Jonathan Grubin – The teenage entrepreneur

At 19, Jonathan Grubin is the managing director of MiniG Media. He launched the ForFree4U online rewards network in 2006 when he was 16, and has just joined the joint online mailing venture SendSocial as CCO.

Jonathan Grubin answers our questions on how he started as a young entrepreneur.

Where did your business start?

It began as a hobby. I got my first mobile at 12 and wanted new wallpaper for it; rather than pay for anything I taught myself to use Photoshop. I made a website and loaded up the images and the website just took off.

How did you fund the business?

I ended up making £4,500 from web wallpapers and used £300 to start-up ForFree4U. It made £75,000 in its first year and has attracted more than 70,000 members.

Is it difficult as a young entrepreneur?

I went to Business Link when I was 16, who were helpful, but although they have goals and targets, there were no specific targets for helping young people.

Luckily, I’ve done quite well, so people see me as someone with experience. One problem I’ve had is government red tape; you’re restricted as to the types of account you can have under the age of 18. My dad was pretty helpful with the accounts, and I remember we spent a fair few hours hunched together over my first tax return.

What next?

A good way of seeing how well your company is doing is stepping away from it. I have about ten ideas a day – the main problem is not taking on too many new ones. I just want to have fun as I get a lot of pleasure from starting and setting up a business.

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