Jerome Allen Seinfeld, better known as Jerry Seinfeld, is a prolific stand-up comedian, actor, producer, and writer. Not many people know that his first stand-up act lasted only three minutes. The audience unceremoniously booed him off the stage. Seinfeld kept doing what he loved, taking his observational humor to clubs, improvs, and open mics in New York City.
In May 1981, Seinfeld made his first appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” and everyone loved him. He appeared frequently on the show and others, such as “Late Night with David Letterman.” He and Larry David co-created and co-wrote the sitcom “Seinfeld” — one of the greatest sitcoms in TV history.
Rowland Hussey Macy
Rowland Hussey Macy was an American entrepreneur and founder of Macy's, the leading name in department store chains. Before starting the store, Macy tried seven different retail ventures, all of which failed. Succeeding in business was no mean feat in the 19th century, but Macy’s tenacity and hard work paid off. He continued looking for innovative ways to make his stores appealing to consumers.
He opened a dry goods shop in New York in 1858 and gradually expanded into different neighborhoods. Beautifully illuminated windows, exhibits, and Thanksgiving Day parades — no other store did publicity like Macy’s. The store chain continually exceeds expectations, even today.
Elizabeth Arden, born Florence Nightingale Graham in 1878, overcame multiple failures to establish an influential beauty empire by 1929. She dropped out of nursing school because the enormity of the responsibilities scared her. Following that, she tried a variety of jobs, including receptionist, secretary, and bank teller, which all fizzled out.
Her first business venture also failed. Arden then took a loan to set up her next business venture — a cosmetics and beauty salon company. After a 1912 trip to France to learn about beauty techniques, Arden collaborated with a chemist to create a range of superior beauty products accessible to everyone. Elizabeth Arden, Inc. has since surpassed $1 billion in annual sales.
Richard Branson is one of the world's wealthiest people, but his foray into entrepreneurship had numerous struggles. Because he was dyslexic, high school was more difficult for him than for others. In 1971, Branson opened a record store but got into tax evasion trouble for labeling records sold as export stock. The Virgin Records store was ultimately successful, allowing Branson to launch his record label.
Branson founded Virgin Megastores and Virgin Atlantic at the age of 42 but running the airline was prohibitively expensive. A distraught Branson had to sell the record label (his first business venture) to keep Virgin Atlantic afloat. Despite the setback, Virgin Atlantic became an enormous success due to his resilience and tenacity.
Madonna dropped out of school to become a professional dancer in New York City. The Big Apple wasn’t kind or welcoming initially. She was physically attacked, robbed at knifepoint, and had her home broken into several times. She was not broken by any of these experiences.
Madonna continued dancing and supplemented her income with side hustles. She landed small gigs performing with bands like the Breakfast Club, eventually catching the attention of Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records. At 24, she released her first single, "Everybody," followed by "Burning Up," which became a massive club hit. Following the release of her self-titled album, "Madonna" (1982), she became one of the most influential musicians and dancers of all time.