Entrepreneurs of the Week: Millionaires By 21

Entrepreneurs of the Week: Millionaires By 21
Money
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

This week’s entrepreneur of the week profile covers four successful individuals that took risks even before they could legally buy alcohol. The success one attains in life is a direct reflection of their ability to focus and always remain passionate over the task at hand.

These entrepreneurs came from all walks of life and reached their goals by paving their own path to success and not subscribing to typical standards.

Jon Koon, 27

Position: Owner and designer of the Private Stock denim line, marketing guru and manufacturer of auto accessories.

How he made it: A licensing and fashion marvel, Koon made his first million at 16 as a pioneer in car tuning, where vehicles are modified with special parts to enhance appearance and performance.

Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Get a business plan.
Koon saved $5,000 to start his first company, but the business plan helped him get substantial backing. “Investment is always tied to a clear opportunity for profit and that exact stream of profitability needs to be identified from the beginning,” he says.

Koon also advises young business hopefuls to stretch. “I always set my goals above the bar and out of reach,” he says. “I believe it’s always better to surpass expectations then just meet expectations.”

Now that’s rich: Koon’s unofficial motto is “the world better prepare — Jon Koon, the next billionaire.” He also hands out gold-plated business cards.

Catherine Cook, 21

Position: Cook, who turns 22 this month, co-founded myYearbook.com with Dave Cook, her older brother by 18 months.The virtual meeting place geared towards students has attracted more than 20 million visitors.

How she made it: In July, myYearbook merged with Quepasa Corporation, owner of the Latino social network Quepasa.com, in a deal worth $100 million.

Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Find a successful mentor.
Cook happens to be the younger sister of myYearbook CEO Geoff Cook, who is 11 years older and started his own web company in college. She learned watching him build Cyberedit.com, a service that edited college admissions essays and resumes. Geoff sold CyberEdit in 2004 to Peterson’s, a division of Thomson Learning, for a multi-million dollar sum.

Catherine Cook also stresses that being a teen is actually an advantage for today’s entrepreneurs. “At 17, you’re living off your parents at home, and they’re paying for your meals. When you’re older it’s a lot less likely you will quit a job to follow through on an idea. When you’re young you do an idea and if it fails, so what? There are almost no downsides.”

Now that’s rich: Of the 100 myYearbook employees, Catherine Cook has the highest rank andthe youngest age. “But when you’re all working on something, you don’t notice it,” she says. “The people there are all very passionate about the site. And the age differences disappear.”

John Magennis Jr., 29

Position: Owner of Magennis Entertainment, LLC. A reality TV show producer and author.

How he made it: Working from his bedroom without any startup funds, Magennis launched Internet Exposer, a web design firm, at 14. At first, he charged $15 an hour for website templates. By age 17, he built it into a million-dollar company with Fortune 500 business affiliates as clients, and was nominated for the Ernst & Young’s New England Entrepreneur of the Year award. Magennis has worked in development, casting and producing for ABC, NBC, Bravo, Discovery, Animal Planet, CMT and Lifetime, and as a supervising casting producer for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN.

Top tip for millionaire hopefuls: Invest in a passion or hobby.
Magennis says it’s easier to enjoy yourself, and avoid disappointment, if you tie business goals to personal passions. “When I started my 
technology company, I had a passion for learning everything I could
 about the tech industry and how I could provide a service that would
 benefit my clients,” he says. As he tackled skills from programming to budgeting, “I enjoyed each step of the way. The
 process of learning was in itself an investment of my time, but it 
never felt like a chore. It was exciting to me.”

Now that’s rich: Magennis has a half dozen TV projects in development, including a reality show that sounds a tad autobiographical: “Teen Moguls: Saving America.”

J. Christopher Burch, 58

Position: Founder and CEO of J. Christopher Capital and co-chair of the board of directors for Tory Burch LLC, which produces Tory Burch, a women’s apparel line; former board member of Guggenheim Capital.

How he made it: As an undergraduate at Ithaca College, he invested $2,000 with his brother Bob to start Eagle’s Eye, a women’s clothing line. Burch made his first million by age 24, and the brothers grew Eagle’s Eye into a business with more than $140 million in sales before they sold it to Swire Pacific Ltd. in 1989. At the time, Burch was 35.

Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Cater to customers first.
Many young entrepreneurs today don’t think about the customer enough,” Burch says. “They think about themselves, and it’s not good. It’s not about how much you sell your business for; it’s how you provide a service or product that’s extra and do it in a unique and amazing way.”

Burch adds that if he were starting from scratch today, “I would write a very innovative plan, do a one-minute or two-minute video, and show what the focus of the brand is. Show it in a cool way with cool music and put in on a computer. Then go around with the video, and raise a small amount of money from friends and family, or a small group. Don’t be afraid. It’s actually not that hard.”

Now that’s rich: Burch is currently building nine clothing and lifestyle brands, in addition to engineering private equity deals. It’s a long way from the early 1970s, when he received his first-ever shipment of of sweaters from Scotland. “Every single sweater was small enough to fit a monkey,” he recalls. “It was the most depressing day of my life.” He still managed to sell them all.

Reuters.

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Preston Waters

Preston Waters is a thinker. He's not your traditional philosophical persona, however, as he leaves no topic untouched. Covering all the bases, from business to women, Preston Waters is the ultimate man's man for Gen-Y.

More In Money

Also On Elite

World

Vet Student Stitches ‘I Love You’ On A Dog He Operated On (Photos)

Guys: Very rarely will you hear a woman complain about your attempts at romantic gestures, even those that were sweet in theory, but failures in practice (and yes, this happens more often than you’d think). There are some “gestures” that will make even the most patient of women cringe. The following story falls into the […]

Life

Work-Married: 5 Signs You’ve Found Your Office BFF

Starting your first job can be nerve racking. It might be your first time having real responsibilities, real hours and real paychecks. The pressure is definitely on, and you want to present yourself in the best possible light. A new job also means meeting new people with whom you’ll share space and so many hours […]

Life

How Meeting New People Allows You To ‘Re-Meet’ Yourself

Throughout childhood and into adulthood, friends and acquaintances surround you. Whether they start out as family friends, or you meet in your grade school classes, relationships build continuously. It seems to me that for most people, these relationships form with little to no effort. Or maybe it’s just that we are so young, we aren’t […]

Humor

What A Chinese Food Menu Would Look Like If It Were Actually Honest (Photo)

There’s a pretty good chance that at some point in your life you’ve found yourself sitting on your couch in the early hours of the morning with the various intoxicants you’ve consumed since the sun went down, yelling one thing and one thing only: “FEED ME!” Unfortunately, your options are normally limited when you try […]