5 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Have Failed

It has been said before. You can't be a successful entrepreneur who has never experienced failure. Take a look at five of the faces, both past and present, who represent success in our culture today and how they have persevered.

Bill Gates

Before becoming one of the world's wealthiest people, Bill Gates faced his own share of failure in the form of his first business. Traf-O-Data, founded by Gates and Paul Allen, read data from roadway traffic counters and created reports for traffic engineers.

According to Allen, "Traf-O-Data was a good idea with a flawed business model. It hadn’t occurred to us to do any market research, and we had no idea how hard it would be to get capital commitments from municipalities."

After the company shut down, Gates' love of computer programming pulled him toward founding Microsoft. And the rest is history.

Arianna Huffington

Founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington has faced her fair share of struggle. When finishing her second book, she ended up getting rejected by 36 different publishers. That's a lot of times to hear the word, "No".

According to Stylist, Ariana said she considered switching careers at that point. But she remembered words from her mother: "Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone to success."

She is now the author of 15 books and counting, showing that all it takes is one "yes".

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs' stories of failure are well-known, and so noteworthy because of what an unbelievable success he was at the end of his journey.

He dropped out of college. He founded Apple only to be fired from it. He founded NeXT, which did not find the success he had hoped for. But without each of these steps, he would not have become such a huge influence.

Clearly, failure is not always how it looks. At times, failing at something may not even set you back. It may lift you a bit closer to accomplishing your biggest dreams.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey suffered in both her home and professional life before making it big. After dealing with abuse since she was a young child, Oprah started excelling in school and became a young co-anchor for primetime news. However, after a bit of time she was fired from that job.

But Oprah found her niche. After failing at a writing and reporting gig, she realized her love of human interest stories and started hosting again — eventually becoming a household name. Today she is arguably one of the biggest inspirations our culture has seen.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney's iconic empire wasn't built on a whim. As a young man, he was fired from his job at the newspaper Kansas City Center for lacking creativity and imagination.

And that wasn't all. He also drove the animation studio Laugh-O-Gram into bankruptcy…before eventually producing a successful cartoon series.

Today, Disney's empire seems to have taken over the world with its endless inspiring characters and stories of overcoming failure. Similar to the way Disney himself, as all entrepreneurs, overcame their own failure.