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11. Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields

Nobody believed housewife Debbi Fields when she decided to turn her chocolate chip cookie recipe into a business. After hearing dozens of “no’s,” she finally found a banker willing to give her a startup loan to open a shop. On her first day in business in 1977, her husband bet her she couldn’t sell $50 worth of product. Determined to succeed, Fields walked up and down the block handing out samples and sold $75 worth of cookies.

Keeping an eagle eye on cash flow and investing profits back into the business, Fields gradually expanded to a franchised business with locations nationwide and sold the business in the 1990s. Today her net worth is estimated at $65 million and her cookies are sold at 300+ retail locations worldwide and online.