What you see most of the time is the picture-perfect life of billionaires, but the fact remains that most of them have backstories where they almost went broke.
Some of these moments were due to poor decision-making or just bad luck. However, they overcame these improbable circumstances through their tenacity and grit.
One thing they all had in common is that they never gave up. Here are some billionaires that can inspire you if you’re going through the broke phase.
Strive Masiyiwa is the wealthiest man in Zimbabwe and one of the richest men in Africa. He is currently worth $2.7 billion. However, attaining this milestone was no walk in the park for the philanthropist.
Masiyiwa quit his job as an engineer for the Zimbabwean-owned telephone company and launched his own electrical engineering business.
Due to the budding potential in the mobile cellular telephone, he branched into telecoms. This was, however, met with some opposition from the Zimbabwean government.
Robert Mugabe’s government refused to approve the license he needed to run his telecommunication company, Econet Wireless.
After five years of constant legal battle, the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe judged the case in his favour.
Though the event took him to the brink of bankruptcy, it ended the telecommunications monopoly in Zimbabwe and marked the beginning of private sectors sector entry.
Femi Otedola is a one-time billionaire in Africa and one of the oil moguls in Nigeria, worth over N124 billion.
In 2018, he experienced one of the worst days in his life as he lost over $1.2 billion in a day.
Due to the drop in oil price from $136 to $34, he lost $480 million. Otedola also lost $258 million to naira depreciation, $320 million to an increase in the interest rate and $160 million to the stock crash.
He said, “I had two options, either to commit suicide or to weather the storm. I decided to weather the storm. I just knew it was a phase I had to go through. You see, God prepares you for greater things and of course, experience is the best teacher, so I had to learn my lessons. I took the bitter pill”.
He weathered it well as he reclaimed his billionaire status and remained one of the affluent and reverend businessmen nationally and internationally.
The wealthiest man in Africa is not without his past entrepreneurial woes. He says, “The plaque in his office serves as a reminder of a day he almost lost everything. It all began with a wrong soil test.”
The importation of cement served as the primary source of raw materials in the country. Therefore, the government gave people incentives to help make the country self-sufficient.
Dangote and his business partners thus decided to leverage the opportunity. To effectively run the business, they conducted a soil test. He, therefore, tailored the business plan and budget to the test.
Three months into the project, they discovered that the contractor had given them the wrong test result. A big mistake for a multi-million-dollar project.
He said, “We had to stop and change all the drawings”. The worst part was that he was to finance the project.
“We needed to raise $480 million…. we had to change the drawings, and we could not borrow too much money in the system… We realised that we had to build a gas pipeline”. Despite the numerous challenges, failure was not an option for him.
With tenacity, he saw the project through and became one of Africa’s major cement manufacturers.