Hi Benjamin and welcome to YHP. I would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity of hearing your entrepreneurial insights.
First of all before we get into the real good stuff, tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, thanks for this opportunity. I’m Benjamin Lang, 15 year old sophomore, and I recently returned from a year in Israel. I do eBay and craigslist selling, (ebayben.com) web design (ben-lang.com) and teen entrepreneur consulting (teenbizstarter.com).
I hear you’re running three businesses, right? Tell us about how it all started, from the first business?
last year my grandfather gave me a large amount of camera equipment to sell. It was a hard job but it paid very well. So I decided that maybe I could sell other peoples stuff and make even more
How did you come up with the idea, I mean, there are people who already sell items for people on ebay itself, were you not discouraged by this?
I was not discouraged because I know that it’s only temporary. It’s just the start, I’ll start making innovative companies soon ;)
What are the ups and downs of being 15 and running a business? Do you think a lack of experience plays a part here?
the upside is that I could say that I started a business at 15 whereas most people wouldn’t be thinking of this type of thing for many more years. The downside is that people are less willing to deal with me because I am younger than the average business owner and I am less experienced…
After you got you EBay business up and running, what provoked you to start a business in web design?
I decided to make my own website, while doing so I learned a lot, which gave me the idea of doing web design too.
How do you go about promoting and advertising your businesses? Do you do this across all your businesses?
I use craigslist, twitter, Facebook, flyers and paid local adverting. I find that craigslist is the best because it provides better results plus its free.
So you are also providing help for other teenagers trying to succeed in business, how’s this coming along?
this business isn’t working as well but its enjoyable. I have “new” teen entrepreneurs contact me with questions, and we usually end up chatting on skype. I do it so I could add them to my network.
How important has networking been for you and for business itself?
Very very very important. I was inspired by a friend of mine who recommended a book to me, dig a well before you are thirsty. That’s when I understood how crucial networking is.
I see you are using twitter, how well of a business tool has this been for you?
I joined twitter not long ago and have been very impressed by it. It’s a great tool for driving traffic to a site, for example I once twitted “any feedback on my web 2.0 site ben-lang.com?” the next day I checked Google analytics and I had much more views than usual.
Being young and all, running three businesses must be time consuming, does it take up alot of your time?
Yes it does take up a lot of time. I manage time well though, by doing homework during free time in school and doing business at home so it all works out.
Are you still at school?
Yes I am, I go to a private school in manhattan.
Do you think school has helped you in any way prepare for running a business?
No, no and no. I’ve never learned anything useful in school about starting a business. Its very unfortunate for others who haven’t learnt about this topic.
So what are you future plans? What’s the next level for you?
My plans are “entrepreneurish” I just want to work on random projects that can become successful and hopefully make a name for myself as an entrepreneur.
Ok, so finally, Benjamin what advice would you give for young aspiring entrepreneurs out there like yourself?
NETWORK and NEVER GIVE UP.
Thanks Benjamin it was a pleasure to have you with us and be able to do this interview.
Before we leave you, is there any way people interested in your line of business or seeking advice could contact you?