How These 5 Celebs Turned a Loan Into a Million-Dollar Business

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Barbara Corcoran

Millionaires and billionaires certainly live the good life. While they have no problem affording fancy cars and mansions now, most of them didn’t start out that way. Like many of us who have an idea we think could be profitable, some moguls took out loans to pursue their passions. And it worked.

Here are five of the best loan-to-loaded stories.

1. Barbara Corcoran

When you hear the name Barbara Corcoran, you think real estate. That’s because she built the Corcoran Group, a massive real estate firm that sold for a reported $66 million in 2001. But she didn’t inherit the company or get a huge investment to start her business empire.

Instead, she got a $1,000 loan from her boyfriend in the 1970s. The “Shark Tank” star used that money to advertise and rent her first apartment, and quickly built on that success.

Corcoran told Fortune magazine that her success was partly due to luck, but mostly creativity.

She was clever with her real estate advertisements in the early days and later took her business online before her competitors did. “Business is the most creative sport in the world,” she tweeted recently. “If you can dream it, you can actually make it happen.”

Now, Corcoran is worth an estimated $80 million.

2. Jessica Iclisoy

Jessica Iclisoy might not be a household name, but the product she created is in millions of homes across the country. The mom founded a company called California Baby when she was unhappy with the shampoos available for her new baby and sought to create one using natural ingredients.

To do this, Iclisoy needed to get a loan, so she borrowed $2,000 from her mother in 1995. She created her first product, pitched it to Whole Foods, and secured a shelf spot. Six years later, those products landed in Target and are now in over 10,000 stores. That $2,000 loan has turned into an estimated $260 million fortune.

3. Sam Walton

It’s nearly impossible for anyone in the U.S. to say they haven’t been in contact with Sam Walton’s business. Why? Because he’s the founder of the Walmart chain. But before he became the owner of a billion-dollar company, Walton opened his first general store in 1945 with a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law.

Walton soon had a mini-empire but opened his first Walmart store in 1962, which put him on the trajectory he’s known for today. The mogul died in 1992, but the stores live on as one of the most successful discount chains ever and Walton left a $100 billion fortune for his family. And it was all thanks to a loan.

4. Kevin Plank

Under Armour sells athletic gear to help you get through a tough workout. When its CEO, Kevin Plank, faced tough times during the company’s startup phase, he used credit cards as a loan source to get through. Even though Plank had saved up some cash, he still put $40,000 on his credit cards to launch the fitness apparel company, which turned out to be very successful. He later sought a loan from a bank to help take his endeavor to the next level.

The company is valued at more than $9.3 billion while he’s worth an estimated $2.1 billion. It certainly makes that credit card debt look not so bad.

5. Sir Philip Green

Sir Philip Green became a very rich man after receiving a loan from his family in the 1970s. Using the £20,000 loan (about $26,000), Green started to import wholesale clothes into London.

That business quickly grew into a multibillion-dollar company called Arcadia Group, which owns popular fashion chains such as Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, and Topman. He and his wife are worth an estimated $4.8 billion.

Using a personal loan to start a business

You might not be wealthy like these five entrepreneurs, but perhaps you have an idea that you think could rake in a lot of dough. In that case, you might want to follow in these billionaires’ footsteps by taking out a loan to fund your potentially profitable passion project. You can do this in several ways:

  • Take out a business loan: Many banks, credit unions, and online lenders provide business loans, which you can use to hire staff or buy necessary equipment. The advantage of getting a business loan as a corporate entity is that your personal assets could be protected if your million-dollar idea doesn’t pan out.

  • Take out a personal loan: If you don’t qualify for a business loan, taking out a personal loan is another option. The amount you can borrow will depend on the lender, and in some cases, you don’t have to put up collateral. This feature is helpful if you’re starting out and don’t have many assets.

  • Use a business credit card: Taking a cue from Plank, you could use your credit card to pay for business expenses and have access to revolving credit. You might want to consider this option if you already have some money coming in to help you pay off the balance regularly rather than having one massive loan to pay back.

With all of these options, you need to be aware of interest rates. You’ll be responsible for paying back any money you borrow plus an additional percentage of that amount. So, you want to shop around to find the best loan or credit card for your financial situation.

Also, remember there are many other ways to start a business. So, explore your options (a loan from a family member, an angel investor, etc.) before starting your (hopefully) billion-dollar business.

Note: Net worth figures and company valuations were accurate as of June 5, 2018.

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LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.