Teaching Teen Tycoons – A Russian-American Success Story with Olenka Cullinan


I heard today’s guest, Olenka Cullinan, speak at an event recently and I just knew her story had to be shared with this audience. In a nutshell, this entrepreneurial powerhouse left Russia at age 19 with only $450 to her name (that she borrowed from her uncle) determined to seize the American dream and build anything she wanted. While growing up in an entrepreneurial household (her mom was a die-hard entrepreneur with her own company), she chose to pursue education instead in an effort to distance herself from the entrepreneurial world. Once in the U.S., she worked three jobs at one point to complete her education degree (and completed it without owing a cent!).

While Olenka loved teaching people, she soon felt the pull to do more and leapt back into the entrepreneurial world while combining it with her training in education. She may have started off with humble beginnings, but she has since used the skills she knew she had and BUILT her own success. Olenka is determined to help others discover their passions and now teaches teenagers the skills to become successful entrepreneurs in her Rising Tycoons Academy. She truly believes in helping this country’s youth turn their dreams into a dream life. I already know I’ll be applying the principles she taught in this episode to my children down the road. Be sure to tune in to find out how you can too.

Question Highlights:

• Why didn’t you choose to be an entrepreneur right away when you came to the U.S.?

• What is the opportunity landscape here in the U.S. compared to where you came from?

• Do you believe there is an immigrant edge that gives you a leg up in terms of grit and hard work?

• What is Rising Tycoons?

• Where can adults do a better job in creating kid tycoons?

• What is a “passionista?”

• What is holding people back the most when it comes to pursuing their passionista journey?

• Do you see teens struggle with the same limiting beliefs that adults struggle with when it comes to earning money?

• How do you want your daughter to view money and success when she grows up?

Olenka’s Thoughts…

“If skills are learnable, then success is learnable, too.”

“Comfort and execution don’t live on the same block.”

“You always choose. You can look at any circumstance in your life and choose what it becomes. Is it going to become an excuse or an opportunity? Because you can’t have both at the same time.”

“We can only change the country by changing the next generation.”

“Stop preparing and start doing.”

“You have to practice the unsexy routine to get anywhere, but you have to give yourself small pieces of ‘candy’ along the way to remind yourself why you’re doing that.”

“Kids have no issues with having dreams. They only have issues finding pathways for those dreams.”

“The moment you stop looking at money as something to move you forward and start looking at it as something that creates love in your community, family and in the world around you, is when you’ll change your perspective.”

Olenka Cullinan is a CEO and Founder of Rising Tycoons, where she turns teens into mindful tycoons. Speaker and Success coach, Olenka has developed a “Backbone of Success”™ method that helps leaders become successful in life and the world. Olenka’s work with teenagers from 21 countries, combined with humor and personal experiences led to her recent appearances at TEDx (twice) and made her into one of the nation’s premier coaches. She has worked with startups, corporate leaders and some of the top youth organizations in the country: e.g. National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Student Councils, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, TEDx, Job Corps, & Rotary Youth. Rising Tycoons Academies (RTA) program offers hands-on, real-world training, preparing a new generation of aspiring values-based entrepreneurial Leaders.

You’re Going To Hear About:

  • How Russian-born Olenka became an entrepreneur living the American dream
  • How nothing is required outside of your own mindset and skills to build success
  • Why opportunity is wide open for everyone
  • Why it’s so important to look at the actions that lead to results
  • How Olenka teaches teens success skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development
  • Why parents must educate themselves on the world around their kids
  • Why it’s imperative that we stop preparing and start doing
  • And so much more…

Resources Mentioned:

For more stories and tips on becoming unapologetically wealthy, follow me @Chriswharder on Instagram and check out www.fortheloveofmoney.com.