Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age

October 7, 2008

You can be a business success story, no matter how old you are. Online business has broken all age barriers that may have limited your chances of success in the past. And now, everybody from teenagers to pensioners has a level playing ground.

Recently, I read this amazing story about 75 year old Jerrold Foutz. He added Google Adsense to his website - four years ago and makes $25,000 a year, which equals his Boeing retirement cheque. You should check out his site. It’s another great example of how even the worst looking websites can make money.

And Hope Pryor didn’t let “empty nest syndrome” get her down after her kids left home. Instead, she achieved business success by putting her favourite recipes online at her Cooks Recipe site and now makes $90,000 a year, mostly from Google Adsense.

But it’s not just the oldies who’ve found online business success. The story of Ashley Qualls hit the headlines last year. At seventeen years old, she became a millionaire, through her online business, WhateverLife, which she started at the age of 14, with $8.

Ben Cathers wasn’t even a teenager when he started his first online advertising agency. The twelve year old built the business until he had two offices and ten employees then sold it. Since then, he’s had several business successes - he also owned a syndicated radio show and a search engine technology company - all before he was twenty years old. Ben is 24 now and he has more projects on the go than most folk would take on in a lifetime.

There’s no doubt that the Internet has made it possible for folk of all ages to become a business success story. After all - we don’t often see the face of a person behind an online business we’re dealing with.

If you were making a major purchase online, would it worry you if you discovered the business owner was 13 years old, or pushing 80? Or would you be willing to give the business a chance, so long as they delivered what they promised?

Related Reading

Become A Super Affiliate
17 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd
The Secret To Writing A Successful & Outstanding Blog
Shit: The Best Tool For Success

Share This StumbleUpon It!


41 Responses to “Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age”

  1. Marelisa on October 7th, 2008 4:34 am

    I followed the links you have on your blog to find out more about Ashley Qualls. She offers MySpace page layouts for free, and has made over a million dollars in advertising revenue. Amazing! And she gets more than 60 million page views per month. Wow! What could I offer for free to get over 60 million page views per month?

    Marelisa’s last blog post..The Hannibal Barca Approach to Achieving Your Goals

  2. Jim Gaudet on October 7th, 2008 4:44 am

    I would have no problem dealing with a 13 or 80 year old person.

    60 million page views per month, WOW!

    Jim Gaudet’s last blog post..Why are you here?

  3. Robin on October 7th, 2008 5:03 am

    Hi Cath - I loved this post, and I looked at the links. Very inspiring!

    Stumbled! (just letting you know seeing you aren’t in SU)

    Robin’s last blog post..Why We Want To Live

  4. Davina on October 7th, 2008 5:33 am

    Hi Cath. After reading this post and the link information I don’t think I would think twice about business dealings with a 13 or 80-year-old, as long as they delivered what they promised. Very encouraging.

    Davina’s last blog post..Creative Luny Landing In The Sand

  5. Barbara Swafford on October 7th, 2008 7:38 am

    Hi Catherine - I don’t think it matters how young or old a person is. If they produce something of value, they’re okay in my book.

    The story about Ashley is amazing, isn’t it? She certainly made a name for herself at a very young age. What a great role model.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..I’m Leaving You In Good Hands

  6. Jamie Harrop on October 7th, 2008 8:13 am

    Hey Cath,

    Excellent post.

    There’s been a lot of talk in the Web hosting recently about exposing the age of business owners. Naturally, Web hosting gets a lot of teenagers starting a company during the school holidays and then letting them fall and burn when school starts again.

    As somebody who started my business ventures at 14 years old, I have absolutely no problem dealing with teenagers. We have as much to learn from *some* teenagers, as *most* teenagers have to learn from us.

    “Some” being the big word. There are a lot of teenagers with big dreams and no skill or ethics. But amongst that sea of pirates, there will be the occasional skilled captain. When I find those skilled captains, I’m forever amazed and proud to see teenagers doing well in business.

    Jamie Harrop’s last blog post..Authority Blogger Forums - Guest Posts & Prizes

  7. cathlawson on October 7th, 2008 11:26 am

    Hi Mare - she gets an awesome amount of traffic doesn’t she? A lot of sites seem to do well by offering free stuff - I guess it’s time to get our thinking caps on.

    Hi Jim - me neither - age doesn’t matter if they can do what they say on the packet.

    Hi Robin - thank you for the Stumble. There’s some great stories behind those links isn’t there - very inspiring.

    Hi Davina - it’s great stuff isn’t it. Obviously - they’re all persevered for a good while but it really has paid off.

    Hi Barbara - I love the Ashley Qualls story too. The amazing thing is, I don’t think she set out to make a fortune - she was just doing something she loved as a hobby. I heard that she’s thinking of bringing out a book.

    Hi Jamie - that is terrible. Nobody has a right to expose people’s ages. As you say - there’s some pirates but you get those at any age. As you know - a lot of teenagers do better in online business than many adults - as they’re usually more tech savvy.

  8. Brad Shorr on October 7th, 2008 12:58 pm

    I don’t think age has anything to do with it. I’m impressed when extremely young or old people have a good business going. It tells me they’re unusually enterprising or gifted in some way.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Beat the Clock - Please!

  9. Lance on October 7th, 2008 1:32 pm

    This is inspiring to see what is possible with a little ingenuity, hard work, and a creative idea! The Internet really is a great equalizer, allowing anyone with the desire, to make their dreams a reality…

    Lance’s last blog post..Regrets

  10. Kathy @ virtual Impax on October 7th, 2008 1:56 pm

    Age is just a number! Bravo to the 12 year old who can manage employees! (I’m GREEN with envy right now!) I’m afraid I’ll be pushing 80 before I master that skill!

    Kathy @ virtual Impax’s last blog post..Fast Track to Blog Success - 100% Discount Ends Friday

  11. How to Make Money Online - and it’s not in the MMO niche! | EZ Marketing Tool on October 7th, 2008 2:07 pm

    [...] her post, Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age Cath Lawson shares several high profile success stories.  Notice that every single Adsense success [...]

  12. Stacey / Create a Balance on October 7th, 2008 2:44 pm

    I’ll give a business a chance if they deliver what they promise. I think there is a lot to learn from business owners regardless of age. I can learn a lot from a 13 year old and from an 80 year old.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..Spa. Dinner. Drinks. Quiet.

  13. Michael Sweigart on October 7th, 2008 3:32 pm

    As each day goes by we try different things, we are re-learning new processes. No matter what age, you can learn from somebody.

  14. cathlawson on October 7th, 2008 4:18 pm

    Hi Brad - they certainly are aren’t they. I only wish I’d been that savvy when I was a teenager. I guess the Internet helps - but there’s definitely something special about them.

    Hi Lance - the Internet has opened so many doors hasn’t it? It’s great that creativity and hard work now has just as much chance of success as a huge business with a massive budget.

    Hi Kathy - I know what you mean - it’s a tough skill to develop. Maybe a 12 year old just wouldn’t get as stressed out about it as we do.

    Hi Stacey - that is a good point. We can always learn something from almost everyone we meet.

    Hi Michael - That is so true. Having the willingness to keep learning, no matter what you’ve done already is so important to success.

  15. Ellen Wilson on October 7th, 2008 5:22 pm

    Hi Cath,

    That’s no lie about recipes bringing in a lot of traffic. And I think i figured out why - Google offers free recipe ads which people of course click on.

    These stories are very inspirational. I’m going to check out the links.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Personality Types Explained

  16. Ellen Wilson on October 7th, 2008 5:29 pm

    Hi Cath,

    Just checked on Hope Pryer’s site. I don’t get it. She really doesn’t have that many ads on it. People must be clicking like mad.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Personality Types Explained

  17. cathlawson on October 7th, 2008 5:44 pm

    Hi Ellen - recipe sites do seem to do well with Adsense. I think it’s the positioning of the Ads that helps. I just checked out some of her pages and she seems to have four ads - the maximum Google allows on each one.

    But they’re very carefully blended. And she obviously gets a heap of traffic - her 3 month Alexa rank is 32.009. She’s like the Dooce of cooks. I’m guessing a lot of her visitors are repeats because folk who love to cook, like recipes.

    It’s worth checking out Adsense case studies:

    There’s some great info on there. You’ll get an idea of what type of sites Adsense works for and how to position your ads.

  18. Stephanie on October 7th, 2008 7:08 pm

    I love that such a wide range of ages can do so well. I’ve been trying to get my mother to start a website for ages, as she keeps talking about wanting to supplement her retirement income when she retires. I tell her no time like the present.

    And if my daughter (now 6) or my son (now 3) or the baby on the way want to get into online business, I’ll help them at whatever age. I already have a site set up for my daughter, but she’s not into working on it yet.

    Stephanie’s last blog post..How to Confront Your Home Business Weaknesses

  19. cathlawson on October 7th, 2008 7:34 pm

    Hi Stephanie - That’s brilliant that you’ve built your daughter a site already. It would be great if you could get your mom to have a go too. Some of the folk in this article were doing really well. The guy from Boeing said his site was making him as much as his pension was.

  20. Vered - MomGrind on October 7th, 2008 9:14 pm

    I agree: the internet is a great equalizer. I admit that I would be worried upon finding out that a business owner was extremely young or old, but I would be willing to give them a chance.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..How Do You Deal With The Recession?

  21. Ellen Wilson on October 7th, 2008 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the links Cath. And now I know what an Alexa ranking is. I wonder how people figured out traffic and compared traffic, etc., etc.

    You have a very good one. Very groovy and good for you. Mine?hahahha! That’s okay. I should put it up for a joke. It looks like turtles are crawling to my site.

    Oh, and your review of the Nutty Introvert was very good.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Personality Types Explained

  22. Evelyn Lim on October 8th, 2008 2:33 am

    The stories you’ve featured here are so inspiring!! Hmmm…maybe…I should teach my girl to start a site. She may just do a better job than me!

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..What Enneagram Profile Type Am I?

  23. Leanne Magraith | Forever Change on October 8th, 2008 3:06 am

    If making a purchase on line, I don’t think it would matter to me what age the person was behind the business. If I were dealing with someone face to face I may have some difficulties initially though if they were very young or very old. I would probably ask them more questions just to satisfy myself that they know their stuff.

    The examples you have highlighted here Cath are amazing and makes me think about doing some brainstorming of business ideas with my “inner child hat” on. Who knows what I may come up with.

    Leanne Magraith | Forever Change’s last blog post..A Story About a Major Business Restructure - Part 2 - Weird Eco Friendly Intermission

  24. VeRonda on October 8th, 2008 3:51 am

    Age is only a number, isn’t it?

    VeRonda’s last blog post..Dusting Yourself Off…

  25. Avani-Mehta on October 8th, 2008 4:11 am

    As long as value gets delivered, age doesn’t really come into picture. The stories you shared are amazing.

    Avani-Mehta’s last blog post..Saying No - And Feeling Good About It

  26. Cath Lawson on October 8th, 2008 11:11 am

    Hi Vered - it is a great equalizer isn’t it? I do think the age thing will worry some people, which is why I think what Jamie mentioned about ages being exposed is so unfair.

    Hi Ellen - I didn’t know you didn’t realise what Alexa was. If you go to their site you can install a toolbar, which lets you see people’s rank as they surf.

    Mine is pretty good but I still have some way to go. Don’t forget I have been blogging a lot longer than you, which is why mine is higher. Time makes a lot of difference and if you just keep showing up you’ll get there.

    Hi Evelyn thanks. You never know - some ofthe best sites seem to be owned by kids.

    Hi Leanne - brainstorming with your inner child sounds like a good idea. The older we get, the more we seem to lose our imagination. I’m sure I was a better writer when I was a child than I am now. I think I’ll try your exercise too.

    Hi VeRonda - It certainly is. And I don’t think getting older automatically makes us wiser.

    Hi Avani - I’m glad you liked them. Value is far more important isn’t it?

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age

  27. cathlawson on October 9th, 2008 12:00 am

    Hi Rita - I think I’d feel the same if I was buying jewellery. But I know what you mean about lost childhoods. That does worry me too.

    My kids are always going on at me to help them build a website. My daughter also wants to open a spa and she’s always glued to Dragon’s Den when it’s on. While it’s nice that she has these ambitions, she’s only 11, which is far too young.

  28. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work on October 10th, 2008 2:05 am

    Hi Cath, Nope it wouldn’t bother me at all for online businesses. In fact online the younger the person the more likely they are to be more effective. After all they grew up with this stuff.

    Now a surgeon, an attorney or even a life coach I like a little experience backing them up. There’s a lot to be said for confidence.

    But business is a level playing field and age discrimination really isn’t necessary.

  29. Andrew on October 10th, 2008 10:24 am


    First, let me just say that I am very impressed with the quality of your blog. I have enjoyed many of your comments on Brad Shorr’s Word Sell Inc blog many times, and have often thought about visiting your blog.

    I hope to become a more frequent visitor in the near future.

    This topic is one which I find most depressing, although I say this with a smile on my face. Your entry reminds me of a report in Australian business magazine ‘Business Review Weekly,’ which I read a few years ago. At the time, that report, which detailed stories about entrepreneurs in their early 20’s who had very successful businesses with squillions of employees, was not what I wanted to read as a broke twenty eight year old!

    I remember how when I was nineteen, I was supposed to be fully financially independent and have a range of successful businesses by age 25. Unfortunately, the dream I was sold in the network marketing business in which I was involved at the time was substantially more challenging than what I thought.

    Nevertheless, I admire all those young, old and middle aged people who are out there chasing their dreams. They are an inspiration to me personally and to many others.



    Andrew’s last blog post..Socially Responsible Investing part 9: Does ethical investing compromise investment performance?

  30. cathlawson on October 10th, 2008 11:16 am

    Hi Tom - exactly. They probably know more about it than us. When I was at school we didn’t even have computers. I would definitely want a surgeon to have a lot of experience though.

    I read a story years ago about someone who bullshitted their way into a surgeons job. And they were actually using a text book to perform operations.

    Hi Andrew - Thanks for calling by. I’ve read your comments many times on Brad’s blog.

    I know a lot of folk who’ve gone into network marketing and it didn’t pan out. Bur it gives you the experience to succeed elsewhere.

    It can be disheartening to read about folk who’ve been hugely successful online. But - you shouldn’t beat yourself up for not being a success at an early age. I’m 39 and in the process of starting a business from scratch. But starting from scratch is a whole lot easier the older you get cos you’ve lots of experience to fall back on.

  31. Carla on October 10th, 2008 5:04 pm

    Great post! This is very inspiring, especially about the 14 year old. I am just 30 and we didn’t have computers in school either, so I am kind of a late bloomer when it comes to this sort of thing. I have always worked ON computers in my jobs (MS Office mostly), but not on the level of web development, blogging, making money on the web, etc.

    About the teenager, it also depends on your parents and upbringing. We were not encouraged to do anything other than get a “good job” to pay the bills and retire - nothing more. We see how that’s is working out for many people now! Heck, since 1998 when I got into the work force, I was laid off four times. In some cases it has taken me a year to find another full-time job with benefits. I think we all need a back up plan.

  32. Grace on October 11th, 2008 12:16 am

    Age–not a problem. Although the older I get the younger 14 sounds!

    A young woman I know in her 30s once made the comment that it’s not the people of her generation that are so knowledgeable, or even those in their 20s, BUT it is the ones now in their teens. They have grown up in a world taking the computer and the internet for granted.

    Whereas I can remember back when even typewriters didn’t have to be plugged in. :-)
    Grace’s last blog post..The 5 minute shift that saves brain cells

  33. cathlawson on October 11th, 2008 5:14 pm

    Hi Carla - that’s a great point. The way you are brought up can really limit your experiences, to the point that you’re not even aware there’s other options.

    At least you’ve discovered them now though. I didn’t get a computer until I was 29 either.

    Hi Grace - LOL - I also used one of those terrible manual typewriters. Life is so much easier now.

  34. 6 Ways To Get Noticed Online | Catherine Lawson on October 20th, 2008 7:01 pm

    [...] Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd Being Bold Beats Talent Be A Business Success Story No Matter What Your Age Online Networking: Do I Hide From People Like You? Internet Popularity: Are You Faking It? [...]

  35. Run Your Small Business Like A Rock Star | Catherine Lawson on November 1st, 2008 8:57 am

    [...] Reading Being Bold Beats Talent 17 Ways To Stand Out From A Crowd 6 Ways To Get Noticed Online Be A Business Success Story - No Matter What Your Age Become A Super Affiliate [?] Share This Hi, Thanks for visiting. You might want to click [...]

  36. How To Start A Business Without Getting Scammed on November 13th, 2008 4:54 am

    [...] Blog Launch How To Build A Better Business By Spying How To Get 150,000 Web Page Views A Month Be A Business Success Story - No Matter What Your Age The Recipe: How To Start An Online Business [?] Share [...]

  37. The Secret Business Success Formula on November 17th, 2008 7:07 am

    [...] Getting Scammed Run Your Small Business Like A Rock Star How To Get 150,000 Web Page Views A Month Be A Business Success Story No Matter What Your Age The Secret To Writing A Successful And Outstanding Blog 10 Interviews With Successful People [...]

  38. wilhb81 on November 30th, 2008 8:12 am

    Cath, your post is very inspiring…

    You’re right about it, where as long as you have the dedication and determination to sucess, then nothing will stop you here!

    wilhb81’s last blog post..Farewell, My Friend!

  39. Achieve Business Success By Being..... on December 10th, 2008 3:54 pm

    [...] A Business Without Getting Scammed Entrepreneur Interview With Davina Haisell of Crimson Compass Be A Business Success Story - No Matter What Your Age 7 Questions To Ask - Before You Launch A Business Shit - The Best Tool For Success [?] Share [...]

  40. VG for .Net on December 15th, 2008 9:13 am

    According to me age is not the thing to consider in the business.Its not important what is the age, the thing that matters is the person is running his business well. Who will consider the age if you are getting what you wanted from business.But i would like to add that your this post is very inspiring. One can earn as much as one wants at any age.. Its the power of mind..

  41. cathlawson on December 15th, 2008 9:18 am

    Hi Wihlb - Thank you. Dedication and determination is definitely more important than age.

    Hi VG - Exactly - age doesn’t matter, it’s how well you do things that is more important. They are inspiring stories though aren’t they.

Got something to say?

E-mail It