One of the fantastic things about the Internet is that there is no such thing as age discrimination when it comes to being successful online.Â It doesn't matter if you're 13 or 83 — you have as much chance as anyone to become rich and famous through your online efforts.Â To prove the point, here are 27 young entrepreneurs who are making their dreams a reality through online business.
Juliette Bindak, 20 of MissOandFriends.com — Juliette Bindak founded her company, Miss O and Friends, a site for girls, by girls, at the age of 10.Â By the time she was 19, just last year, the company had a value of more than $15 million.Â She also published her first book at the age of 16, which has sold over 120,000 copies.Â Juliette is a true inspiration to any teen, pre-teen, or adult looking to start an online empire!
Pete Cashmore, 24 of Mashable.com – From the Mashable site: "Pete Cashmore is the 24 year-old CEO and founder of Mashable.com, a Technorati Top 10 blog worldwide. He founded Mashable in a small Scottish town in 2005 at age 19. In 2009, Cashmore was chosen as one of Inc Magazine’s 30 Under 30, Forbes’ Top 25 Web Celebs and the Huffington Posts’ Top 10 Game Changers 2009."
Michael Dunlop, 21 of IncomeDiary.com — Michael Dunlop started his first profitable website when he was just 16 years old.Â Now, at the ripe old age of 21, Michael is truly living what he calls the Internet Lifestyle.Â Michael's blog is all about helping others achieve this same dream.Â Through interviews with some of the true thought-leaders in online marketing, as well as instructional content, Michael brings great information to anyone looking to become a pro blogger.
Adam Horwitz, 18 of AdamHorwitz.tv – 18-year-old Adam Horwitz says on his site that he has a goal to make a million dollars a year by the time he's 21.Â All signs point to that becoming a reality.Â Adam started out in Internet marketing at the age of 15 and has become an expert in the areas of affiliate marketing and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.Â Now he makes money teaching others to make a living in these areas.Â His blog is full of informational videos, tips, and lots of goofy stuff that might not make you a better entrepreneur, but just might make you laugh.
Jonathan Mead, 23 of IlluminatedMind.net – Full-time blogger and life coach Jonathan Mead delivers a steady dose of inspiration and how-to content on his blog, and through his popular e-books, Reclaim Your Dreams, and The Zero Hour Workweek " How I Liberated Myself From the 9 to 5 by Getting Paid to Be Me. At just 23, Jonathan has figured out the "secret formula" for becoming a successful entrepreneur by sharing his story and expertise through blogging.
Kevin Sproles, 25 of Volusion.com – Kevin Sproles started designing web sites at the age of 16.Â After receiving lots of requests for a shopping cart solution, Kevin, with very little money and a great deal of perseverance, started coding shopping cart software.Â Now, at the age of 25, his company supplies the most award-winning e-commerce solution to over online 100,000 entrepreneurs as well as major companies.
Catherine Cook, 20 of myYearbook.com – Since co-founding myYearbook with her brother in 2005, at the age of 15, Catherine Cook and her team have raised over $20 million in capital and have grown the site into one of the largest US social media sites with over 20 million members.Â The site makes meeting new people easy by introducing members to innovative social games that are all tied together by a single virtual currency called “Lunch Money.”
Aaron Levie, 24, and Dylan Smith, 24 of Box.net - Aaron Levie originally created Box.net as a college business project with the goal of helping people easily access their information from any location. Box.net was launched from Aaron’s dorm room in 2005 with the help of co-founder, and now CFO, Dylan Smith. Aaron is the visionary behind Box’s product and platform strategy. He has spoken about content and collaboration tools at events such as Accenture Global Summit, South by Southwest, and Svase.Â Dylan has been instrumental in Box.net’s growth and development since starting the company with Aaron.
Sam Lessin, 26 of Drop.io – After graduating from Harvard, Magna Cum Laude in 2005, Sam Lessin started Drop.io.Â Drop.io is a simple, private, real-time, sharing, collaboration, and presentation site where users can upload files of any kind and have the ability to access, share, and edit those files from any Internet-connected computer.Â Sam is also the co-founder of SocialGreat.com, a location-based social media site with a growing user-base.
Gurbaksh Chahal, 27 of gWallet.com – Gurbaksh Chahal has an amazing entrepreneurial story.Â After dropping out of high school in San Jose at age 16 to start ClickAgents, a performance-based ad network, he grew the company for two years, at which point it was acquired by ValueClick in a $40 million all-stock deal. His next venture, another ad network called BlueLithium, was acquired in 2007 by Yahoo! for $300 million cash.Â Gurbaksh started gWallet, a virtual currency platform for social media, in September of 2009.Â In 2008, Gurbaksh published his memoir in a book called The Dream.
Nat Turner, 23; Zach Weinberg, 23; and Scott Becker, 23 of InviteMedia.com – Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg had the idea for Invite Media, a buying platform for online display media, while in college.Â They, along with Scott Becker and Michael Provenzano, launched the company in 2007 and have since landed millions in venture capital funding.Â Invite Media is the first “universal buying platform” for display media, and their board of directors includes those involved early on in such companies as Real Media, Tacoda, Strategic Data Corporation, and Right Media.
Eric Koger, 25, and Susan Koger, 24 of ModCloth.com – High School sweethearts Eric and Susan Koger founded ModCloth, an online clothing, accessories, and decor retailer in 2002, while they were freshmen in college.Â The company has since grown to over 100 employees and more than $15 million in annual sales.Â What sets ModCloth apart from other online clothing retailers is their focus on connecting with customers through various social media outlets.
Ryan Allis, 25 of iContact.com – Ryan Allis is the co-founder and CEO of iContact, a leading provider of email marketing tools for small businesses.Â Ryan has built North Carolina-based iContact from its start in 2003 to its current size with more than 175 employees, 50,000 customers, and $28 million in annual sales, while raising $10.8 million to grow the firm.Â Ryan is also the author of the book Zero to One Million, which reached the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list in 2008.
Matt Mickiewicz, 25 of SitePoint.com – Originally called Webmaster-Resources.com, Matt Mickiewicz founded what is now known as SitePoint in 1998.Â The site has grown to be one of the most visited sites on the Internet with half a million newsletter subscribers.Â Matt is also the founder of 99Designs.com, a community-based site where those in need of design expertise can connect with designers of all disciplines to fill their needs.Â The site currently has over 180,000 members.Â Additionally, Matt is co-founder of Flippa.com, a site that facilitates the buying and selling of websites.
Milun Tesovic, 25 of MetroLyrics.com – Started in 2001, while Milun Tesovic was a Vancouver, BC high school student, MetroLyrics is now the most popular music lyrics site on the Internet.Â Metrolyrics gets more than 32 million unique monthly visitors and is the sixth most popular music site on the web.Â Milun was named the 2009 National Student Entrepreneur Champion by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Canada, and received the Simon Fraser University Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008.
Derek Johnson, 25 of Tatango.com – Derek Johnson was bit by the entrepreneur bug early in life, starting his first business of selling candy bars to fellow students at recess by the age of eight. Derek, a self proclaimed workaholic, puts in 100+ hour workweeks to help fulfill the vision of Tatango.com.Â Originally launched as networkText.com in 2007, Tatango has since facilitated the sending of tens of millions of text messages to groups of varying sizes, through their simple-to-use group texting platform.
David Karp, 23 of Tumblr.com – Started by David Karp in 2007, the Tumblr platform now has 4.2 million users and has landed $5.5 million in venture capital.Â Tumblr is a free online service that lets you effortlessly share anything.Â Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from their browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever they happen to be.Â To date, Tumblr has facilitated over 500 million posts of all kinds.
Zhang Rui, 30 of Mosh.cn – Zhang Rui is founder of Mosh.cn, one of China’s largest social networking websites, a site that has taken China’s young people by storm in the past few years.Â Unlike other social networking sites, one focus of Mosh is to encourage face-to-face meetings among its members.Â As the site is in Chinese, not much information could be obtained directly, but as of 2006, the site had 300,000 users and was growing at over 700 users per day.Â If the rate remained steady, they should be at well over a million users today.
Kevin Rose, 33 of Digg.com – In the fall of 2004, Kevin Rose withdrew $1000 out of his account and paid a freelance web developer $12 an hour to mock up a webpage, and purchased some server space for $99 a month. Â He then paid $1200 for the domain name digg.com, and the project began.Â Today Digg has over 40 million users, and Kevin's net worth is estimated at over $60 million.Â Rose also co-hosts a weekly podcast Diggnation with Alex Albrecht, where they discuss the top stories from Digg.com.
Jake Nickell, 29 of Threadless.com – With $500 and an idea for what Jake Nickell thought was going to be a side project, he started Threadless.com 10 years ago.Â Â Today, the company has turned into what Jake describes as, "a global t-shirt phenomenon."Â The site features t-shirt designs submitted and voted upon by its thousands of members.Â Jake also recently invested in Graphic.ly, which provides an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise.
Andrew Gower, 31 of Runescape.com – As founder of Jagex, Ltd., Andrew Gower wrote the code and developed the concept of Runescape with his brother Paul in 2001.Â Today Runescape is the #1 free multiplayer game on the Internet with over 150,000 players online at any given time, and Andrew shares with his brother and estimated net worth of $217 million.
Adam Toren & Matthew Toren of YoungEntrepreneur.com – Ok, so this is perhaps a shameless plug, but my brother Matthew and I do have a great young entrepreneur story.Â We are proud to say that we truly epitomize the entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to being co-founders of YoungEntrepreneur.com (which launched back in 1999), we have many teaching and research interests including marketing, business development, entrepreneurial emergence, entrepreneurial strategy management, business growth techniques, innovation, and new venture creation.Â We have bought, sold and still operate several online ventures. We have recently released a book called, Kidpreneurs, and operate the blog site, Blogtrepreneur.com.
After reviewing this list of success stories, ask yourself – What can they do that you can't?Â Chances are you won't find that they have anything special, beyond a drive to succeed, and the belief that it's possible.Â So whatever your age, whether you're younger or older than those above, know that you too can make your dreams of business success a reality, if you'll just go for it and keep at it through whatever may come.