I've seen several write ups on this story and you may have too. It's the tale of a teenage girl who describes herself as nerdy and likes to design Myspace layouts and websites. So logically, she begins designing layouts for friends. She creates Whateverlife.com, a website which starts out as Myspace layouts. Her site becomes viral, because of the power of "word of mouth" and she notices more and more teen visitors are stopping by to check out what is there. And the site is Monetized using the Granddadddy of all money makers online, Google Adsense.
Many people know that the "Pimp Yo Myspace" style sites have made some people big money. I recall reading that a college student made around 250 grand in 6 months from a site he created with that purpose. So the Whateverlife site works pretty well for this young girl who has a creative and artsy personality. And the site generated thousands a month, making her an early millionaire. She even bought her family a nice big home, and has her mother working for her as an employee. How many of us had that as kids? (beyond the typical maid services and meals cooked by mom)
So what exactly makes such a simple site generate that kind of cash? Here's 4 important lessons I think we can take away from what a teen did to become an online millionaire.
1) She knows her audience - They are teens, just like her. She realizes the popular topics and fads amongst her crowd such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Betty Boop, Ninja Turtles or Super Mario. She has a variety of choices to satisfy many popular tastes for pimping the profile whether its being used by a male or female teenager.
2) She offers a product or service her audience wants - Teens want Myspace profiles that impress their friends. So this youngster created them for herself, then her friends. Naturally more and more people wanted the product or service and were driven to her site for it. The site now offers all sorts of add-ons for a Myspace profile as well as generators to make your own items.
3) Her site has a unique look/style - The site has a very different and stylish look when compared to many other "pimp Myspace" style sites. That makes this site stand out from the crowd. It's always important to do this, and if you're in the "better blogging" or "make money online" niches you better do something extra to stand out, eventually. The niche can get flooded, just as the pimp Myspace layouts niche is. This goes back to knowing her crowd too, as she designed it from the perspective of a teen, for teens to have that stylish look to it.
4) Don't stop there - Yes many say Myspace has peaked and may have started to fall off in popularity (thanks to Facebook). But this girl is no dummy. She's branched the site out to have a blog type magazine on the site where users add their unique content and stories. It's about "whatever" they want to add from life, generally teen topics like music and dating. She also has a "build a site" section which is in beta and I believe she plans to start creating wireless phone backgrounds/wallpapers. So entrepreneurs don't stop with the first idea that blows up, or that first million they make. They keep adding to it, or branching out. Look at the success of Apple. They surely didn't stop with just a simple mp3 player. They now have pictures, video and of course, the iPhone.
This youngster apparently made her fortune from the Google Adsense ads running on her site as the website began to receive a ton of traffic to it. It has an impressive Alexa rank in the 5,000's as proof. It appears she may be running some other advertising banners or videos on the site since, and this would lead us to the concept of not relying on just one monetization strategy on your site. If she had suffered the dreaded Adsense click fraud of some sort early on, she may never have made that fortune. Amazingly with all the traffic, she survived and banked tons. She's also mentioned that she has been given sizable offers to purchase her site. However she says she's keeping it because she loves to design and create. After all, it's her creation. That might be the best lesson you can take away here: It's the passion you have and put into something that ultimately translates into the money maker.
You can check out a video about the creator of Whateverlife.com at Moms Cash Blog. Or head to her site itself at Whateverlife.com for a look around.