She grew up on the border of England and Wales, where she lived with her mother, father, and sister. Her mother suffered from a 10-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Rowling’s most difficult day of her life came when she was 25; it was the day her mother passed away. At the time, Rowling was six months into writing her first Harry Potter book.
After her mother’s death, Rowling moved to northern Portugal for new beginnings where she met Jorge Arantes, who she later started dating. The two moved into a small two-bedroom with Arantes mother when Rowling got pregnant. Unfortunately, they miscarried but married soon after in October 1992. One year later, Rowling gave birth to a little girl named Jessica.
Then everything started to spiral in the wrong direction; the relationship got rocky and the couple ended up ending their marriage just 13 months after they got married.
Rowling and her daughter moved back to the UK to live in Edinburgh, Scotland. Without a job and without any money, Rowling fell into a deep depression and even considered suicide. She relied on welfare and decided to pursue her book writing. She’d spent most of her days writing Harry Potter in local cafes while Jessica would sleep next to her.
Her book was rejected by dozens of publishers, except for one. Bloomsbury publishing house in London published Harry Potter in 1997 and Rowling added "K" to her book name (for Kathleen, her grandmother’s name) because it looked more appealing.
Just three days after Harry Potter was released, Scholastic bid $100,000 for American publishing rights, an absurd amount of money for a children’s book at the time.
Since then, she has sold more than 450 million copies and is amongst the world’s richest women. In 2011, Forbes listed her at about a $1 billion net worth. She has since fallen off the billionaire list as she gave a generous amount of her earnings to charity.
WATCH: J.K. Rowling gives Harvard commencement speech
What we can learn from Rowling is that failure is crucial in your success as an individual. It’s not always going to be pretty. It’s not always going to be what you want, but if you stick to your journey and trust your passion, you will be successful.