Money: the most necessary item for most high school students. It is used for buying food with friends, gas money and even the occasional pair of shoes. There are many methods for accumulating enough money to actually have the sum to purchase everything that a high-schooler may desire. Many high school kids are slowly pushing through their boring, unrewarding retail jobs at chain restaurants and grocery stores, just to receive a lovely minimum-wage salary. On the other side of things, some kids are able to pursue their personal interests while making as much or even more than others who work a conventional job. Kids like this usually tend to maintain a level of secrecy about their work, often keeping it quiet.
These self-made, self-employed students are driven and put a lot of effort into their work. At Camas, this includes people who sell items on Amazon while additionally reselling clothes, and even those who have a career on YouTube.
At Camas High School, young entrepreneur Leo Cousineau, also known on YouTube as Soulja, creates an income for himself branching off of playing popular video games online and posting gameplay videos. As his gaming videos became more popular, he’s been able to venture into posting other content such as tips and humorous challenges.
Gaming is his main video category because “video games are one of the more child-friendly topics on YouTube,” meaning they attract a broader audience and are engaging to more people. Videos that attract a broad audience will, in turn, have a higher CPM (Cost Per Mille) rate, which means that YouTube advertisers will pay a higher ratio of money per 1000 views that Cousineau receives. Other than YouTube‘s customary monetized ads, Leo also receives money through sponsorships and the sales of his merchandise for his channel.
There are risks when making money off YouTube as well. Cousineau understands that YouTube is an unstable source of money and that different amounts of revenue will come in every month. He knows that it’s important to “be an entrepreneur and counteract with multiple streams of income and be able to generate substitutional income when one of your other streams of income is not doing as well.”
Another big source of income comes from his Shopify wholesale drop-shipping business. His company TechSmartCo. uses social media influencer marketing and Facebook ads to create a passive income flow. He has built relationships with many large Instagram influencers who hold contracts of when they will post his ads. He’s narrowed it down enough so he always hits his targeted demographic. Cousineau’s ads convert to sales at a 4% rate while getting up to 10,000 visitors a day. He hired his first employee last month and currently has him on the payroll as a virtual office assistant. TechSmartCo. Is a licensed LLC and gives consumers not what they want, but what they need at the most affordable prices to keep up in today’s social society.
Lastly, Cousineau wants to become a stockbroker within the next few years. Cousineau loves to play with money and understand how it works. He always stands by his personal philosophy: “You can lose money all day, as long as you learn from it”. Cousineau performs short term trades on a brokerage known as TD Ameritrade. He has been accepted for margin trading and is able to use credit to create even bigger gains at lower fluctuations. Cousineau uses a select few stocks that he’s studied for years, understanding how they fluctuate and how what happens behind the scenes will affect the stock price that follows. Cousineau plans to use his skills to become a broker on wall-street within the next 5 years. With aspirations as high as Cousineau’s, there is no limit to the different economic paths for his future.
Next on the list is Owen Leffel, a sophomore here at Camas High School. He is a marketing student with a passion for business. On his spare time, he is involved with two advanced forms of income. To begin, he buys and sells Supreme, Yeezy, and other pieces that have a higher resale value than what he bought it for.
One reason that this is a difficult craft to excel in is because of the high amount of people attempting to purchase the same pieces on the release date. Say, for example, the brand Supreme releases a collaboration with Nike, or even avant-garde brands like Undercover and Jean Paul Gaultier. A part of collections like these will sell out almost immediately, sometimes within three seconds of their release.
Along with this, Leffel is a merchant on Amazon. For around two years, Leffel has been manufacturing his own self-designed product: a 3-D printed garage door sensor cover that prevents the sensor from being triggered by anything other than items and humans obstructing the door’s path. This item will often make more profit during the sunny months than his reselling business.
As only a sophomore in high school, Leffel’s skill set goes to prove his perseverance and integrity that will allow him to be successful and ensure that he will be able to continue in a difficult but high-rewarding future.
In the future, Leffel is looking to move his product into stores to create a more cement flow of income along while reaching a more broad range of customers.
Although there are many teens who have created a path for themselves to gain money, the two spotlighted students are great examples of two young men who possess the passion and determination to put energy into schoolwork while also being productive enough outside of the classroom to create a more financially sound life for themselves through the knowledge gained by maintaining a self-employed career.