Triumph Over Adversity: Turning Odds into Opportunity

Success borne out of hardship is nothing new. More often than not, it's the challenges that push us to do better and this last year has seen its fair share. Below are just some of the entrepreneurs who have fought their way through personal and global challenges to forge their own personal fortunes and show the world that an entrepreneurial spirit can triumph over adversity, no matter the circumstance.

Table of Contents

  • The best business ideas can come out of the most unlikely situations

  • Use your own experiences to recognise a gap in the market

  • Nothing should stop you from accomplishing your goals

Johnny Boufarhat - bedbound to billionaire through a gap in the market

It's admirable when you hear about entrepreneurs who have overcome an obstacle in order to fulfil their dreams. But when it's two in a row, their story becomes awe-inspiring.

Boufarhat's began while he was travelling around South East Asia following his studies at Manchester University. He contracted a virus which led to an autoimmune condition and Boufarhat was subsequently bedridden for a year. He survived on the odd coding gig and was able to attend online meetings but found they were limited in terms of reaching new contacts and networking. That was when the idea for Hopin hit.

He launched the conferencing platform in 2019 with six employees. When Covid struck the following year, rather than seeing the business fall flat, interest in Hopin skyrocketed. The company now employs 650 staff and was recently valued at over £4bn making Boufarhat the youngest self-made billionaire in the UK and ranking at 113 on the Sunday Times Rich List.

"I just want to be as impactful as I can, in a positive way for the world." (The Times)

Jules Miller - triumph over adversity by striving to offer better

Miller also started up her venture out of a period of personal suffering. While working at the Detox Kitchen in London, she was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Miller experimented with various supplements that were said to help alleviate symptoms, but she was unsatisfied with the results.  She teamed up with her grandfather, who just happened to be a chemist at the University of Cambridge. Together, they began to research the most (and least) effective nutrients to combat the condition.

This experience led to the launch of her own health business in 2017, The Nue Co, which offers natural health supplements to support mental and physical ailments.  Last year the company took in revenues of £5m and has received £7.6m in funding to date.

"Prioritising our wellbeing not only makes us feel better but allows us to make better decisions and become better leaders, colleagues, and friends." (Evening Standard)

Kimberlee Perry - springing her way to success through the power of franchising

This is a great example of how triumph over adversity meets a gap in the market. Perry had just become a mother when the idea for her trampoline fitness classes came to mind. Perry felt there wasn't anything that catered specifically to new mums while also offering  guaranteed fitness and weightloss.

With just £200 and a set of eight second-hand trampolines, Bounce was launched. Through a franchising model, Perry was able to rapidly grow the business and it has been the recipient of multiple awards including UK's Best Franchisor in 2017 and Company of the Year in 2019.

"By franchising, I was able to open up opportunities for women to teach under my brand and directly create leadership roles for women." (House of Coco)

Patrick Bet-David - an exemplar of triumph over adversity and the pursuit of the American Dream

If there was ever someone who personified the 'rags-to-riches' story, it's Bet-David. Born in Iran in 1978, his parents fled the country during the revolution. After spending two years in a refugee camp in Germany, they made it to America, finding a home in California.

But that was just the beginning.

After attending high school, Bet-David enrolled in the US military. Upon his discharge, he set his sights on a career in finance. However, with no qualifications, Bet-David needed to make himself stand out. His tactic was apparently to make prospective employers laugh and it succeeded when he landed a position at Morgan Stanley.

In 2009, Bet-David started his own company, PHP (People Helping People) a financial services marketing firm which currently has 11,000 licensed agents and has received $10m of investment. He also founded a media channel, Valuetainment, where he interviews successful and inspiring individuals. The channel has over 3m subscribers.

Bet-David's individual net-worth stands at £150m.


"Either lower your expectations to match your work ethic or increase your work ethic to exceed your expectations. What it all boils down to is that alignment is the key to fulfillment."

(Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy)

As these four examples show us, it is possible to turn even the toughest odds on their head and create financial success. All it takes is initiative and determination to recognise when opportunity comes knocking.

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