theGrio’s 100: Farrah Gray, the self-made millionaire book publisher

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LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: Farrah Gray speaks during the 10th Annual Multicultural Prism Awards Gala at the Universal City Hilton Hotel on December 15, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: Farrah Gray speaks during the 10th Annual Multicultural Prism Awards Gala at the Universal City Hilton Hotel on December 15, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Who is Farrah Gray?

Becoming one of the youngest self-made millionaires at only 14 years old, Farrah Gray, who is now 27, knows what it takes to make it big in the business world. His rags-to-riches story starts with selling body lotion and painted rocks door to door at six years old to becoming the youngest person in history to have his own office on Wall Street as a teenager. He became a millionaire after he sold his specialty children’s food company, Way-Out-Food, for $1.5 million.

Gray is currently the CEO of Farrah Gray Publishing, a division of HCI Books known for publishing the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. His publishing company is credited with being the largest African-American publishing platform in the country and has signed on around 100 contributing celebrity authors. Gray is also known as the best-selling author of Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out, a self-help publication that was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.

“It’s the spirit of the Third World entrepreneur,” he says. “You have to create your own job. You can’t wait to rely on Exxon or Wal-Mart to hire you. And that’s the spirit I try to teach to young entrepreneurs.”

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

This entrepreneurial icon has made his own way in the corporate world by investing in lucrative business opportunities and pursuing ventures that are deemed “out of the box.” Gray has been able to dip into a variety of different industries from a children’s specialty food company, magazine publishing, real estate investment to just recently, a restauranter venture. He credits his rough upbringing in South Chicago as one of the great motivating factors for his success.

“It’s my goal to help others reach whatever milestone that they’ve set for their life. I think success is very personal,” Gray tells BlackNews. “It’s kind of like a GPS system — you hop in your car and you put the exact destination that you want to get to. It has nothing to do with anyone else on the road necessarily. So I just pray that people find inspiration through what I’ve accomplished.”

What’s next for Gray?

Due to his love of the culinary field, Gray recently purchased three restaurants in Las Vegas, including one on the Las Vegas strip this past year. He is currently working on the development of these restaurants hoping to make another mark in the culinary world. Aside from managing his publishing company and restaurant ventures, Gray also started the Farrah Gray Foundation, which focuses on helping youth by providing entrepreneurship education and grant scholarships to students, primarily from at-risk backgrounds.

Gray has achieved more at his age now than many have achieved in a lifetime. Oprah has already called Gray an “all star” in O magazine, so there seems to be no stopping this young entrepreneur from pursuing more lucrative and interesting business ventures.