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Interview – Josh MacDonald, 16 Year Old Who Sold $100,000 In Software Sales

Josh MacDonald is a 16 year old internet entrepreneur from Canada. He sold $100,000 worth in Software Sales. He has developed an SEO software of which he sold 1000 copies. At his age, most of the kids are busy in studies only, but Josh has been an inspiration to many in terms of in addition to continuing studies, he has earned six figures at the very age of 16. His journey, which has just begun, is full of hard-work, passion and support from his parents. Unlike here in INDIA, in Western countries, teenagers have to work too!

Josh MacDonald

Josh MacDonald

You can visit his website JoshMacdonald.

Josh’s story is really inspirational. Depth with which he has answered my questions, will make you feel the visionary person in him. It is very interesting interview, and I would strongly recommend you to read through it.

Q.: Hi Josh. Welcome to SpeakBindas.com. First thing first. How does it feel being rich at the very age of 16 when most of the teenagers are still setting their goals?

Hi, thanks for having me. It’s awkward at times. I always tell the joke, I’m the only one out of 30 people on my bus that files income tax, including the bus driver. On the other hand, it’s absolutely awesome. Right now, kids think their marks are everything, when in reality, if you are truly ‘smart’, you don’t need huge marks to succeed in life. However, my marks are still great and will be attending college, hopefully an Ivy League. I’m from Canada, so it’s a big deal around here to go to the US for school.

Q.: At the age of 10, you were put to work at your family’s marina and restaurant. Some people offend working of kids of this age. Can you elaborate if learning that you acquired by working at this age helped you later on when you started your own software business?

Well, I offered to work at first, as I was bored and I wanted to be involved in the restaurant. The employees treated me great,so I started to love working over there. By the age of 14, I assume my parents realized that I was the best help that they had. I didn’t steal, I showed up and I was honest. By 14. instead of volunteering to work, I was scheduled to work. My first true job was to cut all the grass I could access without going down the road to reach other parts of the marina, so it was my own chunk I had to cut. I was paid a fixed rate and had to cut it whenever it looked like it needed to be cut. Now at 17, I don’t cut grass any more but still work summers at the gas dock, pumping gas, almost 500 hours per season for the past 3 seasons. I usually work the most as I live where I work, so sometimes my business suffers because of that.

When my mom used to work in the restaurant, you get to see it all. It’s not like on TV where it’s all edited and cut out. The biggest lesson I learned, is you can’t trust everyone. Any business as close as to the size of ours, will have stuff stolen. From employees stealing cash out of the till, to customers stealing salt and pepper shakers for their boat. From theft,we lose tens of thousands every year. We know who stole it, but anything that was worth taking to court was hard to prove.

Q.: These days, we see many teenagers as well as skilled programmers, bloggers trying to make their fortune on internet. They try various things such as CPC(Adsense etc.), Affiliates, Domaining, Blogging, Software creation etc. What do you think that plays the major role in earning money from internet?

You will need time, and parents that will believe in you, or even ignore you, but won’t stop you. After my first 12 months of working 7 days a week, over 8 hours a day on a school day and over 10 hours a day on weekends, my mom came up to my room and was really upset with me. She told me I needed to stop because it’s been over a year and it’s not working. Luckily, she didn’t physically stop me, and I kept at it. I’ve learned to deal with a lot of negative attitude. At home, most of my dad’s young employees hate me because of my success and the fact that if I log my hours or not today, it won’t be a big deal as I wasn’t there for the money, but I was there to make sure everything was dealt with correctly. At school, the occasional friend will get jealous, but even worse, teachers are jealous. As we speak, I’m actually in a battle with one as I’m get 20% lower in that class than I have received in the past 3+ years. Our marks are calculated directly from tests and assignments. These days, most assignment rubrics are marked based on 7 or 8 sections each with a rating ‘poor, good, very good, excellent’ so it comes entirely from an opinion, and that’s where my teacher gets his/her chance to bring down my marks. So in the end, be ready for anything, you’ll need plenty of time, and certainly don’t give up. For someone like myself who needs to get into college, this teacher’s attitude isn’t helping me very much.

Screenshot of his software - click on the Image for a larger view

Screenshot of his software - click on the Image for a larger view

Q.: People earn money to enjoy life in a better way. How do you look at money? In other words, how do you enjoy your money?

I’m not truly ‘enjoying’ it yet, as I’m very thrifty. So far, I’ve bought a new Dell Studio XPS computer (~$800), Macbook Air 13.3′ 8GB RAM (~$1500), home theater system (~$500), Canon T2i, lenses and accessories (~$1000) and other assorted electronics from mics to charges, to phone cases, to DVDs, to Xbox games, to computer speakers. I’m thinking about buying a nice car in the spring after the snow clears, just to enjoy the remaining day in high school. Right now, I could buy a 2011 Camaro, Mustang or Challenger, but then again, I could wait until first year of college and get a used Maserati, Ferrari 360 or Lamborghini Gallardo. Through my dad’s dealer license, I can get cars quite cheap in the US, and they sell for higher up here in Canada. That’s something I can easily fall back on if my marks take a plunge, the colleges don’t like my story, and my business goes bankrupt.

Side story: My dad also started with nothing like me, and he sold cars off his front yard. He ended up going to police college and following his plans until he retired from the force, and went back to buying and selling cars and boats. Now he only sells boats and purchased the largest freshwater marina in Canada.

Q.: Describe your journey in terms of when was the first time you were introduced to internet-realm and the progress you made.

I started with the computer at age 3. Mostly playing games for fun. Moved on to Runescape and World of Warcraft, and quit each at grade 3 and grade 7 respectively. I went on to learn programming, then that quickly turned me to internet marketing, and that lead to product launches, software specifically.

Q.: What do you study? Does working at this early age affect your study in a harmful way? Like, does it make you feel the negligence for study?

Interesting question. I still want high marks, as I want to go to a great college. I don’t like getting bad marks, but occasionally one will come around, and having something other than marks going for you financially, does allow me to not sweat over it. As you’ve read, I’ve left all my doors open and have plenty of paths to fall back on if needed.

Q.: What are your future plans?

Well, my mom wants me to go to University of Waterloo in Canada, as it’s the best computer science school in Canada. I’ll be able to do a co-op in California, which is where I wanted to go for school. However, we met in a happy medium and I’ll be applying to University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Illinois and Boston U. Harvard’s 6% acceptance rate will be tough, but even if I don’t get it, it’s still not a loss of $75. I’ll be able to brand myself as the million dollar 20 year old, Harvard reject. However, as for going to school in Canada, I don’t think I have much of a chance as they don’t look at anything other than marks and community hours. I’m nothing but a couple of numbers on a piece of paper. They rather have a 90% average kid with no social skill, business skill, extracurricular, or even street smarts than myself with a 80-85% average and a massive online empire with over 15 employees and thousands of customers. Anyone can get high marks, and they certainly don’t show how smart you are. I’ll be studying for computer science or an MBA.
As for business, I’ll be launched a 2.0 version and a lite version of my best-selling software before New Years.

Josh MacDonald

Josh MacDonald

Q.: What special message would you like to share with fellow internet generation who aspire to make fortune online?

I think telling a few of my favorite quotes would be the most beneficial. I’m not sure of the authors, but I’m certainly not one.

Failure is the best teacher.

“If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them.”

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”

“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”

“Work smarter, not harder.”

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

The last one is certainly the most hated by others, and the most loved by me. Right now, as I complete this interview, almost all the males at my school are playing the new Call of Duty, and here I am, working hard, completing an interview, responding to emails that came in while I slept, trying to get ahead.

Thanks for having me.


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

One thought on “Interview – Josh MacDonald, 16 Year Old Who Sold $100,000 In Software Sales

  1. Very inspirational story of Josh MacDonald. Thanks for this kind of stuff.

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