How Did a 32-year-old High School Dropout Make $550 Million by Selling His Company to Target?


We all have dreams of making it big, and for this guy…his dreams came true at only 32-years old. Could it happen to you? Why not? Here’s his story:

Bill Smith is a high school dropout from Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up as the son of an entrepreneur, and his dad was, understandably, disappointed, when Bill decided that school wasn’t for him. Instead, Bill had bigger dreams. All he wanted to do was make money.

So, at 16-years old, Bill started dabbling in different businesses. He sold cell phones for a while, and then he started a small loan company, which led to a business called Insight Card Services, where he sold pre-paid Visa cards. At this point, a bigger company, GreenDot Corporation, approached Bill to buy Insight. He agreed, and the deal was worth a few million. But, bigger things were coming for Bill.

Without a business, he was looking for another opportunity. He noticed that companies like Amazon and Uber were offering on-demand deliveries and rides, so he thought that he would explore this concept. What he came up with was Shipt.

Bill has always said that he hates shopping, so anything that he could do to avoid it was a good idea to him. Basically, the concept of Shipt is this: a customer uses a website to order groceries, and they are delivered the same day. Basically, Shipt hired independent contractors to do the shopping and delivery. To get this service, people pay about $100 a year, and delivery is free, as long as you spend more than $35.

Shipt was a highly successful business for Bill Smith. It was so successful, in fact, that huge companies were taking note, including Target. You see, Target was ready to start offering same-day delivery like other retailers, but it didn’t have a feasible way to do it. Meanwhile, Bill was focused on Target as a way to expand Shipt. The two parties connected, Target made an offer, and BOOM, Bill Smith was $550 million richer.

So, if Bill Smith can do this, why can’t you? He has some great tips for success, actually, that anyone who wants to start a business can use.

His first piece of advice is to not worry so much about things like business school. After dropping out of high school, Bill eventually got his GED and took some college classes, but he left that, too. Instead, everything he learned that was of any use to him was on the job and observing how businesses work.

Another piece of advice that Bill has is to think outside of the box. When he started Shipt, for instance, he didn’t focus on large cities, even though on the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Instead, he focused on launching the service in smaller cities, like Tampa and Orlando. This helped the company become highly successful.

Finally, Bill believes that the true success of Shipt comes from something very simple: treating people, both customers and employees, well. This can, of course, be something that you can use in any company.


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