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Young Entrepreneurs Making a Difference: Learn Their Stories

By Robert Everett

Most of us from Generation X are still struggling to make ends meet and move up the corporate ladder. This is mostly because the baby boomers have decided not to retire as soon as planned. However, this is not the case for those who fall under Generation Y. Most of them are using innovative ways to earn their own income. In most of those cases, entrepreneurship is involved. Below is a list of 5 personalities that achieved a lot being young. We hope that it will give you enough inspiration to realize that it’s never too late or too early to start pursuing your dreams of being a successful business owner.

Hart Main

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Ever heard of the story about manly-scented candles? Well, Hart Main is the 14-year old behind it. He came up with the idea when he was teasing his sister about the girly-scented candles she was selling for her school’s fundraising. Her sister did not expect him to pursue the idea but he decided to do it anyway and as a result it has already achieved nationwide success.  He made an initial investment of $100 and his parents topped that up with $200 and they worked on the project as a group. Some of the scents that are available today include Sawdust, Campfire, Grandpa’s pipe, Bacon, Fresh Cut Grass and much more. Currently, the manly-scented candles are on sale in more than 60 stores all over the country and about 9,000 units have been sold. Hart Main will continue selling the ManCans until it’s time for back to school and he has to shift his focus.

While other kids thought of mowing the neighbor’s lawn to earn some extra cash at 13, Hart Main thought of starting his own company. Five years later since he started, his family has gone from making the manly-scented candles in their home kitchen and sold to other families and friends to being made at Beaver Creek Candle Co.

Charlotte Fortin

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Charlotte Fortin is the face behind Wound Up, which has now become a household name.  Charlotte who is a young and recent graduate from high school decided to walk in the shoes of both her father and grandfather. All of them were successful entrepreneurs. She got her inspiration from small and classy boutiques based in California. Wound Up is a women’s clothing store that targets women who fall between 18 and 40 years of age. Some of the merchandise sold at the store includes shorts, blouses, dresses and skirts.

From all the years that she has been in business, Fortin has acquired enough experience that has taught her to be responsible and cautious. Despite working for an average of 9 hours a day, Fortin has managed to find a balance between working and having time for her friends. In one of her interviews she confessed that she always wanted to do something like that before.

While most of her friends and age mates are working in fast-food restaurants or factories, Charlotte decided to launch her store the heart of Belle River’s business district. She took a trip to California, and that is when she got the opportunity to visit the funky stores along Laguna Beach. She was inspired by how the stores were flooded with clients despite the fact that they were small.

Garrett Gee

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Being an entrepreneur requires you to be a risk taker and one could never do it any better than Garrett Gee. When the iPad 2 was about to be launched, Garrett Gee decided to take the risk of a lifetime. He gambled on the chance that soon as the iPad was launched, there will be many blog posts coming up about the top ten apps on the iPad. He reasoned beyond that and decided to be the first one to offer the QR code software and apps. He decided to develop user-friendly and less clunky apps for the device.

He dedicated two sleepless nights into achieving his goal. He put the iPad 2 into the hands of his iOS developer and in the end he achieved his goal. It turned out that he was also right about the blog posts, and thanks to his determination, he made it into the list. Later on, he recruited two of his classmates and together they launched Scan in February 2011. The team was also able to raise $1.5 million from venture capitalists. These included Google Ventures, and within the first one year, Scan earned over 10 million downloads. Within the next year, the number of downloads had doubled to over 21 million before October 2011. Garrett Gee says that his next move is to develop a monetization plan.

Caine Monroy

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This kid from East Los Angeles made an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s auto parts store. He portrays his entrepreneurial skills at such a tender age. Caine sees an arcade where the layman sees a pile of beat up cardboard boxes and old toys. His inventiveness captures the imagination of dozens of people. Being a kid who is running a business is a huge tip-off. This behavior can’t be ignored, it is indicative of an entrepreneurial spirit in the young kid.

Caine loves arcades so he made his own. He is devoted to and has passion for what he does. His love for business borders on obsession, which he will need to grow his future enterprises. Caine at nine years old is among the few who are lucky to discover what they love doing at an early age. His perseverance is also notable. Instead of being at the pool or playing games with other kids, he sits there waiting for someone to come to the arcade. Caine displays irrational optimism. His belief in his abilities and his conviction of purpose will help see him through. He has an infectious passion. Caine’s first customer, Nirvan, was enthralled by his enthusiasm.  Nirvan made a video and invited all of L.A. to the arcade. By sheer force of personality and energy, Caine drew others to his cause.

Willow Tufano

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While other teens are searching to buy a custom essay, this fourteen-year-old just bought a house in Florida. It all started one day when Willow came across a house that an investor wanted to flip, the house had all sorts of stuff she says. She came up with an idea of selling the stuff if the investor would let her have it. The investor agreed to it and she sold furniture and other households on Craigslist. She also did this to several other houses; this resulted to her clearing around $500 a month and saving a lot. Shannon, Willows mum, one day saw a two-bedroom concrete block house on sale for $12,000 from $100,000 during the peak of the bubble. Willow eavesdropped on her mother telling her dad about the house and thought to herself that it would be amazing if she bought a house at her age.  Willow wound up separating the house with her mother. The place was in a bad condition when they bought it; they tidied up the place and rented it to a couple at $700 per month. Willow is now thinking of buying a second home from her savings.

They say that age is just a number. However, most people still use it as an excuse as to why they have not yet accomplished some things in life. These 5 personalities that have achieved a lot being young who have been mentioned above are proof enough that it’s never too early to pursue your goals. Some of them have defied common beliefs, went to extremes and took huge risks in their journey to become successful.

These people have proven to us that one does not have to wait upon a shooting star but one gets inspiration from the simple things happening around.

Robert Everett is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Follow Robert on Facebook and Google+.