to do with winning the lottery. Instead, what many (if not most) very wealthy people have in common is that they are entrepreneurs, meaning they’ve started successful businesses.


Some famous entrepreneurs have included:

Bill Gates Cofounded Microsoft and created the Windows operating system that launched the PC age.
Oprah Winfrey Turned a local talk show into the nation’s highest rated talk show ever and became the first Black female billionaire in history.
Steve Jobs Cofounded Apple, leading the trillion-dollar company to create some of the world’s best-known consumer tech products.
Elon Musk Cofounder of PayPal, who went on to found Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
Kylie Jenner Turned a massive social media following into a billion-dollar makeup empire.
Gwyneth Paltrow Built the iconic lifestyle brand Goop, which offers wellness-related advice and sells products.

Fun Facts

  • Adults aren’t the only ones who can start businesses. Mikaila Ulmer started Me & the Bees Lemonade when she was only five.
  • Whole Foods and Fresh Market are among the major retailers now selling Mikaila’s lemonade, with a portion of profits donated to organizations working to save honeybees worldwide.
  • Moziah Bridges launched his bow tie company, Mo’s Bows, when he was nine. Today, his products are sold at locations in six states, and he recently signed a deal with the NBA to make bow ties for all 30 professional basketball teams.

Getting started

You don’t have to be a mogul with a private jet to be successful.

You could start your own small business by offering lawn mowing and leaf raking in your area, starting a neighborhood dog walking business, or making and selling your own jewelry online.

What it takes

Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t just about having a good idea. You also have to be willing to put in hard work (and often your own money).

Depending on what you’re planning to do, you might need some of these tools:

What you need Why you need it
Parent/guardian permission Help you navigate tricky situations (such as whether you owe taxes or not) and provide good input
Business plan Better understand what you want to do and how you’re going to get there
Funding So that you can buy supplies and get the word out about your business
Licenses or permits Avoid any trouble with the town, city, or state you live in
A bank account Keep your money somewhere safe and let people pay you electronically (like by linking your account to Venmo, PayPal, or another service)
Partners or employees Help you reach more neighborhoods, make more of what you’re selling, or pitch in with ideas and other resources
Advertising Spread the word to neighbors, family, and friends (think social media, a website, or flyers around town)

Keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. Although it’s the world’s largest online retailer today, it took Amazon seven years just to make a profit after Jeff Bezos founded it in 1995.

Talk it through

  1. What other entrepreneurs can you think of?
  2. Do you know someone who has started their own business?

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