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From Farm Boy to Billionaire: The Story of the Richest Man in Iowa

Financial rewards and luxuries in life are not only attained by people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths.  People who were born to poverty can also experience all the lavishness and comfort that money can bring, especially if they play their cards right.  We may often see billionaire and millionaire heirs on television, newspaper, magazines, and on the internet, parading new houses, cars, yachts, planes, luxurious vacation trips, and even new famous romantic conquests, but those who have rags to riches stories to catches our interests more.  And who better inspire us to get moving so we can finally achieve success in our lives but these billionaires who used to be less fortunate and now some of the richest people in the world?

The life of Harry Stine is one that can rouse the entrepreneurial spirit we have hidden somewhere inside us.  He used to be a farm boy in his native Adel, Iowa, where he still lives, and where the headquarters of his business, Stine Seeds, now stands.  He was named the richest man in the state of Iowa again this year, with his current net worth is reported to now reach $3.2 billion.  It may not be as close as to the net worth of the richest man in America and the world, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, which is at $112 billion now; it still is to be admired considering the living status he used to have.

Harry Stine cannot share a portion of his life without imparting some wise words for people who dreams of opening up their own businesses and becoming successful someday.

Being an entrepreneur has to be inside you

Being an entrepreneur is something not made – it is in you, or should be in you by the time you were born.  One of the many points that Stine always indicate during the many speaking engagements he has been in, is that the entrepreneurial spirit cannot be forced on anyone, especially those who do not have it.  This may be the reason why some children of business owners who inherit the family trade cannot be as successful as their parents, because they were not born entrepreneurs.  There are many factors that attributed to the success of Stine Seeds, but Stine says his company triumphed solely because one thing – he was born with an entrepreneurial spirit.  As a young boy, Stine has always been fascinated with seeds, how fitting that he became a billionaire because of the same thing, right?

Just like any skills people are born with, singing, dancing, athletics – being a natural entrepreneur is a genetic gift.  And just those other skills, proper guidance and training is needed to improve and perfect it.

If you can, get a business law degree

Harry Stine did not graduate from an Ivy League school; he got a degree from a liberal arts college in Kansas, McPherson College.  For an aspiring business man, there are several courses that you can choose from in college, but the billionaire advises to get a business law degree like he did.

As soon as he graduated from college, Stine was able to apply the things he learned towards his father’s farm where he worked.  He said that a course not limited to one particular study would be very helpful to any business you get into.  But in his case, though, his law degree became really useful.  Stine Seeds breeds variety of plants and the company needs to establish intellectual property rights for them via a legal contract.  At the time these documents were needed, full patent protection did not exist yet.  So the company encountered a lot of lawsuits, which Stine often won, thanks to his business law degree.

Do not let any disability stop you from achieving your dream

This may be a surprise to you, but Stine has dyslexia and a mild, high-functioning autism as well.  Of course, he did not find out he had these conditions until much later as the methods of diagnosis didn’t exist in the 1940s.  What he remembered is how he struggled while learning in school as a young boy.  It is amazing how the said conditions did not become hurdles for Stine to not achieve success – he said he made sure to never feel sorry for himself back then, and most definitely did not use that as an excuse to not go for ‘overachieving’ things.

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