Signature business achievement: Founder, Charles Schwab & Co.
Early work: Charles Schwab grew up in post World War II farmland in California and made money selling magazine subscriptions, bagging walnuts, caddying and doing other assorted jobs. At age 12, he got into the chicken business. According to CNN Money, he’s joked that “the chicken business was my first fully integrated venture. Obviously, selling the eggs was very important. I also realized that a lot of women back then — this was 1949, 1950 — needed fertilizer for their gardens. The chicken droppings were very well received for that, and of course at the end of the poor chicken's life cycle, you could sell it as a nice fryer. So I just put it all together, selling everything except the feathers.”
The money he earned, he told CNN Money, went to family expenses, teaching him “you have to save the money before you have it to invest. I learned the first part of economic principles: Saving has to come before investing.” He added that his dyslexia was “fuel for motivation. It’s helped me accomplish some things that I wouldn't have believed possible for me to do.”
Schwab started as a securities analyst before starting his own investment advisory company. Seeing an untapped market, Schwab targeted small investors, offering basic service and discounts as low as half that of his competitors. He was among the first to automate order processing, thereby cutting his costs. He also branched out to other investment services. Only 10 years after opening his first office he had branches in 40 cities.