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Billion-Dollar Ideas From 2023’s Billionaires You Can Learn From For Success

According to recent Forbes research, 150 individuals reached billionaire status in 2023, joining the small cohort of just 2,600 people on the annual billionaires list. While we can ogle at their insane financial status, dreaming of obtaining even a sliver of their wealth, we’d be far better off putting pedal to the metal and learning from their success.

Each of the following billionaires invests their time and energy in particular niches, which creates invaluable insights for us as driven wealth-builders. Here’s what we can learn from five of the individuals that made the list.

1. Rick Cohen: $9.6 Billion Net Worth

Rick Cohen was born in the small city of Worcester, Massachusetts in 1952. After graduating college, he began working at his family’s company, C&S Wholesalers. After a heated union strike that nearly shut down the business, Cohen relocated the company to Vermont.

Several years later, he took full ownership of the company, growing it into the nation’s largest grocery retailer. The company now does roughly $33 billion in annual revenue, according to Forbes.

Believe it or not, the majority of his wealth comes from his other company, however — an automation firm called Symbiotic. The company produces fully automated warehouses for companies like Walmart.

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Their Niche

Cohen’s career capitalizes on two things: automation and wholesaling. Given that the global wholesale market is worth around $48 billion, it’s no surprise his wealth grew rapidly as his company did.

How You Can Get Involved

If starting a grocery wholesale giant isn’t your jam, selling with Amazon FBA is a solid way to dip your toes into wholesale. For most FBA sellers, their products are purchased via a wholesale website, then shipped via Amazon.

As an entrepreneur, you can select the side of the equation you want to be on — the wholesaler, or the seller of wholesale items.

2. Robert Faith: $5.8 Billion Net Worth

Bob Faith was born and raised in Oklahoma, planning to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in the oil industry. When a recession hit, limiting the number of petroleum engineer openings, he pivoted to pursue an MBA from Harvard.

Upon graduating, he accepted a role at Trammell Crow Company, a real estate development firm. Five years after graduation, he co-founded Starwood Capital Group, which acquired foreclosed multifamily properties.

At age 30, he founded Greystar, a now global real estate firm managing over $240 billion in real estate across five continents.

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Their Niche

Faith’s career is based in real estate, a market with a $3.69 trillion estimated value.

How You Can Get Involved

If done strategically, investing in real estate can be an incredibly profitable endeavor. According to the Motley Fool, real estate investors make, on average, $70,000 to $124,000 per year. However, this depends largely on the properties you invest in, whether you employ property managers or self-manage, and how many properties you own.

If you don’t feel ready to invest, consider becoming a real estate agent. It’ll give you the opportunity to learn about real estate and which areas are worth investing in. Plus, you’ll make a little over six figures if you work in an area with high-value properties.

3. Palmer Luckey: $1.7 Billion Net Worth

Palmer Luckey was born in 1992 to a stay-at-home mother and a father that worked at a car dealership. His early interest in electronics drove him to experiment with projects including Tesla coils, lasers, and railguns.

At age 16, he began building VR headsets in his parents’ garage. To fund his endeavors, he obtained broken iPhones, fixed them, and resold them for profit. He also worked as a groundskeeper, sailing coach, and computer repair tech.

In 2012, at age 20, he launched Oculus VR along with a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to bring the product to market. The Kickstarter was a success, and he scaled the company for two years. He later sold the company to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion.

Since then, he founded a defense startup called Anduril that specializes in autonomous systems.

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Their Niche

Luckey focused primarily in virtual reality and tech. Given the high valuations of tech companies, it’s a profitable niche to dive into.

How You Can Get Involved

While various roles in tech require formal training, online courses are more prevalent than ever, making learning the necessary skills fairly simple. If you’re able to land a high-paying tech role, you could see a base salary of around $125,000.

Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, branching out to start your own tech company or offer tech consulting services as an independent contractor can help you build wealth.

4. Ben Francis: $1.2 Billion Net Worth

If you’ve ever sported a piece of Gymshark clothing, you’ve rocked the brand Ben Francis launched from his parents’ garage at age 19. Founded in 2012, the supplement-turned-athleisure company has grown to $500 million per year in sales, becoming the most-followed athleisure brand on Instagram.

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Their Niche

When Francis initially launched Gymshark, it was a supplement company. When he began looking for suppliers, he struggled to secure deals. Pivoting to dropshipping supplies sparked growth, allowing the company to stay afloat. A year after its launch, Francis expanded the company to include apparel.

How You Can Get Involved

The global dropshipping market was valued at $221.3 billion in 2023, and while it does take persistence and grit to get your store up and running, it can be highly profitable if you commit to it. Plus, it’s an online business, making it highly scalable — the key to growing massive wealth.

5. Marian Ilitch: $4 Billion Net Worth

Marian Ilitch co-founded Little Caesars Pizza along with her late husband Mike. While she didn’t reach billionaire status in 2023, we’d be remiss not to ensure a woman made this list.

Ilitch was raised as the daughter of two immigrants in Dearborn Michigan. At age 21, she met her future husband Mike on a blind date, and the two married a year later. Five years into their marriage, they founded Little Caesars, which they later expanded as a franchise.

It’s important to note, the pair invested their life savings into starting the business, and it took just three years of running the business before they opened the first franchise. Within ten years of the company’s inception, they had opened their 50th restaurant, including their first store in Canada.

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Their Niche

Marian and Mike’s story highlights the insane potential of entrepreneurship — one to 50 stores in a matter of ten years is…crazy. While we now know and love Little Caesars, it started as a singular pizza shop in small-town Michigan. With the U.S. food industry valued at $1.5 trillion annually, however, there’s great potential.

How You Can Get Involved

If you have a passion for the food industry, but fear its income potential, keep this fact in mind — average restaurant owners make between $94,320 to $357,236 annually. While it will take a few years to get a restaurant up and running, the ability to scale once you’ve learned the ropes is high.

If you’d prefer an online business, consider food blogging or selling food items online. Both have the potential to be highly profitable.

Common Threads

In each of the billionaires we discussed, there is one common thread: entrepreneurship. Now, this isn’t to say you can’t build wealth working a 9 to 5. It’s simply a pattern to take note of.

However, according to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, self-employed people are, on average, wealthier than their non-self-employed peers. In 2019, the median net worth for self-employed families was $380,000 — over four times the $90,000 net worth of the typical working family.
This begs the question: What can you create, monetize, and scale? Now more than ever, monetizing your skills is only a few simple steps away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I identify a niche that aligns with my interests and has the potential for success?

To find a niche, consider your passions, skills, and areas of expertise. Explore industries that align with your interests, and research their growth prospects. Look for gaps in the market or emerging trends that present opportunities.

What are the common traits among successful entrepreneurs mentioned in the article, and how can I incorporate these into my journey?

Entrepreneurs like Rick Cohen, Robert Faith, Palmer Luckey, Ben Francis, and Marian Illitch share a commitment to their chosen niches. To emulate their success, focus on resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to pivot when needed. Learn from their dedication to learning and evolving within their industries.

How can I leverage technology to explore and enter a profitable niche, similar to Palmer Luckey in virtual reality?

Embrace online courses and resources to gain the necessary skills. Consider leveraging technology platforms for research, market analysis, and skill development. Identify niche opportunities within the tech sector and explore ways to contribute, either by joining existing ventures or starting your own.

What steps can I take to turn a passion or hobby into a successful business, similar to Ben Francis with Gymshark?

Start by assessing the market for your passion or hobby. Identify potential gaps or unique selling propositions. Experiment with different business models, such as dropshipping or online sales. Utilize social media to build a community around your brand and gradually scale your venture.

How can I navigate challenges and setbacks in my entrepreneurial journey, learning from the experiences of individuals like Robert Faith?

Understand that setbacks are a natural part of entrepreneurship. Develop resilience by learning from failures, adapting strategies, and staying committed to your goals. Seek mentorship or connect with others who have faced similar challenges. Use setbacks as opportunities for growth and improvement.

What are effective ways to validate and test a business idea before fully committing, similar to the strategies mentioned in the article?

Before committing, conduct thorough market research to validate demand for your idea. Consider creating a minimum viable product (MVP) or conducting pilot tests to gauge interest. Utilize feedback from potential customers to refine your concept and ensure its viability.

What are some practical steps to transition from a traditional career to entrepreneurship, considering the article’s emphasis on self-employment?

Start by identifying your skills and expertise that can be monetized. Develop a business plan and explore part-time entrepreneurial opportunities. Network with other entrepreneurs, seek mentorship and gradually transition from a traditional career to self-employment based on the success of your ventures.

How can I effectively utilize online platforms and social media to grow a business, inspired by the success of entrepreneurs like Ben Francis?

Create a strong online presence through social media platforms relevant to your niche. Develop engaging content, build a community, and utilize e-commerce platforms for online sales. Leverage influencers and collaborations to expand your reach and establish a brand presence in the digital landscape.