The Seventeen Year Old Millionaire

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Tue, 2007-09-11 10:16.
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What kind of job did you have at 17?

I posed that question to the grown-ups I encountered recently while exploring The teen-girl site and company was started by Ashley Qualls, an entrepreneur from a working-class neighborhood outside Detroit, who happens to be 17 herself.

One of the many fascinating things about Whateverlife is that Ashley didn’t set out to start a business. The Internet practically did it for her.

Web design was a hobby, something she’d been learning online since she was 9. As a high-school sophomore, she figured out how to create layouts for MySpace pages, and her friends at Lincoln Park High School were keen to customize theirs, much like school lockers.

As word spread throughout the MySpace universe, the 15-year-old couldn’t afford the servers to support her exploding online audience.

A friend suggested using Google AdSense, which generates ad revenue based on a site’s traffic. Ka-ching. Whateverlife was off and running.

Ashley has created nearly 3,000 layouts, her monthly audience is around 7 million, and revenue has grown from a couple of thousand bucks a month to as much as $70,000 - more than $1 million in less than two years.

The Accidental Business has become a burgeoning byproduct of the Web. Just look at the collectors-turned-entrepreneurs on eBay alone.

By providing a cheap and instantaneous distribution or publishing platform, the Internet democratizes entrepreneurship. It’s a beautiful and powerful thing.

[Via - Dane Carlson's Blog]

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