Have you ever considered starting out on your own or building a business based on something you love doing?

If you have, yet haven’t put your plans into place; we hope reading this article may be the catalyst you need.

While researching his book, The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley discovered that only about 20% of millionaires became that way through inheritance. That means the remaining 80% built up their wealth.

We hope that reading this article will inspire you to pursue your dreams.

People Who Successfully Turned Their Passion Into A Career

The people we have highlighted below are just some of the many people who have followed their beliefs or guts and successfully turned their passion into a career.

Jack Ma – Co-founder of AliBaba

 Jack Ma successfully turned his passion into a career

Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

His story is a remarkable example of determination and refusing to quit.

Ma was born Ma Yun in China. He began studying English at a young age by conversing with English-speakers at Hangzhou International Hotel.

He struggled with University entrance exams, taking 3 years before finally passing and graduating in 1988 with a degree in English.  He also unsuccessfully applied to Harvard Business School ten times.

Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected for them all. “I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy…”

But in 1994, Ma heard about the Internet and started his first company.  He formed his second company China Pages in 1995. Within three years, the company had made around $1 million.

In 1999, he and  his team founded Alibaba.  By July 2020, Ma was the second-wealthiest person in China and one of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of $48.2 billion.

Melanie Perkins – Co Founder and CEO of Canva

successfully turned their passions into a career - Melanie Perkins

Filipino-Australian Melanie Perkins the CEO and co-founder of Canva, was born in Perth, Western Australia.

While in university, Melanie began teaching design programs to fellow students and created Fusion Books.

In 2014 she founded digital graphics business Canva with her fiance Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.

By March 2020 the 32-year-old had amassed a personal fortune of $1.3 billion, making her Australia’s youngest billionaire.  A surge in users during the Covid-19 pandemic took her fortune to an estimated $2.5 billion in June 2020.

Srikant Bolla – Founder and CEO of Bollant Industries

Srikanth Bolla successfully turned his passion into a career

Srikanth Bolla is the Founder and CEO of Bollant Industries, an organisation that employs uneducated and disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly, disposable consumer packaging solutions.

Srikant was born visually impaired in the Indian village of Seetharamapuram in 1992. Because his family were not wealthy farmers, neighbours in the village suggested that his parents smother him.

Some said it was better than the pain they would have to go through their lifetime with a “useless” baby without eyes.

In 2012, Srikanth started Bollant Industries, which provides employment to several hundred people with disabilities.

Srikanth considers himself the luckiest man alive, not because he is now a millionaire, but because his uneducated parents, did not listen to the ‘advice’ they received and raised him with love and affection. “They are the richest people I know,” says Srikanth.

Levi Roots – Reggae Reggae Sauce

62 year old Keith Valentine Graham better known as Levi Roots, is a British-Jamaican reggae musician.

Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce is a jerk barbecue sauce. In 2006 at the Notting Hill Carnival in London, 4,000 bottles of the sauce were sold.

He was invited to appear on Britain’s Dragon’s Den TV show where  he was offered a £50,000 investment for a 40% stake in his business by 2 of the Dragons.

As a result of this deal, Reggae Reggae sauce was stocked by leading UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in their 600 outlets.

His estimated net worth is now £45 million.

Kayla Itsines – Personal Trainer & Co-founder of the Bikini Body Training Company

Kayla Itnes successfully turned her passion into a career

Kayla Itsines is an Australian personal trainer, author, and entrepreneur.  The 28 year-old is the co-founder of the Bikini Body Training Company and co-owner of the Sweat App.

At the age of 18, Itsines began working at a gym in Adelaide and also started training her sister’s friends who wanted to improve their fitness so they could play Netball.

She lectured them on nutrition, and asked them to take before and after photos of themselves on Instagram to track their progress.

Within a few months, Kayla gained thousands of followers and was receiving regular requests for advice and help.

Today she has over 11 million Instagram and over 28 million Facebook followers worldwide.  She has an estimated wealth of A$486m

Lorna Rutto – Founder & CEO of EcoPost

successfully turned their passions into a career - Lorna Rutto

Lorna Rutto is an inspirational, passionate African businesswoman from Kenya with a vision to have a Green Africa free from poverty, and she has all the necessay skills gained during her career in the waste recycling business.

The saying “Great oaks from little acorns grow.” might be the perfect saying for Lorna.

In 2010, she left her job in a bank to start EcoPost.  EcoPost is a Social Enterprise that aims at conservation of forests by replacing timber for alternative materials. Basically things that were once made out of timber, her organization now makes out of plastic waste.

Lorna has contributed immensely towards saving forests in Kenya. Thanks for her efforts, hundreds of sustainable jobs were created in Kenya, and thousands more are expected to be created in the coming years.

Yash Bhanage- Founder of The Bombay Canteen

While working at Mumbai’s Grand Hyatt, Yash Bhanage  knew his front office job wasn’t for him and started as a waiter in the hotel’s restaurant.

He started The Bombay Canteen in India which was named as one of Mumbai’s most celebrated restaurants by the website World’s 50 Best.

Yash was included in the Top 20 Self Made Millionaires from India list in 2019.

Anna Phosa – Pig Farmer

Anna Phosa successfully turned her passion into a career

South African Anna Phosa is often called a ‘celebrity pig farmer’.  She is one of Africa’s most successful pig farmers.

In her words:  “Farming pigs was not my dreams.  It just happens that when I was visiting some friend’s farms, I saw they were doing vegetable, poultry, pigs, and all sort of farming, but I chose to do pigs.”

“There was this old man who inspired me a lot, he was doing pig farming just outside Soweto, So I started learning pig farming from him and I fell in love with it.”

She struggled to raise capital to start her business.  So with just $100, in 2004 Phosa founded her first pig farm in Soweto with only 4 small pigs.

In 2008 she won a contract from South African supermarket chain Pick ‘n Pay.  2 years later, Anna signed a new 5 year contract with the chain to supply 100 pigs per week.

The 25 million Rand deal (equivalent to $1.9 million) allowed Anna to raise capital and buy a large farm where she rears around 5,000 pigs and employs around 20 staff.

How You Can Turn Your Passion Into A Career

All of these people have  successfully turned their passion into a career in very different fields.  But they all have one thing in common – they took that first step and started!

These examples show there is no one way to achieve success.  What matters is your desire and determination to succeed.

What does success look like to you? Jim Rohn said, “Being successful is not always about having money; it is about having the freedom to choose how to live your life, doing what you love to do.”

Be realistic.  We can’t all be as successful as Jack Ma or Melanie Perkins.

However, you can turn your interest or passion into a career or business that pays for the lifestyle you are happy with.

Creating a personal development plan will help you identify what you need to do to increase your chances of success.

You can get some important tips on how to turn you passion into a career and see if you can join these success stories.