1. Harry Truman
After serving in World War I, Turman opened a men’s clothing store with friend Eddie Johnson upon returning home to Kansas City. It is said that the saying “clothes make the man” could have been coined by Truman. The store was open from 1919 to 1922 but eventually fell victim to the post-war recession. Truman found himself just barely escaping bankruptcy, however, he managed to eventually pay off all his debts.
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Roosevelt founded the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in 1927. As a sufferer of polio, he raised funds to turn a spa into a for-profit healing center for victims of polio. Still operating today, the Warm Springs, the Georgia-based institute serves about 4,000 people with all types of disabilities each year.
3. Abraham Lincoln
The only U.S. president to receive a patent, Lincoln invented a device to lift riverboats over sandbars. In 1833, he opened a general store with partner William, Berry. Even though the business folded within a year and Lincoln’s possessions seized by the sheriff, Lincoln didn’t quit. He went on to own a law practice, becoming a symbol of perseverance, for his resilience even in hard times.
4. Warren G. Harding
In 1884, when Harding was 19, he and several partners purchased a small, struggling newspaper in Ohio called The Marion Star. The newspaper became quite profitable, thanks to his wife Florence who helped manage the business operations of the newspaper. The newspaper eventually provided Harding with the income needed to fund his campaigns for public office.
5. Herbert Hoover
Hoover launched his own mine engineering business in 1908. His company employed 175,000 workers and specialized in reorganizing failing companies, as well as sought new mining prospects and finding investors to pay for developing the best mines.
6. Jimmy Carter
After Carter’s father died in 1953, the family farm was in danger of being lost. Carter ended up leaving the Navy that same year and returned to Plains, GA to run the peanut farm. With hard work and dedication, he eventually expanded the Golden Peanut Company by 1959, into an international business with multiple warehouses and a peanut-shelling plant.
7. George Bush
In 1951, Bush started the Bush-Overby Oil Development company with his neighbor John Overby, after graduating Yale. By 1953, Bush-Overby had merged with another independent oil company to form Zapata Petroleum, which would later make him a millionaire. By 1959, Bush moved to Houston to become the president of Zapata Offshore.