From Popcorn to Profits: Jaron Lodge’s Journey to a Million-Dollar Business

Last updated: June 27, 2024
jaron lodge
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Jaron Lodge’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited when he was just a Cub Scout. Selling popcorn, he hit the highest sales goal and never looked back.

By 18, he’d saved $25,000 from his dog-sitting business and jobs at Subway and Ashley Furniture. After bingeing on sales audiobooks, he sold $30,000 worth of high-end cutlery the summer after high school.

This year, Lodge’s latest venture, SCORE NN’, which sells backyard games on Amazon and through Scheel’s, has exceeded $1 million in annual revenue. He’s now eyeing $3 million based on current sales.

Lodge’s success mirrors a booming trend: the rise of million-dollar, one-person businesses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of nonemployer businesses hitting $1 million to $2.49 million in revenue soared to 53,460 in 2021, a nearly 48% increase since 2012.

These businesses are owner-run with no formal employees, often relying on contractors. Back in 2012, just 29,494 businesses reached this revenue bracket.

Some nonemployer businesses are climbing even higher. In 2021, 2,708 hit $2.5-$4.99 million in revenue, up from 1,900 in 2012. An elite 536 reached $5 million and beyond, growing from 386 in 2012.

What’s fueling this surge? As Lodge’s story shows, the barriers to entry for aspiring entrepreneurs are lower than ever. Online resources like YouTube and podcasts offer a treasure trove of knowledge.

Entrepreneurship education at universities is more accessible, though not essential. Meanwhile, digital and AI-powered tools are helping entrepreneurs do more with less.

Platforms like Upwork and Freelancer, and services like Fulfillment by Amazon, make it easy to find freelancers and contractors to scale a business.

Lodge’s journey from selling popcorn to running a million-dollar business is a testament to the power of determination and the resources available today. His story is a beacon for budding entrepreneurs, showing that with the right tools and mindset, the sky’s the limit.

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About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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