Birthplaces of Different American Music styles

The American music industry generated 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, making up 30 percent of the total 50 billion U.S. dollars generated by the global music industry.

Here are the most popular Music styles and their birthplaces

Rap – New York City

Rock – Cleveland

Jazz – New Orleans


R and B – Detroit

Blues – Memphis

Country Music – Appalachia

Bluegrass  – Appalachia


Techno – Detroit


House – Chicago

Tallest Buildings in the Year 2020

  1. Jeddah Tower – Jeddah Tower is currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, scheduled to be completed in 2019. It will be the first building to exceed 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) with a planned height of 1,007 metres (3,304 ft). Once completed it will become the tallest building and tallest freestanding structure in the world.

Cost $1.23 billion

2. Burj Khalifa – 2,722 feet

Cost – $1.5 billion

3. Suzhou Zhongnan 729 m (2,392 ft)   Suzhou, China

Cost – $4.46 billion

4. Wuhan Greenland Center 2,085  Wuhan, China

Cost – $4.5 billion

4. KL 118 (2,083-foot)  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

5. Shanghai Tower 2,072 feet    Shanghai, China


Hudson Spire 2,000 feet



6. Abraj Al Bait Clock Tower 1,971   Mecca, Saudi Arabia

7. Ping An Finance Center 1,965    Shenzhen, China


$1.46 billion

8. Goldin Finance Center 1,959    Tianjin, China

9. Baoneng Shenyang Global Finance Center 1,854   Shenyang, China

10. Lotte Tower   1,821 ft    Seoul, South Korea



11. Freedom Tower 1,776 +1,792 Tip


Half of the World’s tallest buildings will be in China

There will be no tall buildings from Africa. This is something every African should be angry about.

How well you are able to build tall and magnificent buildings demonstrate how smart, wealthy, and modern your society is.

Africa should at least try to build one 1,800 ft supertall. It would probably cost $1-2 billion dollars but it would be worth it.

Best cities for it




Dar Es Salaam


(Maybe a freestanding structure for Accra)




What are Africans doing to Fight Afrophobia…..nothing

Ask Muslim



Vicious Anti Black Racism in the Muslim World




Blacks in Libya

That study showed that most Hindu honor killings are caste-related and that Muslim honor killings are triggered by many more reasons, e.g., girls have been killed for looking at a boy, allowing their veil to slip, being seen without their veil, refusing to marry their first cousin, insisting on divorcing their first cousin, developing non-Muslim friends, having a non-Muslim boyfriend, being suspected of having an affair, wanting a higher education, etc.

What is our response?


What Harvard looks for

In our admissions process, we give careful, individual attention to each applicant. We seek to identify students who will be the best educators of one another and their professors—individuals who will inspire those around them during their College years and beyond.

As we read and discuss your application, many questions will be on our minds. Some things we consider:

Growth and potential

  • Have you reached your maximum academic and personal potential?
  • Have you been stretching yourself?
  • Have you been working to capacity in your academic pursuits, your full-time or part-time employment, or other areas?
  • Do you have reserve power to do more?
  • How have you used your time?
  • Do you have initiative? Are you a self-starter? What motivates you?
  • Do you have a direction yet? What is it? If not, are you exploring many things?
  • Where will you be in one, five, or 25 years? Will you contribute something to those around you?
  • What sort of human being are you now? What sort of human being will you be in the future?

Interests and activities

  • Do you care deeply about anything—intellectual? Extracurricular? Personal?
  • What have you learned from your interests? What have you done with your interests? How have you achieved results? With what success or failure? What have you learned as a result?
  • In terms of extracurricular, athletic, community, or family commitments, have you taken full advantage of opportunities?
  • What is the quality of your activities? Do you appear to have a genuine commitment or leadership role?
  • If you have not had much time in high school for extracurricular pursuits due to familial, work, or other obligations, what do you hope to explore at Harvard with your additional free time?

Character and personality

  • What choices have you made for yourself? Why?
  • Are you a late bloomer?
  • How open are you to new ideas and people?
  • What about your maturity, character, leadership, self-confidence, warmth of personality, sense of humor, energy, concern for others, and grace under pressure?

Contribution to the Harvard community

  • Will you be able to stand up to the pressures and freedoms of College life?
  • Will you contribute something to Harvard and to your classmates? Will you benefit from your Harvard experience?
  • Would other students want to room with you, share a meal, be in a seminar together, be teammates, or collaborate in a closely knit extracurricular group?

Our admissions process strives to be deliberate, meticulous, and fair. It is also labor intensive. But it permits extraordinary flexibility and the possibility of changing decisions virtually until the day the Admissions Committee mails them. This is especially important since we are always receiving new information about applicants.

Of course, no process is perfect. Inevitably, some students who are not admitted will see great success, and even with a 97 to 98 percent graduation rate, some admitted students might have been better served at another institution. However, we do everything possible to make the best admissions decisions for each student.

Two additional resources you may wish to review:

Highest paying majors for undergraduates

1. Petroleum engineering: $136,000

2. Pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and administration: $113,000

3. Metallurgical engineering: $98,000

4. Mining and mineral engineering: $97,000

5. Chemical engineering: $96,000

6. Electrical engineering: $93,000

7. Aerospace engineering: $90,000

8. Mechanical engineering: $87,000

9. Computer engineering: $87,000

10. Geological and geophysical engineering: $87,000

Richest African Soccer players

  1. Samuel Eto  $90 million  Cameroon

The Cameroon striker’s bank account has flourished since signing an ultra-rich contract with Anzhi while his gameplay has fallen off the soccer radar in the underdeveloped Russian league. But that has not kept him from making headlines. He has lashed out at his native country’s football association claiming they have siphoned his money and alleged they want him killed. He has recently backed out of Cameroon competition along with teammates, all citing injuries, and has said he sleeps with military police protection


2. Didier Drogba  $70 million  Cote D’Ivoire

is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Canadian MLS club Montreal Impact. He is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. He has been named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.[5]

After playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans, and signed his first professional contract aged 21. After finishing the 2002–03 season with 17 goals in 34 appearances for Ligue 1 side Guingamp, he moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he finished as the third highest scorer in the 2003–04 season with 19 goals and helped the club reach the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.

In the summer of 2004, Drogba moved to Premier League club Chelsea for a club record £24 million fee, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history. In his debut season he helped the club win their first league title in 50 years, and a year later he won another Premier League title. In March 2012, he became the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals,[6] and also became the only player in history to score in four separate FA Cup finals the same year, when he scored in Chelsea’s win over Liverpool in the 2012 final.[7] He also played in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, in which he scored an 88th-minute equaliser and the winning penalty in the deciding shoot-out against Bayern Munich.[8] After spending 6 months with Shanghai Shenhua in China, and one and a half seasons with Turkish club Galatasaray where he scored the winning goal in the final of the 2013 Turkish Super Cup, Drogba returned to Chelsea in July 2014.[9][10] With a career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals winning 10 trophies at club level, Drogba has been referred to as the “ultimate big game player.”[11][12]

An Ivory Coast international between 2002 and 2014, Drogba captained the national team from 2006 until his retirement and is the nation’s all-time top goalscorer with 65 goals from 104 appearances.[13] He led the Ivory Coast to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their first appearance in the tournament, and also scored their first goal. He later captained the Ivory Coast at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.[5] He was part of the Ivory Coast teams that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012, but were beaten on penalties on both occasions. On 8 August 2014, he announced his retirement from international football




3. Yaya Toure  $ 70 million   Cote D’Ivoire

is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Ivory Coast national team[3] for whom he is the captain.

Touré aspired to be a striker during his youth[4] and has played centre back, including for FC Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final,[5] however he has spent the majority of his career as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country, where he has been regarded as one of the world’s best players.[6] He was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.[7][8]

Touré began his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas, where he made his debut aged 18. His performances attracted attention from Europe. Touré had stints with Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, and AS Monaco before moving to Barcelona in 2007. He played over 100 matches for the club and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona side that won six trophies in a calendar year. In 2010 Touré moved to Premier League club Manchester City where he scored a number of key goals for the Citizens – most notably the only goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final. He also helped City earn its first league title in 44 years.

Touré has a distinguished international career with over 100 caps for the Ivory Coast, representing the team at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also represented Ivory Coast in six Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, helping them finish runner-up in 2006 and 2012, while captaining them to victory in 2015. He is the younger brother of his Ivory Coast teammate Kolo Touré. They played together at Manchester City for three years, before Kolo was transferred to Liverpool in 2013


4. Mario Balotelli net worth $ 40 million  Ghanaian descent

is a Ghanaian Italian professional footballer who plays as a striker for A.C. Milan, on loan from Liverpool, and the Italy national team.[2]

He started his professional football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice before having an unsuccessful trial at Barcelona,[3] and subsequently joining Inter Milan in 2007. Inter manager Roberto Mancini brought Balotelli into the first team, but when Mancini left, Balotelli’s disciplinary record fell away. He had a strained relationship with new manager José Mourinho and was suspended from Inter’s first team in January 2009 after a number of disciplinary problems.

With doubts over his career at Inter, former coach Roberto Mancini had since moved to Manchester City and decided to give Balotelli a fresh chance at a new club. He joined Manchester City in August 2010, where his performances and off-field activities continued to be enigmatic and unpredictable. Balotelli eventually fell out of favour with Mancini after a “training ground bust up” between the two in January 2013.[4] His departure from City and return to Italy with A.C. Milan followed several weeks later.[5] After 18 months at Milan, he returned to the Premier League with Liverpool, going back on loan after an unsuccessful season.

Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in a friendly match against the Ivory Coast on 10 August 2010. He has since amassed over 30 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, helping them reach the final of the former.

5. Emmanuel Adebayor  27 million     Togo

is a Togolese professional footballer who plays as a forward. He previously played for English clubs Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Metz, Monaco and Real Madrid. He was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2008.[3]

Adebayor represented the Togo national team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the country’s début, and to date only, appearance at the World Cup. In January 2010, Adebayor was one of the players involved when the Togo team’s bus came under gunfire on the way to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, after which he retired from national team duty. In 2013 he returned to the Togo team for the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, where he helped them to qualify for the quarterfinals. He is currently Togo’s all-time top goalscorer with 29 goals.[4]

A towering striker, Adebayor is described as being “tall, skilful, strong in the air and with the ability to score and create

6. Michael Essien  $25 million       Ghana

is a Ghanaian footballer who plays for Panathinaikos and the Ghana national team. He is a midfielder who has often been touted as a box-to-box midfielder for his ability to exert energy in supporting offensive and defensive play and for his tough tackling style which has earned him the nickname “The Bison”.[2] Essien can also play as a defender, both on the right of defence and in the centre.

Essien started his career playing for Liberty Professionals in his home country. In 2000, he moved to France joining Bastia. Essien spent three seasons at the club appearing in over 60 matches before joining league champions Olympique Lyonnais in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles in 2003–04 and 2004–05 and also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. During his five-year stint in France, he acquired French citizenship. In 2005, Essien signed with Chelsea for a fee of £24.4 million and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history.[3] At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2006 and 2010, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup. In 2008, he appeared in the UEFA Champions League Final. He has won the Chelsea Goal of the season award twice, in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons.

Essien is a Ghanaian international. At youth level, he represented his country at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the latter team finishing as runner-up. Essien made his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where Ghana reached the Round of 16. He is often referred to as the Bison for his tough tackling style, boundless energy and physical presence on the pitch

7. Asamoah Gyan    $ 25 million  Ghana

is a Ghanaian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Super League and captains the Ghanaian national team.

Gyan began his career in 2003 with Ghanaian Premier League club Liberty Professionals scoring a prolific ten goals in sixteen matches then spent three seasons with Serie A club Udinese via two seasons loan at Modena netting on fifteen occasions in fifty-three league matches and at Udinese where he scored eleven times in thirty-nine league matches.[3] In 2008, Gyan joined Ligue 1 club Rennes, netting fourteen times in forty-eight league matches during two seasons.[4] In 2010, Gyan joined Premier League club Sunderland, breaking the club’s transfer record and netting on ten occasions in thirty-four Premier League matches during two seasons.[5]

In 2011, Gyan joined Al Ain of the UAE Pro-League on loan and become the league’s top-goalscorer, scoring twenty-four times in twenty-seven matches.[6] In the following season, Gyan permanently joined Al Ain and once again became the league’s top-goalscorer while he helped Al Ain retain the UAE Pro-League title, scoring an impressive twenty-eight goals in thirty-two matches.[7] In the 2013–14 season, Gyan prolifically scored on forty-four occasions in forty matches with Al Ain.[8]

Gyan is the all-time leading goalscorer of the Ghana national team earning over 90 caps. He represented Ghana at the 2006, 2010, and 2014 FIFA World Cups. With 6 goals he is the top African goalscorer in the history of the World Cup. Gyan has also represented Ghana at the 2004 Summer Olympics and in six Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, helping them finish in third-place in 2008 and runner-up in 2010 and 2015.

8.  Kevin Prince Boateng $20 million   Ghana

is a GermanGhanaian footballer.[2] He primarily plays as a midfielder.[9]

Boateng is known for his strength, footspeed, and ball-juggling tricks.[10][11] A 2014 profile on FIFA‘s official website described Boateng as “blessed with strength, speed, killer instinct in front of goal, and an uncommon flamboyance in the attacking third”.[12]


9. Kolo Toure $ 18 million   Cote D’Ivoire

is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays for English club Liverpool as a defender.

Beginning his career at ASEC Mimosas, Touré moved to Arsenal in 2002, where he made 326 appearances for the club and was a member of the famous 03-04 ‘invincibles’ side. In 2009 he joined his younger brother Yaya Touré at Manchester City where they played together for three years, helping City earn its first league title in 44 years. In 2013 Touré transferred to Liverpool. Toure is one of the six players who have won Premier League with two different clubs, having won it with Manchester City and Arsenal.

Touré is the second-most capped player with 118 appearances for the Ivory Coast. He represented the team at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments. Touré also represented the Ivory Coast at seven Africa Cup of Nations in 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, helping them finish runner-up in 2006 and 2012, while winning in 2015



10. John Obi Mikel   $ 15 million   Nigeria

known as John Obi Mikel, John Mikel Obi or Mikel John Obi, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Chelsea and the Nigeria national team.






For Ghanaians, the American dream is in Africa

October 20, 2002|By Joseph Berger | Joseph Berger,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK – When Ghanaians immigrate here, they quickly display the timeless yearning of new Americans for owning a house. What makes the Ghanaians different is that the house they yearn to own is in Ghana.

That explains why an odd business has sprung up on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, that boulevard of dreams for earlier generations of immigrants. It is called Ghana Homes Inc., and its principal enterprise is helping Ghanaian immigrants, some of them living pinched lives as taxi drivers and nursing home aides, to buy houses in Ghana even if the buyers may never actually return to Ghana to live.

Beyond the standard rationales for buying so remote a house – investment or as havens for vacations or retirement – there is one explanation that speaks volumes about New York City’s growing population of Ghanaians and other West Africans.

Symbol of success

“You can own a home here, but no one’s going to know about it, so you have to own a home in Ghana,” said Kwasi Amoafo, vice president of Ghana Homes. “Then everyone who matters to you can see you’ve made it in America.”

Ghanaians, as well as Nigerians, Ivoirians and many other West Africans, come from lands with powerful ties to tribe, clan and family. Someone who can build his own house has achieved a “cultural coming of age,” said Chudi Uwazurike, professor of sociology at City College and a senior fellow at the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Frank Samad, 50, came here from Ghana 22 years ago after finishing high school and started work as a security guard. He moved up to work as a supermarket manager and 11 years ago opened Kantamanto African Market, a grocery store on Tremont Avenue west of the Concourse that stocks ground yams, pumpkinseeds and smoked mudfish as well as dry goods like kente cloth and African magazines.

In New York he has always lived with his wife and three children in a rental apartment, but in 1993 he began building a four-bedroom house in a suburb of Accra, Ghana’s capital.

`It doesn’t make sense’

“When you look at it, it doesn’t make sense,” he admitted. “I’m not living there and with the kind of money I put in there, if I used it here I could have tripled the size of my store. But when I go to Ghana I have a place to live. I wouldn’t like to bother my relatives or live in a hotel there. That would be a letdown. After all those years here, I would go back to Ghana and it would be like being homeless. So with that kind of pride, anybody who makes a little money here will buy a house in Ghana.”

The story of the Ghanaian houses is quite typical for many immigrants who cannot quite let go of their home country. The Jews, Irish and other Europeans who fled pogroms and famine knew they would probably never return. But many immigrant groups today keep one foot in the old country largely because, with jets and cheap phone cards, it is relatively easy to do so.

Many Dominicans and Trinidadians live in two lands at once, shuttling back and forth to their homeland several times a year.

Israelis keep their names in the Israeli phone books for decades after they have moved here just to show their friends back home that they haven’t abandoned the land.

Amoafo said that for Ghanaians, too, “Always in the back of their minds is the idea of returning one day.” But it is largely a pipe dream. “I can tell you that 90 percent will never go back,” he said. “But it defines their thinking.”

The fact that Ghana Homes exists also testifies to the remarkable growth of the city’s Ghanaian population, particularly in the Bronx, as the pioneer generation of immigrants sends word home that life here is good. Nearly 5,000 Ghanaians immigrated to New York City between 1990 and 1996 alone and the 2000 Census reveals that the numbers of those who list Ghana as their birthplace have tripled, to 14,915, of which 9,275 live in the Bronx, according to Francis P. Vardy, a City Planning Commission demographer. (Those numbers do not include children born here to Ghanaians, which would almost certainly expand this subculture by several thousand.)

The robustness of Ghanaian life here is felt daily in cabs and nursing homes and, since many Ghanaians arrive here with advanced degrees, in the top ranks of the city’s banks, hospitals, and colleges. Like Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, many also work at the city’s international organizations.

In the Bronx they are visible in African groceries and variety shops that dot Highbridge and Morris Heights west of the Grand Concourse, in several Ghanaian-inflected Pentecostal churches, in clusters of buildings like Parkchester and soaring Tracey Towers at the Concourse’s northern end and in more than a half-dozen sometimes ragtag restaurants, like the African and American Restaurant on University Avenue near Burnside Avenue

Mohammed Abdullah, 47, the restaurant’s owner and a father of 12, started working here as a gas station attendant in 1980. His co-workers were so taken with the savor of his lunches they paid him to make them lunch.

Soon, he was operating a restaurant incognito out of his fifth-floor apartment, his landlord none the wiser. In his new restaurant, he also serves soul food, enticing the neighborhood’s American blacks to try his spicy Ghanaian baked steak and spinach laced with crushed sunflower seeds.

“Now most of them don’t eat soul food anymore,” he said.

A curiosity

Ghana Homes, though, stands out as a curiosity even among the Ghanaian businesses. Situated in the ground floor of an apartment house near Tremont Avenue, it pays its overhead by handling money transfers, money orders, travel arrangements and prepaid phone cards. But Amoafo and his partner, Kwasi Kissi, make their real profits selling the houses, representing developers in Ghana as well as the country’s main mortgage company. Their Web site,, reassures potential customers that they can avoid the disheartenment of murky property titles or even the fraud too typical of some of these transactions.

The houses are ranches or two-story affairs, usually new and part of a development. They cost anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000 (the equivalent houses in America would cost many times those amounts) and the cheapest houses can be had for a $6,000 down payment. Owners who live in the United States often rent the houses out or let family members use them.

Given the values they bring with them from Ghana – like the reverence for elders and the all-important bonds of family – Ghanaians struggle with Bronx streets where their children are exposed to bare midriffs and drugs and the relatively egalitarian relations of the sexes. Worried that their children will adopt modern American values, many Ghanaian immigrants let their children remain in Ghana, to be raised by parents or wives. They plan to return to their brood as soon as they have put together a nest egg. And that is why owning a house in Ghana becomes even more urgent.

Austin Batse, 31, works as a computer consultant in Durham, N.C. He has wanted to return to Ghana to help build up the country practically since the day he immigrated here as a 10-year-old in 1982. He bought one of Ghana Homes’ houses for $63,000 last year. Batse has never been to his house, but last year he asked his sister in Ghana to visit the house with a wedding photographer. They shot a video of the house and shipped it to him and it gave him joy to look at it.

“For a lot of people it’s a status symbol of getting out of the position you were in,” Batse said

Getting out of debt is possible

stories of 2015

Melanie Lockert doubled her income and paid off $68,000 of student loan debt




Photo: Melanie Lockert

Four years ago, Melanie Lockert grudgingly relocated from New York City to Portland, Ore., a hail mary move she hoped would lead to better job opportunities. At the time, she was facing down $68,000 worth of student loan debt, a mix of undergraduate and graduate school loans.

“After working so hard in graduate school — and getting into so much debt for it — my reality felt like a slap in the face,” Lockert says. The move was beneficial some ways. She was able to move in with her partner and drastically reduce her living expenses. Full-time work, unfortunately, wasn’t any easier to find. She scoured ads on Craigslist and for odd jobs, which helped her keep up with her loan payments. Still, she earned so little she qualified for food stamps. She could have applied for loan deferment or income-based repayment, but she couldn’t bring herself to apply.­­

“I just wanted these loans gone as soon as possible,” she says. “A lot of my friends have houses and cars and pets and I have pretty much maintained a college lifestyle [to pay off my debt].” To hold herself accountable, she started a blog,, which led to freelance writing work for financial companies like Student Loan Hero and Credit Karma. She was offered a full-time job as a communications coordinator at a nonprofit, earning $31,000. But momentum from her writing work began to pick up around the same time and within a year, she realized she was working two full-time jobs, not one. She quit the nonprofit gig. “It was a big risk and my parents were not supportive, but since then I have pretty much doubled my income,” she says. At the beginning of 2015, she had roughly $34,000 worth of debt left. Last week, she made her final student loan payment.

“I had a really emotional moment when I saw that [balance] at zero,” she says. “This is the very first time in my adult life I’ve ever been debt-free. I really can’t wait to start building wealth and moving forward.”

Kim Springer went from unemployed to running a six-figure T-shirt business


Photo: Kim Springer

Last year, Kim Springer, 42, gave birth to her third child and made a dramatic decision about her career: After two decades working in a range of administrative roles in the medical field, she was ready to launch her own business. With a newborn, a toddler and a husband who was recently laid off, it wasn’t an ideal time to test out her entrepreneurial skills. But Springer took the last $500 in their savings account, enrolled in an online business and marketing webinar and six months later developed a unique business idea: a T-shirt business targeting a specific audience — married women of Christian faith.

“I found if I’m more targeted to a niche market, I’m more successful,” says Springer, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband and two young daughters (she has two older sons in college). Springer sells her designs through a company called, which allows users to design and sell shirts with little hassle. Her most popular designs have featured logos like “This Girl Still Dates Her Husband” and “Never Underestimate a Woman a Prayer and a Plan.” Her Facebook following has grown to over 120,000 fans. She earned $153,000 in sales in 2014 and doubled her sales in 2015. This year marked another new endeavor: launching her own website, where she can maintain more control over her inventory and sales.

Still, she’s hesitant to label herself an overnight success. “Some people see a person’s before and after, but they don’t really know what went on in between,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve put in researching, doing webinars, learning Facebook [advertising], all you have to put into this business if you want to last.”

Brett Carrington paid off $100,000 of student loan debt with handmade headbands



Photo: Brett Carrington

“I have never been so happy to be broke,” Brett Carrington told earlier this year. He wasn’t exaggerating. In October, Carrington, 31, and his wife, Chelsey, 26, made their final student loan payment, marking the end of a two-year effort to pay off $100,000. To make their final payment — $15,000 — the couple effectively drained their savings. When Yahoo Finance caught up with Carrington this month, he said he’s proud of what they managed to accomplish in so little time.

Read more: Yahoo Finance’s most inspiring personal finance stories of 2014

“I’m not glad we had the debt but I’m happy with how we reacted to it,” says Carrington. The majority of the debt was his own, incurred after two years of medical school. He dropped out in 2012 with an unfinished degree and $75,000 in loans. Even working full-time $10-an-hour jobs, the couple could only afford to put $500 per month toward their debt, which barely covered the interest. They decided to move in with Carrington’s parents in Ogden, Utah, and start fresh. Chelsey continued working as a nurse, while Carrington experimented with business ventures. When he noticed his sister shopping online at sites like Zulily and Etsy, he decided to try ecommerce. He designed a simple line of flowered headbands he could assemble himself — they cost $1 to make and he sold them for $2.

“I’d make 100 headbands, sell them, make $200, then invest that $200 into more materials, slowly building up and snowballing every month,” he says. He named the business Coca Lily Boutique, working 12-hour days to keep up with demand. Family members helped by modeling the designs for his site. He partnered with Amazon, Zulily and Etsy to sell the headbands, then began purchasing wholesale apparel and accessories from overseas manufacturers and selling the items from his home. Eventually, business became so successful Chelsey quit her nursing job to help. They were able to put $6,000 a month toward their debt by living as frugally as possible.

“The last payment wasn’t easy because we cleared out our accounts and had to put off buying inventory,” Carrington says. “Looking back now I see [having that debt] pushed me to try to grow something into a career we can now enjoy.”

Marsha Barnes turned a school bus into a mobile financial literacy hub


Photo: Maya Elious and Joshua Galloway

When Marsha Barnes, 40, decided to start a financial coaching business, the Charlotte, N.C., native shied away from leasing a standard office space. She wanted to deliver personal finance advice to people somewhere they could feel immediately at ease. So…she bought a school bus.

“A school bus, to me, speaks to learning and being in a classroom environment,” Barnes told Yahoo Finance earlier this year. Barnes bought the bus, a 45-foot gas guzzler, on Craigslist for $3,500, hired an interior designer and spent $20,000 on renovations. The Finance Bar celebrated its first year of business in November. Barnes has taken her bus on the road to college campuses, domestic abuse shelters and organizations where people need affordable financial education.

“I’m specifically working with women and also some couples,” she says. “The young ladies [I work with] can’t afford to pay someone $200 an hour to speak with them. They’re getting the best of both worlds with me.”

Barnes charges $10 a month for a virtual membership club, where she offers monthly webinars and financial learning tools, as well as access to a budgeting app. In September, she earned 501c3 non-profit status, which means she can fundraise.

As for 2016, Barnes is in the final stages of launching a free two-hour event where women in her community can gather to discuss their financial challenges and seek advice. She’s also partnering with a local radio station to run a 52-week series called “Getting Your Money Right in 2016.” The radio show launch will coincide with the launch of her revamped Finance Bar mobile app.

Kimra Luna went from food stamps to leading a seven-figure online marketing empire



Photo: Kimra Luna

A few years ago, Kimra Luna, 29, was as far from owning a multimillion-dollar business as anyone could get. She was living in California with her husband and two young sons, getting by on food stamps and government assistance. Despite her financial situation, Luna, who caught the entrepreneurial bug as a concert booker in her late teens, says she never stopped dreaming of owning a business. A few of her early ventures — a health and wellness blog, a meal plan service — helped bring in income but weren’t lucrative enough to sustain her family. Over time, she began studying the importance of online marketing, mastering tools like Facebook ads, social media branding, and live blogging that are essential to drive audience growth.

After a year, she started hosting free webinars offering marketing tips to entrepreneurs. At the time, she had no product to sell of her own, but she pointed fans to a Facebook group called Freedom Hackers, which has grown to over 21,000 members. Immediately, she began getting requests from business owners for private marketing coaching. Online marketing webinars became her sole focus. When she began selling her an online marketing webinar in mid-2014, she reached $10,000 in sales the first week. By year’s end, she earned over $160,000.

In February 2015 Luna launched a new online marketing course, “Be True, Brand You,” to online entrepreneurs, netting $750,000 in sales. She will offer a revamped course in February, aiming to double her business. She has a handful of employees, including a team she likes to call her “momtourage” — a nanny, private chef and virtual assistants who help her manage her family and work life. At this point, no goal seems out of reach.

“It’s been a pretty incredible year,” Luna says. “My time finally came.”

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