The idea of a teenage millionaire isn’t all too rare when you think of all the young people in the entertainment industry. If a kid has the indescribable “it factor” they can easily be making millions before they are even teens. What does seem to be more rare is the concept of the self-made teen millionaire.
You hear all sorts of stories about a kid making a small business to make money, but this is usually to save for college; once it’s time for college, the business selling cookies or an odd commodity is put on the back-burner for more stable and lucrative endeavors. Not many of these young entrepreneurs see the kind of success that leads to a million to multi-million dollar payday.
These ten teens are the exceptions to the rule. Their hobbies as teens turned into million dollar plus careers. Take a look:
10. Jordan Maron AKA Captain Sparklez
Jordan Maron is one of the lucky few who took a hobby and turned it into a multi-million dollar source of income.
Jordan Maron is a famous YouTuber who goes by the name Captain Sparklez. His Captain Sparklez YouTube channel launched when he was just 18 years old and his original YouTube channel ProsDontTalkSh** launched even before then. Even in his ProsDontTalkSh** years, Maron had already partnered with Machinima.com’s media streaming website and multi-channel network.
Jordan used to mainly post videos pertaining to the Call of Duty games, but didn’t take off until he launched the CaptainSparklez channel, where he became known for his Minecraft play videos and song parodies. To date, he is one of the most profitable stars of YouTube, with millions of subscribers, billions of views, and a worth of $8.2 million.
9. Nick D’Aloisio
Nick is a self-taught programmer that started out his education on the subject with a copy of C for Dummies and How-To videos on the internet. Once he became proficient with programming, Nick launched his first app when he was only 12 years old, and from there developed a new app every time that school would let out for summer. Eventually he developed an app called Trimit when he was only 15, which would condense lengthy articles into short summaries ranging from 1000 to 140 characters. A Hong Kong billionaire saw the potential and gave Nick $300,000 in venture capital to perfect the app. This re-working would go on to be called Summly, an app that Yahoo! paid $30 million for. In addition, Nick was also given a position in the company.
8. Fraser Doherty
Fraser laid the groundwork for his $1.2 million dollar SuperJam company by selling his Grandmother’s jam recipes at farmer’s markets and delis. As time went on, Fraser put his own tweaks on the recipes and even developed ways to make jam entirely from fruit. Word began to spread around Scotland and Fraser eventually struck a deal with the Waitrose supermarket chain to sell his jam through 184 of their stores. The exposure eventually grew into a 2,000 store market, and spanned to other countries as well. The SuperJam name has even gained status from the National Museum of Scotland as an “Iconic Scottish Brand.”
Doherty has taken his business further and has also released a SuperJam cookbook.
7. Ashley Qualls
When she was only 14, Ashley Qualls began teaching herself HTML and decided to launch a site called WhateverLife.com to showcase her design work for interested buyers. At the time, the site didn’t get much at all in the way of traffic.
The following year, Ashley began offering her services to classmates that wanted more personalized layouts for their MySpace and social networking pages. As traffic grew from word-of-mouth advertising, Ashley joined Google Adsense and took a cut of the advertising revenue. As traffic began to grow still, she started making deals directly for people to advertise their products on her site.
WhateverLife.com now sees about 7 million users pass through a month, and earns Ashley millions in ad dollars.
6. Cameron Johnson
It looked like Johnson had always had a knack for business. When he was just 5 years old he would go door-to-door selling vegetables. At the age of 9 he had already started his own greeting card company called Cheers and Tears. At 12, he began buying and selling Beanie Babies at the height of their popularity.
After the Beanie Baby business slowed down, Cameron took $50,000 he had earned and started My EZ Mail, a confidential e-mail forwarding service. Finally, he started an internet advertising venture called SurfingPrizes.com. By 15, Johnson was making nearly $400K a month.
By college, Johnson had started another site called CertificateSwap.com, which he later sold in a six-figure deal.
5. Jon Koon
Jon Koon made his first billion by 30, but it should be noted that his first million was made before he was 16.
At a very young age, Koon had opened Extreme Performance Motorsports, an after-market auto parts store. The store eventually became a house-hold name after the MTV program Pimp My Ride began using Koon’s business as the exclusive parts provider. Once in college, Koon expanded his business into overseas manufacturing, which distributes to over 20 countries.
Eventually, Koon moved on to dealing in garments, and runs 8732 Apparel with partner Young Jeezy.
4. Robert Nay
Robert Nay is a bit of a prodigy. At 14, Nay had no coding experience. Nay was a self-taught code writer that learned the old-fashioned way: at the library. In one month, Nay already had 4,000 lines of code written for his game Bubble Ball. Once finished, Nay put the app online for free with Apple. In two weeks the game had over a million downloads and Bubble Ball would eventually dethrone the insanely popular Angry Birds as the most downloaded game in the free app store.
Over one two week period, the game would earn Robert nearly $2 million in income.
3. Adam Hildreth
When Hildreth was just 14 years old, he set up Dubit Limited, a social networking site for teens that at one time was one of the biggest teenage social networking sites in the UK. It has evolved since then, and now advises companies on how to market their products for young people.
Moving forward, Hildreth decided to continue focusing on youth and developed Crisp Thinking, a company devoted to developing technology to protect children online.
At one point, Hildreth was one of the 20 richest teenagers in the UK.
2. Sean Belnick
When Sean Belnick was just 14 years old he invested $500 into his own business venture called bizchair.com. The initial $500 was made by mowing lawns and selling his Pokemon cards.
Belnick had spent time taking note of his stepfather’s business selling office furniture. With the internet just starting to become a fixture in every household and business, Belnick noticed how much money people could save if they cut out the middle man and sell directly online. By 16 years old, Belnick was a millionaire.
Today, bizchair has grown so large that it has a 70 acre headquarters in Georgia.
1. Chris Phillips
In 2002, Phillips noticed the internet was becoming “a thing” and saw that there could be a growing demand for web hosting. At the age of 17, Phillips created dot5hosting and within two years he had already earned over a million dollars.
Over the years, the business has grown alongside the internet and includes many other services a business might need to gain an online presence in the modern world.