5 Entrepreneurs Who Failed At First

Failure is a part of business. Very few entrepreneurs ever make it big without first experiencing some massive failures. Whether it be running a business into the ground, getting fired from a job or even going to jail, plenty of very successful entrepreneurs have seen huge failures before ever accomplishing their dreams.

So if you ever feel worn down or intimidated by the thought of failing, just take a look at these entrepreneurs who failed before making it big.

Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank

Before founding The Home Depot, Marcus and Blank were officers at Handy Dan, a California based home center chain. They were both fired in 1978 for allegedly allowing the creation of a fund that was misused.

Arianna Huffington

Before launching The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington (pictured above) had a bit more trouble getting people to read her work. Her second book was rejected by 36 publishers. (Yes, you read that correctly — 36.)

Peter Thiel

Before starting PayPal and investing in big names like Facebook, Thiel lost big. His early hedge fund, Clarium Capital, lost 90 percent of its $7 billion assets on the stock market, currencies and oil prices. Still greater success lay ahead.

Fred Smith

Though we all know now that FedEx is a viable business model, Smith’s college professor disagreed. The future venture capitalist received a poor grade on an assignment where he pitched the idea for the company.

Milton Hershey

Hershey’s is one of the most recognized names in chocolate. But before founding the company, Milton Hershey was fired from his apprenticeship with a printer. And then he tried to start three different candy companies, all of which failed, before starting the Lancaster Caramel Company and the Hershey Company that made his sweet confection a household name.

What other entrepreneurs do you know that had to first pass failure before reaching success?