60 Self-Made Quotes to Inspire Your Own Success

These self-made quotes will inspire you to take charge of your life, circumstances, and actions.

You can be successful—you just have to have the right mindset, clear goals, and be willing to do the work.

What does the term self-made even mean? We use it often, but you might still be unclear about what it entails.

The term itself refers to someone who has become rich or successful through their own actions.

Many of the wealthy and successful people in this world were born into dynasties of wealth and prestige.

However, every once in a while, a ‘regular’ person crashes through the ceiling and becomes everything they dreamed they would be.

We all like self-made success stories because they resonate with us.

They show us that if these people, who had the same advantages as you and I (and sometimes even less), can do it, there is hope for us too!

Who are some of the most popular self-made, or rags to riches, stories?

Keep reading through these self-made quotes to find out! 

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

Browse our entire collection of inspirational quotes for more motivating ideas and concepts.

Short self-made quotes

These short self-made quotes may comprise a few words, but they are still insightful. Some will make you think, and others might make you laugh.

1. “Man is emphatically self-made.” — John Henry Newman

self-made quotes about man is emphatically self-made

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2. “Winners are not born; they are self-made.” — Pat Summitt

self-made quotes about winners

3. “A self-made man may prefer a self-made name.” — Learned Hand

self-made quotes about a self-made man may prefer a self-made name

4. “The self-made man is often proud of a poor job.” — Ethel Mumford

self-made quotes about the self-made man is often proud of a poor job

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5. “We’re all self-made, but only successful people admit it.” — Dan Pena

self-made quotes about successful people

6. “Leaders are not born or made—they are self-made.” — Stephen Covey

self-made quotes about leaders

7. “After all, it’s what we’ve done that makes us what we are.” — Jim Croce

self-made quotes about after all, it’s what we’ve done that makes us what we are

8. “He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.” — Joseph Heller

self-made quotes about he was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody

9. “Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.” — E. B. White

self-made quotes about luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men

10. “Some men are self-made, but most are the revised work of a wife and children.” — Joyce Brothers

self-made quotes about some men are self-made, but most are the revised work of a wife and children

Self-made quotes from successful people to inspire you

These self-made people each have an inspiring story about their path to success. Let their words motivate you to forge your own way!

11. “You can learn from everybody.” — Sam Walton

self-made quotes about you can learn from everybody

12. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney

self-made quotes about the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing

13. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” — John D. Rockefeller

self-made quotes about don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great

14. “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J. K. Rowling

self-made quotes about it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities

15. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” — Richard Branson

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self-made quotes about you don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over

16. “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” — Elon Musk

self-made quotes about if something is important enough

17. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” — Henry Ford

self-made quotes about obstacles

18. “I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” — Jeff Bezos

self-made quotes from Jeff Bezos

19. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” — Oprah Winfrey

self-made quotes about the big secret in life

20. “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” — Andrew Carnegie

self-made quotes about motivation

What it means to be self-made quotes

‘Self-made’ is one of those phrases that gets tossed around a lot. These self-made quotes will help you better understand what it means, and the sacrifices required. 

21. “Being self-made means doing things your own way—and doing it without any handouts.” — Russ

self-made quotes about being self-made

22. “Being self-made is a state of mind, and once you put that mentality to work, your success will come.” — Dave East

self-made quotes about being self-made is a state of mind

23. “Does not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him?” — Thomas Carlyle

self-made quotes from successful people to inspire you

24. “Being self-made means never making an excuse as to why you can’t take steps toward whatever your goal is.” — Nipsey Hussle

self-made quotes about achiving goal

25. “Being self-made means putting yourself in position to help others put themselves in position to be successful.” — A Boogie wit da Hoodie

self-made quotes to be successful

26. “One of the many qualities that separate self-made billionaires from the rest of us is their ability to ask the right questions.” — Justine Musk

27. “There are very few self-made millionaires, if any, who have not taken risks which would make the rest of us unable to sleep at night, or keep our food down.” — Dominic Lawson

28. “Probably the most honest “self-made person” ever was the one we heard say: “I got to the top the hard way—fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way.”” — James Alexander Thom

29. “That is what we should be doing: liberating everyone’s potential, whether it’s a self-made individual, whether it’s someone taking the university route, whether it’s the apprenticeship route. They are all equal and good and worthwhile.” — Esther McVey

30. “Self-Made Men are the men who owe little or nothing to birth, relationship, friendly surroundings; to wealth inherited or to early approved means of education; who are what they are, without the aid of any favoring conditions by which other men usually rise in the world and achieve great results.” — Frederick Douglass

You may also enjoy our collection of Frederick Douglass quotes.

Are people really self-made quotes

These self-made quotes offer a different perspective and will have you questioning what you thought you knew about self-made people. Take a look and see which is your favorite.

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31. “There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others.” — George Matthew Adams

32. “We have the kind of self-made-man myth, which says that super-successful people did it themselves.” — Malcolm Gladwell

33. “I am one powerful self made up of so many selves that sometimes I throw myself a get-acquainted party.” — Eric Maisel

34. “The self-made man that some people believe is a myth? It could be because you do it on the backs of other people.” — Oscar Isaac

35. “The myth of the self-made man, has to be profoundly hypocritical: it is the self-serving demonstration that a lie is the truth.” — Che Guevara

36. “Long-term success is never achieved on our own. The phrase ‘a self-made man’ is a myth all along the way we need support.” — Isadore Sharp

37. “There’s no such thing as a self-made man. I’ve had much help and have found that if you are willing to work, many people are willing to help you.” — B. C. Forbes

38. “I don’t believe in that term ‘self-made’ – Even if it’s one single person giving you advice, that person helped you get to where you’re at today.” — Michelle Phan

39. “I once met a man who was a billionaire, and I said to him: ‘Are you a self-made man?’ – and he turned around and said: ‘No man is self-made’ ” — Christian McKay

40. “The American culture ideal of the “self-made-man,” of everyone “standing on his own feet” seemed as tragic a picture as the initiative-destroying dependence on a benevolent despot.” — Kurt Lewin

More self-made quotes to get you thinking

Some of these might inspire you, offer a new perspective, and even rub you the wrong way. They will elicit a reaction for sure.

41. “The only ‘break’ anyone can afford to rely upon is a self-made ‘break.’” — Napoleon Hill

42. “We’re all self-made men, but not very many of us have stayed on the job.” — Kin Hubbard

43. “There’s no one more obnoxious and self-righteous than the self-made man. And no one more admirable.” — Joe R. Lansdale

44. “The man who will get up will be helped up; and the man who will not get up will be allowed to stay down.” — Frederick Douglass

45. “A self-made man is a rarity and hated by the parasites that floated to fame thought their parents, relatives, and contacts.” — Al Goldstein

46. “I do not think much of the good luck theory of self-made men. It is worth but little attention and has no practical value.” — Frederick Douglass

47. “Find your purpose and fling your life out to it. Find a way or make one. Try with all your might. Self-made or never made.” — Orison Swett Marden

48. “I now realize there are millions of self-made millionaires who started with nothing. There is nothing anyone else can do that I can’t do.” — Dean Graziosi

49. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” — Steve Jobs

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50. “There is no predestination, no unfathomed mystery of life. Instead, we are self-made, independent, alone, and fragile, a biological species adapted to live in a biological world. ” — E. O. Wilson

51. “Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause. He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws.” ― Richard Francis Burton

52. “Peace … was contingent upon a certain disposition of the soul, a disposition to receive the gift that only detachment from self made possible.” ― Elizabeth Goudge

53. Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” ― Jim Rohn

54. “At least eighty percent of millionaires are self-made. That is, they started with nothing but ambition and energy, the same way most of us start.” ― Brian Tracy

55. “True conversion means turning not only from sin but also from depending on self-made righteousness.” ― George Whitefield

56. “Harris had the egotistical dogmatism of the self-made man who had painfully educated himself without contact with superior brains.” ― Beatrice Webb

57. “It is better to be a self-made man,–filled up according to God’s original pattern,–than to be half a man, made after some other man’s pattern.” ― J. G. Holland

58. “A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.” ― Ambrose Bierce

59. “A self-made man? Yes, and one who worships his creator.” ― William Cowper

60. “My father started with nothing and is a self-made man. No matter what I do with my life, I can never match his accomplishments.” ― Tamara Ecclestone

Self-made success stories

Mark Cuban is someone most people know of.

He is the face of entrepreneurship and investment, thanks to his role on “Shark Tank.”

However, financial success was an uphill road for Mark.

He was once a door-to-door garbage bag salesman.

In fact, he once had so little money that he used to eat ketchup and mustard sandwiches. 

Elon Musk, who currently holds the title of the ‘richest person in the world,’ was not born into money either.

Indeed, his mother was a dietician, and his dad was an electromechanical engineer.

He often speaks of his adversity during childhood and how he overcame it all. 

Finally, there is the tale of George Soros.

The investor and businessman lived through persecution during World War II and survived.

He played a major role in shaping the financial landscape of the modern world.

If a garbage bag salesman, a man who couldn’t get a job at Netscape, and a 17-year-old refugee from a war-torn country can make it, then so can you!

It will take planning and setting goals, sacrifice, and hard work, but it is possible. 

Share some of your favorite stories about successful people who are self-made with us in the comment section below.

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