- Associated Press - Monday, August 22, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Recent Minot High School graduate Lucas Johnson is 18 and already owns four companies.

“Well, technically, I only own three, because I’m dissolving one at the end of the year and moving it into one of my other companies,” said Johnson, who is working on his big e-commerce dreams for the future in sunny Florida. Johnson packed his bags and left for the Sunshine State soon after he graduated from high school last May, the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/2bnQ4OJ ) reported.

He has been staying with his friend and mentor Devin Zander, whom he met through an entrepreneurship course called eCom Premier Academy, which teaches students how to build an e-commerce store that teaches people how to make money.

Johnson bought the course and went through it several times. He started what he descrbes as his first real business in January and started making money with it the first day.

“It was really cool, it was really exciting, I got notifications on my phone every time I made a sale,” said Johnson.

He was so enthralled by his success that he took screen shots of the sales notifications he received on his cell phone and showed them to his best friend, who got tired of looking at them.

Johnson made contact with Zander and peppered him with questions. One day Zander texted him and invited him to a gathering in Los Angeles. A group of other e-commerce men, some of whom were making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, were planning to meet to discuss their businesses.

Johnson immediately knew he wanted to talk with these men and have a chance to network and learn from them. But he was still a high school student who had to persuade his father to let him travel to another state to meet with a group of men he knew nothing about.

“This was during the school year, back in February or March,” said Johnson. “…It was a school week … I realized then and there that if I went, I’d basically have the chance to change my life and talk to all these guys.”

The budding entrepreneur ran some background checks and gathered enough information to persuade his father, Larry Johnson, to let him travel to the three day conference. But Johnson said he was going to go anyway. It was too good an opportunity to miss.

“To this day, I don’t think my dad knows that I bought the plane ticket before I asked him,” said Johnson.

At the conference he met a bunch of “really cool guys” who told him about their businesses and offered him advice about how he could improve his own business models. “It was just a really crazy experience,” said Johnson, who was inspired by “these guys who are doing huge things.”

At the end of the three days, Johnson flew back to Minot and went back to the life of a high school student, but his life had been changed. Johnson flew to Florida to stay with Zander a few times and learned what it is really like to work in e-commerce as a living.

It was everything he wanted. He has decided college is not necessary because he’s already doing something he loves.

“I hope to have other businesses,” said Johnson, who wants to be a millionaire by the time he’s 21. “…I’m at a level now where I can support myself and do whatever I want.”

Johnson is working hard building his e-businesses, but he said he still has time for fun. He stays in contact with family and friends back in Minot and plans to go to Germany with a friend this fall.

His former entrepreneurship teacher at Minot High, Ben Berg, said Johnson is an “out of the box thinker” and very creative, but also sensible.

“He’s kind of a self motivated person,” said Berg. “…He’s one to take risks but he looks into it a lot (first) … he takes risks but he definitely does his research and homework beforehand. That’s where he’s definitely unique. Some kids don’t even do their regular homework.’”

Berg said Johnson did his regular school work during the day, but went home at night and conducted independent research about how to keep improving his skills.

Johnson said he knew from the time he was about 14 that he’d be able to do anything he wanted if he could figure out how to make money online. That, and a couple of part-time jobs he had in high school, started him on the path to life as an entrepreneur. His grandmother, Marge Ostdahl, has also been a huge support and encouraged him along the way, said Johnson.

His first job was at a music store, where Johnson found out he really liked selling to people. He sold a $13,000 piano to a customer and was elated by the sale, but he didn’t get a commission for it.

“I knew that if I owned a company and sold stuff like that that I would get a huge commission,” said Johnson.

He later worked in the electronics department at a local department store, where he further honed his salesmanship skills.

He also gained knowledge by watching videos online about how to start an online business and selling items online before he purchased the eCom Premier Academy course, started his “first real company” and met Zander.

These days he is also showing other people how to do what he is doing with his own YouTube channel and a blog at livinglikelucas.com “Basically, I am documenting my life as an entrepreneur,” said Johnson.

He hopes his e-businesses continue to be successful, but he said he would also like to have a company with a physical location in another decade or so and would also like to do something that benefits humanity.

He admires Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla.

“He, from the get go, has worked on making the world a better place,” said Johnson.

Billionaires who finance big things also have big resources and multiple income streams, said Johnson who is continuing to learn and to push himself to reach his goals.

“I don’t want to live a mediocre life,” said Johnson, who knows that sounds “super cliche.”

But he also has the confidence to dream big and to work toward big goals.

“I love this, so I want to do it every single day,” said Johnson.

___

Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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