Money and fame make up quite the cocktail, and these young people aren’t even legally able to enjoy one.
Can you recall that idealistic kid in your grade school who thought they were going to cure cancer or that high school friend who seemed wiser than their years? I would bet that they actually went on to do well in life. Of course, that’s not to say that every idealistic kid out there ends up an astronaut, but creativity, drive, and a passion for success are rarely able to be taught. Psychologists describe the combination as fixed personality traits.
What’s encouraging about these young people’s success stories is that they’re unpredictable– from culinary ventures to drone prototyping, each individual represents a different niche in a breadth of specialties. Suffice it to say that the people who made this list may make you feel simultaneously good about the world and bad about yourself. But we aren’t hating, just appreciating.
Remember when you were a kid and your mom or your dad would make the best PB&J (diagonal cut, of course)? Well, Logan Guleff not only did it better, but he won the Jif Most Creative Sandwich contest for it.
At age 9, his win launched him into a culinary career served with a heaping of awards, a drizzle of cookbooks, and a sprig of international recognition.
At the heart of Mihir’s success, you might attribute it to an aptitude for scaling small, simple ideas. Before he won Google’s Science fair with his FlyBot prototype, Mihir was designing motion sensors to automatically turn off his bedroom light, and creating a robot that could tune his violin for him.
Safe to say most kids would have just left the lights on or quit orchestra. Inspired by the humble fruit fly’s adaptations, Mihir’s FlyBot is a drone that is more nimble than most, making it perfect for emergency situations that would normally risk the lives of first responders.
Who doesn’t like a classic man? What classic man is complete without his custom-made bowtie?
Moziah Bridges began making bowties with his grandmother when he was 9, eventually selling them in his hometown of Memphis. Soon, Mo’s Bows was spotted on Shark Tank and his success led him to an NBA deal that permits him to create bowties with each team’s logo on them. Mo knows what’s up.
You may think Akshay is #blessed, but he comes from modest means. As the main caretaker of his two deaf parents, Akshay seeded an idea to charge a flat rate of £99 on selling homes, whereas most real estate agents would rake in 2 to 3% on commission.
This simple yet brilliant business model is what has led his company Doorsteps to be valued at $12 million.
The pure definition of Gen Z success, Nash Grier made his name as a Vine star when he was merely 15! He couldn’t even drive yet!
Currently, Grier is taking on a smattering of roles – like music video director, talk show co-host, and face of an Aeropostale clothing line.
Jason Li’s entrepreneurial habits were informed by his parents’ own work ethic. As immigrants from China, Jason saw how hard they worked to support him.
So when they gifted him an iPod and its screen broke within weeks, Jason set out to fix it himself. He not only figured out how to repair his own iPod, but he eventually began charging other kids in his class a small fee to fix their broken electronics. He coined his business iReTron and it was snapped up by Shark Tank. The rest is, as they say, history.
At only 13 years old, Austin started Zuram, a company that focused on building websites for small businesses. At the start, his main client was his uncle but the company has grown from a family affair to a legitimate business that holds 31 clients and multiple employees.
Word is, websites won’t be going out of style anytime soon so it looks like Austin’s business model has room to grow. Hats off to you, kid.
This Nebraska-born kiddy found himself in a predicament when his hands became unbearably chapped during the winter months.
Realizing that he was not alone, Daniel set out to develop his own moisturizer – one that worked. Several years later, Daniel had a formulation that included a low dose hydrocortisone, even teaming up with chemists to get the job done. Suffice it to say, he and others that use his FixMySkin product have baby-soft hands throughout the year.
Forget fighting for success, Jeff’s story begins with fighting for his life.
Diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis as a child, he began painting watercolors onto note cards to cope with his emotional stress. This progressed to donating his cards and then auctioning his canvases to charity.
Eventually, Make A Wish Foundation connected Jeff with Elton John and the two swapped a painting for a show in Dubai. Today, Jeff sells his paintings for profit as well as donates them to charitable causes.
Oh boy, Ashley’s success harkens back to an almost innocent time in the social network revolution, when Myspace was king.
Her site, whateverlife.com, provided free Myspace layouts and HTML tutorials for users. Oh yeah, and she was only 14 at the time. She employed her mom to work for the company and became a millionaire almost instantly. Mic drop?
Move aside, boys club. Juliette Brindak created a girls-only social networking site when she was a young girl. “Miss O and Friends” is a site inspired by a cast of cool girls, with Miss O being the HBIC (Head B In Charge), inspired by her younger sister, Olivia.
Juliette’s minimal sketches were brought to life by her graphic designer mother and she received business planning help from her father. Now as a millionaire, Juliette has proven herself to be HBIC.
Before there were Apple Geniuses, there was Tyler Dikman. This kid played doctor to customer’s computers, helping them to clear and scan their devices for viruses.
Through his business, Cooltronics, Tyler transformed his parents’ house into a loading dock and headquarters. But don’t worry, he made it up to his mom and dad by hiring people to take care of their lawn and walk their dog. Worth it.
High school dropout isn’t a phrase that typically makes you think of success.
But Jessica Mah skipped over high school and started InDeniro, an accounting and tax services to small businesses. She’s been through Y Combinator (not a cult) and she’s also a pilot.
Her career is literally and figuratively soaring.
Sometimes the difference between success and failure is hard work. But, sometimes you’re just a genius.
Brian Wong graduated college at 18 years old and founded Kiip, a company that targets gamers by sending real-world rewards for in-game achievements – a simple insight that has earned him a million dollars before the age of 20.
Stephen has said that he builds apps to scratch his own itch. Well, I’d say that is an understatement.
His app Ohboard, was among the first to act as a Chrome extension and acted as a whiteboard for designers, developers, and marketers so they could jot down ideas.
One interview of Kristopher reports that although he started playing with computers at age 4, he didn’t really start programming until age 5 .
That sounds about right because at age 12 I was still honing my shot to blast geese out of the sky in Oregon Trail.
Tate built the photo-sharing site Zooomr, which has been described as Flickr on steroids.
Egocentricity isn’t always bad – just ask Mark Bao, who was 18 when he created Threewords.me. It’s a site that allows you to invite friends to describe you in three words. This simple premise surely tapped into our Freudian id, because the site was an immediate success. Now, three words that could describe Mark are, young, rich and also rich.
Recall that trope, “know your audience?” Well, how about “be your audience?”
Gloson Teh was only 9 when he began writing poetry and 11 when he was recognized as the youngest published poet in Malaysia. He now runs a blog and hosts his own YouTube channel where he doles out tips on how to write poetry (with a side of shameless self- advertisement of course).
Commuters need a distraction to get them through the daily salvo of bizarre sights, sounds and, smells.
Robert Nay tapped into this at only 14 years old, when he launched Bubble Ball, a game that engages players to use basic physics principles to get a ball across a line. The app was downloaded 2 million times from Apple and iTunes in the first two weeks. Slow clap, anyone?
Maddie Rae’s product has capitalized on the human fascination, and simple joy found in slime! She’s a bonafide slime dealer and makes hand over fist at it.
Carl began exploring the internet at 12 years-old. Soon after, he developed his own blog, carlocab.com where he quickly advanced to the top of Google searches, using the key phrase “make money online” to attract attention. Carl continues his affiliate marketing company today, proving he really does walk the walk.
Noa lives in New York City, a unique place full of rich and overburdened people, who happen to have spawned.
At 16, Noa runs “Nannies by Noa,” a childcare agency that matches these families with a caregiver. You may be skeptical of a 16-year-old’s capacity to organize childcare, but she reports that the majority of her business stems from word of mouth referral – how refreshing!
First George Matus loved flying, then he began to build drones, inspired by his own wish list of what he’d like to see in a drone.
His company, Teal, has materialized this wish list. Teal offers two drones: the Teal One and the Teal Sport, which are smart enabled, agile, and most importantly –sexy.
Mikaila is the founder of Me & the Bees, a lemonade that is sweetened with flaxseed and local honey.
In turn, she dedicates a portion of her profits to organizations that focus on saving honey-bees from extinction. At 11 years old Mikaila has an exceptional worldview, which needless to say this gives me a little more hope for other middle schoolers.
If you grew up in the burbs, you’ll be familiar with the term, “lax bro.”
Besides wearing Lacrosse jerseys off the field and the same tube socks 5 days a week, lacrosse players show a serious dedication their sport, not unlike a Gladiator to their audience.
Maybe that was too deep of an analogy, but regardless Rachel’s successful company is named Gladiator Lacrosse and I think it fits perfectly. Amongst her equipment offerings includes backyard goals and rebounders, so you can live that life every single day.
Shubham is a great example someone who saw a need and from the pure idealism that only runs through young people’s veins, decided to fill it.
His company, Braigo, sells portable and low-cost printers to the visually impaired. The key is low cost, as typical braille printers sell for $2,000 or more. His Braigo printer sells for $350. Now that’s some hammer and sickle, am I right?
This guy is slightly over 20-years-old, but I had to include him.
Love him or hate him, he’s totally novel and oddly enough, he spreads a generally positive message (when he’s not rapping about gang life).
The son of two immigrants, Si6Nin9 went to Rikers Island when he was 19-years-old. After he was released he started churning out billboard hits, including BILLY, TATI, and most notably, FEFE ft. Nicki Minaj. That’s quite the come up.
This successful youngster created Zollipops, a brand of lollipops. But unlike the lollipops you may have enjoyed as a kid (Blow Pops, anyone?) Zollipops uses natural, zero-calorie sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol.
Beyond being better for your blood sugar, these ingredients actually improve dental health. A product that both tastes good and is good for you? Well done, Alina, well done.
This kid shows his swag from head to toe – literally.
Brennan took issue with the muted, boring colors that basketball socks came in. To stand out, he developed a line of swaggy socks, dubbed Hoopswagg. The line features a smorgasbord of socks that sport a range of patterns, from American flags to cartoon bubbles. What’s not to love?
Although you may feel thoroughly dejected after reading these biographies, we do hope that you’ll feel a ray of inspiration, as well. So even if you’re not the entrepreneurial type, think about ways that you can express yourself and go for it!