May 17, 2022


Skillful Business Crafters

Springfield teen starts his own digital marketing consultant firm

All Jonathan Bell wanted was to work.

In early 2020, he applied for a total of 17 jobs at local fast food restaurants. The COVID-19 pandemic had just hit the Ozarks but he hoped some manager would take a chance on an eager 16-year-old.

“I got turned down by every single one of them,” he said.

Bell, now a senior at Parkview High School, decided if no one would hire him, he’d hire himself.

“I was like, you know what, maybe it’s not meant to be,” said Bell, now 17. “That’s when I formed my business plan, did a little more research about the business model I wanted to get myself into, which was a consultant and project-based business.”

Bell, active on social media for years, became founder and CEO of Bells Marketing Consultant, a digital marketing firm in Springfield.

Jonathan Bell, 17, started his own business last year to work with small businesses in the Springfield area.

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

He was motivated to use skills he’d honed to help increase profits for small businesses that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Next Gen-Z” firm offers brand and social media management, e-commerce website design, marketing and search engine optimization, a service aimed at boosting online traffic.

He said the start was slow but he ended up making more money in 2020 than he would have at a fast food job. He invested the money back into the business and has nearly doubled profits this year.

“I’ve worked with 14 small businesses in this area, two or three in Chicago,” he said, of the city where he still has family. “I’ve also worked with a lot of marketing agencies that pass their clients down to me.”

Jonathan Bell started his own company at age 16 when he was unable to find a fast food job in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said some potential clients he approached have balked at his age. But if they gave him a chance, he came up with detailed proposals aimed at winning their business.  

“I did change some minds,” he said. “I didn’t convince some.”

Bell grew up immersed in technology and was a regular user of blogs, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube, among others. He taught himself how to interpret and maximize the analytics of different platforms.