5 Ashley Qualls
Ashley Qualls is another teen who made her fortune online. Borrowing less than $10 from her mother, she launched WhatEverLife.com to provide web development tutorials and provide MySpace page layouts to other teens. She achieved millionaire status by the time she was 17 years old. The business took so much time, she left school to build it full time. In 2006, she was offered $1.5 million for her website, but she turned it down. Today, she’s a young adult and continues as the sole owner of WhatEverLife.com, which boasts more than 7 million visitors a month.
4 Adam Hildreth
Long before Facebook, 14-year-old Adam Hildreth founded Dubit, a social networking website in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1999, Dubit had a net worth of more than $3.7 million by 2005. Part of the site’s success was that companies targeting teens, such as Coca-Cola, would use Dubit members in focus groups. Adam intuitively understood that where kids congregate, there is a risk for predators. So in 2005 he founded Crisp Thinking, which develops software that is 98.4 percent effective in detecting online pedophiles and predators.
3 Juliette Brindak
At 10 years old, Juliette Brindak launched Miss O and Friends, a website dedicated to young girls who were too old for Barbie but not ready for Britney. The idea was to give tween girls a safe place to socialize, create, learn and build self-esteem. By the time she was 19, Brindak’s business was worth $15 million. She has expanded her brand by launching a line of Miss O and Friends products and books. Today, she is a college graduate and still strives to provide young girls a place to connect and inspire through her website.
2 Farrah Gray
Farrah Gray represents a true rages-to-riches story. He grew up poor on the South Side of Chicago, yet became a millionaire by the time he was 14 years old. He made his business debut at the age of 6 selling homemade body lotion. He co-founded the Urban Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club, where he and other children enlisted the help of local businesses to teach them about entrepreneurship and money. The club raised $15,000 to start a cookie and gift card business. He founded Farr-Out Food, which earned him his first million when he was 13. Today, Farrah is a busy man, with businesses in many areas, including publishing and real estate. He also works to help at-risk youth get out of poverty through entrepreneurship through his organization, New Early Entrepreneur Wonders.
1 Cameron Johnson
Inspired by the likes of Bill Gates and Donald Trump, Cameron Johnson started his first business at the age of 9. He earned $1 million before graduating from high school. A serial entrepreneur, Johnson made his fortune by recognizing opportunities. For example, he bought his sister’s stash of Beanie Babies and sold them on eBay for 10 times more than she paid. His other businesses included a greeting card company and several Internet companies that earned $150,000 or more a month. He was the youngest American appointed to the board of a Tokyo company. He wrote about his experiences and tips in “You Call the Shots,” published in 2007. Today, he’s all grown up and inspiring others through his writing and speaking.