How To Become a CEO: 8 CEO Career Paths

May 11, 2022 Terkel

How Did You Become A CEO?

Elaborate on one crucial career path/move you made that lead you here. 

To help you see how you could become a CEO, we asked CEOs and founders this question for their best experiences. From starting blogging to fill a void to discovering a knack after losing first job, there are several experiences shared that may inspire you to seek a path to becoming a CEO. 


Here Are Eight CEO Experiences:

  • Started Blogging To Fill a Void
  • Worked My Way Up From The Bottom
  • Followed The Urge To Make a Big Move
  • Driven To Prove Myself After Being Fired From First Job
  • Started From Zero Without Fear
  • Advanced From Within Building On Job Experience
  • Learned To Work With People To Get Things Done
  • Discovered a Knack After Losing First Job

Started Blogging To Fill a Void

When my daughters left my home for college, I saw a movie about a blogger. Blogging seemed a good fit for me since I considered myself analytical and a strong writer. Before I knew it, brands started offering me money to publish their content on my website.

Today, I run a team of six people. I run an online blogging academy with a partner. I have a business manager who generates business and negotiates prices. I also have two Virtual Assistants, a consultant, and a Graphic Designer.

Although my daughters made the move out of the home, I filled the void by making the decision to start an online blogging and freelancing business.

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging


Worked My Way Up From The Bottom

I started near the bottom of the ladder and gradually worked my way up. It didn’t take long as I applied for new positions as people left. What I did was learn about other departments as I was doing my job so I could become more valuable as time went on. If you stay with a company long enough, you learn everything, and the CEO’s doors open for you.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure


Followed The Urge To Make a Big Move

Becoming a CEO or a founder is motivated in different ways, by everyone. However, there comes a point when you realize it’s time to make a move – and a big one, at that! Being a CEO (especially during uncertain times) requires that you be flexible and understand how and when to pivot.

This means encouraging innovative thinking and really listening to all the ideas your team brings to the table – big or small. Playing it safe might seem appealing, but it’s important to take risks in order to yield results. Under any circumstances, but during unexpected situations especially, a tenacious leader should always have a Plan B, C, D, and even beyond. You can never be too prepared, and you can never be too innovative.

Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports


Driven To Prove Myself After Being Fired From First Job 

I have founded and grown two businesses as a CEO in my lifetime but I got started as an entrepreneur because I got fired from my first job, aged 18. I felt sort of humiliated and embarrassed and that spurred me on to design my first computer game and set up my games business (which I sold 12 years later when it had grown to 73 people). It wasn’t genius or ambition or a ‘big idea’. I was driven by a burning desire to prove myself.

Matthew Stibbe, Articulate Marketing


Started From Zero Without Fear

I didn’t let starting from zero stop me. There was a point when I had $0 in my freshly opened business account, zero Instagram followers, and zero customers. Many people are scared of judgment from others and themselves when building something from the ground up. If I had never started, I wouldn’t be where I am today, with press mentions, hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and thousands of loyal consumers worldwide. Just start!

Cesar Cruz, Sebastian Cruz Couture


Advanced From Within Building On Job Experience

After completing a bachelor’s degree, building on-the-job experience became effective for corporate ladder-climbing that generally begins with an entry-level position. Such positions were usually in lower-level management or supervisory roles.

Once I achieved experience at this level, I got promoted to a general manager position and obtained extra experience before advancing to the executive kingdom. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight, and the competencies I achieved were related to best business practices, management skills, and leadership-essential qualities, which helped build a robust foundation for my success. In brief, I advanced from within my company’s ranks.

Caroline Lee, CocoSign


Learned To Work With People To Get Things Done

The day I truly became a CEO is when I learned that you can’t do everything yourself – you need to rely on other people to get things done. That means learning how to delegate effectively, and also being able to surround yourself with talented and motivated people who can help you achieve your vision.

Most importantly, you need to trust your staff. They were hired for good reasons. These things take time and experience to learn, but they’re crucial if you want to be successful as a CEO.

So if you’re aspiring to that role, start working on those skills now and continue developing them throughout. 

Asako Ito, DivineLashes


Discovered a Knack After Losing First Job

I became a CEO through a combination of hard work, creative thinking, and perseverance. When I first started my career, I was fired from my wall street job after just a few months for being “too ambitious” and not being willing to accept my place in the company. Determined not to let this setback hold me back, I focused on solving problems, building up my skill set, and tirelessly taking on new challenges. 

It became clear that I had a knack for spotting new trends and identifying solutions to existing problems. My creativity and drive paid off as I started an e-commerce storefront focused on vacuum filters, which quickly became an incredibly successful venture.

From there, I went on to start Skubana and Profasee – all thanks to that first pivotal decision that fired me from my first job. While it may have seemed like a setback at the time, it opened doors for me that would have otherwise remained closed, giving me the experience and insight I needed to achieve success

Chad Rubin, Profasee


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