Teenager’s McDonald’s job paid for tech equipment that made him a millionaire

With almost 15 million subscribers across five YouTube and Twitch channels, the 28-year-old vlogger Syndicate—real name Tom Cassell—is among Britain's biggest Internet stars.

Cassell, who has his own clothing line, multiple houses, businesses and a luxury lifestyle, might seem like a high-flyer today.

But before becoming a multimillionaire, he was just like any other teenager. When Cassell started his YouTube channel, he was still at school and working a part-time job at McDonald's.

At age 15, he started posting videos of himself playing Minecraft and Call of Duty with funny commentaries. Although his dad initially told him to "stop wasting time" and focus on studying, the videos eventually took off, bringing in thousands—and then millions—of views.

Cassell said he was able to build the channel thanks to his part-time job: "I was working in McDonalds and that's actually how I bought all my stuff, my laptop and recording equipment, while I was slaving away. So in the end it was worth it."

As his YouTube channel became more popular, though, he decided to pack in the job at McDonald's.

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He dropped out of a computer coding course and skipped university to focus on vlogging full time, becoming a home owner at 19.

Cassell told Wired: "I started making videos of myself playing games when I was 15 when I saw one of my friends using a game-capture device that showed his insane skills in Call of Duty. I liked the concept of recording your gameplay and sharing it."

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He continued: "So, I decided to give it a go because, for one, I was good at the game I was playing, and second, I knew I had some pretty cool stories I could tell people. So, I just kind of did it. Before I knew it, I was doing it as a full-time job."

Today, Syndicate is one of the most popular gaming commentators in the UK, and is worth about £4.5 million pounds.

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Since moving to Twitch, his audience has grown even further.

Syndicate frequently shares videos of his lifestyle to his 'Life of Tom' personal channel. Here you can see him enjoy first class flights around the world, his supercars, and even his houses.

Recently, Cassell even nabbed the property next door so he can knock it down and build a new mega-complex complete with secret tunnel.

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It's a far cry from Cassell's humble beginnings. In a throwback post on Instagram, he shared a photo of himself as a young boy playing Xbox in a tiny bedroom when he had just moved in with his dad.

He told Eurogamer: "When I was younger I sold drinks at school. I used to lug 40 drinks in with me in a crate every day, so at the age of 15 I managed to save up for a 42-inch plasma.

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"I had the world's smallest room and this massive TV on the wall! I set myself a goal: if I want something I've got to pay for it myself. My dad's always brought me up that way."

He added: "It was my DREAM to be a YouTuber! The grind was so damn real. But I never gave up."

Although Cassell says his parents are now fully supportive of him, at first they weren't always so open-minded about his career choice.

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He said: "My dad, at first, said, 'Waste of time. It's a scam. Stop it. Concentrate on studying instead.' I told him it was a hobby, that I enjoyed it and to get off my back about it. He did, but he was still encouraging me to sack it in.

"When I was in the States presenting an award my dad turned around to me and said: 'Y'know, I'm really proud of you'. That meant a lot to me."

It goes to show that, next time your teenager asks if they can stay in and play videogames all day, they might just become the next Syndicate.

  • Mcdonalds
  • Minecraft
  • YouTube
  • Twitch

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