Ephren Taylor’s first big success came when he was 12 and was driven by a passion that is shared by many boys his age – a love for video games. Growing up in Carlisle, Mississippi, his family couldn’t afford to buy new video games so he taught himself how to program. After a few months he had coded a new game and sold it to his friends for $10 a copy.
Taylor’s entrepreneurial drive was evident even earlier in his life. Beginning in 3rd grade he would sell pencils, erasers and drawings to fellow classmates on the playground. He says his main influences were his mother and father who pushed Taylor and his siblings to do great things.
“It was always instilled in me that you can accomplish anything,” said Taylor in an interview with CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. “Anything you set your mind to.”
At age 13 he was paid $3,800 to create a website in 2 weeks. The company that he created it for then made $800,000 off of it. This didn’t discourage Taylor, however, who learned a valuable lesson from the experience.
“I will never get anywhere unless I’m in control or own the system,” said Taylor in an interview with The Montel Williams Show.
He finally reached the million-dollar mark when he was 16. Taylor and his friend Michael Stahl teamed up to build GoFerretGo.com, a job-posting Web site for high school and college kids. When they began, they charged only $38 per job posting, but soon realized they could charge big name corporations like Sprint, Citigroup and Pizza Hut a lot more. Eventually the duo rented office space and hired their former history teacher to help. At its peak the company was valued at $3.5 million.
Taylor took a brief hiatus from work after GoFerretGo.com was dissolved in 2001. Five years later he was named the CEO of City Capital Corp., becoming the youngest African-American CEO of a publicly traded company.
Apart from business, Taylor is all about giving back to the community. He often travels around to different churches to speak about building wealth in communities and helping underserved populations become self-sufficient.
“I just hate seeing us using these excuses for our social ills of the community, when the community has the ability to deal with them themselves and not be dependent on anybody,” said Taylor on The Montel Williams Show.
Taylor told Montel Williams that despite his success in the business world, he hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a minister one day.
“Financially, some say that I would be successful, but that’s not how I measure success. Success is measured by the impact that we make every day,” said Taylor on The Montel Williams Show. “Today I enjoy a life of wealth, notoriety, influence. But it always wasn’t like this.”
Taylor has authored two books including The Wall Street Journal Best Seller Creating Success from the Inside Out and The Elite Entrepreneur. He appears weekly on FOX News and has been featured on 20/20, PBS, Black Enterprise and CNN Money.