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The Side Nobody Told You: Howard Schultz, His Obstacles and Rejections

Howard Schultz is the founder and executive chairman of Starbucks. His worth is over 2.9 billion dollars, and he served as CEO of the company for 9 years.

As we all know, it wasn’t that easy getting there.

Every success story is fraught with rejection and failure. Businessmen, entrepreneurs fail thousands of times before succeeding once.

Here is the story of a kid born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1953, to two high-school dropouts. He grew up in a public housing project, and went on to grow a Seattle coffee house into the biggest coffee chain in America.

At 7 years old, Schultz knew he was gonna need to work hard. His father injured his ankle working as a truck driver, and without insurance or compensation, his family was left with no income.

He earned an athletic scholarship to attend Northern Michigan University, though he declined it as he didn’t want to play sports. So, he had to sell blood, work as a bartender, and take out loans to pay for college.

After college, Schultz worked at many different sales jobs. But, he earned a spot in Starbucks until age 29.

Starbucks primarily sold coffee for home use. When Schultz pitched the idea of the company selling drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, the founders rejected it. This is when he left in 1985 to start his own coffee company, Il Giornale.

To get the company started, he needed to raise more than $1.6 million. Schultz said, “In the course of the year I spent trying to raise money, I spoke to 242 people, and 217 of them said no,” and “Try to imagine how disheartening it can be to hear that many times why your idea is not worth investing in.”
Courtesy of

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters – Epictetus

Howard Schultz was rejected when he pitched his idea to Starbucks. What did he do? He started his own shop and it proved successful.

Howard Schultz was rejected by 217 people. Imagine a room with 217 investors, and they all reject your ideas, your dreams and beliefs.

What did he do? He found 25 more investors to manifest his ideas into reality.

Schultz is a dreamer, a hard worker, but he is mostly proactive.

He controls his situations and causes the results he is looking for. He doesn’t merely sit and react, he stands and acts. If there’s one takeaway from his amazing character, it’s that you should make the best of your failures, learn from them and turn them into success.

Sources: Bloomberg, Put Your Heart Into It

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