Fast Company published a fairly long article in the September edition of their magazine about the 17-year old Ashley Qualls.
This girl runs a MySpace layout and graphics site called Whateverlife. I never heard about this site before but she seems to be doing amazingly well, according to the article the three-year old site receives 7 million unique visitors and 60 million page views a month and this earns her up to $70,000 a month. Most of this revenue seems to come through Google AdSense and ValueClick.
At 17 going on 37 (at least), Ashley is very much an Internet professional. In the less than two years since Whateverlife took off, she has dropped out of high school, bought a house, helped launch artists such as Lily Allen, and rejected offers to buy her young company. Although Ashley was flattered to be offered $1.5 million and a car of her choice–as long as the price tag wasn’t more than $100,000–she responded, in effect, Whatever. 🙂 “I don’t even have my license yet,” she says.
Ashley is evidence of the meritocracy on the Internet that allows even companies run by neophyte entrepreneurs to compete, regardless of funding, location, size, or experience–and she’s a reminder that ingenuity is ageless. She has taken in more than $1 million, thanks to a now-familiar Web-friendly business model. Her MySpace page layouts are available for the bargain price of…nothing. They’re free for the taking. Her only significant source of revenue so far is advertising.
I already knew that MySpace related sites can bring in a lot of money but this story amazed me, the kind of money she’s pulling in from this site is stunning. Looks like I’m in the wrong niche lol
You can read the full story over here. One of the funny things is that a court ruled in January that neither Ashley nor her parents are allowed to manage her finances:
Until she turns 18, next June, a court-appointed conservator is controlling Whateverlife’s assets; Ashley must request funds for any expense outside the agreed-upon monthly budget.
The arrangement, she says, affects her ability to react in a volatile industry. “It’s not like I’m selling lemonade,” she says. Besides, it’s her company. If she wants to contract developers or employ her mother, Ashley says, why shouldn’t she be able to do it without the conservator’s approval?
So the teenager has hired a lawyer. She wants to emancipate herself and be declared an adult. Now. At 17. Why not just sit tight until June? The girl trying to grow up fast can’t wait that long.