Lose the intimidation: successful entrepreneurs before they were famous

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Do you ever wonder what successful entrepreneurs looked like online before they were famous?

I certainly did.

Sometimes, as self hustling, list building, learning curve climbing entrepreneurs it can seem so daunting to see how far we have to go.

In my Blogging for Business Bootcamp this last week I was showing some old sites and how far people we know and love have come, to take away the enormity of what can seem to lay before us as we travel the online business trail of “making it” (in whichever format that resonates with you).

But let me tell you something; no-one was born with a mailing list.

No-one starts out from the word go with a huge, engaged audience, a fabulous website and programmes ready to rock and roll and change the world.

Successful entrepreneurs can sometimes seem like they are out of our league. No siree, I found some evidence to show that in reality they are just like you and I.  

And a helluva lot worse, in some cases!

The web is a fabulous place of internet space junk, and thanks to some digging and the wonder of Wayback Machine, we can take a peep at how some successful entrepreneurs and stars of 2014 did their thang before they were famous.

So, are you ready for the sneak peek behind the scenes?


1. Marie Forleo

I love Marie Forleo and watch her show every week. The content she provides is phenomenal.

Before she produced weekly award-winning TV shows and ran the multi-million dollar B-School Programme, the lovely Marie hustled her buns online like this in 2001:

marie forleo forleoold2 forleoold3 forleonow

By 2007 the Marie we know and love is starting to flourish, but even in 2011 she deosn’t look as pro as she does now.


Even the fab Forleo didn’t always have a pro hair and make up team, TV studio and the rest of it.

She worked her way through it just like we do.
Does that make you feel a little better?

Awesome, let’s see some more.


2. Mastin Kipp

I adore the work of Mastin and his crew, and am a huge advocate of The Daily Love. You know what? Even our awesome Mastin started off with a Blogspot blog, a small mailing list and grew from there to his multi-media, world renowned and Hay House published success of 2014.

mastinold MASTInnow


3. Danielle LaPorte

Girl crush alert. I adore Danielle LaPorte, she is such an icon to me of everything I admire in a successful entrepreneur from honesty, vulnerability, awesomness, generosity, feminity, sass and just EVERYTHING.

But, guess what? This is what Danielle’s site looked like back in 2002. Not spesh, is it? Heck, even in 2013 she still doesn’t look like the gal we know and love today.

laporteold laportenow


The list is endless folks.

We could dive into the archives and see what ALL the successful entrepreneurs looked like “back in the day”. It will encourage you, and make you realise that a) good web design is hella important and b) we all start somewhere!

A lot of entrepreneurs have old WordPress.com and Blogspot sites lying around like space junk (mine is here if you fancy a laugh!) and it can be so refreshing to remember that they are just like you and I.

We all start from somewhere, and now is as good a time as any to make your biz work for you.

I dare you to have a dive around into the web archives and see who surprises you the most. Leave me a comment if it makes you feel less intimidated!

 Successful entrepreneurs naked!! With @dexdiva 

Love and lasting web evidence,



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Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
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