Every few weeks, I sit down and speak to some amazing young millionaires as part of my Better Know a Young Millionaire Series. These interviews and stories are designed to provide insight and give you motivation to succeed at a young age. While money in itself doesn't equate to success, it does show that these individuals have achieved quite a bit at a young age.
This week I have the pleasure of introducing Jonathan Goldman, President of Quantum Networks. Jonathan is only 20 years old, and his company is already the #1 fastest growing telecommunications company according to Inc. Magazine.
Jonathan has some great stories and insights to share, so let's get to know Jonathan a little better…
Getting Started: The First Million
Tell me about yourself and your company?
Jonathan: Quantum Networks is an e-commerce technology incubator, founded in 2008 and located in midtown Manhattan. We specialize in niche tech products appealing to a wide consumer base, sold via both our flagship website www.quantum-wireless.com, and through various virtual marketplaces. Our company is young, dynamic, and vets a coveted spot as #56 in Inc. Magazine’s 2012 list of the 500 private, fastest-growing companies in America, and #1 in the list’s Telecommunications category.
I began interning with Quantum Networks when I was 15 years old. I’m now 20 years old and the President of the company. I attend night and weekend classes at Baruch College in—what else? — entrepreneurship. I’m the son of Iranian Jewish immigrants, the youngest of three siblings, and grew up in Queens.
How did you make your first million?
Jonathan: The way I made my first million was through tenacity, in this case being the constant buying and selling of goods. I worked hard, put my all into my job, and never accepted failure. It might not be the sexiest of self-made millionaire stories, but it’s real: I worked, buying and selling products all day every day, and eventually the work began to pay off.
Investing and Money
Where do you currently invest your money and why?
Jonathan: Currently, I reinvest the bulk of my capital into hiring and retaining top talent. Bringing on promising employees who can take the company to the next level is the soundest investment I could make at this point, because it will help the company in the long term, which in turn will generate more money.
Has that changed over time?
Jonathan: If anything, initially I didn’t possess the foresight to invest my money in current and future hires. As the company has grown, however, it has become more apparent that, to continue our growth pattern, we need top-quality prospects who often come with an equally high price tag. However, as opposed to earlier in my career when I would balk at paying anyone over a certain amount, I’m now more willing to invest my money into those quality hires, because in the long run I truly believe it will pay off.
Many millionaires (even though you didn't) have made money through real estate. Why do you think that is the case?
Jonathan: Having just bought (rather than leased) my first property, I can definitely attest to the potential benefits of moneymaking through real estate. My personal motivation for purchasing a piece of real estate rather than renting it is twofold: firstly, you can always rent out the property and make money. Secondly, even if you live in the property, that real estate can easily increase in value, and you still make money without actively doing anything. Even though real estate is not where I invest the bulk of my capital, it certainly seems like a win-win situation, so I can understand why millionaires would choose to invest in real estate as their primary form of income.
Risk and Reward
Is there another way to become a young millionaire without starting your own business or basically being an entrepreneur?
Jonathan: Honestly, unless you win the lottery or come into a sizable inheritance, I don’t believe there’s a way to become a young millionaire without embodying the entrepreneurial spirit in at least some sense. Do you need to be a business owner? No. But do you need to be extremely motivated, focused, and essentially personify every other quality associated with entrepreneurs? Yes. There are too many young people out there hungry for success for you not to be; if you don’t go big in today’s world, without a question you’re going home.
What's the biggest risk you've taken? Do you regret it?
Jonathan: In my line of work, every single day is a risk. Every time I place an order for $200,000 to $300,000 worth of product, for instance, it’s a risk. How fast will it sell? Will it sell at all? Those questions are constants in my life. But I never regret the choices I make in those moments, because every outcome has brought me to where I am today. If I didn’t have confidence in my decision-making abilities, I couldn’t be successful in this profession. So instead of regretting if a purchase goes sour, I view it as a learning experience, cut my losses, and move forward.
Looking Forward and Lessons Learned
If you could go back and make one change, what would it be?
Jonathan: I always think about what I would like to improve upon in all parts of my life. It’s important to reflect and not develop an inflated view of yourself: I might be successful on paper, but I am young and recognize that there is still so much to learn. In terms of my job, one particular change I would like to make is to learn the ability to scale efficiently and minimize overhead faster.
What advice do you have for college students and young adults when it comes to entrepreneurship and money?
Jonathan: The most important piece of advice I could give other young people is that, as relates to entrepreneurial success, it’s all about delayed gratification. Especially in today’s world, people think they can put in 6 months or a year’s worth of time into their work and see immediate results, or buy into get-rich-quick schemes that flop almost as often as they start. You have to be able to zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture, and be prepared to bear down for a good long while. Of course, there is no set amount of time by which to measure the barometer of success, but if you work long enough and continuously enough, that’s when you’ll see reward. Working hard may not guarantee success, but not working hard will virtually always guarantee failure (<- Click to Tweet This).
What I Learned From Jonathan Goldman
Jonathan has a lot of great insights, especially when it comes to starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur. I love the fact that he is building his business while still going to college at night and on the weekends. It just goes to show that it can be done and you can start a business while in college.
I'm a big fan of his last line: working hard may not guarantee success, but not working hard will virtually always guarantee failure. I think too many people forget that these days. I meet so many young adults and college students that have a “silver platter” mentality and believe that everything will be provided for them. I'd estimate that 1-in-10 that I talk to fully understand that their success and failure is determined solely on their own hard work. Jonathan is proof that this is true, so hopefully more people will start to understand it.
Finally, I love how Jonathan was able to leverage an internship and turn it into a full time job. In my Ultimate College Internship Guide, one of the key things I address is how to leverage an internship once you're done. Jonathan was able to leverage it into a great job that made him a millionaire. It goes to show how your college experiences can really impact the rest of your life.
What are your thoughts on working and going to college? What about leveraging an internship for future career success?