I have another great interview for you guys, I really love this interview as it gives some much in-depth advices for entrepreneurs. especially young entrepreneurs and start-ups. Chris Pund 23 years old, recently graduated college in May 2008.
He shares his views on entrepreneurship
His businesses, why having a business plan is still essential
Startups trying to manage money in this recession and much more...
Don't forget to leave comments and let me know what you got from the interview and what you think of what chris is doing?
Please kindly give us some background knowledge about you?
Well, I’m a 23 years old, recently graduated college in May 2008 and now work full time but run a few different businesses on the side after “normal” working hours. I’ve always been an entrepreneur and grown up around entrepreneurship, starting my first business while in Middle School and continuing through college to now. My oldest business is my web development company which I’ve been slowly growing after school and after work for the past 8 years. Now I run a multitude of different websites in different niches, have a successful eBay company and also am growing an ecommerce website.
8 Years, thats a long time, Its great that you started at such a young age
What do you think are the key lessons to entrepreneurship?
To be successful as an entrepreneur I think there are a few things that you have to embrace and learn along the way. The first one would be being able to adapt to any situation or circumstance that arises. You just can’t stop because of an issue or problem, you have to be able to adapt your strategy and work through it. Another lesson would be that failure is not a bad thing. Everyone has failures and false starts; you’ll eventually get it right, so just keep working and grinding it out! Finally, you have to be passionate about your business and be sure it is something that you could be in love with doing for many years to come in the future.
Do you think it is still effective to always have a business plan?
Yes, you are always going to want to have a plan; however, you may not need a conventional type of business plan. Your plan could easily be a few pages of notes written out about your business idea, strategies to achieve sales, potential marketing efforts, and your pricing strategy. You should always have a plan, but that doesn’t mean you need a 50+ page document.
Every business is looking to expand? What do you think we every start up company should look for in an investor?
In investors, I think it’s more important to look for and find someone that is truly willing to invest in the business and not just give you money, hoping to make some back. If you’re looking to strictly raise capital, apply for a loan. If you’re looking for someone to invest in your business, they also need to be willing to invest in you as an entrepreneur. They should be interested in helping you succeed by mentoring, sharing ideas, helping grow the business, and anything else they can do to make you successful, which in turn makes them more money!
What are the best ways for businesses especially start-up to manage their finances during tough times especially in this financial downturn?
For a start up, one of the best ways to run your business is by bootstrapping as much as you possibly can. Don’t go out and rack up a lot of bills on a credit card that you can not pay off. Keep a tight eye on your finances, bank account, and credit cards. You should be rethinking every purchase you make before making it, even when money is not tight. There are so many ways to manage your money on the internet or in software packages like Quicken, so try some of them out and see what you like. But no matter what, keep your checkbook balanced! Don’t waste your money on office rent, furniture, etc if you don’t need it.
This is some great advice chris, especially for young entrepreneurs looking to start their business whilst at the university, I can remember get so excited when i first started my first business and really wanted to get an office space and furniture which im glad i never did because i would have been a costly mistake.
Let’s talk about your businesses, when, why did you decided to start up your own business?
In Middle School I started my first business, so probably around the age of 10-12. Have parents who are entrepreneurs, they were very encouraging and willing to allow me to explore the different avenues out there to make money. And at this point, it was purely for the reason to make money so that I could buy the things I wanted (video games, etc). When I got into High School and become more serious about running my businesses, it turned from just wanting to make money, to something that was fun, was keeping me up at nights, and also was setting me up for success in the future. It started to then become about the freedom and ability to have your own schedule, not answer to a “boss” and do what I enjoyed.
Tell us what your business does?
I have two main businesses now which bring in the most income for me. The first is a web development business which I started in High School. It’s a full service firm offering the whole range of services from design to development, deployment, and marketing of websites. I work with many different contractors to get a lot of the work done as well as outsource different portions. This helps to keep my costs low, my prices down, and my profits higher. I also have a maintenance portion of my business which handles general website maintenance for clients, web site hosting, etc.
The second main business right now is an eBay business which sells camping equipment and outdoor gear. I work with many different top name brand manufacturers to purchase their equipment and resell on eBay. From this, I’m also growing a stand alone ecommerce shopping site that is selling the same items. Besides the camping equipment sales, I also sell items for other people who are looking to liquidate their stuff and don’t have the time or knowledge to do it themselves.
Do you think being brought up by entrepreneurs as parents gave you the desire to start your own business?
Definitely! Having parents who are entrepreneurs was a great influence on me and helped me along the way to be to the point that I’m at now. I like to believe that entrepreneurship is 75% hereditary and 25% learned, so having a family history of entrepreneurship definitely made a difference.
What books would you recommend to anyone looking to further their knowledge in entrepreneurship and self development?
There are a few that I recommend hands down, all the time: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Rules for Renegades, 7 Secrets of Great Entrepreneurial Masters. To this list I’d also more recently add The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Securing a new client is always a great thrill and it makes all the hard work worth it. Besides signing my first “official” web design client at the age of 16, being given the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for my university on graduation day was a great accomplishment.
What sacrifices did you have to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
There are tons that young entrepreneurs make when starting up a business, and there are more I’m sure that I won’t think of until they come up! I recently wrote a post outlining a few distractions of young entrepreneurs on Dorm Room Biz. Personally I know I’ve sacrificed the relationships that I’ve had with different friends because I wouldn’t do different things or go to events because I needed or wanted to get work done for my business. I’ve also sacrificed the relationship that I had with my fiancé at the time, now Wife. There are always going to be many late nights that you’re up working hard while everyone else is either sleeping or out doing something. There will be days when you just want to relax and hang out but can’t because if you don’t build your business, then no one else will for you. As a young entrepreneur you sacrifice every part of your life at one point or another, whether its relationships, your health, or anything else.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
My hobbies are my businesses. I live and breathe them because I want them to be successful, and without my constant attention and work, then I know they won’t get to that point. However, because my business are my hobbies, there is a lot of overlap with the things that I do in my “non-work time” which include camping, hiking, backpacking, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors. Being a retailer of outdoor gear and equipment comes in handy when I have the chances to test what I’m selling first hand!
What qualities have you developed as a result of running your business?
Time management skills, the ability to rapidly switch focus from one task to another and then back again, communication skills, confidence, and so much more!
In your opinion, what is the most important an entrepreneur should possess?
Hard work, dedication, and passion are the main three things that I think every entrepreneur really needs to have if they want to be successful. While you can be successful without one or all of those, they can aide in your reaching your goals much faster and achieving success.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
There are a lot and many of them are small business just like mine. Startup companies like Tatango.com who are taking the world by storm. Mostly I admire other young entrepreneurs who are well know such as Cameron Johnson, to older entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, to other entrepreneurs who are just crushing it that are not well known names. There are so many young men and a woman out there making so much money in different niches it’s just unbelievable!
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Just knowing that the next day can’t be any worse unless I let it be. My success is up to me and I control it, so if I don’t act on achieving it that “down day”, the next will be just as bad. My goals and aspirations are also a major influencer on how hard I work.
Do you have a favourite business tool or resource?
For internet based invoicing, I love GreenerBilling. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have also been great tools for finding business, growing my brand, and expanding my network.
What social network site does the trick? As in generating traffic to your site?
For generating the most traffic to my websites, it’s probably Twitter. But I wouldn’t limit yourself to just one network, you need to take advantage of a handful of the different sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and everything else. I’m finding myself interacting more on LinkedIn recently and hopefully that will pay off in the near future!
What advices would you give to the young entrepreneurs out there?
Follow your passion and start a business around your passion so that what you do is what you love.
Stay focused, work hard, and the rewards of success will come in time.
Don’t let others negativity get you down, to be successful as a young entrepreneur, it’s going to be a lot of work!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
With a little bit of luck and success, I’ll be living the dream of working for myself, having my own office set up and having a successful business. 5 years is a long time to nail yourself down to one venture and I don’t want to say that what I’m doing now will be what I will be doing in 5 years.
However, I know I’ll be fully dependant on the income generated through my business rather than being “stuck in the rat race” and working for someone else. On top of that, hopefully we will have purchased our first home, maybe have a baby, and just living a great life.
Thank you Chris, Keep me updated, it is some great tips you've shared with us, I've already written down a few things to work on for myself, i wish you the best of luck.
Don't forget to check out Dorm Room Biz and his Blog, He's got some great contents, tips and advices for young entrepreneurs there.
Don't forget to leave some comments.