It takes drive, hard work and a lot of determination to run your own business. It’s no easy feat, which is why it’s even more impressive that teenagers today are fast becoming a new generation of entrepreneurs that have been scaling the heights of success. They’re creating successful companies before they’re old enough to vote, buy alcohol or even drive.
But who are these self-made millionaires and what can we learn from them?
Entrepreneur and Digital Programmer
Nick is the seventeen year old Summly founder who sold his app to Yahoo for $30 million.
“If you have a good idea, or you think there’s a gap in the market, just go out and launch it because there are investors across the world right now looking for companies to invest in.” Nick d’Alosio
Media Mogul and Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust
Jamal launched the SB.TV music channel on YouTube at the tender age of 14. The channel has gone on to amass over 150 million views. With an estimated fortune of up to £8m, he appeared in the Sunday Times young power and rich list and has signed a deal with Sony RCA to run his own record label.
“I still get bad anxiety at times, if I have too many things going on. I have to sit down and tell myself to take a breather. I think this is one of the most important things for any entrepreneur to remember – that you can’t go 100% all of the time. I have crashed and burned about three times over the years because I was just working, working, working. Now I’m more planned, more organised.” Jamal Edwards.
Entrepreneur and Digital Programmer
17 year old Adam created an app called Mobile Monopoly that teaches users how to make money with mobile market leads, which he sold in a multi-million pound deal.
“If someone says ‘There’s no way you’ll ever make money online, everything’s a scam online, blah blah blah,’ they’re lying. You don’t have to listen to what other people say—trust me, I went through that day-in and day-out with my friends. They didn’t believe that I could make money online and then as soon as I did I think their jaws dropped to the ground. So just go for it!” Adam Horwitz
Cameron began designing invitations and greeting cards aged 11 and made thousands of dollars which he
Invested into his first online business, selling a pay-per-ad toolbar service which made him a millionaire before even starting high school!
“Never be afraid to reach out to others or to try new things – don’t worry about failing and don’t care what anyone else thinks. Focus on doing your best and helping others and the rest will follow.” Cameron Johnson
14-year-old Ashley launched WhateverLife.com to showcase her design work after a few years of studying HTML. As the site grew in popularity Ashley branched out and started offering free tutorials to teens. Through word of mouth the site has amassed around seven million visitors per month and earns millions in advertising revenue.
“Anything can be done, as long as you truly believe it. I remember dreaming up the idea of this network one year ago around this time. My team here were so excited and now it’s a reality. That’s the greatest feeling.” Ashley Qualls
At 14 Fraser’s grandmother taught him how to make jam which he decided to start selling around the neighbourhood. He now supplies all major UK stores with his no added sugar Super Jam and has a turnover of over £1 million.
“I meet a lot of people who have an idea for a business but are too afraid to take the first steps of giving it a shot, and that is a real shame. In reality, you shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of – nobody is going to laugh at you, you’re not going to go bankrupt and even if things don’t work out as you’d hoped, trying will be fun and you’ll hopefully learn something. However, there are risks involved which is why it is important to start small, rather that re-mortgaging your house!” Fraser Doherty
Aged 14 Isabella was looking for ideas to make money so that she could buy herself a car when she turned 16. She launched Origami Owl in 2010, a custom jewellery company that sells to would be entrepreneurs and home workers who then sell the jewellery on for a profit. In two years she had made $24 million and this year revenue is expected to reach $250 million.
Farrah started selling homemade body lotion at the age of 6. At 13 he founded Farr-Out Food which in year one had received food orders of over $1.5 million making him a millionaire at 14. Farrah is the youngest person to have a Wall Street office and is estimated to be worth 20 million dollars.
“Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, so get working!” Farrah Grey
So what can we learn from them?
You Don’t Need Experience
These teenagers didn’t have experience behind them, only a passion and vision. How many of us have used lack of knowledge or know-how as a reason not to pursue something we love doing? So many of us hold back for fear of making a mistake or appearing foolish and want to learn the ins and outs before jumping in. Sometimes passion alone will drive us far.
You may be thinking these youngsters didn’t have anything to lose so of course they could spend 24/7 building a business. After all, they don’t have mortgages or bills or children to support like us, right? Well in fact they sacrificed something greater than you or I will ever do, and that’s their childhood. Our adult lives may take a bit of juggling and sacrifice but keep the end goal in mind as it will be worth it in the end.
Go Against the Grain
They think of new ways to fix old problems. It’s easy to get stuck in a mind-set of ‘been there done that got the T Shirt’, but we’re always learning and it’s not productive to think we have all the answers or that there’s only one way (the safe way that we’re familiar with). Dare to think differently. Look at what the new generation are doing and as scary as it may seem and although you may feel like a fish out of water; dare to be different. Dare to approach things differently and perhaps you’ll get a different result!
Actively Seek Rejection
They aren’t afraid to share their new ideas. Rejection hasn’t beaten them down so they’re fearless. Take chances, be different even if you think there’s a chance you’ll fail, because remember there’s also a chance you’ll succeed! After all what is failure but another step closer to success!
Develop a Positive Mental Attitude
They have boundless energy, enthusiasm and positivity. It’s important to get yourself into the right mind-set when going into any business. Lots of people go in thinking it’s going to be tough and a struggle and they’ll barely scrape a living in the first year. Who taught us this way of thinking? Positive thinking, energy and enthusiasm are a prerequisite and will only lead to higher places.
Live By Your Own Rules
They don’t live by the rules of others. OK so their parents are possibly still on at them to tidy their room but they don’t live their lives or shape their careers and passions by rules of the generation gone past, so why are we? We read out of date business and marketing books and watch shows such as Dragons Den which promote old styles of business. Do you think any of these hot shots had a business plan or 5 year plan in place before embarking on their journey? We follow this advice because we think it’s the right and proper way to set up a business. But is it really? Dare to break the rules and be different.
Just Do It
They don’t over analyse or over think a project they just go for it. Whilst our generation are still researching and planning and making sure everything’s in place for a successful launch, these hot shots are already on their way and running to the finish line. We talk to friends and our partners and our family and do research and do everything to minimise failure, but what we really should be doing is going out there and getting on with it.
Know Your Own Mind
They don’t ask for opinions and don’t listen to any negative talk. They’re headstrong and know what they want and go out there and grab it with both hands. It’s important not to let any outside negative influences get in the way of your determination and success. If you don’t want to hear negative feedback, don’t ask for it!
Never Give Up
Possibly the most important lesson to be learnt from these guys are that they never ever gave up. They put in the hard work and were relentless. Adam Horwitz launched 30 websites in 3 years before he became successful. It didn’t even occur to him to quit after a setback. They’re determined and find ways to jump over any hurdles that come their way.
We could all afford to take more chances in life and in business. Could it be the only thing holding us back in life is ourselves?!