Having just concluded school holidays you might be contemplating your empty wallet and wondering when will your little cost centres become revenue generators? If only your child was one of those teenage millionaires…
We hear you loud and clear. So we’ve taken a look at some teen whizz kids and figured out what these very useful children know that more of us – not just other children - should.
1. It’s not always about technology
Living in a world where we’re so tuned to waiting for the ‘next big thing’ it’s easy to overlook the obvious opportunities. But like their adult counterparts, there are some children who find a way of entering what may often be a saturated market. And they’re proving you don’t always have to be able to write code to be successful.
Take the case of Fraser Doherty. Fraser is a good old-fashioned jam maker. He used his grandmother’s recipe to make jam and sold it to neighbours in his native Edinburgh. He was 14. By 16 he’d tweaked the recipe and very cleverly called it Super Jam. He got a supermarket deal in 2007 and showed that the route to success in this age of technology is not necessarily always, well, in technology.
2. Don’t stop trying new things
Like many children in the US, Tyler Dikman followed the route of mowing lawns, babysitting and, of course, running a lemonade stand. He also did magic shows for children’s birthday parties. At the age of 10 after getting his first computer, he became curious about what was inside and very soon everyone was asking him to repair their machines. He was making serious money by fifteen and now, in his twenties, runs a multi-million-dollar computer business and a whole lot of other things besides.
3. Use your passion
Teenager needs money. Teenager finds job. But discovers a business in the process. Zoe Jackson had to find money if she wanted to study with the National Youth Theatre. She set up a performing arts company where all shows were put together from beginning to end by people just like her. The business she started at sixteen continued to grow and now she’s doing what her business happens to be called: Living the Dream.
4. Ignore what other people say
As a parent it might be annoying when your child blanks you but the ability to block people out is exactly what any teenage entrepreneur needs. Their natural inclination to ignore advice and criticism is perfect for starting a business. They just blank it all and get on with what they’re doing. Pretty much all the successful teenage entrepreneurs you read about operate that way. They don’t over think things: they just do them. And there’s probably a lesson in that for all of us.
5. PR is very important
Cameron Johnson had the credibility of being an entrepreneur before he proved himself to be a PR whizz. He started his first business at the age of nine, sold Beanie Babies when his was 12 and yes, he made his first million while still at school. He’s now a grand old man of motivation- still in his early twenties - writing books and lecturing others on how to become teenage millionaires. In a world of lookalike resumes, Cameron’s lesson is one for everyone, not just potential teenage entrepreneurs. Being able to project yourself is essential and it’s something no teenager should enter the world of work without knowing.