Ludwig van Beethoven - He began his career by playing at parties attended by wealthy people. As his popularity grew, so was the opportunity to travel to various European cities and perform. Beethoven's fame grew by the 1800s.
Franz Joseph Haydn - He had a beautiful voice when he was young and he showcased his talent by singing in church choirs. Eventually, as he hit puberty his voice changed and he became a freelance musician.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - He worked as Kapellmeister for the archbishop of Salzburg. In 1781, he requested release from his duties and started working freelance.
Beethoven suffered from abdominal pains and became deaf when he was in his late 20s (some say in his 30s). Haydn spent nearly 30 years working for the wealthy Esterhazy family as Kapellmeister where he was expected to follow strict protocol. Mozart was highly successful as a child but died in debt. In reading about the lives of these master composers, we come to appreciate them more, not only as composers, but as individuals who were able to rise above whatever limitations or hindrances they faced during their time.