I was 15 at the time. What made me different? I was brought up in the family business, and understood more than HTML and FTP. 70% of work in this business is NOT design. My Internet knowledge merged with the processes and work ethic my father had developed in the previous five years of the business, and that made all the difference. Starting with our first Internet project, our focus was always on perfection in the client's eyes, quality work and quality support. I've never stopped learning - new technologies, new procedures, new services.
So my point is this: don't let yourself think you're professional, let your work speak for you. Some stories float around about millionaires who never went to college. Try that if you like, but don't ever ignore the whole package in this business. Learn how to work with a client, learn how to push yourself at any level of adeptness, never think in terms of good enough. Never let success go to your head. And never, ever design crap - digital graphic design is every bit as demanding as it is for print and more so, and requires study, practice, time and passion.