How to make a tidy Summly like 17-year-old tech-whizz Nick D'Aloisio

It’s no good wishing there was an app for financial success. Watch and learn from others
  • @gillian_orr

Have you spent the last day hating this young chap (above)? 17-year-old Nick D'Aloisio is said to have made £20m for selling Summly, an app he invented two years ago that makes news articles more concise and quicker to read, to internet giant Yahoo! And along with his new wealth are thousands of people crying “I could have thought of that!” and cursing a teenage millionaire who plans on buying some trainers with his windfall.

But if you’re really serious about joining the millionaire’s club, stop moaning about other people’s success and come up with an ingenious idea of your own. There are any number of ways to get rich today that don’t require huge savings,  education or skill.

Is there something you miss from your childhood that you could no longer find anywhere? Julie Deane, 48, founded the Cambridge Satchel Company in 2008 after reading the Harry Potter books with her children and realising that you could no longer find leather satchels like the Hogwarts pupils carried and that she had when she was at school.

Now Deane has turned a £600 investment into a company with an annual turnover of over £12m.

Or have you ever been abroad and noticed something interesting that wasn’t on the market back home? In the late 1990s, the then 13-year-old Dominic McVey started importing micro-scooters from the United States before selling them on to his friends. He was a millionaire by 15 and is now a successful businessman.

Maybe you’ve spotted a gap in the market in fiction? Far from being an esteemed novelist, Erika Leonard was working as a television executive before she began penning erotic fan-fiction for online forums. On seeing the attention it received, she transferred the stories to her own website.

After spending a mere four months reworking the stories into a novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, Leonard published the book under the pseudonym EL James and the book soon became the best-selling of all time in Britain. Naturally, she is now worth millions.

Have you ever had a conversation with a friend saying “I wish they made…”? Sarah Blakely did. And she was talking about tights without feet that she could wear under trousers for a smoothing effect. As nobody did, she started to make them herself and Spanx was born. It is now a billion dollar company (£638m) and includes 200 products. 

So instead of wasting your energy on bitter feelings towards a tech whizz-kid, get thinking instead. You don’t need millions or a certificate. You just need an idea.

Sarah Blakely

Stretched her humble lifetime savings into a billion-dollar company

Julie Deane

Bagged herself a whole new life by bringing satchels back into fashion

Dominic McVey

Scootered his way into the  millionaire club while a teenager

EL James

Scored fifty shades of pay for her global bestselling erotica trilogy