We’ve heard all of the excuses for failure. “App development is too competitive.” “You have to be so lucky.” “You have to start out with a lot of money.” “I could never do this.” It’s time to put all of those excuses to bed because we are going to tell you about a 16-year-old high school dropout who is one of the best success stories in the world.
Last year, Ben Pasternak was a “normal” teenager living in Sydney with his parents, his brother and his sister. Now he is a millionaire who lives in a studio apartment in New York City, complete with a building doorman.
In April, Ben launched a teen-oriented social media marketplace called Flogg. He works 14-46 hours a day and has a staff of seven part-time employees in their late teens to early twenties. He functions as the CEO, while his COO is 30.
He is a millionaire on paper, but isn’t of legal age in the US, so his parents have to sign off on everything for him, from a bank account to his apartment lease.
So, how did Ben get here? He used to design games when he was bored. At 15, he created a free smartphone game called Impossible Rush, which has now been downloaded more than 1 million times.
He made some of the “big boys” in the tech world stand up and take notice, such as Google and Facebook. Soon, venture capitalists were lined up behind him. There was enough money there, $2 million, to convince his parents to let him drop out of school to jump on the opportunity while it was there.
So, what is Ben’s multi-million dollar idea? Flogg allows teenagers to place ads on Flogg. They post a picture of the item for sale and members of the extended social networks of the vendor can see the ads.
When he was creating this app, he was only 15 years old and had to move to the US to make it happen faster. It is illegal for a 15 year-old to live on his own in the US, so his mum moved with him until he turned 16.
Though his life is atypical, he is able to stay in touch with his mates from school on FaceTime. He also has found friends his age in New York.
Why This Should Be Important to You
While it’s obvious that Ben is no ordinary teenager, you should be inspired that a teenager became successful as a spare time game developer. Ben was fortunate enough to find his passion early in life and also fortunate enough to have parents who let him chase his dream.
What’s stopping you from chasing your dream? Are you “too young?” Are you “too old?” “Don’t have enough money?” There is a litany of “reasons” for failure. But the list of reasons for success is a lot shorter: figure out what will work, work hard and don’t let anyone tell you that you “aren’t good enough” or it “won’t happen for you.”
Our formula for figuring out what works is the same as we have talked about over and over here. First, you find a niche where a lot of people have a problem that wants to be solved. Then, you go about solving it. There are plenty of ways to do this.
One of the reasons we say that it helps to be in a niche you are passionate about is because you will already know of some solvable problems. In forums, if someone says, “wouldn’t it be great if…” and a lot of people join in to talk about it, you might have the idea that makes you successful. It can be that easy.
Being a teenager was a huge advantage for Ben. The main reason is because teenagers don’t think about all the “reasons” they can fail. They think about how great it will be when they have accomplished their goal.
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