Accidental Entrepreneur? Successful Entrepreneurs Who Made It Big with a Great Idea

Many people aspire to become entrepreneurs. Who wouldn’t? Many successful entrepreneurs are now living the life most of us just dreamed of. Now, the question is, did they plan to be successful? Did they really plan to become entrepreneurs in the first place?

As interesting as it can be, many successful entrepreneurs never dreamed of becoming one. Some may say it was just accidental, and others say they were destined to become one.

So how did these entrepreneurs accidentally got into the business? Was it really just coincidental?

Here are some of the most successful entrepreneurs and how they started their successful enterprise:

1. Mark Zuckerberg

There are a lot of controversies surrounding the history of Facebook. But one thing’s for sure, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t plan to really make it as big as it is now.

In 2004, while Mark was a sophomore at Harvard, he created “The Facebook” which was only meant to connect Harvard students. He said, at the time there was no tool where “people can find out about other people”, so he created one. He created Facebook in about a couple of weeks and many students signed up. It then extended to Boston Universities and even US high schools. What he thought was just something that would be a great idea if someone built something similar to Facebook for the world is now a billion dollar business connecting people from all over the world.

2. Sara Blakely

Like any woman frustrated to really look good in her outfit, Sara Blakely accidentally created the first “Spanx” by cutting a pantyhose as she wanted her bottoms to look better without having to expose a seamed foot while wearing open toed shoes for a presentation. She then thought it was a bright idea and started to work on the patent of her product even when she was still employed. Today, Spanx is a billion dollar business and a product that every woman loves.

3. Ben Silberman

Ben Silberman has always loved creating pinboards when he was a young boy, however, this idea did not materialize until many years later after he started creating iPhone apps. His first iPhone application actually failed, but then he teamed up with Evan Sharp to create a pinboard product (which is now called Pinterest). In 2016, Pinterest has been valued at $11B after latest funding.

4. Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia

Unemployed and broke, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were struggling to pay the rent of their San Francisco apartment. With the designers’ conference at hand, Joe had a lightbulb moment and had an idea to rent out their mattresses and offer to prepare breakfast for $80 dollars to anyone who needed to stay in the city. They then created a simple website named airbedandbreakfast.com and were surprised that 3 people showed up in just a few days. Afterward, they invited their old roommate Nathan Blecharczyk to build a website. And while the company had a lot of challenges and rejections along the way, Airbnb is already worth US$31B.

5. Aaron Levie

The idea of a cloud storage system began when Aaron was still in middle school with his friends Dylan Smith, Jeff Queisser, and Sam Ghods. What we know now as “Box”, an online file storage was just once a college business project.  Seeing the potential of the business, he then took a leave of absence from USC and created box.com with his friends. They wanted people to choose cloud storage instead of using a USB stick to save files. After a lot of rejections, they finally got an angel investment from Mark Cuban, and the rest is history.

“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightingale


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