The recent government decision to deregulate university fees appears to be just another roadblock for young Australians. High property prices, an unstable job market, and now rising education fees all seem like insurmountable challenges on the path to success.
So if that all seems a little dismal, we’ve found a number of rags-to-riches Australians who, with hard work and determination, have not only made their ideas a reality, but become millionaires – even billionaires – in the process.
Below is The New Daily‘s list of eight self-made millionaires under 40 who are bound to inspire young Australians.
Ruslan Kogan – $315 million
How he did it: made electronics cheap again by cutting out middle-man retailers.
The 30-year-old founder of Kogan Technologies grew up in a public housing estate outside of Melbourne. He started his first business at the age of 10, finding lost golf balls and reselling them at a local golf course. At the age of 23 he started Kogan Technologies in his parent’s garage and it has grown between 200 to 300 per cent annually ever since. The Wall Street Journal estimates the business is worth over $400 million.
Mike Cannon Brookes and Scott Farquhar- $1.4 billion each
How they did it: dropped out of university and started a billion dollar software company.
Brooks and Farquhar started software company Atlassian after meeting at a Sydney university when they were 22-year-olds. They dropped out, living on $300 a week while building the company that is now worth an estimated $3 billion. The billionaires count seven of the world biggest 10 companies as clients.
QOTD from our management offsite “Culture is what happens when bosses aren’t around.”
— Mike Cannon-Brookes (@mcannonbrookes) May 7, 2014
Tammy May – $20 million
How she did it: created a stress-free budget management business for individuals. The 35-year-old started her MyBudget business from her kitchen table when she was 22-years-old. After working in the debt department of an Adelaide law firm, she left her job to start her own financial councelling business, going without a salary for an entire year. She was just one of seven women on last year’s BRW Young Rich list. MyBudget now has 16,000 customers.
Carolyn Creswell – $55 million
How she did it: bought a muesli business for $1000. The well-known founder of Carmen’s muesli started the business as a university student with just $1000. Creswell was working part time for a muesli company when she heard that the business was closing. She decided to buy the owner out and try running it herself. Carmen’s now exports to 32 countries. The business which sells muesli, muesli bars and porridge, has an estimated turnover of $50 million a year.
Simon Clausen – $350 million
How he did it: developed an anti-spyware software company with no investors. Clausen had just finished high school when he started his anti-spyware software company PC Tools, bankrolled by nothing more than his credit card. In 2008 he sold the company to US giant Symantec for $300 million. The self-confessed computer geek has since dabbled in property, investing in $45 million worth of property in Sydney’s harbourside.
Phillip Di Bella – $83 million
How he did it: built a coffee empire in his spare time. Di Bella started his Di Bella Coffee company while working as a barista in Brisbane. He worked nights on his business and went door-to-door trying to attract clients. The 38-year-old even sold his house to buy a commercial premise for the business. His hard work payed off, with 2.2 million people now drinking Di Bella coffee each week.
Brendon Levenson – $20 million
How he did it: introduced affordable, 24/7 gyms to Australia. The 33-year-old personal trainer pioneered the idea of 24/7 gyms when he opened his first Jetts Fitness club on the Gold Coast in 2007. Levenson struggled with cash flow and capital when starting the business, even moving in with his wife’s parents to conserve funds. By 2012, the group turned over $74 million and had over 250 clubs.
Hezi Leibovich – $190 million
How he did it: founded online discounted goods retailers Scoopon and CatchOfTheDay.
Leibovich and his older brother had humble beginnings, selling clothes at a Melbourne market before founding online retailer CatchOfTheDay. The site offers a new discounted deal each day. He says that it was tough going originally, with the business relying on word-of-mouth advertising. Leibovich’s The Catch Group now turns over $300 million per year.