Do you believe in overnight success?
In many cases, what may seem an instant success out of nowhere is actually the result of years of hard work. However, in this age of digital media and social virality, near-instantaneous success is well within the realm of possibility.
Check out these "overnight" (i.e., unusually quick) success stories from the year just past:
High School Kid Makes More Than $300,000 Trading on his Cell Phone
"No cell phones in class."
It's a pretty standard rule, but would you make an exception for a whiz kid making hundreds of thousands in his second job as a stock trader?
New Jersey teen Connon Bruggemann took about $10,000 he had saved from his summer jobs as a busboy and opened an E-Trade account. According to The Verge, Bruggeman made more than $300,000 in a single year of trading penny stocks.
The kid was 16. Oh, and he was trading on his iPhone at the lunch table, in the washroom, and under his desk.
If that doesn't give you a complex about your own stock portfolio prowess...
True Detective Beats the Odds for Overnight Cult Status
True Detective, the smash hit starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, became such a hit in its first season that the season finale crashed HBO's streaming server.
On average, 11 million viewers tuned in each week for the series, which built audience faster than hits The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Game of Thrones before it.
What's truly incredible is that it did it in a hypercompetitive market and literally became a sensation almost overnight. It typically takes years for even the best of shows to achieve cult status.
12-Year-Old CEO Becomes a Media Darling
I wrote about Moziah Bridges, CEO of Mo's Bows, recently. At just 12 years old, Bridges already has three years of experience under his belt and now operates a $150,000 menswear business.
In 2014, his success became a viral sensation, and young Bridges has now appeared on Shark Tank and in magazines such as O and Vogue.
He also became a philanthropist this past year, donating $1,600 to send children to summer camp.
Bridges has built his business since he was 9 years old, but 2014 was really the year in which he went mainstream and became an overnight success.
Email App Goes From Zero to $200 Million in 18 Months
Three men with engineering backgrounds had a huge vision for a mobile email app that would work across devices and allow business users to do more with their email. Their idea became Acompli, the app Microsoft just scooped up for a cool $200 million.
In calling this an overnight success, I don't mean to imply it wasn't deserved or was some kind of fluke. These founders took an awesome, unconventional approach to their product's development and growth that paid off in a huge way.
Going from concept to launch, and even further, to being bought out in such a short period of time makes this a success story that should inspire many an entrepreneur!
Homeless Artist Now Selling Sketches for Thousands
John Dolan had been living on the streets 20 years when he met the London gallery owner and art-tour organizer who would change his fortune. Dolan's life had spiraled into poverty and crime when he traded a can of beer for George, a Staffordshire bull terrier.
Sketching pictures of his beloved pet brought him comfort.
Soon, he was sketching scenes from around town, capturing London cityscapes and selling his works for whatever he could get for them on the street.
That is, until he met Richard Howard-Griffin.
The gallery owner arranged the first showing of Dolan's work, and the rest, as they say, is history. Dolan has since been featured on Ellen's blog and is now selling his sketches for $5,000 or more apiece. He's also written a book and had more shows in London and Los Angeles.
When Overnight Success Goes Haywire
What a dream, right? To be toiling away one day and a massive hit the next.
If you're not ready for it, though, overnight success can bring huge headaches. The developers of anonymous email app Leak learned this in short order in 2014.
Despite its massive overnight success, Leak had to close its doors and shutter the app just 11 days after its launch. Kicked off Mandrill and SendGrid, the app had nowhere to "live," and as a result, its overnight success disappeared as quickly as it came.