It takes a lot of hard work to succeed in any career, even if it’s just running a successful small business. You have to put in the time to learn the basics of what you want to do, and then you have to practice until you master your technique.
This is difficult enough to achieve when you are born into an average middle class or even wealthy family. For anyone born into a poor family, the obstacles can seem insurmountable.
Keep reading to see the surprising stories of how these 10 celebrities worked their way out of poverty and into financial and professional success.
10. J. K. Rowling Wrote Her Way From Welfare To Wealth
Fans of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels know that Rowling was a single mother living on public assistance when she started writing. They might not know that she couldn’t afford a typewriter or computer and handwrote drafts of her early novels.
“I remember twenty years ago not eating so my daughter would eat,” Rowling told The Daily Mail in a 2013 interview.
9. Shania Twain Sang From A Young Age
Shania Twain grew up in Timmins, Ontario, in a family so poor that they sometimes couldn’t afford to heat their home or buy food. At the age of eight, Shania started singing in bars to help earn money for her family. She is now worth about $450 million.
“I would certainly never have humiliated myself enough to reach out and ask for help and say, ‘You know, I’m hungry. Can I have that apple that you’re not going to eat?'” she said to ABC News. “I didn’t have the courage to do that.”
8. Jay-Z Went From Crime To Cash Flow
Born in the projects in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z grew up in a crime-ridden neighborhood, dealt drugs, and once shot his own brother in the arm for trying to steal jewelry from him. Learning rap turned Jay-Z’s life around, but he also learned business. As his wealth grew, so did his business investments. Now he is worth $610 million.
Did he feel guilty about dealing drugs? “In the beginning, no. I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes,” Jay-Z told Vanity Fair.
Learn about an unusual way to succeed on slide 6!
7. Birth Order Did Not Slow Down Celine Dion
Celene Dion was born the fourteenth of 14 children. Dion began singing from a young age and was discovered at age 12. She practiced composition and voice to work toward her success.
“I grew up in a very, very small house,” Dion said in a Vanity Fair interview. “Three or four of us in the same bed was normal to us. We weren’t poor, but we never had money. I don’t know if that makes sense. We were given love, and affection, and support. What else did we need?”
6. Billy Bob Thornton Started In Music Early
Spending his childhood in an Arkansas cabin with no electricity or running water, Billy Bob Thornton began playing drums and learning music as a child. He performed in several rock bands and later turned to acting and writing.
“We would order Christmas stuff out of the Sears catalog. And I’ll never forget having a $15 limit. You could buy three things for $15, back then,” Thornton related during an interview with ABC. He is worth about $35 million.