Many people dream of becoming a millionaire while they are still young enough to enjoy the fruits of their labor. With approximately .13% of the world’s population attaining a net worth of $1 million, the odds are certainly against reaching millionaire status.
So how did these young people reach that goal? Four out of five amassed their fortunes on the internet, and one enterprising young man earned his money the old fashioned way.
Cameron Johnson, Ashley Qualls, Catherine Cook, Adam Hildreth and Fraser Doherty all built million-dollar businesses before reaching age 20.
Read their stories below.
23-year old Cameron Johnson started his first business at the ripe old age of nine, designing and printing greeting cards, invitations and stationary for family and friends. In less than a year, he saved $50,000, which he put toward his next venture, My EZ Mail, an email forwarding company, which generated up to $3000 a month in advertising revenue.
He then joined forces with two other teens, Aaron Greenspan and Tom Kho, to create an online advertising company, Surfingprizes.com. In his freshman year of high school, at the age of fifteen, he was receiving checks between $300,000 and $400,000 a month. Before high school graduation, his combined assets were worth over $1 million.
Johnson now spends his time giving speeches worldwide, and promoting his new book “You Call the Shots.”
17-year-old Ashley Quallslaunched Whateverlife.com as a personal portfolio of pictures and graphics in 2004, at age 14. She then began offering free MySpace layouts and tutorials for teens who want to learn to do their own graphics designs.
Last year, the media marketing company Valueclick contacted Ashley about advertising on her site. With 7 million individual viewers and over 60 million page views per month, Ashley has taken in over $1 million in advertising revenue.
In less than two years since launching Whateverlife, Ashley has dropped out of school, bought a house and helped launch artists such as Lily Allen.
In March of 2006, Qualls received an offer for Whateverlife of $1.5 million dollars, plus the car of her choice, which she turned down.
In 2005, at age 15, Catherine Cook and her 17-year-old brother, Dave Cook, convinced their older brother Geoff, to write a $250,000 check to help them launch MyYearbook.com, a social-networking site.
By 2006, after merging with Zenhex.com, MyYearbook.com raised $4.1 million in venture capital and the site was ranked by Nielson Netratings as one of the top sites for kids between 12 and 17.
The business, which now has 45 employees, has grown to more than 3 million members worldwide and brings in annual sales in the seven figures with advertisers such as Disney, Neutrogena and ABC.
23-year-old Adam Hildreth started his first company, Dubit Limited, in 1999 at age 14. A social-networking site, which has become one of the largest teen sites in the U.K., it is used by companies like Coca-Cola to market their products to young people.In 2004, at age 19, Hildreth was named one of the richest teens in the U.K., with an estimated net worth of $3.7 million.
In 2005, Hildreth launched another project, Crisp Thinking, which develops software to protect children from online pedophiles. The software, designed to look out for conversation patterns, typing speed, punctuation and any aggressive or bullying language, is 98.4% effective in detecting potentially dangerous conversations online, according to a recent study.
In 2002, at the age of 14, Fraser Doherty began making jams from his grandmother’s recipes and selling them door-to-door in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Tweaking the recipes and coming up with a name for his product, Doherty quit school at age 16 to work on Superjam full time.
Quickly outgrowing the kitchen in his parents’ home, Fraser began renting a factory a few days a month. In 2007, Waitrose, a high end supermarket in the U.K., approached him about selling Superjam in their stores.
Borrowing $9000 from a bank, he began producing three flavors, Blueberry & Blackcurrant, Rhubarb & Ginger, and Cranberry & Raspberry. Tesco followed, adding Superjam to 300 stores across the U.K. Doherty is on track to make $1-$2 million in 2008.