After the birth of her third son, Gill Barton began a job at a Birmingham bingo hall to help her husband Frank make ends meets.
With flexible hours, the role was ideal for the growing Barton family, but the minimum wage meant they had no choice but to make do without life's luxuries.
After years working in the industry and after numerous promotions, where her top wage hit £16,000, Mrs Barton, who lives in Solihull, decided to take a gamble herself.
The ambitious mother-of-five, now aged 62, developed plans in 1995 for her own training and recruitment company GB Training Consultancy - despite warnings it would never get off the ground.
Now she is a millionaire, with a number of smaller companies in her family's portfolio, and has exchanged her modest semi for a seven-bedroom mansion - built by the Barton's building company.
Explaining her change in fortune during the last decade, Mrs Barton said: "I was a bingo caller for years and it was a great job, but I only received the minimum wage. The jackpot back then was just a few thousand pounds.
"I worked shifts and it was easy to fit it around what the boys needed from me.
"Frank worked as an engraver, but he also did some bar work in the evenings as we had to try and make ends meet.
"We lived in a semi and we had to manage with bunk beds for the boys as we didn't have enough bedrooms.
"We had a touring caravan and we would take holidays down in Devon and Cornwall with the boys. We couldn't have afforded to take them abroad."
After reaching the top of the bingo career ladder, Mrs Barton decided it was time to move on.
"I decided to work for myself. I didn't intend on building a business, but then it evolved.
"I put together a business plan in stages and the business started in 1995. It really took off in 1996."
Mrs Barton added: "I have five sons. They all work in the business as well.
"They have got other businesses including a building company, which built my house."
The GB Training Consultancy trains staff in food hygiene, health and safety and first aid for restaurants, care homes and cafes.
It became a limited company in 2001 and has more than 60 employees, with 800 temps placed with businesses each week.
In its first year, the turnover was £750,000 and the companies now turn over more than £12 million each year.