Chris Burch, Bill Gates & America’s Inspiring Self-Made Billionaires

All around the world, the stereotype persists of the millionaires and billionaires who inherit their wealth from Daddy and likely never worked a proper day in their lives. In America, however, the ‘American Dream’ reminds everyone that many of the wealthy were not born into wealth, but earned it through hard work and dedication.
In fact, here are four billionaires in America, who inspire entrepreneurs everywhere to keep working towards their dreams:

Christopher Burch

Chris Burch Billionaire

Lesser known than his predecessors, Chris Burch became a billionaire back in 2012 when the fashion market took off and gave him an amazing return on the investment in his now ex-wife’s fashion company. Burch also has many other profitable investments in areas of technology, real estate, and even the food industry. He owns investments in Voss Water and was one of the first to invest in the Internet Capital Group.

But Chris Burch had much more humble beginnings than his present success suggests. Born to middle-class parents, he was one of 10 children. Unlike Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, and Gates, he did not attend Harvard, or any other Ivy League school for that matter; though he did attend the reputable private university – Ithaca College.
While at Ithaca College, Chris Burch started a business, selling ‘preppie’ sweaters door to door to students. In the ten years that followed, the company made $140 million in sales. Burch reminds us that it’s never too early to become an entrepreneur, and never too late to become a billionaire as a result.

Bill Gates

bill gates

Of course, no billionaire list is complete without Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. Bill Gates first showed an interest in programming as a young teen, and later went on to found Microsoft with Paul Allen, a childhood friend.
In spite of all the technical aspects of programming and computer-building, which would usually require a degree, Gates dropped out of Harvard to pursue his dreams, having learned all he needed to know to become one of the world’s greatest success stories.
One of the most spectacular things about Gates is that after making it to the top, he retired to dedicate his time to charities and special causes, with his wife. Gates and his wife have supported charities like Children with AIDS, Children’s Vaccine Program, and Food Bank for New York City. The couple took the pledge to pass 99% of their wealth to charity, by the time of their death and encouraged many other wealthy business moguls to do the same.
Bill Gates reminds us that wealth isn’t everything.

Mark Zuckerberg


Another favorite on the multi-billionaire list, Mark Zuckerberg also started building his empire while attending Harvard. And like Gates, he first developed an interest in computers in his teens. His father taught him basic programming and then hired a professional to tutor him further. Many considered him a prodigy, even before he set foot at his prestigious university.
By his second year at Harvard, Zuckerberg had wrapped up work on a program that helped college students with their class selections. He then created what he initially called “Facemash” just for fun. Today, known as Facebook, it is worth a whopping $350 billion.
Zuckerberg and his parents remind us that nurturing our strengths and passions can take us farther than we ever dreamed in life.

Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg is the richest man in the state of New York, and 13th in the world. He has even hinted at running for President of the United States.
Born to a New Jersey native and a Russian immigrant, he likely gained his first exposure to finances through his father, who was a bookkeeper for a dairy farm. Like his predecessors, Bloomberg also attended Harvard, where he graduated with a Master of Business Administration.
Bloomberg caught his big break at Salomon Brothers, where he worked his way up from trader to partner. When the business was bought, Bloomberg used his $10 million severance package to build his current empire. In 2002, he also became the 108th mayor of New York City and was re-elected in 2005, and 2009.
He reminds us that hard work and a sound education pays.
We hope these inspiring stories encourage entrepreneurs everywhere to keep working toward their dreams, and financial success.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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