Can Teenagers Really Become Millionaire Entrepreneurs?

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

The idea of becoming a millionaire may be a pipedream for many people. Every day there are thousands of new businesses started that will fail within the first 5 years. So why is it that there are teenagers who have been able to achieve this financial benchmark without completing education, at least half the age and a fraction of the experience?

I came across a fascinating article that featured teenagers who have become millionaires before the age of 20. There are certain things that they have in common...

They Have a Hunger To Learn  

Many of the teen entrepreneurs have invested their time in learning what is required to make their business thrive. Initially, it may have been learning technical skills, but this has developed into learning the ability to develop a business that is scalable and able to attract any investment required. They've sought help along the way and have learnt from mentors.

Fraser Doherty learnt ways to improve his grandmother's jam recipe before securing a deal with Waitrose that has eventually led to his jam being sold internationally. Ashley Qualls taught herself HTML to eventually create her site WhateverLife.com which attracts millions of visitors each month. As a 17-year old she said on her site:

“I have lived a lot in the past three years and have only a few things to say about it. There is always so much to learn.”

They Have Developed Their Ability To Build Relationships

The ability to engage and connect with people to build relationships is a critical skill of any entrepreneur. This is something that each teen millionaire has needed to develop; whether they are communicating with their peers, potential investors or multinational corporations.

The serial entrepreneur Cameron Johnson started off selling vegetables door-to-door at the age of five and Nick D’Aloisio is recognised as the youngest person to ever receive a round of venture capital funding at the age of 15. Mr D'Aloisio is currently studying at Oxford University but does not see his degree as being the most important thing as he said in an interview with the Guardian at the beginning of 2015.

"I’m not at Oxford for the degree. It’s more just environment, you’re meeting others, really intelligent people who have completely different interests."  

They Want To Add Value

This has been central to any teen millionaire; they have constantly been looking for ways to add value to others. Sean Belnick mowed lawns and sold his Pokemon cards to raise $500 to start his business bizchair.com that saved companies money through selling chairs directly online in the early days of the internet.

Adam Hildreth set up Dubit aged 14 that went on to become one of the largest teen social networking sites. He subsequently used these insights to help companies market products to young people. He has since used his success to give back and built a business dedicated to protecting children online. When he was interviewed about his new business back in 2009 he said:

"It was completely a business decision. There was a gap in the market and there needed to be someone operating effectively in this space. I had learnt about the dangers to children that exist online when I was running Dubit and saw that technology, delivered with the right business model, can help protect young people when they are online." 

We Are Never Too Young (Or Old) To Succeed!

Is there a perfect age to succeed? These examples show us that age and education don't play a direct role in business success. Teen entrepreneurs have simply discovered and aligned themselves with the principles of success at an earlier age than many other people. To read more about the stories of the teen entrepreneurs, check out this article here.

If you are feeling inspired and curious to learn more about how success doesn't care what age we are, then you should definitely visit this post! 🙂

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