Ran across an interesting and inspiring article at MSN, about ten ideas that each made more than $100 million -- often on shoestring budgets, for otherwise ordinary people who were just running with their dreams.
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A pared-down version is below if you want to save ten minutes)
(first 50,000 units were sold out of the inventor's apartment)
(one $700 pickup truck in 1993; locations on two continents in 2011)
3. Pillow Pets
($300 million in sales in 2010, inspired by inventor watching her kids use stuffed animals as pillows)
4. "Life Is Good"
(unsuccessful indie t-shirt company strikes gold, now does over $100 million a year)
5. Boston Beer
($100 million a year)
6. Chipotle Mexican Grill
(1993: indie restaurant in Denver financed with a loan from a kid's parents; 2011: More than 1,000 locations in the US)
(enviromentally friendly cleaners; brand built out of two party guys who hated the smell of standard cleaners)
8, Burt's Bees
(part-time beekeeper meets part-time flea market seller [!!!] and builds a $250 million+ business)
(Started in 1976 with $10,000 in capital; today is a $600+ million per year multi-brand conglomerate)
(First gym for "real women" vs. "gym women" ... 1 location in 1992, 10,000+ in 2011)
I just always love stories of extraordinary success; thought I'd share at this time of year when many of us are doing the annual mad grind for the holiday money.
"Failure is not when you fall down. Failure is when you don't get back up."