From bankrupt to millionaire: 6 inspiring success stories

How to find your strength and reach the top even after the most terrible failure.

Bankruptcy. Life at the bottom. Losing. This black streak can be called anything you want.

But six mega successful entrepreneurs from The Oracles‘ business expert group have managed to get through it. They shared their stories about how they gained success by losing everything.

1. Admit your obsession

One day as a child I dropped a quarter in a shop. It fell into the hatch, and it was impossible to get it. I got angry. My father said that we should be careful with money, but my grandfather objected:

„A lost quarter is no problem. The problem is that it was your only quarter“.

This still applies to many people today. The funny thing is that when I was 12, I had more money than 25. I was completely broke: all the money went to drugs, a rehabilitation centre was waiting for me. Now I’m a millionaire and make more money a day than I used to earn a year. And all because I let myself become obsessed with success.

When I realized that I was obsessed with fantasies about unbreakable wealth, fame and the desire to leave my mark on this life, the world around me was flirting with new colours, and I started to act. Obsessions are the most valuable tool on the way to a dream. Unfortunately, most people never admit their obsession, because they were taught that it’s bad.

Don’t let that happen to you. Discover your obsession – anything, no boundaries – and take a step towards it.

Grant Cardon, a leading expert in sales, founder of a $500 million real estate empire and author of the New York Times bestseller „Be obsessed or be average“.

2. Learn to adapt

During the 2007-2009 crisis, I did my best to adapt my business to changing market conditions. I worked on two fronts, helping my clients in their business as well. They needed guidance on how to move from a traditional retail business (listing and sales) to a diversified approach where they would work with banks: selling bank-owned homes, problem assets and making short sales. Thus, many houses were sold during the crisis, so the business survived. We did not lose customers by connecting our connections to make it easier for them to work with banks. We helped them with the necessary documents and gave them a chance to succeed.

I hired one of the most prestigious and well-paid writers, Laura Morton, to bring her message that will help people go through bad times and create something truly valuable. I even reduced the price of attending our Success Summit to support as many people as possible.

In difficult times, I walked va-bank: I established new relationships, tried to make the most of them and made my way through social networks. This approach changed my position in the business world – for the better, of course.

Tom Ferry, founder and CEO of Tom Ferry International, who won the title of „number one real estate coach“ in the Swanepoel Power 200 rating, author of the New York Times bestseller „Life! According to the project“ („Life! By Design“)

3. Stop fussing about

I once had $47 in my bank account – no higher education, no car, no job, no real prospects. Books and mentors pulled me out of this swamp. My first teacher was Mike Steinbeck, he gave me a job and taught me how to understand finance.

But even then I felt trapped. I worked hard, but success never came. The secret is simple: you don’t have to work harder, you have to plan your time wisely. Hard work in itself is not a goal.

One of the reasons why people cannot get out of the trap is the general misconception that hard work is inevitable. Actually, that is not the case. The 10 wealthiest people on the planet are not that hardworking. It’s just that what takes you 100 hours, they do in 1 hour, optimising their work.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other rich people had mentors who got rid of the wasted time by telling them the shortest route to the goal. Imagine a fuel-efficient car that uses little fuel but travels long distances – that’s what the job should be. Less fuss, more results.

Tai Lopez, investor and consultant for multi-million dollar companies, founder of his own online empire

4. Start over

Chris Plau In 2007, I tragically lost my parents. I did not know how to deal with it, so I focused on my company, MavenWire. I bet everything on it – and I lost. In 2008, it went bankrupt and I was fed up with debts, with no idea how to pay them back.

I worked more than 100 hours a week. My relationship was withering and the financial black hole was devouring everything around me: clients delayed payment, there were no new contracts. My ego and self-confidence were firmly connected to this company. When it failed, I projected it onto myself: „I am a loser“. I saw no way out and became more and more isolated from the world. I started riding my motorbike, ignoring the rules and risking my own life. Inside there was an empty space.

When my friend saw what was going on, he advised me to join the „adventurers“, a gang of crazies who were driving vehicles to Mongolia. I liked the idea. A few months later, me and my two friends drove an ambulance from the United Kingdom to Mongolia (which is about 18,000 kilometres). The trip took almost two months. Somewhere along the way, I found myself again: I started to understand who I am and what I really want, where support comes from and how I can make a difference.

I did everything I could to strengthen my company so that it could stay afloat without me. This led to the success and implementation of the boldest plans, but that wasn’t the limit either. No matter what you get into now, you are not alone. The possibilities of the future are endless.

Chris Plau, author, speaker, consultant and founding partner of ExponentialU

5. Never give up

Poverty is a relative concept. My father worked on a construction site, there was often a lack of work. Times were hard, but we never went hungry. It could have been worse.

In 2008, I couldn’t sell anything. In a crisis, people do not need landscaping. I couldn’t buy back the mortgaged house, my car was confiscated and my credit card debt exceeded $80,000. I was disconnected from my phone and electricity every now and then. But I was moving forward despite everything. I just couldn’t lose the house where my family lived. I did not give up and continued to work.

I would bring bags of change to the grocery shop to pay for food.

I had to work for another year to make ends meet. Living someone else’s dream was bad, but you can live with everything. At the same time, I kept working on my business and did my best to get back on track.

It took almost seven years for this to happen – but it was worth it. Now business is going up, there’s enough money for everything. Be persistent and never give up.

Steve Griggs, founder and CEO of Steve Griggs Design (the company designs and builds landscape design for wealthy clients who appreciate the speed and quality of the result).

6. Work as a team

In 2014, I made a mistake rushing into a new business without having the slightest idea of what is necessary for its success. I took off my last shirt to cover unforeseen expenses. My fiancée was left without a New Year’s present, my employees without bonuses, and myself without money. I told my team that I would either have to close down or invent a bike together to get out of this situation.

It was the most terrible and humiliating time of my life. It was then that I realised that you have to trust and rely on others if you want to achieve something.

I learned how to distribute authority, how to sell, how to raise prices and the bar.

Debts gradually disappeared, free money began to appear, and in 2015 my income was already $500,000. In 2016, I opened a consulting firm to help others get out of the same pit where I once went. In the first year, we made over $1.6 million. I would like to note that this would not have been possible without my team. No one would take the summit alone.