Savvy teens turned online entrepreneurs

May 4, 2012 11:47:51 PM PDT
This is the time of year that teenagers start looking for a summer job. But is that really a good idea? Perhaps it's time for a little out-of-the-box thinking.

Learning to work is important and learning about the work place is important too, but there's more than one way to pick up that part of your education.

Summer jobs -- it is money, but could it be more?

"You don't have to work for McDonald's wages, you don't have to work at a record store. You can start a business and build something that you love," says Julie Kantor with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

In a down economy, students have a tough time finding even minimum wage jobs. So why not just start a business instead?

"If you created a product or a service or something that you could do on your own, you can blow that away and make way more than any of your friends during the summertime," says Yanik Silver who has started more than a half-dozen online businesses and has written extensively about Internet entrepreneurship. His most recent book is "Maverick Startup."

"There are so many cool opportunities right now," says Silver. "We are in this gold age where for a couple of dollars you can start a blog, you can buy a domain. There are so many tools out there that let you go out and test something and see if it is going to work."

In high school, twins Glen and Bruce imagined themselves as designers, and now after fits and starts they are. Their website is BruceGlen.com and their "Party Animal" leather slapstick bracelet is their latest hot selling item. They even claim Beyonce owns one of their jeweled cuffs.

Their business is now paying its own bills. Next stop, quitting their day jobs.

Brian Moran has done just that. "We crossed the seven-figure mark last year," he says. "So it has been a crazy ride. It took off fast."

From a job he hated to one he created. Moran created a baseball website and has a Facebook business, Get10000fans.com, too.

"That is where I am now, managing both of those businesses," says Moran. "The baseball site which teaches kids, players, and parents how to play the game of baseball better and the Facebook site where we teach businesses how to effectively market on Facebook."

So what do teens need to get started? On this topic, entrepreneurs all agree.

"The best thing to do is find something you are passionate about," says Bruce.

"Figure out what you are passionate about," says Moran.

"Letting them follow their passion and what they are excited about," says Silver.

"Just stick with your passion," says John Hasenberg, who is on the advisory board of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a group dedicated to turning high school kids into entrepreneurs. He says success is just one side of the same coin. "You've got to be prepared to fail. You'll go try a business and it won't work out, that doesn't mean should you give up. There are a lot of stories of people who have achieved greatness and it's usually not on the first try."

The twins started in high school and Moran started months after getting out of college. All three are now 25 years old.

Resources on online entrepreneurship:


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