Every now and again you'd see Elon Musk trending on search engines for his new groundbreaking ideas or projects. The man behind Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company fascinates millions of average Joes around the world. Everyone knows a thing about his genius and/or his fortune. Regardless of what people say about him, the fact is that he is one of the most influential entrepreneurs around the globe. Some people joke by saying that if he succeeds in his race to Mars against the NASA, he might also become the most influential man in cosmos.

How did Elon Musk become a billionaire?

We're going to answer this question by looking at his biography, starting from his early days all the way to the present.

Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28th, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. Throughout his adolescent years, he already evinced a talent for entrepreneurship. In 1984, at the age of 12 Musk published source code for his video game 'Blastar' and three years later he wanted to start an arcade business with his brother and cousin. The boys managed to get the idea all the way to the city zoning phase, but their parents found out and stopped them.

At the age of 17, he moved to Canada to attend Queen's University from which he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later. He received an economics degree from the Wharton School and a degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, his business-oriented mindset led him to run a nightclub out of his house to be able to pay rent.

Following his studies, at the University of Pennsylvania, he began a PhD in applied physics and material sciences at Standford University in 1995, but he decided to quit after two days. From there on Musk started to focus on his entrepreneurial career and co-founded Zip2.

Zip2 was an online city directory for the newspaper publishing industry. Contracts with The New York Times and Chicago Tribune obtained by Musk provided the company with enough independence to avoid a merger with CitySearch. Consequently, in 1999, Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for US$307 million in cash and US$34 million in stock options from which Musk received US$22 million for his 7 per cent share from the sale. He admitted that although Zip2 landed contracts with famous The New York Times and The Chicago Tribute he lived in office buildings during this period, slept on a futon couch and showered at the local YMCA.

While Musk landed contracts with famous The New York Times and The Chicago Tribute he lived in office buildings, slept on a futon couch and showered at the local YMCA.

Musk used the money from the Zip2 sale to co-found X.com - online financial services which consequently became PayPal. Musk earned an outstanding US$165 million from the US$1.5 billion that was paid for PayPal when it was acquired by eBay in October 2002.

In 2001 Elon Musk announced his 'Mars Oasis' project which aimed at landing a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars. However, the high cost of the Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) stood in the way of Mars Oasis. Musk who wished to purchase an ICBM approached Kosmotras in Russia twice, the first time he was regarded as a novice, and his talks with the company failed. The second time it was Musk who abandoned the negotiations when the company called for US$8 million.

On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realised that he could start a company that could build affordable rockets he needed. He went on to launch SpaceX. SpaceX is a space exploration company that focuses on rocket technology and aims to reduce the cost of space flight in hopes of expanding human life beyond Earth. Musk is so obsessed with Mars that he even wishes to die there. The beginnings of SpaceX weren't easy as it was tough for Musk to find investors.

Musk is so obsessed with Mars that he even wishes to die there.

Consequently, he went against all the odds and channelled all his own money into the company. Now SpaceX has a 1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply, and eventually ferry people to the International Space Station, effectively replacing the Space Shuttle. His faith in SpaceX turned into a success that nobody believed was even possible. Musk successful reduced the cost of reaching the International Space Station by 90%, bringing it down from $US1 billion per mission.  

While a lot of his efforts were (and still are) focused on SpaceX Musk became Tesla's CEO in 2008. Tesla faced a couple of crises, and Musk even considered selling it to the internet giant Google. From bugs to lawsuits filed by Tesla workers, the future of Tesla keeps popping up in the news, and one cannot be sure what Elon's next steps will be.

Yet Elon doesn't remain idle, and even if things aren't as he might have planned in one company, he focuses on other projects. For instance, 'The Boring Company' among other ongoing and expired projects initiated by Musk. On December 12, 2016, Musk tweeted "[I'm] going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging..." that's how 'The Boring Company' came about. Now Musk's company is digging a tunnel in Los Angeles.

On top of all the successful business, whether they attract good press or not, he is extremely hardworking and unlike other CEO's he has a token salary (at Tesla) and looks to making more billions through stock options if the company keeps on being successful. He admits to working long hours believing in devoting his time to his success. No wonder he's the 54th richest person in the world according to Forbes, which estimated his wealth to stand at $US19.9 billion which grew to over $US22 billion since the list was released.

Elon Musk was numbered 25th on Forbes list of the world's most powerful people, which proves that success is achieved mainly by hard work. So, if you're finishing reading this articles and you're still unsure what to do to succeed, focus and strive for the best with hard work and devotion. Like Elon Musk go against all the odds and don't be afraid of failure. And if you’re looking for a good investment you can start with stocks, which Musk is clearly fond of.