Ever wondered, “how did Elon Musk make his first million?”

Are you curious how Elon Musk started his entrepreneurial journey and first became a millionaire – all on his way to becoming one of the world’s richest people?

Elon Musk is the world’s richest man with a staggering net worth of $234 million dollars. He moved from a small office to being the chief executive officer of multiple notable business endeavors both successful and not-so-successful.

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” This quote from Musk explained his approach towards entrepreneurship.

In this in-depth guide will explore elon musk’s business endeavors 1995 onwards including companies like PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and more recently Twitter. Each has its unique story and impact on Musk’s career trajectory.

The purpose behind these ventures?

To redefine industries such as space exploration, electric vehicles and online payments – all while becoming one of the most influential figures in technology today.

“I could either watch it happen or be a part of it.”— Elon Musk

So how did Elon Musk make his first million? Let’s delve into his entrepreneurial journey right from his early days to how he became a centibillionaire!

Who Is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk, the man behind some of the most innovative companies in the world, is a name synonymous with success and entrepreneurship. 

Born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, he has made significant strides in various industries such as space travel, electric vehicles, and digital payments.

Musk’s journey to becoming one of the world’s wealthiest individuals started at an early age when he developed an interest in computing. At just 12 years old, he sold his first software program: a video game called Blastar.

The entrepreneur then moved to America where he attended Stanford University, but dropped out after two days to start Zip2 Corporation with his brother Kimbal Musk. 

The company provided business directories and maps for newspapers.

In February 1999, Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million, which was Musk’s first big financial break. He received $22 million from this sale, which fueled his next ventures including PayPal (then X.com), SpaceX, and Tesla Motors among others.

Elon Musk is renowned for his boldness in taking risks and challenging traditional thought, as well as his foresight into potential technologies such as the Hyperloop transit system or Neuralink brain-computer interface.

Musk’s Impact on Various Industries:

  • Tesla Motors: Revolutionizing the automotive industry by making electric cars mainstream
  • SolarCity: Promoting renewable energy solutions through solar power technology
  • X.com/PayPal: Simplifying online transactions globally
  • Boring Company: Aiming to reduce traffic congestion through underground tunnels
  • Neuralink Corp.: An ambitious project that aims to merge human brains with artificial intelligence

Visionary Entrepreneurship Style:

This visionary leader doesn’t shy away from dreaming big – whether it’s about colonizing Mars or creating high-speed transport systems like Hyperloop. 

His unique leadership style focuses not only on profitability but also sustainability – something evident in all businesses associated with him, especially Tesla Inc., SolarCity Corp., Boring Co., etc.

With numerous accolades under his belt, including inclusion in Forbes’ list of World’s Most Powerful People multiple times over the past decade, there seems to be no stopping this dynamic innovator anytime soon.

How Did Elon Musk Make His First Million?

The journey of Elon Musk, a renowned entrepreneur and billionaire, to his first million is both inspiring and enlightening.

Musk’s initial venture into the business world was with Zip2, a software company he co-founded with his brother Kimbal in 1996. 

This enterprise provided online city guide software to newspapers, which marked an innovative step towards digitizing traditional media outlets.

In just four years, they managed to sell Zip2 for a whopping $307 million to Compaq’s AltaVista division. This deal resulted in Musk earning $22 million, marking his entry into the millionaire club and proving Elon Musk first became a millionaire by building and selling Zip2 – his first company.

Key Factors Behind Zip2’s Success:

  • Innovative Business Model: The concept of providing online city guides was groundbreaking at that time, giving them an edge over competitors.
  • Persistent Effort: Despite facing numerous challenges initially, including living in their office due to financial constraints, they persevered until achieving success.
  • Tech Boom Era: Their timing coincided with the dot-com boom era which facilitated rapid growth and high valuation of tech companies.

The sale of Zip2 set the stage for Musk’s subsequent ventures like PayPal (sold for $1.5 billion), SpaceX (valued at over $100 billion), Tesla (market cap exceeding $800 billion) among others.

Riding on the Wave of Success: Post-Zip2 Ventures

A year after selling Zip2, Musk founded X.com, a pioneer in online banking services that later became known as PayPal. 

In 2002, eBay acquired X.com (later known as PayPal) from Musk for a remarkable $1.5 billion.

This successful exit from PayPal further solidified Musk’s reputation as a savvy entrepreneur who could spot opportunities ahead of time and capitalize on them effectively.

Complete List of Elon Musk Companies

Elon Musk is renowned for his pioneering spirit and business acumen, having established or been part of numerous prosperous enterprises. 

Each venture is a testament to his vision for the future and his relentless pursuit of progress.

  • Zip2: Elon Musk started the company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal Musk. It was originally called X.com, but was later rebranded to Zip2 and sold for $307 million.
  • PayPal: Elon Musk played a significant role in the early days of PayPal, co-founding the company and serving as CEO before its acquisition by eBay1.
  • SpaceX: Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and serves as its CEO and Chief Engineer. The company focuses on developing advanced rockets and spacecraft for space exploration[^11^].
  • Tesla: Elon Musk is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, an electric vehicle and clean energy company known for producing innovative electric cars and sustainable energy solutions[^11^].
  • Solar City: Elon started the solar panel company Solar City, which was later acquired by his electric vehicle company Tesla.
  • Hyperloop: Elon started the company Hyperoop, which he later abandoned to focus on his other business endeavors.
  • The Boring Company: Elon Musk started The Boring Company, which aims to revolutionize tunneling and transportation infrastructure through the development of underground tunnels and high-speed transportation systems[^11^].
  • Neuralink: Elon Musk is the co-founder and CEO of Neuralink, a neurotechnology company that focuses on developing implantable brain-machine interfaces to enhance human cognition and potentially treat neurological conditions[^11^].
  • DeepMind Technologies: Elon Musk has invested in DeepMind Technologies, an artificial intelligence research lab known for its advancements in machine learning and AI applications1.
  • Twitter: Elon Musk bought Twitter in 2023 for $44 billion, claiming he was motivated to maintain at least 1 free speech platform where individuals could openly discuss ideas.

The first company that brought him into the limelight was Zip2, which he co-founded in 1996. The online city guide software provided business directories and maps for newspapers.

Musk’s next venture was PayPal, an online payments system initially known as X.com before its rebranding in 2001. PayPal revolutionized digital transactions globally.

In 2002, Musk embarked on an ambitious project – SpaceX. SpaceX aims to make space travel more accessible and eventually colonize Mars.

Tesla Inc:

Musk joined Tesla Motors (now Tesla Inc.) in 2004 as chairman, later becoming CEO. Musk has led the effort to move humanity towards sustainable energy by introducing electric cars and solar panels.


In line with his commitment towards sustainability, Musk co-founded SolarCity in 2006 – a provider of solar power systems that became part of Tesla Inc., forming their energy division in late 2016.

The Boring Company:

To address traffic congestion issues, Musk launched The Boring Company in late 2016 aiming at constructing tunnels for underground transportation systems such as Hyperloop.

Neuralink & Starlink:

Musk also ventured into neurotechnology with Neuralink Corporation (founded by him) developing implantable brain-machine interfaces since its inception back in July 2016. 

In addition, Starlink, a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX, provides satellite Internet access across the globe.

The Origins of Elon Musk: Early Life and Entrepreneurship

Born in 1971, Elon Reeve Musk is a renowned entrepreneur who hails from Pretoria, South Africa. 

From a young age, Musk demonstrated an aptitude for business and technology that would eventually propel him to the forefront of innovation.

Musk developed an interest in computing while still young. At the tender age of 12, Musk made a splash in the tech world by developing and selling his own video game, dubbed Blastar, for five hundred dollars. This early success showcased his entrepreneurial spirit.

Musk’s biography reveals that he moved to the United States to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees in physics and economics. These degrees laid a solid foundation for his future ventures.

Ambitious Beginnings: Zip2 Corporation

In 1995, Elon and his brother Kimbal Musk started Zip2, a city guide software company for newspapers. 

Despite facing initial challenges, their persistence paid off when Compaq acquired Zip2 for approximately $300 million in cash and stock options in 1999.

Visionary Ventures: PayPal and Beyond

This significant success marked only the beginning of Musk’s ambitious endeavors. 

In March 1999, Elon co-founded X.com, an online payment system that later became known as PayPal. eBay bought PayPal in October 2002 for $1.5 billion, further boosting Musk’s net worth substantially.

Dreams beyond Earth: SpaceX

With funds from these successful exits under his belt, Elon ventured into uncharted territory by founding Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, with a dream to make space travel accessible to everyone. 

Today, SpaceX stands tall as one of the leading private aerospace manufacturers globally.

Tesla Motors – Revolutionizing Transportation

In addition to revolutionizing space exploration technology through SpaceX, Musk has also significantly impacted sustainable energy solutions via Tesla Motors, a venture aimed at producing electric vehicles en masse. 

His dedication to creating sustainable transportation methods has been instrumental in shifting global perceptions about electric cars being viable alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Impact of Zip2 on Elon Musk’s Success

Zip2, Elon Musk’s first venture, was a significant stepping stone in his entrepreneurial journey. 

This online city guide software company, co-founded with his brother Kimbal in 1996, provided newspapers with an avenue to offer their services online.

The success of Zip2 demonstrated Musk’s ability to identify and capitalize on digital trends. It also set the stage for his future ventures by providing him with valuable business experience and financial resources.

Ambition Meets Opportunity: The Genesis of Zip2

In the mid-90s, when internet usage was still nascent, Musk envisioned a platform that would bring businesses online. Despite initial struggles due to a lack of funding and industry skepticism about the internet’s potential, Musk persisted.

This determination paid off when Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options in 1999 – a deal that marked one of the biggest transactions during the dot-com boom.

The Lessons from Zip2: Building Blocks for Future Success

The sale of Zip2 not only made Musk a millionaire at age 28 but also taught him invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship. 

He learned how to navigate business challenges such as fundraising difficulties and market uncertainties – skills he has since successfully applied across multiple industries including space travel (SpaceX), electric vehicles (Tesla), high-speed transportation (Hyperloop), among others.

From Dotcom Millionaire to Space Pioneer: How Zip2 Shaped Elon Musk’s Career Path

The proceeds from selling Zip2 enabled Musk to fund other ambitious projects like X.com, which later became PayPal; SpaceX; Tesla Motors; SolarCity; Neuralink; OpenAI, etc., thus significantly shaping his career trajectory.

Elon Musk and PayPal: Revolutionizing Online Payments

Before launching rockets into space with SpaceX or revolutionizing the auto industry with Tesla, Elon Musk made a name for himself in the world of online payments.

In 1999, Elon and his brother Kimbal sold their first company, Zip2. With this success under his belt, Elon set out to disrupt another industry: online banking.

Musk founded X.com in March 2000 – an ambitious project aimed at creating an all-in-one financial service provider. However, it wasn’t until X.com acquired Confinity later that year that things really started to take off.

Confinity’s product PayPal, an online payment system designed for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, became a hit almost instantly. The merger saw PayPal become the main focus of X.com, leading to its rebranding as PayPal Inc in 2001.

The Rise of PayPal

The rise of eBay played a significant role in driving PayPal’s growth, as many sellers preferred using it over traditional payment methods due to its convenience and speed. 

By late 2001, PayPal had registered over one million users, making it one of the largest internet payment platforms at the time.

Selling to eBay and Beyond

In July 2002, just five months after going public on NASDAQ under the PYPL ticker symbol, eBay announced they were acquiring PayPal for $1.5 billion – marking one of Silicon Valley’s most notable exits at that time.

Musk netted around $165 million from this sale, which helped fund future ventures like SpaceX and Tesla Motors. 

Despite selling off early on, Musk’s influence continues shaping today’s fintech landscape through companies such as Stripe and Square, proving once again how ahead-of-his-time he truly is when spotting market opportunities.

A Lesson in Entrepreneurship from Elon Musk and PayPal:

  • Dare to challenge existing systems even if they seem too big or complex;
  • Prioritize user experience above everything else;
  • Leverage strategic partnerships effectively;

Elon Musk and SpaceX: Shooting For The Stars

Founded in 2002, SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp., is the brainchild of Elon Musk. His vision? To make space travel accessible and affordable to humans.

Musk’s journey with SpaceX began after he sold PayPal for a whopping $1.5 billion.

With the capital from this sale, Musk invested heavily in his new venture – a bold move that would change the face of space exploration forever.

In its early years, SpaceX faced numerous challenges, including three failed launches of their Falcon 1 rocket. Despite these setbacks, Musk remained undeterred.

The Breakthrough Success of the Falcon 1 Rocket

In September 2008, after multiple attempts and near bankruptcy, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 1 into orbit. 

This marked a significant milestone as it was the first privately-funded liquid-fueled vehicle to reach orbit.

The Dragon Capsule and NASA Contracts

This success caught NASA’s attention, which led to contracts worth billions for cargo resupply missions using their Dragon capsule. 

By May 2012, Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Falcon Heavy and Starship Development

Beyond just delivering cargo to the ISS, Musk had bigger plans for SpaceX. In February 2018, they launched Falcon Heavy – currently one of the most powerful operational rockets in existence – with an unusual payload: Elon’s own Tesla Roadster.

Ambitious Plans for Mars Colonization & Satellite Internet Service with Starlink

Musk has also been open about his ambitious plans for colonizing Mars through developing Starship – a fully reusable spaceship currently under construction. 

Additionally, Starlink, a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX, provides satellite Internet access across the globe and is another major project underway.

To date, SpaceX has drastically reduced the cost of reaching space, making interplanetary travel closer to reality than ever before. This pioneering spirit continues to fuel the drive towards achieving extraordinary milestones in space technology.

Elon Musk and Twitter: Savior Of Democracy?

Elon Musk’s relationship with Twitter is a fascinating tale of influence, controversy, and undeniable impact. 

As one of the most followed personalities on the platform, Elon has used his Twitter account to share updates about his companies, engage with fans and critics alike, and even make major announcements.

The Tesla CEO’s tweets have often made headlines for their bold statements or controversial content. His utilization of this web-based media outlet has likewise brought about noteworthy outcomes, both great and terrible.

In 2018, he tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share, which resulted in an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The incident ended up costing him his position as chairman of Tesla’s board but didn’t deter him from using the platform extensively.

He also purchased the company for $44 billion in 2023, highlighting his desire to maintain at least 1 free speech platform to encourage open dialogue between individuals.

Musk’s tweets have not only influenced stock markets but also popular culture. 

When he tweeted about Dogecoin being “the people’s crypto,” it triggered a massive surge in its value. Similarly, when he criticized Bitcoin’s environmental impact, it caused a substantial drop in its price.

The Power of Elon Musk on Twitter

Musk wields immense power on Twitter, influencing public opinion and market trends with just 280 characters or less. 

His candidness on such a public forum makes him unique among CEOs who typically maintain more restrained online presences.

Tweets That Made Headlines

  • In May 2023 – Tweeted “Tesla stock price is too high imo” causing shares to fall by around 10% within hours.
  • In February 2023 – He added #bitcoin to his Twitter bio triggering a rise in bitcoin prices.
  • In April 2023 – Announced that SpaceX would put “literal dogecoin on literal moon,” sending Dogecoin prices soaring.

A Stake in Twitter?

Rumors started circulating in early 2023 regarding Musk buying a stake in Twitter.

Of course, he eventually purchased the company outright in 2023, and he has since rebranded the company to “X” – a callback to his first company X.com / Zip2.

Elon Musk Net Worth

Tracking the net worth of a dynamic entrepreneur like Elon Musk is not an easy task. His fortune has seen dramatic fluctuations over the years, largely due to his ambitious ventures and volatile stock prices.

As of 2023, Elon Musk’s net worth has reached $234 billion – making him the richest man in the world today.

Of course, the journey from millionaire to multi-billionaire has been anything but smooth for Elon Musk.

In 1999, after selling Zip2, his first company, he became a millionaire with $22 million in hand. But this was just the beginning of his financial ascent.

Moving forward into 2002 when PayPal was sold to eBay, Musk’s wealth surged significantly as he pocketed around $165 million from the sale.

The year 2010 marked another milestone in Elon’s financial growth, as Tesla went public and SpaceX secured a massive contract with NASA. The value of these two companies started contributing heavily towards his net worth henceforth.

Tesla’s Impact on Elon’s Wealth

Tesla Motors played an instrumental role in skyrocketing Elon’s wealth post-2010. 

CNBC reported that by the end of 2023, Tesla stock had risen dramatically, leading to Elon becoming one of the wealthiest people in the world.

The Billionaire Club Entry

In April 2012, Forbes listed him among billionaires for the first time with a net worth estimated at $2 billion. Since then, there has been no looking back.

A Trillionaire?

An interesting prediction came from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who suggested that if SpaceX could capture even a small percentage share of the internet connectivity market through its Starlink project, it might make Musk potentially become the world’s first trillionaire.

Elon Musk Net Worth By Year

  • 2014 = $8.4 Billion
  • 2015 = $12.1 Billion
  • 2016 = $10.7 Billion
  • 2017 = $13.9 Billion
  • 2018 = $19.9 Billion
  • 2019 = $22.3 Billion
  • 2020 = $24.4 Billion
  • 2021 = $151 Billion
  • 2022 = $219 Billion
  • 2023 = $234 Billion

Elon Musk Family Life

Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and visionary, has a fascinating family life that provides insight into the person behind the ambitious endeavors. 

Let’s delve into his relationships with his parents, as well as his own experiences as a father.

The Influence of Parents

Elon Musk’s parents played a significant role in shaping his character and fostering his passion for exploration and innovation. 

His father, Errol Musk, is an engineer and entrepreneur himself, who instilled in Elon a strong work ethic and a fascination with technology from an early age. Elon has often credited his father’s influence and guidance as a key factor in his entrepreneurial journey.

Similarly, Elon’s mother, Maye Musk, has been an inspiration in her own right. Maye is a prominent model and nutritionist, known for her striking appearance and successful career. 

Her resilience and determination have undoubtedly influenced Elon’s drive to achieve greatness.

Relationships and Children

Elon Musk has been married multiple times and has had several significant relationships throughout his life. 

His first marriage was to Canadian author Justine Wilson, with whom he shares six children. Despite their divorce, Elon maintains a close bond with his children and actively participates in their upbringing.

Later, Musk married British actress Talulah Riley, but they eventually divorced as well. However, they reconciled their relationship and remarried before ultimately parting ways once again.

More recently, Elon Musk has been in a relationship with the musician Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes. Together, they have a child named X AE A-Xii Musk, born in 2020.

Here’s a summary of his “baby mommas” who gave Elon his 9 living children:

  • Justine Musk – 5 kids, 2000 – 2008
  • Shivron Zilis – 2 kids, 2016 – 2022
  • Grimes (Claire Boucher) – 2 kids, 2020 – present

Through his personal life, Elon Musk exemplifies the challenges and complexities that can arise while striving for success. 

Despite the ups and downs, he remains dedicated to his children and continues to navigate the intricacies of family life alongside his remarkable career.

Elon Musk Famous Quotes

  • “Great companies are built on great products. When product starts to become shoddy and uncompetitive, so does the company.” – Elon Musk
  • “I always invest my own money in the companies that I create. I don’t believe in the whole thing of just using other people’s money. I don’t think that’s right.” – Elon Musk
  • “You want to have a future where you’re expecting things to be better, not one where you’re expecting things to be worse.” – Elon Musk
  • “Never. I don’t ever give up. I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated. For my part, I will never give up, and I mean never.” – Elon Musk
  • “If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.” – Elon Musk
  • “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
  • “Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” – Elon Musk
  • “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” – Elon Musk
  • “When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.” – Elon Musk
  • “Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100-hour weeks every week.” – Elon Musk
  • “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is a disaster.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Did Elon Musk Make His Money In The Beginning?

Elon Musk made his money in the beginning by starting a software company called Zip2, which provided online city guides and was later acquired by Compaq for $307 million

2. What Did Elon Musk Do Before He Became A Millionaire?

Before becoming a millionaire, Elon Musk was involved in various ventures. 

He co-founded web software company Zip2 and also worked on projects like launching an online bank called X.com, which eventually became PayPal.

3. Did Elon Musk Start With Money?

Elon Musk did not start with significant wealth. 

He made his initial millions through entrepreneurial endeavors like Zip2 and PayPal, and later went on to invest in companies like Tesla and SpaceX, which contributed to his substantial net worth

4. What Is Elon Musk’s IQ?

Elon Musk’s IQ is not publicly known or officially reported. 

IQ scores are also debated as a measure of intelligence, as they don’t capture the full range of intellectual abilities and achievements

5. What Made Elon The Richest Man?

Elon Musk became the richest man primarily due to the increase in valuation of his companies, especially Tesla. 

As Tesla’s CEO and largest shareholder, his net worth surged with the company’s success and stock market performance

6. How Can Elon Have So Much Money?

Elon Musk has accumulated a significant amount of wealth through his entrepreneurial successes and strategic investments. 

His involvement in companies like Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company has contributed to his substantial net worth

7. How Did Elon Musk Learn Coding?

Elon Musk learned coding early on in his life. 

He started coding at a young age and continued to develop his skills through self-learning and practical experience while working on various tech-related projects

8. Who Is The Youngest Billionaire In the World?

The youngest billionaire in the world currently is Kevin David Lehmann, who inherited his wealth from his father at the age of 18. 

However, it’s worth noting that billionaire rankings can change over time due to fluctuations in net worth and new entrants into the billionaire club

9. Why Did Elon Musk Purchase Twitter?

There is no evidence or credible information to suggest that Elon Musk has purchased Twitter as of the provided context (August 2023).

Verdict – How Did Elon Musk Make His First Million?

Elon Musk’s first business was Zip2, a software company that provided online business directories and maps to newspapers. 

This enterprise had a noteworthy impact on beginning Musk’s career as an entrepreneur and provided the groundwork for his future triumph.

Through Zip2, Musk gained valuable experience and capital that he later used to co-found PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Neuralink, The Boring Company, and other groundbreaking ventures. Today, Elon Musk is known as one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our time.

Elon Musk’s journey to his first million was a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and relentless pursuit of innovation. 

Here is a breakdown of the key factors that contributed to his success:

  • Entrepreneurial Vision: Elon Musk capitalized on promising industries like Zip2 and X.com (later PayPal), aligning with emerging technologies and market demand.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Musk formed key collaborations, partnering with Peter Thiel for PayPal and teaming up with engineers like JB Straubel and Martin Eberhard for Tesla, propelling his ventures forward.
  • Risk-Taking: Not afraid of calculated risks, Musk invested his wealth from PayPal into SpaceX, which paid off as the company became a leading space exploration pioneer.
  • Persistent Innovation: Musk consistently pushed technology boundaries, developing electric vehicles with Tesla, pursuing sustainable energy solutions with SolarCity, and advancing high-speed transportation with The Boring Company.
  • Long-Term Vision: Musk’s commitment to transforming industries and solving global challenges shines through his focus on sustainable transportation, renewable energy, and space exploration, making him a trailblazer.

Overall, Elon Musk’s first million was achieved through a combination of his visionary thinking, strategic decision-making, calculated risk-taking, and relentless pursuit of innovation. 

His story serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and showcases the potential for immense success when passion and perseverance are combined!