In success stories we take a look at some of the most successful people in history and breakdown their lives and tips to success. In this post we will be featuring the South African born billionaire, Elon Musk.


NAME: Elon Musk

DOB: June 28th 1971

NET WORTH: 13.6 Billion USD

BUSINESSES: Zip2 (Sold), Paypal (Sold), SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Solar City


MENTOR: Nikola Tesla (More of an inspiration than a mentor)

Early years

  • Parents got divorced when he was young
  • Discovered computing aged 10 and taught himself code
  • Isolated childhood, he preferred to be by himself, where he would read ferociously
  • Moved to Canada in 1989 around age 18
  • Slept on a sofa/bed for years, with little money
  • Gained the nickname genius boy
  • In 1995 he moved to California aged 24 to complete a PHD


  • Started Zip2 in 1995 an internet directory. Elon had a phone book thrown at him and asked; ‘Do you really think you’ll ever replace this?’
  • Sold Zip2 at 28 where he received $22m
  • Started which eventually merged with a similar company to form Paypal – Ebay later bought the company for $1.5 Billion in stock. Elon received $165 million
  • Started SpaceX (like NASA) in 2001. After a few unsuccessful launches Musk nearly depleted all of his funds. Luckily the final launch was a success.
  • In 2003 he started Tesla motors, an electric car company
  • In 2006 he started Solar city, an alternative power company

Current life 

  • Owns 3 billion dollar companies, which no other human being has ever achieved.
  • Developing the company Hyperloop, a high speed transportation system, that could be quicker than air travel
  • Tackling global issues such as global warming, alternative energy sources and how to expand life on earth to other planets
  • Wants to build a base on mars

Top traits 

  • Brave
  • Highly disciplined
  • Sickening work ethic
  • Ferocious reader
  • Always striving for more
  • Likability
  • Ability to get investors on-board
  • Visionary
  • Intelligent
  • Hands-on approach to business
  • Focused
  • Extremely passionate

Top tips for success

  • Focus solely on the product or service
  • Ignore others, they’ll show negativity whatever you do, so you may aswell focus on what you want to do
  • Work super hard
  • Attract great people
  • Don’t follow trends
  • Take risks

Best quote

If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure