If you’re a small business owner or just starting on your own, the thought of owning your own business can be scary. It seems like everyone has an idea for a successful company these days, and it’s hard to know where to start. But don’t worry – even some of the most successful companies started in garages! In this blog post, we’ll look at 13 inspiring stories from people who started their businesses in their garages and went on to become millionaires! It’s all about the concept, commitment, and bravery.
Let’s take a look at these businesses.
Jeff was a computer science and electrical engineering graduate from Princeton University. He first started Amazon in his garage, selling books online on the Internet. Amazon has grown so much that they have over 30,000 employees. They are currently the world’s largest Internet-based retailer and produce consumer electronics devices like the Kindle Reader.
Jeff Bezos also controls Blue Origin, a privately funded aerospace production and spaceflight operations firm. One of Blue Origin’s launch sites is located on Bezos’s privately held land in Texas.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976. The company initially began as a personal computer business but has evolved to include consumer electronics, such as smartphones (such as iPhone) and tablet computers (including iPad). Apple’s first office space consisted of a garage belonging to then-CEO Steven Jobs’ father Paul for $600 per month with an extra bedroom added later; this is where they developed their prototype.
In April 1977, Apple relocated its corporate headquarters to Palo Alto in California—its original home – because it could not afford the rent on Redwood City’s offices after going public.
Disney, the most popular movie company of all time and one of the most profitable brands in history; however, it was not always that way. Walt Disney had gone into debt for his first few cartoons, which did not do well. He decided to take some risks with what became “Snow White” – an animated film adaptation from Brothers Grimm’s story.
His brother Roy took out a loan from Bank of America for $500 against his life insurance policy as collateral so they could finish production on Snow White by 1937 (the final cost came up at over $250K).
William Hewlett and David Packard began designing their first audio oscillator in a Palo Alto garage. They founded the company in 1939, launching an audacious plan to sell affordable electric cutting machines powered by vacuum tubes called “Hewlett-Packard 200A”. The new machine was sold for $595 – about twice as much as similar products on the market at that time. Today, HP is worth around $120 billion (as of March 2018).
Google started as a research project by Larry Page while studying at Stanford University. In 1996 he co-founded Google with Sergey Brin the two now hold about 16% of all shares (as of 2018). Initially, an academic search engine linked to external sources for results, its popularity led to overtaking other popular search engines such as Yahoo! or AltaVista within months.
Its first headquarters was on Santa Margarita Avenue in Menlo Park before it outgrew those facilities and relocated to Mountain View. It remained until 2011 when it moved again into specially designed buildings adjacent to San Francisco Bay.
The story of how Harley-Davidson began is one that many people know well. A group of friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had the idea to start a company to manufacture motorcycles. They set up shop in their rented space at 2300 West Juneau Avenue on September 16th, 1903. They were all young men with a passion for motorbikes who wanted to make some extra money during the winter months by building 50 bikes per year for sale or trade out east, so they built their very first bike while living together in an apartment near Lake Michigan.
In 1962, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time at Woolton Village Fete; a few months later, they decided to form their group in August of that year. They were both Beatles by 1965, but it was on this day (called “Beatle Day” since 1986) when they formed their band, with George Harrison joining them shortly after. The two wanted to start up something called “The Quarry Men.” Thankfully, Pete Best stepped up from another skiffle-style band to take care of those needs.
In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in their Seattle area homes. Originally called Micro-Soft (after the words microcomputer and software), this company would revolutionize computer technology around the world when they developed a version of BASIC for Intel’s first 16-bit processor that was easy enough for hobbyists to use. After creating this basic program, MS-DOS became one of the most widely used operating systems ever made!
Patagonia’s first office was in the garage of Yvon Chouinard. They offered used equipment to their customers and built climbing gear for themselves. In 1973, Patagonia opened The South Buttress on State Street in Santa Monica with only $700 leftover from an earlier business deal. Today they have grown into one of the most popular outdoor brands and are also known as “the greenest company around” thanks to all that recycling!
Yankee Candle was founded in the basement of a home. David and Roxanne’s Quarts sold candles at their local Christmas craft fairs to earn extra money for school supplies. They saw that they could make more profit by selling their products wholesale rather than retail, so they left teaching and started Yankee Candle Company out of their basement.
Lotus Cars, a British car manufacturer, began in 1952 when Colin Chapman and Team Lotus built their first racecar. After six years of running the company, they became one of the most successful racing teams in Formula One history, with seven world championships to date. They were also pioneers for ground-effect cars, which use aerodynamic design to create down-force and eventually produce the first-ever production mid-engine sports car from a major manufacturer.
The story of Mattel started in 1943 when a young, struggling couple named Harold and Ruth Handler invested their entire life savings in building an American toy company. They began with the intention of producing just one doll -Barbie- which would be sold nationwide for $0.25 each (about $20 today). The success of this first doll led to a string of hits, and Mattel was born. In the 1950s, business skyrocketed as they introduced iconic toys like Chatty Cathy and Hot Wheels Cars.
By 1955 Barbie was selling more than one million dolls per year (the equivalent of $200+ in today’s money). Today Mattel has more than 25 brands with over 400 different products in over 100 countries worldwide- proving that every garage can turn into a success story.
The Nike empire was born in 1964 after Phil Knight, a University of Oregon track and field coach, couldn’t find the shoes he wanted to buy for his team. He took out an 85 dollar loan from a local bank on April 16th and started selling running sneakers made by Japanese company Onitsuka Tiger (as Blue Ribbon Sports) in his coach’s garage.
Today, Nike is worth over $32 billion, and its signature Swoosh logo can be seen in every country on Earth. But it all started with a guy’s vision that he could sell running sneakers better than anyone else ever had before him.