Teenager Justin Ellen Skipped College And Baked His Way Into A $100K Business
Photo Credit: Passaic County Technical-Vocational Schools / Justin Ellen

Teenager Justin Ellen Skipped College And Baked His Way Into A $100K Business

Justin Ellen is stacking his dough metaphorically and literally. Like the tiers of the cakes he bakes, Ellen has built a successful business based on his passion and baking skills.

A former contestant on Netflix’s popular baking show, “Is It Cake?” Ellen has pivoted from working a side hustle to managing a six-figure business.

Which Path To Take?

When Ellen was on the baking show, he was a 17-year-old high school student debating his next step for the future. Deciding between the path of collegiate education or full-time entrepreneurship, Ellen was stuck on which direction to take.

Earning about $5,000 per month from his business wasn’t enough to eliminate the thoughts of FOMO (fear of missing out) around a post-secondary pathway.

“The thing that got me down was like, I was seeing all my friends [apply for colleges],” Ellen said to CNBC.

From Side Hustle To Full Time

While on the Netflix show, Ellen created edible cakes that resembled everyday household products and objects. And while the baking competition was a significant platform for Ellen, he admits it was social media that helped propel him to the next level in business.

“Honestly, it makes you more relatable. People want to know the person behind the brand, and if they enjoy you, they’re gonna want to spend money with you,” Ellen said about his social media presence to CNBC.

Starting to understand how to leverage social media for his benefit, Ellen began posting more to show his skill and build his following. He would post videos of him baking any time he was available.

Building a solid social media platform proved really beneficial as he grew to 50,000 followers on Instagram, taking his monthly earnings up to $9,000 while still in high school.

Multiple Meanings Of Dough

The early success from his baking solidified that the path to college that his peers were pursuing was not the right path for him.

“I just felt like it wasn’t worth it, and it was a lot of money. And you can’t really teach how to do art in a sense; it’s really just practice — and the more you practice, the easier it’s going to get,” Ellen explained to CNBC.

As the proud owner of Everything Just Baked, Ellen is learning to master the business side of things as he has mastered the culinary art of baking.

“Running a business is expensive. You don’t want to waste money just because you think you have a good idea,” Ellen pointed out to CNBC about business acumen.

Now a six-figure earner, Ellen shows the world you can indeed have your cake and eat it too.