Entrepreneurs are risk-takers; that alone should make them inspiring because not too many people would hedge their careers on an idea. The growth of the Internet inspired many entrepreneurs to start their online businesses. Not everyone succeeded. In fact only 55% would still be in operation after the first year. But there are the inspiring entrepreneurs who had to overcome greater challenges and displayed resiliency that belied their years to grow their online businesses.

Here are stories on 7 inspiring entrepreneurs that successfully grew their business:

1. Jack Ma

Who would have thought that the son of a fisherman who used to bike every morning to a nearby hotel to hone his English by conversing with tourists would eventually own a company worth $37 Billion?

Jack Ma personified resiliency. Even after failing to pass the university exams three times, Jack remained undeterred until he made it to Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute. Legend has it that 30 of Jack’s job applications; including one to a famous US fried chicken restaurant, were rejected.

But life took a turn for Jack when he discovered the Internet. From there he taught himself how to build websites and started a web design business. Within 3 years his company was worth $800,000.

Jack founded Alibaba in 1999 and won a $25 Million international venture capital investment. The rest as they say is history. Today Jack is worth an estimated $1.1 Billion.

2. Pete Cashmore

Pete’s life story best embodies the saying, “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade”.

An appendectomy that did not go well as expected kept 13-year old Pete out of school most of the time. But being ill, did not sideline Pete from learning. He spent his time learning about the world by reading blogs he could find on the Internet.

Young Pete subscribed to as many blogs as he could to make up for all the time missed at school. He realized the value and power of these blogs and eventually created one of his own.

Today, Mashable is one of the most popular blogs in the world with more than 6 Million Twitter followers and 3.2 Million Facebook fans. Time magazine cited Mashable as one of the best blogs in 2009.

And Pete Cashmore is worth $120 Million!

3. Tim Ferris

Tim started his career as an online entrepreneur with his supplement company, BrainQUICKEN, which sold products formulated to improve memory and cognition. But years of spending long, unproductive 14-hour work days led him to take a different approach.

Tim decided to delegate non-core functions and back office work to virtual assistants while he attended to the core activities of the company. He realized he was able to accomplish more work in less time with the use of virtual assistants. Tim chronicled his experiences with BrainQuicken in his New York Times bestselling book, “The Four-Hour Work Week”.

Today, Tim is a highly influential blogger, public speaker and philanthropist. In 2012, he was listed in Newsweek’s Digital Power Index as the 7th Most Powerful Online Personality. His blog, “The Four-Hour Work Week” was cited by Inc magazine as one of the “19 Blogs You Should Bookmark Right Now”.

4. Tim Seidler

Before Tim became a highly successful online entrepreneur, he was in a situation where people would not want to be in. A husband and father to 2 children, Seidler would often have his power cut off and be faced with mounting bills he could not pay.

Seidler did what most people in that situation would not do: quit his job and focus 100% of his time on his online business of creating and selling websites. His decision paid off as he began selling 6-figure websites!

Seidler shares his experiences from a down-and-out employee to a successful online entrepreneur in his blog, Get Niche Quick. Seidler unabashedly tells readers about his successes and failures as an entrepreneur and even discusses his earnings.

5. Stuart Walker

As a successful online entrepreneur, Stuart is well-aware how many aspiring entrepreneurs give up on their business idea before maximizing its potential.

Stuart created a blog site that focuses on online niche marketing. In Niche Hacks, Stuart shares his experiences, gives tips, techniques and short cuts he personally developed on developing and monetizing business ideas.

Stuart epitomizes the digital nomad; traveling around the world while earning great income from his online business.

6. David Risley

David’s life story should be made into a Hollywood movie. His is the quintessential rags-to-riches story: from janitor to “6-figure Blogger”. David owns many successful blogs that centers on computer technology and online niche marketing.

One famous story had David making $12,047.23 in 10 days while on a cruise. He did it by selling memberships to one of his blog on computer technology.

David says the key to his success was learning to become more efficient with his time. Hiring a Virtual Assistant allowed him to focus his energies on the aspects of his business which required his expertise while ensuring the day-to-day needs are attended to.

7. Catherine Cook

While many 15 year old girls were thinking about the latest pop stars, Catherine Cook was thinking about making her first million dollars.

With her 17-year old brother Dave, Catherine came up with an idea to develop a free interactive version of a school yearbook. After receiving seed money from older brother Geoff, himself a web entrepreneur, Catherine was able to launch MyYearbook.com.

MyYearbook.com grew to 45 employees with Neutrogena, Disney and ABC among its key advertising accounts. In 2011, the company entered into a $100 Million agreement with Quepasa, a media company with large exposure in the Portuguese and Hispanic markets.

MyYearbook.com is now MeetMe.com.

Successful entrepreneurs are not born. They are made; forged by their life experiences and influenced by their surroundings. They became successful because they kept their vision intact despite the different challenges that came their way.

For some, they acknowledged time was a valuable asset that had to be properly managed in order to be productive. Even with the availability of programs and online tools, they could not do everything. So they hired virtual assistants to help them carry the load of running the business.

Thus if you plan to become an entrepreneur and start an online business you must remain focused and committed to turn your idea into a successful reality.