Happy Tears: Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Succeeded

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It’s not yet time to give up on your dreams; your story will be happy tears as long as you’re alive and still in business.

The reason most young entrepreneurs are afraid of getting started is the fear of failure. They are always scared of making mistakes, taking a risk, and being rejected. Look closely at the life stories of famous people in the world who are now shedding happy tears. You will see that they took failures as an opportunity to work on their dreams.

We may sometimes fail one way or another; in school, business plans, housework, and the like. However, we shouldn’t let failures prevent us from being what we wanted to be.

If you feel like quitting and giving up on your dreams, I want you to take a second and connect with these entrepreneurs who have been there and are now shedding happy tears.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847.

His teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” 

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” For him, all these failures were happy tears to him.

His invention has had a significant impact on our world.

He was extremely wealthy when he died with a net worth of worth $12 million at his time.

Walt Disney

Walt Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901, and died on December 15, 1966. He was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer.

In 1921, Disney formed his first animation company in Kansas City. He made a deal with one distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road. Flushed with success, he began to experiment with new storytelling techniques, his costs went up, and then the distributor went bankrupt.

He was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.

A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by n individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations.

Today, Disney is one of the world’s biggest media companies, with an estimated net worth of nearly $130 billion.

Credit [ Business Connect ]

Bill Gate

Today, Bill Gates is one of the richest men globally, a man that every computer addict should be thankful for. The Microsoft co-founder is what many people would aspire to be – successful. But not everyone knows that the very billionaire wasn’t always as successful as he is today. Bill Gates had to go through failure first before he could reach the top. Thankfully, he was determined to go for his dream and achieved it, which is why we were all blessed with Microsoft.

Not everyone who goes to college ends up finishing it, and Bill Gates, believe it or not, is one of these people. He got enrolled at Harvard University back in 1973. He would have pursued a law career, but he changed his plans later to his parents’ disappointment. In 1975, he dropped out of college because he wanted to work on a business with Allen, his business partner. The company is what we know as Microsoft.

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Many people don’t know, but before getting successful with Microsoft, Gates and Allen had a business partnership known as Traf-O-Data. It was their first business that wasn’t successful. Bill Gates is now the wealthiest billionaire in the world, with all his failures as happy tears.

Bill Gates Net worth 118.8 billion USD

Henry Ford

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and business magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company.

Before his success, Henry Ford encountered failures during the initial production of his first automobile. He failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

At 23, he was just a machinist’s apprentice with big aspirations. A few years later, he was known as an intelligent yet failed engineer who only couldn’t produce. His need to perfect every product he created led to late deliveries to customers that tarnished his early reputation.

Other failures of Henry Ford:

  • Ford burned through all the money from his first group of investors without producing a car.
  • He eventually made a car and raised another $60,000 in share capital, but his Detroit Auto company went bankrupt.
  • Henry Ford took a career in politics for Senate, but he eventually lost but only by a margin of 4500 votes.

Even a mistake may turn out to be the thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement -Henry Ford

Ford’s estimated net worth was $188 billion

Credit [ Year On | Consultant Journal ]

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos in full, Jeffery Preston Bezos (born January 12, 1964) is an American technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, best known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon’s largest online retailer.

“What’s the point in making billions if you can’t make a multibillion-dollar mistake now and again?” -Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos always takes failures as an opportunity to exceed. In July 2004, Amazon released its first smartphone called the fire phone, and the device was very disgusting and a surprising disappointment. So, by September 2015, Amazon stopped selling the fire phone.

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Despite all the failures and setbacks, Jeff Bezos didn’t give up on his dreams. Bezos believes that to empower measurable invention and creativity, there has to be time to question and chase ideas. No wonder he is the world’s first-ever person to amass a $200 billion fortune.

Credit[ Business Insider | CNBC | Forbes ]

Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author. He was the co-founder of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking.

Before we had LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social network with 260 million users to date, there was something called SocialNet. Hoffman created the (failed) dating site SocialNet, which some regard as the first online social network.

Like many social media giants’ early creations, SocialNet didn’t appear like the most promising platform. Launched in 1997, SocialNet was an online dating turned social networking site.

It was created to provide users with opportunities for dating, roommate matching, and professional networking.

Reid Hoffman real-time net worth (2020) 2.1 billion USD

Credit: [ Plesk |

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an inspirational figure who worked her way from humble beginnings to being a successful billionaire.

She had the chance to launch a television gig in Baltimore where a producer told her that she was “unfit for television news.”

However, that same producer offered her a role on another television show called People Are Talking. That show ended up becoming a huge success. However, it eventually led Oprah to become the host of her television show, which aired 25 years. And today, she owns her television network called OWN

Oprah Winfrey Net worth (2020) 2.6 billion USD

Credit [Inc]

Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1995 – October 5, 2011) was an American inventor, designer, and entrepreneur who was the co-founder, chief executive, and chairman of Apple Computer. Apple’s revolutionary products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, are now seen as dictating modern technology’s evolution.

College dropout. Fired tech executive. Unsuccessful businessman.

Steve Job was a college dropout, fired from his company Apple and an unsuccessful businessman.

Career coaches and leadership gurus will often say that getting fired can be the best thing that ever happened to you, but that can be hard to believe if you’re the one being shown the door.

That’s especially true when you consider the case of Jobs. He wasn’t just fired. Apple dumped him, the company he had co-founded in his garage with pal Steve Wozniak.

Job said that the firing helped him enter a creative period resulting in the acquisition of animation studio Pixar.

In 1997, Steve Jobs was hired back to Apple to continue his innovative ideas, and Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006.

At the time of his death, Steve Jobs’ net worth was $10.2 billion.

Credit [ Biography | NBCnews |

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Elon Musk

Elon Musk (born June 28, 1971, Pretoria, South Africa), South African-born American entrepreneur, cofounded the electronic-payment firm PayPal and formed SpaceX, a launch vehicle and spacecraft maker. He was also one of the first significant investors and chief executive officer of the electric car manufacturer Tesla.

Elon Musk went through disappointment before becoming successful:

  • When he first created Paypal, it was voted as one of the 10 worst business ideas.
  • The Russians refused to sell him a rocket for sending plants to Mars.
  • His first-ever rocket launch got exploded, followed by the second up to the fourth one.

He has failed several times, and now, Elon Musk mastered successfully the art of failing successfully. Due to his persistence and discipline, now he is the CEO and product architect of Tesla Inc, Chairman of SolarCity, and Paypal’s Co-founder. Elon Musk, despite all his setbacks, now calls his achievement a happy tears.

Elon Musk Net worth (2020) 128.6 billion USD

Credit [ Britannica |

It’s your turn to shed happy tears.

happy tears

What is a failure for you? How does it affect your business plans? Failure is inevitable; you may fail at specific points in life, but how you view it will either make you a loser or propel you to something great.

To succeed as a young entrepreneur, you need to master failures like a pro, learn from your mistakes, and make an informed decision to sustain your business. Don’t be afraid of failure; face the storm that it will bring and use it for your advantage. Remember, entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a spirit. That’s why you need to surround yourself with successful people in your industry to get more experience from them.

You will also shed these happy tears at last if you don’t quit and persevere in your goals. Please share your experience with us in the comment section below; I would like to read it. What are your biggest failures in your business or entrepreneurship journey?

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About the author

Gideon Success is the founder of Youths 4 Success, one of the best student and young entrepreneurship portals in Ghana for educational content.
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