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Personal experience: how I opened a business before I was 20
Personal experience: how I opened a business before I was 20

Two success stories that prove that nothing is impossible.

Personal experience: how I opened a business before I was 20
Personal experience: how I opened a business before I was 20

At the age of 17, he created a company that works with the TV channel "Friday!" and the Ministry of Education

First money

At the age of 14, I realized that virtually all of the richest people in the world are entrepreneurs. I wanted to become like them, and I began to actively study the issue: I read, watched videos on how to start my own business. I was looking for the experience of schoolchildren-businessmen, but I did not find anything worthwhile. As a result, until the age of 16, I actively studied entrepreneurship from all sides and tried to launch small business projects.

With a partner who was also 16 years old, we began to print images on custom-made T-shirts. We lived in a small town of Biysk, Altai Territory and studied at the same school. He shared my idea and was ready to help in my work, and it was easier and faster to master basic things together.

Sales were carried out via the Internet: at first, it was mostly friends who bought, and after a while the flow of customers increased significantly. We were in this business for about six months, earning quite a bit - up to 10,000 a month, but we got enough experience. I wanted to create a truly large-scale and profitable business. I started looking at the IT market because I realized that there you can not only earn money, but also do something really serious. On the Internet, you can collaborate with the whole world, and print on T-shirts - only in one city.

I studied a lot of online business seminars and at one of these events I met my future partner. I was 17, I went to school and lived in Biysk, he was 22, he studied in Baumanka and lived in Moscow. We never met at that time, but both wanted to develop in IT. We began to study the market, considered various ideas, including those for implementation abroad. As a result, quite by accident, we noticed that VKontakte had introduced a new element of community design - a cover.

There are a lot of people on the VKontakte social network. Where there are many people, there is money.

The cover is at the very top, and this is the first thing people will look at when they enter the community. We thought: "What if we make an interactive out of this?" And that's all. We found a developer and wrote the code for the first dynamic skin. From that moment on, a very rapid growth began, this was in February 2017.

How I opened a business for 10,000 rubles

We have invested only 10,000 rubles, the main investment is our own time. The first cover we made was elementary: it displayed the last subscriber and the most active commentator. Then we earned only 5,000 rubles and gave all the money to the programmer who wrote the code.

By the way, we took the programmer as a share, he was responsible for the project development process. Later we bought out a share in the company from him, but at first there were three people: me, a partner and a programmer. The profits were divided equally.

Entrepreneur without secondary education

Parents (dad is a teacher at a university, mom is an economist in a pension fund) at first did not understand me: "How can you, while studying at school, even without a secondary education, do business?" It was something incredible for them, there were no such examples around. But on the whole, they were not against it. There was a condition: if you want to do business, you can do it, but only so that studies and sports do not suffer. My parents still support me in all my endeavors.

Friends and peers reacted strangely. Some chuckled. And I think that they are simply wasting time: playing computer games, going to some parties in clubs. And I tried to be engaged in development and almost did not waste time on useless ones.

The first clients were surprised that I was only 17 years old. Imagine, I sat in the classroom and talked to them. But this changed after we made a project for the TV channel "Friday!" - now they look only at deeds, and not at age.

Subordinates are treated with respect. Many people ask how it happened, how it all started.

I realized one thing: do the first big project, and no one will care how old you are.

The more transparent and larger the business, the fewer surprises

Difficult times in business happen all the time. Even a small project has a ton of problems. For example, customers who do not like something - they need to return the money, otherwise they threaten to sue. There are a huge number of financial problems, and there are cash gaps. But this is all solvable.

We always work under a contract - this protects us from all sorts of troubles. We also work with brands and organizations that have a positive reputation: TV channels, state corporations or other large companies. It happens that they delay payments, the money can go up to six months. But they always pay.

How I sat in class and did federal projects

We make our product with high quality, it was noticed by the social network "VKontakte" and began to recommend us to companies. For example, the Ministry of Education trusts VKontakte, and VKontakte trusts us. This is how the ministry became our regular client.

For example, we made the official USE community. This has never happened on any site, although 700,000 people take these exams every year. I noticed this and came up with an initiative to the Ministry of Education - this happened a year after I myself took exams at school. Now there are more than 75,000 people in the public. The rights of the community have been transferred to the Ministry, but I created it together with the team. There is one in the community, which for the second year has been helping schoolchildren find answers to questions about the exam.

The most memorable project for me was the first work with the Friday! TV channel. It was planned to broadcast the Harry Potter films, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the novel's release. It was necessary to somehow highlight this particular show, because the movie had already been shown many times on many channels. Then the management decided to make interactive on VKontakte, and we implemented the idea.

When Friday! Came, our project was just a couple of months old. The creative director of the TV channel saw our dynamic cover somewhere and wrote to us. We were very surprised. As a result, we made a project about which many media outlets. The mechanics seemed straightforward - users across four Hogwarts faculties. But we have not done anything like this before, and then it was a challenge for us. We talked online, I still lived in Biysk.

I sat in the classroom and did a project for the Friday! TV channel, in which 50 thousand people took part.

Classmates discussed our cover chip because it was advertised on TV, and no one knew that I was involved in this.

After this work, a lot of people began to contact us, and the TV channel became our regular client. Before our project at "Friday!" there were 200-300 thousand subscribers, now - 1,300,000. I believe that such an increase in the audience is partly the merit of our projects.

Youth lessons

Now our team consists of 16 people. Some of them work remotely, and some work in the office on Baumanskaya. I'm not even a dollar millionaire yet, so I have a lot of plans and I'm constantly moving forward.

Now, for example, I am getting a higher education in absentia. History knows many examples when people built large companies without higher education, but then they still received it. So I decided to take care of this beforehand.

On my way, I would change only one thing - I would have started even earlier. I would spend less time on useless things, on temptations that all teenagers have, like computer games.

The sooner you start, the more you will have time to do, this is natural.

It takes a lot of desire to get started. Knowledge, acquaintances, money - everything is acquired in the process. The very first, most important thing is how strong your desires and your intentions are.

At 20, she became a competitor to her employer


Nina Kalaus Founder of the design studio "", which is included in the top 100 Russian web studios according to the Runet rating.

Alternative opinion as a reason to start a business

I was lucky, I opened a business in my profession. I started working at the age of 17, in my sophomore year at university. I was invited to one of the leading studios in Volgograd to work as a project manager. I worked there for three years, but my manager and I had a different vision of the product: I wanted more design solutions, and he wanted technical ones. Therefore, I had to start my own business in order to be realized in cool visual projects.

It so happened that I opened my business with partners from the same web studio: they were a programmer and an SEO specialist. We agreed that we wanted to develop the visual part of the product. It was 2008 in the yard - the boom in opening web studios, and we got into the stream.

The partners were older than me, they were about 25 years old, but I was the driving force. I still remember: it was January 8, we were still communicating via ICQ, and the SEO specialist wrote to me that there was an idea to open a company. On February 12, we have already registered the company.

After that, we went to the head of our studio and talked about what we want to do. He said, "Okay, just don't use my projects for portfolios."

Because of my youth and stupidity, I myself created conflicts - for example, knowing that a key employee of our former manager's company was looking for a job, I offered him better conditions.

Then I realized that human relationships are more important than business.

We needed about 100,000 rubles to launch the studio. They invested in equal shares, contributed something with technology, because computers were needed. We borrowed part of the money from the mother of my future husband. We immediately issued an LLC, and it still exists.

Our first client was an online bag store. We found it on the freelance site. I have never hidden that we were looking for the first clients there. They did everything: from full-fledged turnkey websites to simple programming, if money was urgently needed.

Nobody took my decision seriously

My mother raised me, and she always saw me in a slightly different incarnation: a bank clerk or an official. The first blow for her was my choice of specialization at the university: I am an IT analyst in the field of PR, not an economist. The second was when I came and said that we were opening our own business.

Mom tried to dissuade, but then spat: "You yourself will figure it out further."

And I've been doing it for 10 years. Friends and classmates did not take this seriously, and until now, although so much time has passed and I now live in another country, it is very difficult for me to tell my friends: "I am the head of the studio, I have my own business." Because I think it sounds pathetic.

Of course, it was not easy to combine full-time studies at a university and full-time work, and a little later - study and own business. Yes, I deprived myself of student parties, but I was lucky and I met my future husband at work - we opened a studio together, he was a programmer in our team.

There was another path that I could turn off. During my studies, I was very much interested in serious PR, which can change the world. The luminary of political PR Alexander Chumikov came to our city with a lecture. I approached him after the seminar, told him about my passion for the field of PR. He became interested and offered to participate in a photo project dedicated to the Year of the Family. I didn’t go because I chose to open my own business, but to this day I keep this card of his as a trophy.

Cash gaps and "protracted divorce" with the co-founder of the studio

The main difficulty of any business is cash gaps. Especially if you are doing business not with a sober calculation, but with heart and soul. I often took projects for my portfolio, working for the future.

But in spite of everything, every month on the 7th, my employees receive a salary.

The biggest box office gap happened in January 2018, I lived in Germany for a year, but I still adapted to a new type of studio management - remote. But I was able to solve the problem without even investing my own funds. As a rule, in such situations, I take on less interesting, but well-paid projects.

The most difficult period was the "protracted divorce" with our co-founder - an SEO specialist. We ceased to understand each other so much that we could not continue working. It was a serious crisis, which I was going through very hard. But in the end, we all got out of this situation with dignity and still communicate warmly.

I did business even from the hospital

I am very lucky, I do what I love the most. I am sure that this is what I want to do. Even when I left for another country, I knew for sure that I would not quit my business. Even if the patient is more likely dead than alive, I will resuscitate him.

I love my job at every moment of my life.

I even left the office to give birth: before that I wrote to the managers what they need to do. At 4 o'clock in the morning she gave birth, and at 9 she called the office and asked if they understood everything there and how things were going. During the short maternity leave, although I continued to work remotely, I really wanted a miracle. And it happened: we were written by the manager of Epson, the same company that makes printers, a representative office in Russia and the CIS. At first I didn't even believe it was her, and checked the domain from which the letter was sent. Yes, we had customers from Moscow and all over Russia, but such a brand came for the first time. Epson has ordered a promo website from us for a new line of printers. Later we made a website for the company's photo contest, and then we were offered the website, and this is our great pride. By the way, we are still working with this customer.

We are a regional agency from Volgograd and we are not ashamed of it. At the moment I am the only owner. And it is very important for me to maintain our focus - we make high-quality design. It is this focus that allows us to rank in various ratings of web studios. For me, this is a confirmation of the right path: among 10-15 thousand web studios and agencies, we are in Russia. Also, the site created by us won in the "Education" category in the federal Runet competition.

Youth lessons

At 20, it is much easier to find a resource within yourself - and you do not need to meditate for this. You just go and do it because you believe in it. Youth is the time when you can dance all night. And I worked all night and achieved certain results. Now I would have thought, is it necessary?

At the same time, it is very important to find your teacher. I don't really believe that otherwise you can do serious business in your youth. I was lucky - my mentor, the head of the first web studio, passed on a lot of experience. It was also lucky that I had partners who were older than me and did not allow me to make mistakes. All difficult decisions, including the dismissal of people, were made jointly, by the three of us. I am sure that at the age of 16–20, if you start a business alone or with your peers, you will definitely make mistakes that will force the business to close.

Because the life experience that comes with age is also important.

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