As a podcast host, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing a wide variety of entrepreneurs over the past few years. And after asking more than a hundred entrepreneurs how they define success, I’ve started to notice a pattern.

In the beginning of an entrepreneur’s journey, it’s about making money. Understandably, of course, since the goal of any business is to generate a profit. But there comes a point – usually around the time where revenue is generated consistently and predictably – where making money is no longer an entrepreneur’s primary motivator for being in business.

When this shift occurs, most entrepreneurs begin to define success differently. They begin to define success as making an impact in the world. Making a positive difference. Leaving a legacy.

Take Cole Hatter, a recent guest on my podcast, for example. Cole made millions as a real estate investor in his early twenties. But when the recession hit in 2008, he lost everything and was forced to re-build.

After spending some time in Mexico, where he experienced first-hand just how much of an impact he could make with the little resources that he had, he began to wonder: “how much of an impact could I make if I had more resources?”

When Cole returned to the United States, he re-built his multi-millionaire dollar empire, this time making it a priority to use his resources to make a positive difference in the lives of others by supporting various philanthropic causes. And Cole certainly isn’t the only entrepreneur who has figured out how to make a positive impact with his resources.

Here are 27 entrepreneurs that have built highly successful businesses and made a positive impact in the world in the process.

By the way, if you want to learn from these incredible entrepreneurs, check out Thrive: Make Money Matter, a conference for purpose-driven entrepreneurs where they will all be speaking.

27 Entrepreneurs That Are Making A Positive Impact With Their Income Click To Tweet

1. Jack Canfield

jack-canfield-thrive-speakerJack Canfield is an award-winning speaker and an internationally recognized leader in personal development and peak performance strategies. For over 40 years, he has been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to create the life they desire. As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, he’s taught millions of individuals his modernized formulas for success, and now certifies trainers to teach his content and methodology all over the world. Jack is the author and co-author of more than 150 books (66 are bestsellers) with more than 100 million copies in print in 47 languages around the world. His bestselling book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be has been hailed as the new self-improvement classic, now containing 67 of the most powerful secrets to success known to mankind. In 2014, SUCCESS magazine named him “One of the Most Influential Leaders in Personal Growth and Achievement.”

2. Luis Ortiz

luis-ortiz-thrive-speakerLuis Ortiz moved to the United States from Puerto Rico at the age of 16. After studying film at New York Film Academy, Ortiz carved a path in the real estate business. In the past three years alone, he has sold over $100 million in residential real estate. Today, he is one of Bravo’s most inspiring personalities, co-starring in the Network’s Emmy-nominated Million Dollar Listing New York, a series which follows him as he expertly brokers the buying and selling of luxury properties in New York City. With immense and diverse personal experience across film, finance, and real estate, Luis D. Ortiz speaks directly to our natural desire to flourish personally and professionally

3. JJ Virgin

jj-virgin-thrive-speakerJJ Virgin is a 4 time New York Times Bestseller, entrepreneur, and one of the nation’s foremost fitness and nutrition experts. She is an accomplished public speaker and media personality. You have seen her as the nutritionist for Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weightless challenge, and has been featured as part of the extreme team on ABC’s Extreme Makeover. Her 25 years in the health and fitness industry have earned JJ global recognition as the go-to weight loss expert who can unlock the door to lifelong weight management through her sensible, no-fail approach to nutrition and fitness. JJ was also the co-star of the TLC reality series, Freaky Eaters.

4. John Assaraf

john-asaraf-thrive-speakerJohn Assaraf is one of the leading behavioral and success experts in the world with a unique ability for helping people recognize and release the mental or emotional obstacles that prevents them from achieving their very best work. In the last 10 years, he has written 2 New York Times Bestselling books that have been translated to 35 languages, has appeared on Larry King Live 8 times and has been featured in the Blockbuster movies “The Secret” and “Quest for Success” with Sir Richard Brandson and the Dalai Lama. He has built 5 multi-million dollar companies including Re/Max of Indiana to $4.5 Billion in yearly sales and today is the CEO of NeuroGym, which develops some of the most advanced brain training programs in the world. John lectures all over the world on mastering the Inner game of wealth, sales, business, life and overall success.

5. Than Merrill

than-merrill-thrive-speakerThan Merrill is one of the most successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs in the nation, his businesses collectively are generating north of 9 figures annually. Founder and CEO of FortuneBuilders and CT Homes, Than Merrill has bought and sold hundreds of properties nationwide during his investing career, and he founded FortuneBuilders with the simple idea of sharing his knowledge and passion for real estate and business with aspiring entrepreneurs. He formerly starred on A&E’s Flip this House. As a graduate of Yale University and a former NFL player, Than attributes his success in sports, business and investing to coaching, education, and systems.

6. Cole Hatter

cole-hatter-thrive-speakerCole Hatter is an entrepreneur, investor, award-winning speaker and founder of Thrive. Cole started his career investing in real estate and has progressed to investing in large funds, start-ups, and angel investing. He has been on stage speaking to audiences about investing/entrepreneurship around the world collectively for over 2,000 hours. Cole’s vision behind creating Thrive: Make Money Matter is to change the way businesses are run forever, creating a new breed of “For-Purpose Entrepreneurs” directing profitable businesses that focus on a local or global initiative.

7. Grant Cardone

grant-cardone-thrive-speakerGrant Cardone is a sales and social media expert, New York Times best-selling author, and radio show host of The Cardone Zone. He has created sales trainings for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Sprint, Aflac, Toyota, GM, Ford and thousands more. Grant has founded three companies, Cardone Enterprises, Cardone Real Estate Holdings, and the Cardone Group, that generate almost 100 million dollars in annual sales. He shares his sales and business expertise as an international speaker and author of five books: Sell to Survive; The Closers Survival Guide; If You’re Not First, You’re Last; The 10X Rule; and Sell or Be Sold.

8. Tai Lopez

tai-lopez-thrive-speakerTai Lopez is an investor, partner, or advisor to over 20 multi-million dollar businesses. Behind Oprah, Lopez has the second largest book club in the world with over 1.4 million people in over 40 countries. Tai has a top 10 business podcast and shares advice on how to achieve health, wealth, love, and happiness. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Tai served as a financial advisor for General Electric when it was the largest company in the world.

9. James Malinchak

james-malinchak-thrive-speakerJames Malinchak is recognized as one of the most requested, in-demand business and motivational keynote speakers and marketing consultants in the world, and speaks for groups ranging from 20-20,000+. James was featured on the Hit ABC TV Show, Secret Millionaire, has authored 20 books and has delivered over 3,000+ presentations for corporations, associations, business groups, colleges, universities and youth organizations worldwide. James is the behind-the-scenes, go-to Marketing Advisor for many top celebrities, top authors, speakers, thought-leaders, professional athletes & sports coaches. His Big Money Speaker® training is legendary. Les Brown says: “James is the BEST in the speaking industry!” & Jack Canfield says: “I consider James one of my teachers!”

10. Jordan Harbinger

jordan-harbinger-thrive-speakerJordan Harbinger is the cofounder of The Art Of Charm and host of The Art of Charm Podcast, one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 2.4 million downloads every month. The Art of Charm has been covered byForbes, NPR, the Today Show, Esquire Magazine, Saturday Night Live and MSNBC. A former Wall Street attorney, Jordan has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world including South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, he speaks 5 languages. Jordan has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through warzones and been kidnapped twice. He’ll tell you; the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of), just about any type of situation.

11. Pat Flynn

pat-flynn-thrive-speakerPat Flynn is an American internet marketer and business owner. After being laid off from his architectural firm in 2008, Flynn launched Smart Passive Income, a popular blog where he teaches and documents his experience in creating passive income streams for his online business. He is owner of Flynndustries, LLC, under which he runs a number of web properties and niche sites including SmartPassiveIncome, Green Exam Academy and Security Guard Training HQ. In 2010, he launched The Smart Passive Income Podcast.

12. James Altucher

james-altucher-thrive-speakerJames Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and podcaster. He has founded or cofounded more than 20 companies, has written and published nearly 20 books, and is a frequent contributor to publications including The Financial Times,, TechCrunch, Seeking Alpha, Thought Catalog, and The Huffington Post. USA Today also named Altucher’s book Choose Yourself among the 12 Best Business Books of All Time. He has had investments in Buddy Media,, Ticketfly, CTera, Acebucks, Cancer Genetics, and several other companies. Altucher currently has three podcasts, The James Altucher Show, Ask Altucher, and Question of the Day.

13. Rory Vaden

rory-vaden-thrive-speakerRory Vaden is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, a multi-million dollar global sales consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries increase their sales. His book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 USA Today and #2 New York Times bestseller. Roryʼs strategies have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah Radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Success Magazine and many other media outlets. His articles and insights average more than 4 million views every month and he is the weekly host of a top 25-business news podcast titled “Servant Selling with Rory Vaden.” As a sales speaker, he speaks more than 50 times a year for some of America’s best and brightest sales organizations.

14. Preston Smiles

preston-smiles-thrive-speakerPreston Smiles is the founder of The Love Mob, “a global community igniting a multi-generational movement that promotes love as a lifestyle.” Under the guidance of Michael Beckwith, Preston has become an internationally recognized motivational speaker. He is one of the spokespersons for Generation Waking Up and has a dedicated following on his “Questions with Preston” YouTube channel. Preston has been featured in LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine and RYOT News.

15. Alexi Panos

alexi-panos-thrive-speakerAlexi Panos has inspired hundreds of thousands of people toward a life of personal fulfillment through her various business, multi-media, and philanthropic platforms. Her new transformational methodology she co-created called The Bridge, is making waves all over the world for is revolutionary new take on radical self-development. In 2005, Alexi Panos cofounded the non-profit organization E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change) which brings safe, clean drinking water to those in need in parts of the developing world. Named as one of Origin Magazine’s Top 100 Creatives Changing the World, winner of Elixir Magazine’s Millennial Mentor Award, and dubbed one of “11 Noteworthy Millennials” in the Huffington Post, Alexi is truly shaking things up with her passionate and energetic delivery, making a unique mark on the world.

16. Esther Kiss

esther-kiss-thrive-speakerEsther Kiss is the co-founder of Strategic Influence and founder of Born To Influence, a one-of-a-kind publicity & marketing agency, where she helps experts and personal brands get exposure for an extended period of time by placing them on the right media outlets. These include interviews on podcasts, online radio shows, YouTube shows, webinars and presentations for telesummits and private, paid mastermind groups, as well as traditional media: TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and more. She works with luminaries and industry transformers such as Ryan Levesque (author of the #1 national bestselling book Ask), Ben Simkin (a.k.a. the 900 Million Dollar Man), and more. Esther’s work helped her clients bring in millions of dollars in additional sales. Esther herself was featured in the documentary Inspired By 11 and is regularly interviewed in the media. She has lived in six European countries before moving to the US and today resides in the Palm Springs area.

17. Philip McKernan

philip-mckernan-thrive-speakerPhilip McKernan works with entrepreneurs and business leaders all over the world. When people are seeking clarity about their future or want to move through roadblocks, seen and unseen, they call Philip. He helps people get clear on who they are and where they need to go. Philip helps individuals transition in their personal and professional lives so people feel aligned in all areas of life. In more recent times he has worked with the Canadian Olympic Team, The Pentagon and has shared the stage with other speakers like the Dalai Lama and Richard Branson.

18. John Spencer Ellis

john-spencer-ellis-thrive-speakerEach week, over one million people enjoy a fitness and personal development program John Spencer Ellis created. He is the CEO of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association, Spencer Institute for Life Coaching, International Triathlon Coaching Association, MMA Conditioning Association, Get America Fit Foundation, and the publisher of Personal Trainer Magazine. He’s a 4x Amazon #1 best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker and Personal Trainer Hall of Fame inductee. John competed in the Ironman triathlon and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships. He holds rank in 6 different martial arts, and has earned degrees in business, marketing, education and health science. He’s helped create over 500,000 jobs.

19. Shaa Wasmund

shaa-wasmund-thrive-speakerShaa Wasmund is one of Britain’s most highly regarded female entrepreneurs. An international best selling author and award winning businesswoman, she’s been voted one of the most connected women in Britain. Shaa’s experience is incredibly diverse. Whilst still at University, she became the world’s only licensed female boxing promoter, working alongside Don King to put on 22 World Title fights. She then started working with Sir James Dyson from around his kitchen table and helped build Dyson into one of the most recognized brand names in the world. Earlier this year, she received an MBE (Member of The British Empire) Award from the Queen for her services to business and entrepreneurship.

20. Nick Unsworth

nick-unsworth-thrive-speakerAs CEO of Life on Fire, Nick Unsworth‘s mission is to help you love what you do for work, relentlessly pursue your passions, and live the dream. Nick sold a business by 30 years old, coached over 2,551 people, and has consulted clients including: Daymond John from Shark Tank, Mark Divine from Navy, Keller Williams Real Estate, Safeco Insurance and more.

21. Adam Braun

adam-braun-thrive-speakerAdam Braun is a NYT bestselling author and the Founder of Pencils Of Promise; an award-winning organization that has built more than 330 schools for children in poverty around the world. He is also the Director of the Global Education Platform, an initiative conceived by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education to identify and accelerate breakthroughs in learning innovation. He has been featured as a speaker at The White House, the United Nations and the Clinton Global Initiative. He has also been named on Business Insider’s “40 Under 40,” Wired Magazine’s “50 People Who Are Changing the World,” and was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s first ten “Global Shapers.”

22. Allison Maslan

allison-maslan-thrive-speakerAllison Maslan was named “One of the Top Women Entrepreneurs Who Inspire” by Self Made Magazine. She is the no. 1 Best Selling Author of, Blast Off! Allison has built ten successful companies starting out at age 19. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Merrill Lynch and Charlotte Russe, although her passion is helping business owners create a high revenue business and a meaningful life. She’s been featured in Success Magazine, Fortune Magazine and on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox across the US. She sees entrepreneurship as the catalyst to impact communities, the global economy and transform lives.

23. Joel Brown

joel-brown-thrive-speakerWith heart and hunger, Joel Brown built from scratch to be the #1 motivation site in the world. He has worked alongside some of the greats in the world of self development, business and spirituality, including Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Tim Ferriss, Gabby Bernstein, Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek and more. Joel carries some fun facts, like appearing on the front cover of Foundr Magazine, Change Creator Magazine and Lifestyle Business Magazine, and being an author on and He’s the associate producer of the forthcoming Rise Up movie, and he’s spoken on epic stages around the world. Joel is absolutely obsessed with personal growth and mindset.

24. Lewis Howes

lewis-howes-thrive-speakerLewis Howes is a New York Times Bestselling Author, entrepreneur and former professional Arena League football player. He hosts The School Of Greatness, a top rated leadership and personal development podcast. Howes co-wrote the 2009 book, LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website. The book is a guide to using the business oriented social networking site LinkedIn. He is also the author of The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide, which was published in 2012. Howes has built several multi-million dollar online businesses and is an expert on teaching entrepreneurs how to turn their passions into profitable businesses.

25. Mark Lack

mark-lack-thrive-speakerMark Lack is a best-selling author, international speaker, strategic business coach and host of the TV show Business Rockstars. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Mark was one of the highest paid professional paintball players in the world; In high school he won over $300,000.00 in cash traveling the world competing professionally.

26. Re Perez

re-perez-thrive-speakerRe Perez is a Brand Strategist, Creative Visionary and Inspirational Speaker. His background includes senior-level brand consulting positions at Interbrand, Siegel+Gale, Reputation Institute and TMP Worldwide and has worked on Fortune 500 branding projects including Abbott, GE Money, Intel, Lilly, Nielsen Company, Novo Nordisk, Motorola, TD Ameritrade, and Xerox.

27. Michael O’Neal

michael-oneal-thrive-speakerPreviously a web designer, Michael O’Neal worked in that field for 15 years. After a few brief stints working for other people, O’Neal claimed himself as “truly unemployable” around 2005, and has been on the entrepreneurial track ever since. Once becoming self-employed, he started a podcast called The Solopreneur Hour – Job Security for the Unemployable, where he shows other unemployable people the path to business success on their own terms.

Want to learn from all of these entrepreneurs live? Check out Thrive: Make Money Matter, a conference for purpose-driven entrepreneurs hosted in San Diego, California starting October 28th, 2016.  

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