Andrew Carnegie isn’t one of the first names to come to mind when thinking of the top and most powerful of popular entrepreneurs but he’s quite an influence or rallying point for all startups and entrepreneurs as well.
The name Andrew Carnegie is one of the most celebrated men of Americans in Business and a landmark name in the famous New York City which seem like the capital of businesses around the world.
Generally, people don’t seem to see him in the same light as the top tech innovators, super-wealthy sportsmen, celebrities and public figures but Andrew Carnegie journey to success is still a motivator many entrepreneurs all around the world.
Andrew Carnegie journey to success is one that has been defined in the 19th as one of sheer hard work, resilience and his success has set the pathway for all entrepreneurs to journey for many years to come.
Andrew Carnegie has a net worth which stands at about $310 billion when you adjust for inflation and he was a top philanthropist in his generation.
We shall be looking at his struggles and how he overcame them on his journey to success, wealth and affluence.
Brief Life Story Of Andrew Carnegie Journey To Success
Andrew Carnegie Was born on November 25, 1835, in Dumfermline Scotland to William Carnegie his father a weaver and Margaret Morrison Carnegie his mother who lived in a one-roomed house.
Andrew Carnegie’s Maternal uncle George lauder, Sr., who is a Scottish political leader influenced Andrew greatly as a boy. George lauder, Sr introduced Andrew to read the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes of the likes of Robert the bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy.
George Lauder, Jr., grew up with Andrew who later became his business partner.
William Carnegie had to move his family to Allegheny City, Pennsylvanian in the United States from the money he borrowed from his brother in the hope for greener pastures.
William Carnegie migration to the United States of American wouldn’t be the first they moved outside of Dunfermline, the first was to Edinburgh to see Queen Victoria.
The hardship and financial struggles continued as it was difficult for William Carnegie to make great sales. Life was really rough for the Carnegies.
Andrew Carnegie started working as a bobbin boy at the cotton mill in 1848 where he did 12 hours work daily except for one day off which earned him the wage of $1.20 which is about $39 right now.
In the year, 1849, Carnegie’s hard work started to pay off as he changed job and began to work as a telegraph messenger boy in Ohio Telegraph Company Pittsburgh office as he proved himself to be a diligent employee and within a year, he got promoted to become an operator.
He dodged the draft by hiring someone to go in his place.
In 1864, Andrew Carnegie got drafted into the Army of the U.S. to fight in the Civil War of 1864 and instead of serving, however, he paid another man $850 to report for duty in his place.
It may look like a dishonest thing to do in today’s world but it was a common practice at that time and it was a legal practice in the Conscription Act (passed by Congress in the previous year) made specific exemptions for those conscripted on payment of a “commutation” fee.
Related: 11 Great Quotes on Money From Andrew Carnegie’s ‘The Gospel of Wealth’
If Andrew Carnegie had reported went to that war, that action could have changed the entire course of history because he started the steel industry which is a huge part in the development of the United States’ economy and infrastructure.
He risked his home to start investing
Diligent 14-year-old Andrew Carnegie caught the attention of Pennsylvania Railroad Company superintendent Thomas Scott while he was still working with the Ohio Telegraph Company.
Andrew Carnegie rose quickly through the ranks in the company and he eventually replacing Scott as superintendent of the Pittsburgh division.
Scott helped Andrew to kickstart his investment career when he could have been angry because Scott was the one that informed Andrew of the impending sale of 10 shares in the Adams Express Company.
Andrew Carnegie wasted no time as he grabbed this opportunity by risking all that his family had because his mother Margaret had to mortgage their home to obtain the $500 needed to buy the shares.
This was to begin the turn around of things better things to come as the dividends of that investment move began to pay off quickly.
This raised enough money which Andrew used to fund several investment opportunities (including the Keystone Bridge Company and Union Iron Mills, to name a few).
Thanks to his hard work, risk-taking spirit, and the success of his investments, Carnegie worked his way up from that $1.20 a week to $50,000 a year by the age of 30.
Carnegie founded Carnegie Steel Company in 1892 with all the funds he could save and big thanks to the revolutionary production methods (and the fact that he owned everything he needed throughout each step of the production process, Carnegie was able to dominate the industry and acquire his massive wealth).
In 1901 about a decade later, Carnegie sold Carnegie Steel to banker John Pierpont (J.P) Morgan for a whopping $480 million.
He believed in giving back to the world
Carnegie published his masterpiece essay, “The Gospel of the Wealth,” in 1889 in the North American Review.
The essay asserted the rich do have “a moral obligation to distribute their wealth [money] in ways that promote and be beneficial to the welfare and happiness of the common man.”
If anyone to doubt the meaning of this, Carnegie went on to proclaim: “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”
Andrew Carnegie had distributed $445 million of his $475 million of his personal wealth to charities and philanthropic endeavours at his death.
Andrew Carnegie had personally helped to fund over 2,500 public libraries globally and had created numerous trusts (charitable foundations) that have established many organizations still in operation today, including Carnegie Music Hall and Carnegie-Mellon University.
No matter the obstacle, you can overcome it
Andrew Carnegie’s story is a classic case of from rags to riches which epitomizes the true American Dream. His diligence, dedication and hard work prove positive that no matter how you start your life, you can always aim to achieve success.