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New Entrepreneur: How Young People Build Wealth Online

In the new economy, all a person needs to start their own business and begin building wealth is a wifi connection. Millennials are adapting to lean, solo enterprises more and more. With the Internet and the global economy, the age old motifs of a young entrepreneur hitting the road to bootstrap a new business or throwing on a suit and walking into their local bank branch for a loan are slowly slipping into the past.

With sites like Shopify and various freelance networking sites, young individuals are building their empires from behind their computer monitors with little to no capital.


For some, like 17-year-old Jonah, the drive for online entrepreneurship comes from a desire to be his own boss. Jonah is a competitive swimmer, and says that he’s worked a number of part-time jobs in the past, but never enjoyed working for others. He launched his ecommerce site in January 2016, and reached $13,500 in revenue in his first year of business.

Jonah started his online store using what’s known as the “dropshipping” method, where an online store doesn’t have any inventory and instead simply markets their products and places orders to ship from a larger wholesaler or manufacturer. The key to Jonah’s success was humility and a desire to learn.

He didn’t enter the endeavor with any knowledge of coding or online marketing, but used the resources at his disposal to educate himself. Compared to a traditional business model, or even a traditional ecommerce business model, the cost of setting up an online dropshipping store, and paying for advertising is negligible.

While Jonah found relatively quick success with dropshipping, a number of big players like Walmart even incorporate this ecommerce model. The ecommerce industry as a whole is full of small Shopify dropshippers who are trying to find success.

“At the end of the day you have to put in the work and will get out whatever you put in,” said Jonah. “It took me 6 days to get my first sale and once it hit everything became real. All the energy I had put into the business was coming back to me.”

Digital Nomad

A key motivator for Jonah’s drive for online entrepreneurship success was a desire to be his own boss as a young man, but there are individuals from all walks of life and with all different types of goals working online. A large movement in the online entrepreneurial field is what’s come to be known as the “digital nomad” lifestyle.

Digital nomads live life to travel. Often they have a “home base,” either in a town where they grew up or a smaller city, but they spend a substantial amount of time traveling, and making their living online. Sometimes, these digital nomads work remotely for companies in a more traditional employee–employer relationship, but, more often, they’ll work for themselves online, either freelancing, operating lean online stores, or publishing content.

Karin Christen is one such individual. She is the cofounder of Required+, a Zurich-based web development agency, and works remotely as a designer, while traveling.

According to Christen, the privilege of working remotely and living nomadically gives her a broader perspective on life and increases the quality of her work.

“Being able to travel and get around makes it easy to stay inspired,” Christen said. “I truly believe that it makes me a better designer and a more sensible human being, as I tend to see and appreciate the creative solutions people come up with in other parts of the world, even though many tend to have far more constraints than we have at home.”