Blue-Collar Jobs That Turned People Into Millionaires

Blue-Collar Jobs That Turned People Into Millionaires

Published by Maaz at Turtleback on Apr 9th 2021

If you are a blue-collar professional, you might have experienced this prejudice: people don’t think that you make a lot of money. But you know that this field can help you make a good amount of income.

Making six figures is not that rare, but do you know someone who has pushed to the seven-figure mark in any blue-collar field?

If not, then this blog post will be a motivation for you. We’ll share the stories of 13 people who became millionaires on the foundation of labor jobs that got them started.

Get inspired by these stories and turn your blue-collar passion into a cash-making machine.

Million Dollar Blue-Collar Jobs

General Contractor

For generations, construction workers have been building America and dream of its inhabitants. A few of those workers have been fortunate enough to convert their passion for working with raw materials and structures into a substantial fortune.

Josh Downing was a general contractor in his early thirties when his life changed. While working for a construction firm, he planned to advertise his services on Thumbtack, which is an online platform that connects blue-collar professionals with clients.

Little did he know that his Thumbtack profile will make him a lot of money soon. After a few side gigs, he had decent investment and connections to form a construction firm. Josh utilized the power of the internet and become successful in this digital world. He named his company Direct Movement Group that generated $4.9 million in sales in 2016.

Steel Worker and Motorcycle Builder

Paul Teutul Sr. worked in steel business for many years, while his true passion was working on bikes. So he decided to dedicate more time to bikes and created his custom motorcycle shop called Orange County Choppers. The turning point in Paul’s life was when his shop was featured on a reality TV show American Chopper from 2003 to 2010.

He even hired his sons and became famous among the viewers for his furious style. Not only did he became highly successful but one of his sons made millions as well.

Home Remodeler

Home remodeling involves understanding different trades such as electricity, plumbing, and roofing. Bob Vila was fortunate enough to have a dad who built his own house and taught him all these skills.

Bob polished his skill working in Panama and having his own remodeling business. But he saw the epitome of success when he started “This Old House,” a home improvement TV show in 1979. He shared the secrets of remodeling with his viewers. His show went on to win 18 Emmy awards.

He continued working in the TV business by hosting several similar shows, and today he is worth $25 million.

Crab Fisherman

Fishing for crabs in Alaska’s Bering Sea can be intimidating even for the toughest men. But this is exactly what Sig Hansen every day. Hailing from a Norwegian-American family, he worked on his parents’ fishing boats when he was young.

He earned his success by featuring on a reality TV show “Deadliest Catch” where he is the captain of a fishing vessel. Hansen is kind of a celebrity now and worth around $4 million today.


It’s another difficult yet lucrative job on our list. This is the story of Lee Haight who got into the roofing business at a very young age. As his father and uncle owned roofing companies, he developed a passion for the roofing trade and entrepreneurship.

He runs Roofing Professionals with his father. It’s not a regular roofing company because it handles complicated insurance claims processing along with performing residential and commercial restorations. That’s why his average transaction value is more than $20,000.

He also separates himself from the crowd by marketing his business online, something that most roofing businesses don’t pay attention to.


Charlie Mullins was inspired by a rich plumber as a child. So when he was a teenager, he dropped out of school and went on to pursue a career in plumbing. After a while, he created his own company Pimlico Plumbers.

His company became the largest plumbing business in London, employing hundreds of people. He gained all this success by sticking to the basics: arrive on time, be honest about pricing, and clean up after getting the job done.


Many bakers dream of having their own bakery. But the truth is that the food industry is hard to break into. This is not the case with New Orleans baker Mignon Francois.

She had a high willpower and family support to open a cupcake shop called The Cupcake Collection. After some time, she opened another branch in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned her first million. Her sweet potato cupcake is still a hot seller.

Construction Worker

Sidney Torres worked as a construction worker making around $22,000 a year. But then he decided to invest in a New Orleans property. So he went to his grandmother for a $40,000 loan.

Sidney’s grandmother was unusual. She asked for a business plan, construction schedule, and financial projections. This serious approach along with his experience in construction made him a competent candidate for real estate. Now he is a successful entrepreneur and real estate developer. He even hosts the CNBC show called “The Deed” where he teaches the secrets of house-flipping.

Duck Call Craftsman

Hunting is mostly associated with hobbyists. Not for Phil Robertson, who had to do it to support his family at a very young age.

At some point, he starting working on duck calls used by hunters to lure ducks into the open. Soon he found out that there was a demand for this equipment.

So he started a business called Duck Commander. He also got a TV show named “Duck Dynasty” that became a mega-hit. The man who grew up in extreme poverty is now worth an estimated $10 million.


Dishwashers have one of the hardest jobs in restaurants, but it serves as an important stepping stone for many great chefs. Among them is Thomas Keller who attributes his success to the lessons he learned as a dishwasher. Organization, teamwork, and efficiency are to name a few.

He has created two famous restaurants; Per Se in New York and French Laundry in California. His net worth of $50 million wouldn’t be possible without his time as a dishwasher.


Howard Buffett might be the most famous person on this list because of his father Warren Buffet. Warren has held the title of the richest person on earth but this doesn’t have to do anything with his son’s success. He believes that rich parents should avoid setting their kids up for life.

So without much help from his father, Howard Buffett perused a career in commercial farming. Now he an estimated net worth of $200 million.


Steve Hightower starting working as a janitor at a young age. He saved up some money and started a construction company. Although there’s no direct correlation between custodial work and construction, Steve credits his time as a janitor for the skills that served as the foundation of his success.

Ivory Mammoth Tusk Carver

Bruce Schindler worked as a tour bus driver in Skagway, Alaska. He was making a decent income until he stumbled onto a side gig. He started to carve and sell ivory which led him to become a self-made millionaire.

Key Takeaways

These were the amazing stories of people who made millions of dollars while staying in the blue-collar business. They all knew that self-belief and hard work were necessary for success.

Here are a few key takeaways from their stories:

• Utilizing the power of the internet for your business can give you a competitive advantage.

• Don’t give up on your dreams. You can turn your passion into a million-dollar business.

• Curiosity to learn new skills will separate you from the crowd.

• Have a mentor. He/she will guide you with their experience.

• A strong work ethic is necessary.

• Don’t rely on one job. Work on side gigs.

• Understand your money mindset. Remember that you don’t have to buy everything you see. Buy the things that make you free. Stay away from things that guarantee to make you beautiful, rich, confident, or better than you peers.

• Create a retirement plan. Saving as low as $50 a week can mean huge sums of money over the years.

• Keep looking for opportunities and convert them into a business.

Protect Your Phone At Work

No matter what blue-collar job you have, you’ll need your phone to succeed in your career. So in order to ensure that it’s safe at work and you can focus on productive things, hood it with a Turtleback holster.

Browse the perfect protective gear for your phone.


1. Andrew Lisa, Yahoo Finance

2. Catherine Clifford, CNBC Make It

3. Kenrusk