Nadia Tuffaha, Content Marketing Manager
September 21, 2016

Have you ever thought about dropping everything to pursue your professional dream? Maybe you’ve had an idea for the next great app or service, only to dismiss it as “crazy” or “impractical.” Well, at this year's MarketplaceLIVE (September 22 at Spring Studios in NYC) you’ll have the opportunity to hear from people who did just that.

Chris Kelsey is 19 years old, and, according to a recent exchange with Kelsey, the company he founded has made just over $6m revenue as of August 2016. He dropped out of high school when he was 17, not because he was lazy or troubled, but because he had a bold, singular vision of what he wanted to become and he did not see traditional education as the means to get him there.

In fact, Kelsey had a perfect 4.0 when he dropped out of Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California midway through his senior year to start his first company, Appsitude. Appsitude is a company that builds "apps with attitude." Beyond also developing and executing successful marketing plans for those companies and apps, such as Premium Wallpapers HD which, according to Kelsey, has received over 40 million downloads since 2015 before it was sold, his 64-person global team builds apps, websites, and software.

Not everyone thought Kelsey was making a smart move eschewing higher education to become an entrepreneur. “My dad yelled at me a lot. My mom cried a lot,” Kelsey said. “My friends said I was being stupid. I completely understand where they were coming from. They just wanted what’s best for me.” But picking the safe option doesn't always result in the most desired results. To make a significant impact, big risks are often required.

Kelsey told us that his new focus is Appsitude Accelerator (a global startup accelerator) and an investment fund called Azgard Angels that invests in startups in his accelerator program.

In response to a fellow 19 year old on Quora who asked a question about how to become a millionaire, Kelsey had three pieces of advice, which we paraphrased below following further discussions with Kelsey on his points:

Only go after the qualifications you need to reach your goals. If a degree doesn't advance your cause, why get it just to impress someone else?

Self-belief is the seed from which all success grows. If you don't have a steadfast, unwavering belief in yourself, you will not reach your goal.

Don't be afraid to fail, and be ready to admit failure when the time comes. The decision to "boldly go" doesn't mean you automatically get to arrive, so be willing to lick your wounds, learn from your mistakes, and move on to the next one.

Want to learn more about what goes on inside the mind of a young entrepreneur like Chris Kelsey? The "Inspirational Start-up Stories” session will take place at MarketplaceLIVE on September 22 from 3:30-4:30 and will also feature Ali Abdullah, who was once homeless living on the streets of NYC but is now the Founder of a successful app called “Claim It!” that has secured $2 million in funding.

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