Ollie Forsyth has been through a lot, after being bullied at school for his dyslexia and told by his peers that he would amount to little later in life.
But the young lad battled through and, having been inspired by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson and his own struggle with dyslexia, decided to go into business.
At the age of 13, he was making a tidy sum buying in and selling on replica bracelets to his friends and family, managing to make £2,000 profit from selling 250 bracelets. At 14, he expanded into belts, making nearly £5,000 profit from selling £12,000 worth of belts.
HuffPostUK caught up with him to find out more about how the young entrepreneur has already got so far in business.
So Ollie, tell me how you first got into business...
I was inspired by Sir Richard Branson and my dream was to have my own airline! So I thought I'd start making my parents tea and coffee, and charge 20p a cup, and if they want it reheated, I would charge another 20p - this happened most days.
Thanks to that, I was making £1 a day, and was earning £20 a week doing extra jobs like cutting the grass, walking the dogs and so forth.
I soon had enough money to buy a classic car with my brother and my father, so we bought a 1960’s Triumph GT6 MK1, which we imported it from Belgium for £3,000 split between us, and last year I bought my brother's share of it. I also have a 1930’s Austin Ulster which I believe is totally original and was bought for £16,500 and it appears there are only 35 left in the world!
After buying my classics, I started an online gift shop. The idea originally came from my history teacher who was wearing a friendship bracelet. I went back home and saw they cost over £100, so I got 10 replicas sent to me for free and sold those for £10 each and made my first £100! In the first six months I made over £2,500 profit.
Since then my businesses have grown at a fast rate, however having been bullied at school was something I never want to experience again. Why should someone bully you? Why would you do it to them if you wouldn’t like it done to you? Having started my businesses, I’ve hardly been bullied since.
What have you learned on the way?
I have learned some very good lessons, never let people owe you money, and always do your research. I've made some silly mistakes which I thought were excellent but I have covered all those and made up those mistakes!
I am not an academic person but I flourish in entrepreneurship. Qualifications aren’t everything, its what you do in life that counts. I have spoken to lots of businessmen and women in the past and they have all said, "I don’t look at the person's qualifications, I look at the people themselves". I believe if people had the option of going to university or doing some work experience, they should do work experience.
How're things going now?
Last year, Ollie's Shop made £20,000, this year will roughly be the same as we doubled our stock. By 2025 I hope to be making £1,000,000.
I also like to help fundraise. I have helped many charities in the past but I am currently supporting East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, The ABF Soldiers and I am also the UK Ambassador for Winners Win, an online inspirational magazine full of inspirational stories.
I have recently entered my school enterprise competition, which I’m determined to win. The competition is based on, whoever makes the most profit on the original £100 start up from the school, so far I have just made under £2,000. The winner gets £2,000 and a weeks work experience with Anya Hindmarch, who I’ve met, and she was very positive with my future businesses.
Is it hard doing business at your age?
A lot of people go along with me as they think I’m a bit older. When I was at ITV studios once, everyone thought I was a manager as I was dressed smart, while they’re dressed in their home clothes.
What is your business ambition? To retire at 25?
My future plans are to grown my businesses and hopefully turn them into very successful companies. I have huge ideas for Charmou. I have plans to start a modeling agency, and then go into healthy foods such as yogurts and breakfast bars. I predict within five years, I will be making £250,000 monthly with my businesses.
My ultimate goal is to be the next Lord Sugar and Branson. I aim to bring back The Young Apprentince, and I hope to be a property, marketing and retail tycoon!
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