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How This Entrepreneur Repaid His Most Valuable Employee: His Mom An entrepreneur's mom worked for him for years -- without a salary. When he finally made it, he wanted to give her something she'd love.

By Joe Keohane

This story appears in the June 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Jake Kassan

Jake Kassan started his first business in high school: a T-shirt company he grew through YouTube and social media channels. It went…a little too well. "I was generating $10,000-plus a week," he says, "and I needed help." He was just 16, after all, and he was falling behind on shipping, accounting -- the whole operations side. Luckily, he found the perfect person. She lacked business experience, but she was a quick study, a hard worker and unusually loyal. Plus, she worked for free.

Related: 5 Reasons Why 'Family' and 'Business' Do Mix

She was his mother, Marla.