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Rags to Riches – How J.K. Rowling Found Success

Young and old, die-hard fans of Harry Potter are everywhere. The story of a young boy and his journey to the magical world captured the hearts of readers around the world. Regardless of how many times we read the books, we stay glued until Harry is safe from “He who must not be named.”

Of course, success never came easily for Harry and he had to go through much turmoil to overcome the obstacles facing him. The same applies to the author of the best-selling books, Joanne Rowling, aka J.K. Rowling, an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word.

J.K. Rowling always loved to write and just like all fledgling entrepreneurs, she had a brilliant idea that she believed would catch on. But as soon as she started writing, she faced several personal setbacks, including her mother’s death and a divorce that left her with a baby daughter to raise alone.

In short, she had nothing – no job, no written product, and two mouths to feed. But entrepreneurs don’t believe in failure. She gathered up the courage and resumed work on her book while living off unemployment benefits.

After finishing three chapters, she sent the manuscript to several publishers but received rejection notices from almost every publisher in Britain in return. Finally, Bloomsbury Publishing Company gave her the green light to publish the complete novel, and that was only after the publisher’s daughter insisted that this book was better than the others her busy dad had passed off to her to read!

And the rest… is, well, history!

J.K. Rowling

The key is that Rowling didn’t lose hope and continued sending her manuscript despite hurtful, discouraging rejections. Her publisher was not especially convinced that the book would be a hit, ordering only 500 copies and insisting that Rowling get a day job to pay the bills. As we know, Rowling proved everyone wrong and today is known as one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in history.

Her book has sold over 11.6 million copies and she has grown a personal net worth of more than $1 billion. She has the distinction of being the first author in the world to achieve the billion dollar net worth target.

For all budding entrepreneurs, the story of J.K. Rowling has taught us to never believe in failure. Even after reaching rock bottom, Rowling did not stop following her dreams and even with limited resources, she continued to do what she believed in.

It’s important to note that once she achieved success, she did not stop. With so much money and fame, she could have continued writing about the same topics but she attempted several other endeavors where we saw her as an adult writer, amusement park designer, toy designer, screenwriter, and a TV writer.

There is much to be learned from the life of J.K. Rowling and the most important is perseverance. If you also have a dream, a passion, or even just an idea, don’t let the fear of failure stop you.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling

June 2nd, 2017

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