Interviews

Arran Rice: Age 17, Turnover £2.5 million

Arran Rice got a laptop for Christmas when he was 11. With it he set up a digital media business that six years later generates £2.5 million in turnover. Imagine what he'll achieve when he finishes college...

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Arran Rice got a laptop for Christmas when he was 11. With it he set up a digital media business that six years later generates £2.5 million in turnover. Imagine what he'll achieve when he finishes college...

Interviews

Arran Rice: Age 17, Turnover £2.5 million

Arran Rice got a laptop for Christmas when he was 11. With it he set up a digital media business that six years later generates £2.5 million in turnover. Imagine what he'll achieve when he finishes college...

Share this article

Arran Rice: Age 17, Turnover £2.5 million

How do you build an online media network that draws 60 million page views each month? Seventeen year-old entrepreneur Arran Rice knows how, and he explains all below.

What motivated you to start a business at 12?

When I was 11, I was given a laptop for Christmas. So I started experimenting on the internet, it was a hobby more than anything.

I created a few YouTube channels and started a small number of basic websites – I started to love the idea of creating a web presence that others around the world could view. In November 2010, I launched my first gaming website and it became popular really quickly.


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After a few months of developing, building and rebuilding the gaming site, I started to notice that the articles uploaded about one game in particular were getting a lot more traction than the rest. This was a game called Cityville. Following this, I decided to make a site solely for Cityville.

As this site grew at such a rapid rate, it was then that I realized I could make money from something I really enjoyed - selling game guides as an affiliate.

Did you know that you were ‘starting a business’ at the time, or was it more following a hobby?

For the first couple of years it was more of a hobby than anything else. I really enjoyed running a gaming site that readers loved, and for a 12 year old I made a good amount of money. However not enough to live on as an adult, it wasn’t until the success Cityville that I understood this could be more than just a hobby. I definitely got the bug.

How has your business empire grown in the last five years?

Over the past five years my business has grown a rapid rate, it started out just me in my bedroom at the age of 12 experimenting and trying different sites out. I self taught myself the basics in coding, marketing and design. It was overwhelming to begin with but soon I got the bug.

I slowly started to build my website portfolio to create a strong and profitable business, it was mostly trial and error – learning what worked and what didn’t along the way.

Fast forward five years and I’ve developed more than 500 websites and 200 mobile apps. I launched Wizzed Media in January 2015, which now has a network of ten main websites, focusingon: viral, sports, animal and car content.

I am still in full time education, so I’ve had to juggle my work, college and social life carefully. I now have a team of 14 to support across the entire Wizzed network. Each staff member works remotely as they are all based around the world.

Explain the different parts of your business?

After building different websites and apps, in January 2015 I formed Wizzed Media LTD. We now have a network of ten websites covering a range of content from: Bollywood, health, celebrity, cars, animals and quizzes. We also oversee the development and management of several apps.

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What are its vital stats?

After establishing the company in January 2015, it generated annual revenue of £2.5million in its first year.  The majority of this was sourced from advertising. Staff levels are currently at 14 freelance employees, this continues to grow and evolve dependent on content and resources required at the time.

Who/what has been you biggest source of help?

YouTube and Google have been lifesavers at some points over the past five years. If I come across a problem, I will search for it – the chances are someone else has had it before and there will already be an answer. I’m a big believer in asking questions and for help and being open to suggestions, it’s helped me grow Wizzed Media to this point.

Was it hard, initially, to get respect as a businessman?

Everyone I have worked with to this point have not been fazed by my age. If anything it has helped me as people find my career journey really exciting and want to know more. I have been quite lucky as my age hasn’t been an issue, it’s just a number and I have the same experience if not more than a 30-year-old in the same field.

It didn’t impact on my recruiting at all, a lot of the freelancers initially didn't know my age or really know anything about me as a person. Instead they just worked for an global online company and I was the owner - so the respect was already there.

Your network gets 60 million page views a month, how did you build such a traffic base?

It took a lot of time and patience, but now it’s mainly through the leveraging of native advertising networks by placing ads on the sponsored content widgets of sites such as Forbes, Mail Online, and The Telegraph to name a few, this has proved hugely successful to me and is a substantial traffic driver to all sites.

We also dedicate time to building our social fan base but through advertising and organically. By creating relevant content for particular age groups and interests, social media can act as the perfect platform to grow and nuture your own traffic. Finally, SEO still plays an integral part of the visual awareness of the sites, it’s a constant job but the results have paid off.

Arran Rice

Arran's business is flourishing despite him still being in school

What’s your best tip for creating engaging content that people want to read?

By utilizing sites such a Buzzsumo you can find trending content and topics that are most relevant to today’s world. We also look at what is trending on Twitter to write content – the chances are people will want to read about it in some form or other, resulting in you generating traffic.

How hard has it been splitting work and school?

It’s a definite balancing act between all parts of my life. I’m studying my A levels at the moment, so I probably work about three – four hours a day on the business – this is on top of all my college work.

But during exam times, like this May, my workload will be strained as I have to revise, as well as do school work and run a business. But I persevere with it, as I know after exams I will reward myself with a really amazing holiday.

You finish college this year, what’s next and where do you see yourself in five years?

In the immediate future my focus is on the opening on the central London office to really take the business to the next level. This is likely to be the end of July, I would ideally like to set up an office for Wizzed Media in Camden, where I would also like to find an apartment for myself.

I plan to go travelling before this, ideally for a month in summer, we’ll be going to a variety of places but I’m really excited about Iceland.

Once we are settled in the new office, I will be planning around three – four annual trips to New York and California. It’s important that I continue to meet with advertisers and other publishers, like myself, it’s the best way to grow and enhance my own development, as well as for Wizzed Media.

There are so many opportunities out there, I am really proud of what I have achieved so far and I am excited for what is next.

What’s your best piece of advice to others hoping to start a successful business?

Don't give up if you don't succeed straight away when trying something new out. It can take multiple attempts, when you fail you learn and you will have still succeeded becase you have learnt something important.

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Arran Rice: Age 17, Turnover £2.5 million

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