To help inspire you to work on your own million-dollar ideas, for the next three days, we offer you three stories of unusual entrepreneurship -- true tales you probably haven't come across before. First up: David Mintz and his sweet solution to an ancient problem. On Wednesday, we began with David Mintz, who made millions by taking the "cream" out of ice cream. Next up, young Rhys Davies, who turned MySpace into a cash cow with the help of a bit of graphical flair.
Yes, A 14-Year-Old Can Get Rich Fooling Around on Social Media
Rhys Davies of Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, U.K., began his entrepreneurial career at the tender age of 14, when severe social anxiety led him to drop out of school.
"If anyone talked [to] or even looked at me, I would just crumble inside. The fear of interaction with other people took control of me," says Davies. "This led me to essentially become a recluse. The only place I felt comfortable interacting was on my PC."
At this time (circa 2006), MySpace was the most popular social media site, Davies explains. "Like any other teenager, I would spend hours customizing my profile with graphics, quotes, music videos, etc." In doing so, Davies noticed how popular simple glitter graphics were among other users decorating their MySpace pages.
"The first month I hit roughly $10,000 in advertising revenue. It stayed that way every month so the first year in business I had done just over $100,000 in revenue. I was extremely lucky to have a successful business from the get-go," Davies admits. "The only expense I had was the hosting which cost roughly $400 a month."
Davies says he earned more money that first year than his father (a greengrocer and florist), fielded job offers from far larger Web companies, and had to hire an accountant because at 14, he wasn't necessarily legally allowed to run his business.
"The system wasn't really set up thinking that teenagers would be leaving school earlier than the law states and earning six figures," as he puts it.
Now 21, Davies has used the proceeds from this initial success to start an e-commerce business selling jigsaw puzzles called www.yourjigsawpuzzles.co.uk, "which is shaping up to be a million-dollar business in the next few years," he says. Davies also has a young family to support. He and his partner, Sarah, now have two children.
Friday: Suburban Mom Made her Fortune Helping People Find Reliable Contractors
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Catherine Baab-Muguira is a contributing writer to The Motley Fool.