Archive for: August 2013

5 Successful Companies Started By Teenagers

moneyMost teenagers spend their time watching television, playing video games and working part-time jobs in restaurants and at the local mall. However, some teenagers have big dreams from an early age and wind up becoming CEO’s of their own companies while they are still in high school. These are the kids who took their business talents to new levels, becoming millionaires at an age where most kids are still asking their parents for allowance money to go to the movies.

Sean Belnick is one young man who knew how to take an idea and turn it into pure gold. Starting with $500 at the age of 14, the 20 year-old is now worth more than $24 million. The company he started from his bedroom, BizChair.com, now has over 75 employees and is providing jobs to people in his hometown of Kennesaw, GA. Offering medical equipment, office furniture and home furnishings to clients such as the Pentagon and Microsoft, Sean’s company is doing quite well for itself.

Leanna Archer, nicknamed “Tiny Trump” by her friends, started her company as a 13 year-old in her parent’s basement. Her company, called Leanna’s Hair, was born out of her grandmother’s secret recipe for the pomade she put in her hair. When everyone started asking about it, she made up a batch and bottled it in baby jars to sell. The money soon started rolling in, so she and her parents obtained a business license and Tax ID and started production.

Juliette Brindak wanted to empower little girls and teach them about positive role models and body image, so she started a website called Miss O and Friends. Similar to Facebook, it offers a place for young girls to get together in a virtual world and develop meaningful relationships. At age 19, Miss Brindak is worth a cool $15 million.

Fraser Doherty, at age 15, is set to make his mark in the world of jellies and jams. Ready to take on giant companies like Welches and Smuckers, Doherty is fast becoming the jelly and jam king in England and Ireland. The Scottish-born entrepreneur has made millions making and selling his grandmother’s favorite recipes out of his parent’s kitchen. His products, named SuperJam, come in a variety of flavors including rhubarb and ginger and blueberry and blackcurrant.

Adam Horwitz apparently was born to be an entrepreneur. Starting in his pre-teen years, he took a liking to internet marketing and decided that was going to be his area of focus. From first starting a gossip blog with fellow classmates to starting a site called Urban Stomp listing locations of local parties, Adam has learned how to make his mark in the virtual world. Now worth several million dollars, he teaches courses to teenagers on internet marketing and runs mobile marketing sites with names like “Dude, I Hate My Job!” and “Mobile Monopoly.”

As these young people have proven, it doesn’t take tons of start-up money and years of experience to make it big in the business world. All it takes is a dream and a desire to never quit working until you reach your goal. Whether it’s selling jams and jellies or starting a website, these teenagers have shown an initiative that is hard to find in adults much older than themselves, let alone other teens.

The Truth About Becoming A Professional Gamer

Becoming a professional gamer is often on a list of dream careers for people who love games and show a talent for the form. But that dream is often a complicated one — with only a small percentage of players making the cut to “professional” status, and of those only a handful achieving something resembling a long-term career. Still, the prospect of doing a job that you love has got many people wondering what the outlook is like for someone wanting to take a chance in the world of eSports.

professional-gamerLike any professional endeavor, there is a question as to whether innate talent or hard work matters more in gaining professional achievement –– but when looking at those who have accomplished big results across a range of fields it would seem that whatever the role of talent, it is often trumped by sheer hard work and practice.

Indeed, the old adage that “practice” is the way to get to Carnegie Hall isn’t just old-fashioned advice: Journalist Malcolm Gladwell has suggested through his research that there is something called the “10,000 Hour Rule,” of which he believes there is a requisite amount of work — about 10,000 hours — that it takes for someone to master a task. It’s the kind of time commitment, reduced of course if you’ve been gaming for many years, but intimidating nonetheless, that might make you stop to think about the potential downsides of this career track.

When something you love becomes something you have to do, many find that passion is quick to leave. It’s the sort of curse of having too much of a good thing: Many of us find that our favorite activities are a form of play and a relief from the stress of work. When that relief becomes a form of stress it can become a frustrating experience.

So, like the Beatles, who played back-to-back sets in small clubs for hours upon hours and years upon years — and through this practice became extremely successful — Gladwell might suggest that becoming a professional gamer is within the grasp of those who would seek out its possibilities as well as grueling challenges, with the caveat that the hours and dedication one would have to put in are immense and often lacking in rewards.

There’s also the downside of job security as a professional gamer: when you’re self-employed, even as a professional, the lack of benefits (or even a guarantee of work months down the line) creates a “feast or famine” environment, in which one can be reaping financial rewards one month and have a steady stream of income dry up the next. For these reasons, another old saying, “Don’t quit your day job,” is one way of having the sort of reliability of income that a self-employed gamer might not.

In this way, learning tasks that build on skills used in gaming — an understanding of how computing, coding and design works, for example — can be a few extra arrows in a professional gamer’s quiver that will allow them to bring in extra income when times are lean.

So for these reasons, educating yourself about the benefits and downsides of being a professional gamer — and knowing the kind of sacrifices that you’ll have to make — is a key component in putting your foot in the professional water, so to speak. Whatever you do, remember that the values of hard work and honesty will always be of help.