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Michelle Phan

An American-Vietnamese entrepreneur, Michelle Phan, showed her innovation by becoming an incredibly well known make-up demonstrator and make-up designer, crafting her business in a parallel to Bob Ross’s. 

By making a unique way of demonstrating something in a soothing way, she gained popularity very quickly. Her drive is evident in how she went from a YouTube video maker to a speaker, author, and inventor.

She inspires me to turn my passions into realities and make them grow into business opportunities. Her success in a field that was perceived dead showed that you can create innovation out of anything.

Her blog, YouTube channel, and books gained traction and grew at a large rate. Her entrepreneurial mind is evident through her creativity and excellent talents.Image result for michelle phan youtube

A young entrepreneur by the name of William Zhou has started a website called that acts as a “Microsoft type” platform for K-12 teachers. Zhou said that he got the idea for his product when he went and visited his old high school teachers. He said he never knew how difficult and jam-packed a teacher’s life is until he actually went and saw them in action. Some of the biggest things that Zhou saw teachers struggling with, almost on the daily, included things like: grading, lesson planning, assessment, and attendance. In turn, Zhou’s new application platform attempted to make all of these tasks easier on the teachers, and it also allowed teachers to be able to collaborate with other teachers on things like lesson plans. Today, over 20,000 schools worldwide use to allow their teachers to have an easier time taking care of their daily tasks.

I find Zhou’s website to be a very interesting and useful idea. Having a Dad who is a teacher I have seen how difficult it can be some days to get simple tasks done such as attendance, or finishing up lesson planning for the next day. Furthermore, the way that Zhou came up with the idea for his website was also very interesting. He never realized how much work teacher’s do in a day, and form this he saw that there had to be a better way to help teachers accomplish simpler tasks that were taking up a lot more of their time then they needed to. The things that sparked Zhou’s interest and eventually led to him making this website seemed to be very random, but this just goes to show that ideas for certain businesses or services can spring from many different experiences.

Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber to help those young individuals who are interested in starting up their own business. This company is an invite only group that allows those entrepreneurs who apply and make it in, to have the opportunity to make their business idea a reality. By making it into the YEC group you have the opportunity to receive money to start up your company, and you also can get some help and advice from various trained and experienced entrepreneurs. Getting into this group has become more and more difficult as it has grown and gained prestige. In this companies first four years, a large amount of leading young entrepreneurs have come through YEC’s doors including the founders of, 2U and Klout, which today are very successful companies.

I find this company, and the idea behind it, to be awesome because it allowsImage result for YEC new young entrepreneurs an outlet for asking questions and learning from older, and more experienced, entrepreneurs. Also, it gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to really get their new business started through generous amounts of started-up money that is offered to those people who make it into this “club”. I think that Scott Gerber came up with a great idea that might push people to make themselves and their business better in order to make it into this “exclusive” club.

Gladiator Lacrosse

Gladiator Lacrosse

 A young lacrosse player named Rachel Zietz saw a problem with how expensive all the equipment needed for her sport of lacrosse was. Rachel also had a problem with the often-low quality gotten for these very highly priced products. Rachel realized that she how much passion she had for this problem, and this drove her into deciding to try and make her own company. This company would sell different pieces, of more durable, lacrosse gear for lower prices. After mending her idea for this company, she took it to investors who loved it awarded her with $2,700 of start-up money! This is where, only thirteen year old, Rachel Zeitz’s company, by the name of Gladiator Lacrosse, was born.Image result for gladiator lacrosse

In Gladiator Lacrosse’s first year it was able to make $200,000 in sales. Then, only a year later, their sales spiked up to $1 million in revenue. Two years ago, at the age of only fifteen, Rachel was awarded with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Entrepreneur Award.

I find it awesome how simply this business was started. It started with Rachel seeing a problem and thiImage result for gladiator lacrossenking about it. Then because of the passion that she realized that she possessed for this problem she decided to make a company that would solve it. After winning some “start-up money” Rachel was then able to make her dream a reality. The story of how this business got started shows that you don’t need a crazy “world changing” idea to start a business. Solving even a very, seemingly, small problem can also make a very successful business.

Johnny Ward: The Paid Vacationer

Johnny Ward was raised on the welfare system in Ireland. At 18, he left for England, where he attended a university there. When he graduated, he decided to tour Asia until he ran out of money. With the last little bit of money he had, he booked a flight to New York City, and decided to live their for a while. However, even in this exciting country, he could never find a job that he loved, so he decided to invest $100 into starting his own travel blog, writing about his experiences in the different places he had gone to. Little did he know that this $100 project would turn into a multi million dollar business.

Now, Johnny Ward spends his time traveling around the world, writing about the best places to eat, fun exercises to do in each place, and what the best places are to go if you want to do touristy things or know some local hacks. Johnny has been to every country in the world and gets to choose where he works, although he only works for 10-15 hours a week.

Ward in Iraq

Johnny represents true innovation because he took what he was passionate about and turned it into a truly innovative business venture. He works very flexible hours, get to talk about whatever he wants to, and makes a lot of money doing it. It is neat to see how he went from being a poor Irish boy who ran out of money to an incredibly wealthy and successful global businessman.

Young & Reckless

A young entrepreneur by the name of Chris Pfaff started his own clothing line, called Young & Reckless, at the age of 22. The amazing part is that Chris was able to do this with absolutely no experience in business or clothing design. After graduating high school in Ohio, Chris moved to LA with the hope of working in a skateboard shop, but his plans were changed around very quickly. Chris ended up working for his cousin as his personal assistant, rather than working at a skateboard shop. He helped his cousin film the pilot of a new show for MTV. This is where Chris said that he was able to see what being an entrepreneur was all about. He said that he would go with his cousin every time he went to talk to his various sponsors, and this is when Chris realized he liked the idea of putting together a business and running it.

After realizing that he wanted to start up his own business, Chris then recognized that he was very passionate about starting up his own clothing brand, so he got to work. He used his connection with his cousin to get his name out there. Another connection Chris was able to utilize was the that one of his friends owned another contemporary men’s clothing line. They partnered 50/50 and worked to get the new, Young & Reckless brand going. They barely had to use any money for the start-up since Chris’ friend owned all the equipment they needed to start making and designing clothes. The thing that really got the company going was when they were able to get a deal with the company PacSun to sell their product. Chris said that pretty much every day after the business launched revenue increased, and they started things off very successfully.

Today Young & Reckless is a nationwide brand that makes around 31 million a year. They also have distribution of their line in more than 3,000 Macy’s, Dillard’s and PacSun stores. Furthermore, Young & Reckless has many big celebrity endorsements including people like Justin Bieber.

I find it amazing how Chris could launch his own clothing line without any experience in the fashion, and he also was able to get this huge brand going with nothing more than a high school education. Chris definitely is a great example of an entrepreneur who took advantage of the great network of opportunity around him. He was able to use his friends and family to help his business idea get started and, in the end, become very successful. Looking at this company has helped me to realize how important it is to take advantage of the connections that you have around you. They can help you out in many ways and give you the push you might need to be able to get your idea started. Though the opportunities around me may not be as big as my cousin having a super popular YouTube channel, it is still important to use those resources that you have around you for the good of your business.


A young entrepreneur by the name of Jeremiah Jones was able to start his own clothing line, JYoungin, at the age of ten. Jeremiah was inspired to start this business at the age of only eight when he saw his father working to try and get a jump start on his own business. After lots of hard work and persistence Jeremiah was able to start up his own clothing brand. Jeremiah’s father was not completely convinced on Jeremiah’s idea for a business, or his commitment, simply because he was so young. However, after two years Jeremiah was finally able to convince his father that he was definitely “all in” when it came to his business and making it better. With his father’s support he was able to give another good kick-start to his business, and not long after things began to take off for him. The JYoungin clothing brand started out only being sold online, but later Jeremiah was able to build an actual concrete location.

Today at the age of fifteen Jeremiah also runs his own nonprofit organization. The purpose of the organization is to encourage kids in the surrounding area to work hard in school and sports. It also helps kids with character development and thinking about their own business ideas. Jeremiah is very excited about his non-profit because he says with it he hopes he will be able to motivate people everywhere.

Something I find awesome about Jeremiah as a new entrepreneur is his drive and want for success. He wasn’t willing to give up on his idea even though his father did not support him at first. The reason Jeremiah’s business even got started was because he wasn’t willing to give up on his idea. He was passionate about making his own clothing line, so he went for it even though the odds did seem to be against him. I think that one of the leading factors that drove Jeremiah was simply his want to prove himself. Even though he had others around him that thought he couldn’t succeed, this didn’t stop him, and look where he is today! Because Jeremiah did not let things like his young age get in the way he is now the owner of a very successful business and non-profit.

The Mind Behind Tumblr

David Karp.

I had never heard of him before, but I probably should have. At a very young age, he taught himself how to code. Then, at the age of 21, David started a blogging website. (This was done while living in his parent’s house by the way.) You may have heard of it- its name is Tumblr. For David, it is the pursuit of creativity that drives him. He wanted to make a platform in which people could post content that would inspire others. Everyone is welcome there.

The site has millions and millions of blogs dedicated to everything under the sun. David realized that the market was in need of a communal blogging platform that was not solely videos, or pictures, or text, but all of these things packaged into a simple website. David is inspiring because he did not let his age get in the way of his business. When others saw him as young and inexperienced, David proved himself to be a capable and driven individual. He saw there was room for innovation and went to work. Eventually, his creation was purchased by Yahoo for 1.1 billion dollars. Today, Tumblr continues to grow and be culture all of its own.

You can visit the site by clicking the link below:

Keepers: Citrus Coffee Soda

Two young entrepreneurs by the names of Thi Lam and Brent Lagerman have made an interesting “breakthrough” in the soft drink industry. They, interestingly, came up with the idea of a citrus coffee soda. The two entrepreneurs began their venture by simply experimenting with different drink combinations during their lunch break at work. Over time, however, they began to enjoy mixing and matching flavors to make different drinks so much that they came up with their own idea for a citrus coffee soda drink. After deciding to quit their jobs to pursue a business with their new-found product Thi and Brent ended up making their own company called “Keepers”. Moving along quickly for the good of their company, Thi and Brent landed a deal with the Whole Foods Market to sell their beverage, less than a year later.Keepers Coffee Soda, which prides itself on the odd pairing of citrus flavors and coffee, has been rapidly growing and quickly landed a deal from Whole Foods Market for its Brooklyn, New York store.

What I found interesting about Thi and Brent’s business venture was the fact that, first of all, they started off just messing around in their office mixing random drinks together, but later ended up enjoying themselves so much that they turned their “messing around” into a company. Secondly, I found their business interesting because even though there are so many other big companies out there that dominate the beverage industry, such as Coca Cola, this did not stop these two men from working hard to come up with something new and exciting.

Another thing that struck me was these new entrepreneurs ability to brand their new company as well as market it efficiently. Because he was a graphic designer at a branding agency Thi was able to learn the basics of branding. With this knowledge Thi asked clients lots of questions about their brand, target audience, and marketing goals, and that information was used to inform the design of their good. Since both of the new entrepreneurs also had some market experience, from their previous jobs, they also used this knowledge to strategically place their product in the correct category of the market. Since they knew that soda sales have been going down in recent years, and seltzer water sales have been going up, they tried to place their product somewhere between these two categories. I found this to be very smart as well a great idea to help them to be able to sell their product more.

Something that definitely inspires me about these two men, which I have already mentioned, was their ability to look at a market that is so big already and be able to come up with a new product that they thought people would definitely like. When I look at something like the beverage (or drink) market I couldn’t imagine that I would possibly be able to add something else substantial to it that people would be willing to pay for. These men, however, have shown that it is not an impossible task. So, in my mind, this just goes to show the countless possibilities of what other new products there are to come up with, and by saying this what I mean is that the possibilities are absolutely endless, if you have the passion and the right attitude.

Zollipops: The Lollipops That Clean Your Teeth

At just 7 years old, Alina Morse saw a need to be filled while in line at the bank. The bank teller offered her a lollipop, but Alina refused because her parents always told her that sugar was bad for her teeth. Exasperated, she later asked her father, “Why can’t we make a lollipop that’s actually good for your teeth?”

From that moment on, the two started working on what later became known as Zollipops. Alina’s father helped with $750 of the startup cost and Alina saved up her money until she had enough to start the company. The whole family participates in running the Zollipops company, and Alina calls herself the “idea person.” She uses her imagination to come up with new products and flavors.

Not only are Zollipops sugar free and made with natural ingredients, but they are also beneficial for your teeth. The company has further expanded to offer Zolli Drops (comparable to hard candy) and Zaffi Taffy. All of these products are held to the same standard of good ingredients that are safe for dental health. They are available in a variety of flavors from mint to assorted fruit flavors.

At such a young age, Alina was able to see a gap that may only be seen from a child’s perspective. I admire the responsibility she demonstrated in caring about dental health, and her desire to provide a way for children to enjoy lollipops without all of the damaging ingredients. Her perspective challenges me to look for gaps I may not see in my daily life since I am no longer a child.

Alina exhibits a drive and passion for her company, and I believe that is one of the reasons why she is successful. She cares about her product because it was a personal “pain” she felt and so she did something about it. I strive to have the perceptiveness in recognizing and solving the pains and inconveniences I encounter in my everyday life.