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Meet 6 Entrepreneurs Stories – Inspiring People That Found Startup Success

successful startup founders are often hailed as superhuman, but the reality is they’re regular people like you and I.
Well, maybe not exactly like you and I…
Given the unusual lifestyle of an entrepreneur, and that so many are fueled by the promise of wild riches, it comes as no surprise that many startup founders share inspiring stories about overcoming adversity.
We scoured the web for business success stories fraught with eccentric leaders, personal struggles, and uncommon lifestyles to find out how these innovators translated their life experiences into startup gold.
Jeff Smith, co-founder of Smule
Entrepreneurs Stories - Smule - Jeff Smith
After having some success as a serial entrepreneur, Jeff Smith decided launching a startup didn’t need to be a full-time job.
So in 2008 after enrolling at Stanford to pursue a PhD in Computer Music, he co-founded Smule one of his most successful endeavors yet!
The extra workload didn’t stop him from innovating; he was instrumental in creating some of the first interactive mobile apps that utilized the iPhone microphone.
To this day, more than 350 million people all over the world have used one of the company’s products.

Vladimir Gendelman, founder of Company Folders


Successful Entrepreneur's Stories - Vladimir Gendelman
Vladimir Gendelman immigrated to the United States with his parents from the Soviet Union with less than $500 to their name.
Still, they were able to get housing and basic necessities and earn a stable living over time.
He started a computer repair shop before starting Company Folders in 2003. Company Folders, Inc. is an innovative presentation company that has won multiple awards including making the list of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies in America in 2015 and 2016.
“My motivation is my desire to never go back to that lifestyle,” Gendelman said about life in the Soviet Union.
“Sometimes, the best motivation is not what someone says to you – it’s what you’ve experienced yourself.”

Nate Martin, founder of Puzzle Break

Entrepreneurs Stories - Puzzle Break - Nate Martin

Unlike Jeff Smith, iconic escape room producer and founder of Puzzle Break Nate Martin bills himself as the “worst student to ever succeed in business.”
Most major entrepreneurs boast MBAs, or at least a cool Zuckerberg-esque dropout story, but as Martin explains it:
“Prior to founding Puzzle Break, I completed my undergraduate degree.
After 9 years. And one drop-out. With a stellar 2.59 GPA.
Additionally and unsurprisingly, I was rejected by all but one MBA program.
Thankfully, I’ve had a better time with business than with academia.”
Under his leadership, Puzzle Break has opened escape rooms in metros all across the country.
Put differently for the MBAs in the audience:
Puzzle Break boasts a seven figure revenue and 100% year -over-year growth with no debt or startup funding.
However, there’s no shame in taking a loan to help launch your own startup!
Check out these offers from our partners:

MaryBeth Hyland, founder of SparkVision


Entrepreneurs Stories - SparkVision - MaryBeth Hyland

 SparkVision is a startup that focuses on workplace culture to create environments where people thrive.
Startup founder MaryBeth Hyland built her business using hard-won survival skills:
Her unique skill-set comes as a result of a difficult childhood that enabled her to understand human dynamics and how to cater to different interests and personalities.
“I was abused by my father and manipulated to not speak about it to anyone.” Hyland says.
“In order to get through that situation, I had to morph who I was to accommodate my father’s unpredictable moods.
I learned what to say, how to act and what to do to get him in a good mood to avoid getting hurt.
It’s a part of me that I always hid and, frankly, was ashamed of.
But now that I have a business that is built on human connection and empowerment, I know that it’s rooted from the survival skills I learned in my upbringing.
Those are now gifts I use to help others to have a better experience in their day-to-day interactions.”  

Maria Merce Martin, founder of Optime Consulting

Entrepreneurs Stories - Optime Consulting - Maria Merce Martin

Maria Merce Martin gave up her entire life to pursue the American dream of becoming a successful business owner.
When Chavez was elected president, she immigrated to the US from Venezuela before creating Optime Consulting, which now grosses $12 million in sales annually.
“I started from scratch… with a computer engineering degree and a vision,” Martin says.
“I had all the odds against me: I was in a male-dominated profession, a young mother with another on the way and a dream.
As an entrepreneur you have to stay focused no matter what and silence the doubts with results.”

Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mind Valley
Entrepreneurs Stories - Mind Valley - Vishen Lakhiani
   Vishen Lakhiani turned his obsession with learning and teaching into a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Mind Valley, provides a platform for authors and thought leaders in transformational education (self-help gurus, personal development experts and even spiritual teachers) to disperse their knowledge to the masses as digital courses and seminars.
Lakhiani even offers his own seminars, where he shares with students the emotional, mental, and even spiritual growth he had to undergo in order to build his company.
Perhaps his largest contribution has been sharing his “6 Phase Guided Meditation,” the process he utilizes every day to take his personal life and company to ever greater and greater heights.