Why does Richard Branson think business opportunities are like buses? [Infographic]

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It’s sometimes considered a sign of instability when a person moves from one job to another in many different industries, but some numbers say otherwise.

The below infographic, published by Anna Vital based on Forbes Billionaires list, states that of the world’s 1,426 billionaires in 2013, 960 are self-made. And out of the 960, 830 made money from multiple businesses versus only 130 making their money from one business only. To explain how they did it, Vital lists the multiple businesses started by five of the globe’s most successful serial entrepreneurs.

“For many new entrepreneurs there is a real dilemma here. Should you start a lot of companies, or should you focus your whole life on one, like Zuckerberg?,” asks Vital in her post.

“The point at which each entrepreneur achieved billionaire status is approximate. We used data from acquisitions of private companies, public offerings, and major stock price increases to gauge the time when these entrepreneurs hit the one billion milestone,” explains Vital.

  • Sheldon Adelson, $26.5B net worth in 2013: became a billionaire after building a casino in Macau, China, and taking the company public. Part of his business history is selling newspapers, running charter tours, starting a computer trade show, building a mega-resort hotel, starting a newspaper, building a sky park resort.

  • Richard Branson, $4.6B net worth in 2013, most likely became a billionaire from his airline and record store chain (Virgin Megastores), which he sold for $900 million in 1992. He has the longest history among the four serial entrepreneurs listed here, which includes selling Christmas trees, repurposing rented roof gardens, distributing films, publishing video games, renting hot air balloons, starting a radio channel, selling wedding dresses, providing cell phone services, running a motorcycle taxi service, and opening a blood bank.

  • Elon Musk, $2.7B net worth in 2013, became a multi-millionaire when PayPal, the company he cofounded, was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Part of his business history is writing video games, starting an online payment company, making space launch vehicles, making electric sports cars, and starting a solar power service.

  • Mark Cuban, $2.4B net worth in 2013, was one of the cofounders of Broadcast.com, a company acquired by Yahoo! for $5.6 billion. Part of his business history is selling garbage bags, teaching disco lessons, starting a computer consulting firm, starring in reality TV, launching a satellite TV network, and operating movie theatres.

  • Eric Lefkofsky, $1.1B net worth in 2013, owned 22% of Groupon at the time it went public at $12.8 billion valuation. Part of his business history is selling carpets, starting a sports apparel line, running logistics services, and starting an advertising software firm.

For a bigger image click on the infograph.

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