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Aug. 16, 2022

178. It's Never Too Late or Too Early to Start a Business with Benjamin Wong

You can grow your career, life, and business TODAY, regardless of your age!


You can grow your career, life, and business TODAY, regardless of your age!

 

ABOUT BENJAMIN

Benjamin Wong is the CEO of Kid CEO Media, a youth-run communications company dedicated to uplifting the growing community of young entrepreneurs. 

He hosts the YoungTrep podcast, where he interviews renowned entrepreneurs and experts on topics ranging from sleep health to career acceleration. 

He also hosts the Kid CEO Podcast and co-host of 2 Kids on the Block. 

 

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Transcript

I mean, I would never advocate towards a parent forcing their kid to be entrepreneur or philanthropist, however inspired or you might get from this interview. But I would always encourage, especially if they're on the younger side, exposing them to it.

 

Welcome, everybody. I'm super excited to have Ben Wong with us today. He is somebody who is really engaged and doing a lot of things that I found really impressive. We're going to be talking about just the simple idea that it's never too late or too early to get started in business, investing and everything else. Thanks so much for joining us today, Ben.

 

Hey, Wade. Thanks for having me.

 

My pleasure. So Ben is the CEO of Kids CEO Media, a youth run communications company dedicated to uplifting the community of young entrepreneurs. And he hosts a Young TREP podcast where he interviews renowned entrepreneurs and experts on topics ranging from sleep health to career acceleration. He also hosts the Kids CEO podcast and the co host of Two Kids on the Block. So really just excited to have him here. Would you just tell us a little bit about what got you started? You're already doing so many different things. You got your hands on a lot of things, and you seem to be enjoying it. What got you started and what got you going in that direction?

 

Yeah, so a few years ago, I think I was seven years ago, I'm 15 now, so maybe nine or ten, maybe eleven. I was really into the Star Wars games or the Star Wars movies, and so I've always been a collector person. And so naturally, pairing the two together, there were these funko pop, Star Wars, Darth Vader, Luke Skullwalker, and a bobblehead. And so basically, what I would do is I wanted these toys. You could say to white people I wanted these things regardless, but I didn't really want to ask my parents for it. I think I always had that conscience. I don't really need this. I would feel bad asking for it. I know I don't need this, but I want it. So how do I get that? And I decided I have some avocado trees outside. So I would climb up to the trees, picked the avocados, did a few with my friends. We would throw them into boxes, three giant boxes of avocados. We drive them out a few minutes to the street corner where all the cars are passing by to go to the baseball game, and we would wave everyone down to buy avocados.

 

And we made, like, $30 an hour, which was amazing for a few little kids. And that was kind of a start.

 

That's awesome. It's funny, I always love hearing stories, and just about every entrepreneur I've ever met did something like that. So I know some of my friends in our neighborhood, we lived in a golf course. They would get the golf balls first. Working for my dad, doing pulling weeds and that sort of stuff, but then was doing mowing lawns for the neighbors. And then in between there selling candy in school. Selling what? Blow Pops and lemon heads and outs and the grapes. Actually, you there. I lost your video.

 

Yeah, I'm sorry.

 

Take your time. Take your time, man. We'll redo that part.

 

All right. It should be good.

 

And you did that once I started talking, right? Yeah, I would say you finished what you're saying. Let me just do this, make a note to myself. Okay. I'll go back to sharing my little thing here. I always find that interesting to hear, how people get started. I know in our neighborhood, some of my friends, they would get the golf balls from the golf course. They'd sell those. You'd get them out of the lakes. I first did pulling weeds for my dad and then had a lawn business, and then somewhere in between there, and school would sell what, Jolly Ranchers Blow Pops that's like when they first had some of the first things, there was a place called Wholesale Plus. It was like a Costco, but before Costco or Sam's ever existed. And so I just thought it was great that I could get the candy there for, like, this box for this different rate. And I think why I was selling Blow Pops for $0.25 each and making money, and the little Joy Rancher candy is for ten cents. Just give it to date me a little bit there. But yeah, just the idea was just so cool of just making money for something.

 

Like, you definitely didn't feel like I wanted to feel entitled to certain things, but I didn't want that to stop me from doing or getting what I wanted. So already, what would you say from a standpoint? Just that, because I know a lot of people don't necessarily do that, or they don't have that entrepreneurial bug. What has that alone done for you? Because, again, you're 15. And I'll say your age once. I'm going to try not to do the thing where I just gosh over the fact that I think it's awesome what you're doing already at your age. And I'm going to stop saying at your age, because if you were to say at my age, I'd be like, okay, man, why it's got to be at my age? Anyway, what would you say already that's given you as far as a sense of your personal either agency or your ability to impact your world and the world around you that you might compare to, let's say, without putting down other friends. But how does that increase just your ability to impact the world around you?

 

Yeah, I mean, entrepreneurship is, at the end of the day, all about helping people, right? And of course you make money through businesses, but you only make money if you provide equivalent or greater value to the consumer. And so just being able to start early my difference between starting earlier starting later is that I have a little more flexibility now so I have full range to take risks compared to the mom or dad who has to take care of five kids and pay a mortgage. I don't have any of that fortunately. So I have the ability to not make money as long as you want to and just experiment or not as long as I want to. But I have the ability to experiment. I don't have to make money on anything. I'm perfectly fine not making money on the podcast on companies and just being able to experiment. And it's also open my eyes what cool things that other people in my eyes are doing. There's a ton of people that Jacob Jackson, Kobe Thompson, a ton of other entrepreneur friends that are just doing really amazing things. It really is inspiring to see how we're all kind of impacting the world in our own ways.

 

Yeah. I think that's so neat in the sense that and you and I talked about this in the pre interview. Just the idea that you have the ability to start the long game now I think technically anybody does and I talked about this too. That of course while a person has job a if they can find two or 3 hours a week so hopefully it definitely doesn't come out of this that oh gosh. We've got to be 15 and if you're 16 it's already too late. Just forget about it. But I just think that idea of the long game and you hear a lot of people did not use to talk about the long game. When I started as an entrepreneur everything was about getting going very quickly and cash flowing very quickly. And I guess part of it too is we didn't have internet opportunities. If you were going to get a second job you had to literally go work at another place. You had to go drive there. Whereas you can start a business, you can start a drop shipping company, you can start a content company and there's so many different things.

 

What do you find for people who are starting out? Whether they be kids or somebody who is let's say they have a full time situation, they have the ability, let's say to only invest, let's say five good hours a week. But they can say okay, you know what, I can invest 5 hours a week and it's not going to kill my personal life. I'm still going to be able to be present for enjoying life and whatnot. But yeah, I can do 5 hours a week. What are some of the things that you've seen that have helped people just get started? Or in fact what have you just seen people do that is kind of something that they could start in a short period of time that eventually could turn into something, let's say a year, three years, five years.

 

So I think the first thing you do is you define, first of all, what you actually enjoy doing, your passion. So do you like collectible stuff? Do you have a really interesting life? Do you like documenting your story, for example? So I think first of all with that is finding what you enjoy doing, your passion. Something passion is a loaded word, but just something you enjoy doing, a subject that you enjoy doing, it's fun. Even if you made no money, you have no success, you would still enjoy doing it. And then from there, just figuring out what you can do with that. And within the five hour time span that's an hour a day, you might have an hour to create content. You might have 1 hour to create social media content about collectibles. And that's great. You can do a lot in 1 hour. You can create a blog post. You can do a few Instagram posts. In that time, pretend you want to do drop shipping an hour. There's plenty, right? You take an hour to research our options for drop shipping. You spend the next hour on creating social media website shopify.

 

There's free tools that make it so easy. And then from there, you're off. And then you just literally spend an hour a day fulfilling orders. Boom. It's hard for me to answer that specifically, but I think in general, just find what you enjoy doing regardless of because at the end of the day, business is supposed to be fun. If you hate business, then don't do it. But business is supposed to be fun. To find what you enjoy doing, even if you made no money, no fame, no success, use that. What can you do with 5 hours? Can you create content out of that? Sure. Can you create a business out of that? Can you create a brand out of that? Whatever you can fit in 1 hour. And it's all about just executing.

 

Awesome. Thank you. And yeah, I think I'm going to have to do this is like one of those things where it's like, okay, $5 every time. Wade says, when I grew up, when I was your age, but a lot of the things that we grew up with, the assumption that work was not going to be fun, it was just a given. Work is not going to be fun. And it wasn't said even as a punitive. It was said almost like the sun is hot, the clouds create rainfall. It was said with a level of authority if it were fact. And one of the things that I've seen over the years is in just about any industry, there's just about every job. So as I even talked with my son and he's looking at what he might do and we're still looking at different ideas, I said, you know, what I've learned is even if I were going to be let's say I was going to be an accountant, but I like sports. Well, then I would go to try to be an accountant for, I don't know, an NBA team or an NFL team or in order I'd still look to be in the world that I'm excited about.

 

And so that being the lens. Then all of a sudden you say, okay, well, it doesn't have to be necessarily that I love or hate what I do. It doesn't have to be that all my money is made there. But I really love your insight about it being fun. And so many people talk about that of you're not going to do a great job at it if you're not interested in it. And I think about what I watched, how reading was approached with my kids at a certain age and then how it shifted. When they were in elementary school, they were told, read anything, just read a topic you like and they would have different grades where they'd say, this book is a certain lexile, was the word they used. And they'd say, this book counts for this many things. So they had to read a certain quantity of words. But there were certain level of books that would say, okay, it's their level, but don't care about the topic. And they would read like crazy. They would read 500 page book in a week. And then when they got to middle school, it was like, no, you're reading this book and it's going to be this book, and there's going to be a book report, and here's all the questions.

 

And just like that, the joy was lost and they no longer read for pleasure. And it's now this task. And obviously they have to learn certain things, but it almost felt like, look, they're going to have to read anyway. Why not? If they did something fun and if they're expanding their vocabulary, because that's usually the goal at that age and help them expand just their capacity for language and whatnot. And so when you talk to different kids already, this is the part that's just so interesting. What are some of the things that some of them are doing that is, let's say within a year or two, making money? Because this now leads to a slightly different conversation again, and I don't want to challenge the person that's not 15 to say, well, if a kid can do it, you can do it, maybe you can't. But what are some of the areas you see that people are able to in, let's say a one year period of investing, a few hours, 5 hours, 10 hours a week, that they're able to start making some money? And what does that path look like? I've heard people say, well, if you can make $50 a month and the next month you make $100, what have you seen that people are doing?

 

I mean, from personal experience? I try to. I haven't in a while. I tried a garage sale, an hour a week or a little longer. You only really garage sale on the weekends. No one has a garage sale 02:00 P.m. On a Wednesday. But on Saturday morning and Sunday morning, spend 3 hours wherever you are. There's a ton of free apps. You find garage sales go there. Literally, I'm beating you 3 hours. Not in 5 hours, 3 hours a week. Saturday morning, Sunday morning, when people are normally sleeping in. If you have a job at 09:00, wake up at six and go garage sale. There's good money to be made there. I made some good money. And the thing is, first of all, you don't need a ton of money because I buy things for one to $3 and there's very little risk involved. Like, I have a box right here of things I couldn't sell. And I'm okay with start selling it because it all costing me combined grand total of $15. And so it's selling. If you really want to make money now and don't have a ton of capital so you can't invest there crypto.

 

You have $100 in the bank. You have time. That's what you do have. You have time. Maybe gas prices are a little expensive, but go out garage sale, buy things for a dollar, flip them for $5, and you can make some good money that way.

 

That's awesome. I just think one of the things people make this sometimes much more complex than it needs to be and then also be curious to hear your thoughts on this. I know a lot of people do that real quick just to get that. That's awesome. Thank you. So the other thing I hear a lot of people talk about is this idea of you don't want to trade your time for money. Now I get the concept for it. I'm an entrepreneur. I've been an entrepreneur over 20 years. And yet there was a time when I learned other people. I got mentored, I got paid, and I got paid to learn. Also I got paid to work. Of course I had to get a certain result. And I like to remind people that LeBron James is an employee. Leon L. Messi is an employee. So it sometimes depends how much per hour you're making as an employee. It doesn't have to be that you don't trade your hours for dollars. And of course they've put in time on that. What have you seen that are opportunities? Let's say if a person says, well, I want to at least know that if I'm investing time, I'm a little less entrepreneurial.

 

I don't want to go to a garage sale and flip something. What can I do that's perhaps more than just getting a job? And there's nothing wrong with getting a job. It just feels to me that getting a job, if it's an old school job where you have to drive to a location, go there, be there a certain number of hours, chances are and you please correct me if I'm wrong on this. And you are going to be typecast if you're a teenager and say, oh, you're a teenager, your time is worth $10 an hour or whatever, and they're going to say, great, we get 5 hours then, okay, great, $50, but then minus my tax, $40. And that's not bad. But there are things that could be better. So you mentioned garage sale. What are some other things, you know, that might be, let's say, either service activities, video editing or different things. What other things do you see people doing that doesn't require a lot of startup capital for them to start making additional money?

 

Let's see, social media content is a path that of money. Just put it blankly. But there always is a time commitment to any of these things. I think it's more of a risk equation. So my sister's boyfriend asked me about how can he make money online quickly. And the question there is risk, right? Like you can make a lot of money in a very small amount of time if you go gamble on the stock market or crypto or end of days. But you can also lose all of that just as quickly. Right. You could put money into a random stock. There's a chance to go up, there's a higher chance it goes to zero. But it doesn't cost you very much time to do manual work. Right. It's just super risky. Or you can make $2 an hour doing surveys. There's no risk there. But you make $2 an hour doing surveys. Right. And so I think that's the question. Everyone who's listening to us, who's kind of going through that situation that you're describing of not having a ton of time, not wanting to go out and get like a physical job and wanting to do something online is just understanding the risk that you want to take.

 

Right. If you want zero risk, you can go video edit, you can go do transcription. There's many transcription services out there. You'll make $10 an hour, which is sufficient if you have nothing else to do. Or you can be super risky and put all our savings into the stock market, into mutual funds. And if you're really good at that, you can make a lot of money there. But there's also a ton of risk involved. I think it's just about determining how much risk you want to take and from there you figure out what you want to do.

 

Yeah. I really like your approach with just a lot of the self inspection looking inside. As far as what is it that's most important to you, I think a lot of people right now are really fascinated by the idea of being an entrepreneur. And I think that's for some people, at least in my experience, in my experience, it's not necessarily for everybody. What do you see that lets you know that? Okay, yes. You want to be an entrepreneur. And what have you seen, perhaps in other people that lead you to thinking, no, you know what? They'd be better off. And again, it doesn't have to be a thing that it's a better or worse, but that's probably not suited for them. How would you advise somebody on that?

 

That's a tough one, because I think everyone should explore it. But I think everyone comes to a time where they're kind of at a crossroads between, this is super difficult, I'm losing some social time, like, I have to work hard and I'm not seeing any results. I think that's kind of a crossroads that everyone who tries entrepreneurs and does, and then there will be a small percentage that are like, yeah, this is really difficult, but I just enjoy doing this so much, regardless of the results. I enjoy pitching 100 VCs and all of them say no to me, making pitch decks, building websites, and they will keep going. I think there's also the wide majority that are going to go through that crossroads and be like, well, you know, I had a great job here. I didn't love it, but I really liked it. Maybe I am kind of fit for number two, number three role. And that's not worth just as equal as an entrepreneur, right? And maybe you leave a job to go somewhere else and do something. Be number two. If you love sports, go work at a sports organization for that same job.

 

Right? Like you said earlier, and for me, it was always like when I was 910, eleven, making money on the street. It wasn't about Lamborghini or anything. It was just like a fun thing to do. The goal, of course, was to get the funko pops, but if we didn't, it was still fun. I have a picture on my phone, if I can find it, of me and my friends literally on the street. I will try to find it right now. Of me and my friends on the street just having fun. Right. Even if we made no money, we would have enjoyed the process. We probably would have done it again. Just hanging out, yelling at people to buy avocados. So I think that's why I know I've always been an entrepreneur. Who knows, I might change my mind one day and not want to be an entrepreneur, go be an NFL GM. But I think that's kind of the question everyone has to make when they're trying out business. When you're at the crossroad, it's super difficult where it seems like you want to give up. If you really love it, keep going. But if you're like, no, I kind of like the other thing, then there's no shame in stepping back.

 

You still have time and stepping back and exploring something else you might like even more.

 

Yeah, I think there's so much to that. I know people that have popped back and forth and again rather than romanticized it. I just think of it in a simple way. My business makes a certain amount, I get to do certain things, and I make oh, that's awesome.

 

Yes. January 4. This is 2018.

 

I think that's cool. Yeah. I think our kids, when they would do their lemonade stands, and they just love the process. And getting back to the idea of over romanticized entrepreneurship, again, I get to do certain work. I work certain hours, and I have a certain amount of free time, and I make a certain amount of money. If someone were to come to me tomorrow and say. Well. You know that thing that you're trying to do. The people you're trying to reach. The message you're trying to get out there. We have a way we can help you do that. That you're going to reach 100 times more people. You're going to make ten times amount of money. And you're going to work the same hours and be wherever you want. Okay, so am I going to really argue, well, what's my title? What are you going to call me? Are you going to call me an entrepreneur? No. If that's what I believe in, I said, Great, because I've had a couple of friends that said, oh, I failed an entrepreneurship, but I'm now going to this other company, saw my work, wants to hire me now, and now I'm making double than I was a year ago.

 

I'm like, Dude, you didn't fail. You popped back into this role for now. And who knows what's going to happen in two to three years with CEOs, they bounce from company to company sometimes every three to five years, and that's just what they consider to be part of the process, and it's just a natural thing. So I think so much of this is about enjoying the process, as you mentioned. How would you then say to somebody, what does it look like for somebody when they're enjoying the process versus when they're not? Are there things that you've started that you stopped? You said, okay, that was okay, and I learned something from it, but I really didn't enjoy that. How do you tell the difference?

 

Yeah, I mean, there are kind of things in the past I've tried doing, and I didn't really enjoy doing it. Like we talked about earlier, I don't think any of that is a failure. Pivoting and changing your mind is a very natural part of life, right? Like, you spend your life just bouncing back and forth to different things until you find something you enjoy doing, and then until you don't enjoy it anymore. That's kind of just how life is. And so I've done a lot of things in the past that I've explored and I did for a while, and I was like, no, I don't really enjoy doing this anymore. And then I stopped. I think, like we talked about the entire interview, you have to really look into your own soul. Do you enjoy doing this? Whether it's a business and doing social media, content creation, whether it's drop shipping, whether it's working at a job as a Google intern, do you enjoy doing it? Does this make you happy? Are you going home on average, happy, satisfied with what you're doing? And if the question is yes, then great. If the question is no, there is no failure, no shame, and say, no, I don't like this.

 

Even if you're 30 years old, that's so really young. You're going to live to 100, hopefully. And so I think that's something that we definitely need to stigmatize with society. There's literally nothing wrong. Chandler from friends who are 30 years old. He left his job to go be a marketing intern. That's fine. People live for a long, long time. These are kind of all thoughts that were created when people lived to 40 years old. So if you're living to 40 years old, then of course you need to have your life figured out by 35 because they're about to die. Right? But in today's society, you don't live to 40 years old. Most people live to 70, 80, 90. Hopefully by the time I end up passing lifespan or even longer, maybe I'll live to 120, then there's no shame in, quote, unquote, wasting these past six months that I've spent working on the podfest. If I really find it miserable, there's no shame in shutting it down. I'm six months in into 120 years, and honestly, it makes more sense. Right? So I think that's just a question. There's no shame in, I don't want to say giving up, but there's no shame in pivoting to somebody else life is really long.

 

There's no shame in, quote, unquote, failing or changing your mind.

 

Absolutely. And I think that's so great you have that idea. And I think a lot of people that's becoming more apparent to people that some of it's even just seeing the quotes of different things michael Jordan missed over 9000 shots. Well, yeah, you have to missed over 9000 shots to get up is the number of points. It just doesn't all turn out that way. And yet I think something that I've experienced and it's something very simple. I wish I could remember who taught me this. It was just this idea of if you enjoy today and if today was a good day, okay, and if tomorrow's a good day and then you get seven of those in a row, that's a good week. And then if you got a few good weeks, you have a good month, a good year, and then a few more of those and you had a good life. It doesn't have to be something very specific. And in fact, I really can't think of any professional at the highest level of sports that I've ever heard when they've been asked the goat conversation type people, the Michael Jordans, the Tom Bray's.

 

Whoever or in any field, if you ask them what's most important, usually they still say their family, their friends. They usually don't say, oh, because I won this memorable moment. Yes, I won the championship, I hit the shot. But as far as what's most important to them, I've never heard any of them say, oh, yeah, well, this winning is just by far. My family are kind of nice, but they're nice people. So you just figure if people who've literally hit goals that some of us dream of and will not hit, if they're saying, look, this is what really actually wade, it worth it. I think that's worth listing that. So at your age, how do you balance working hard in your personal life and then not taking school too seriously or not taking business too seriously, but seriously enough? And how do you do that? Because I know there is a lot of talk about kids taking stuff too seriously, and that being unhealthy. So somebody might be listening as a parent might say, oh, no, I don't want to give my kids more stuff. I don't want to give them an expectation that if they don't start a business, they're a failure.

 

How have you been able to balance that? And how can this be done from what you've seen in a healthy way that fosters curiosity, that fosters growth without it being something that could become perhaps another stressor or another expectation?

 

Yeah, I mean, I would never advocate towards a parent forcing their kids to be entrepreneur or philanthropist, however inspired or you might get from this interview. But I would always encourage, especially if you on the younger side, exposing them to it, right, so you don't have to here's some lemons, go make lemonade and go make a stand and go, no, but like, hey, you really wanted that new book, or maybe you wanted that new three DS game. Why don't you try making enough money for that so we can go out to the grocery store, grab some lemons, I'll give you some seed money, and maybe you can make your money that way, right? That's a great way to do it. You're not forcing them, here's some lemons, go make lemonade. Here's some lemons. You can make some lemonade, and maybe you might be able to buy your CDs game for that. And I promise you that there will be a good amount of people of kids who from that experience will continue to try different things in business. I mean, they're having fun and they're making some money. They're getting what they want. So I'm sure they would do it a few more times, and then maybe they get over and they have other things.

 

They want to high school life, they want to go to high school life, have friends, go to parties and stuff, and they no longer have time to do laminated hands. That's great as well. And for me, in terms of managing my time and balance. I kind of compartmentalize my days. So Monday, Tuesdays are 100% in school. I do college classes, so it's 100% just finishing up my entire week's worth of work. So I literally work from 08:00 A.m. Until 06:30 P.m. To dinner non stop on all my school work. And then if I have a little bit more like I have a little more today, I'll finish up in an hour or so. And then Wednesdays is my kind of work day. Thursdays are my recording days, and then Fridays are my work days. But I also try to kind of relax on Fridays when I can drive. I'll drive out to the beach myself on Fridays and just kind of relax there. And then Saturdays, saturdays, family day, sundays with friends, like brunch, tennis, those type of things.

 

That's awesome. I think it's so critical for people just to get your default week. I love that you have a sense of what that looks like, because I think in our society, as much as we talk about years and we talk about months, the week is kind of the basic. That's the rhythm that we have. Like, okay, this is how things happen every Friday. This happens every Saturday. And maybe it's not that consistent, but just knowing that those things can be done in that way, at least for me, when I'm having a particularly not so great week, I know, okay, well, weekend is coming up, and I got another shot at it next week. Or maybe I should have to kind of finish out the week. I also know if I'm perhaps even obviously things are going well. That's great. But if I'm, let's say, not even making as much money this week. Okay, there's next week if perhaps I got a little too busy this week and didn't have as much time with my family and ended up working five days instead of the usual four. Okay, well, I still have two days with them and then next weekend.

 

So I think having some intentionality around it is so huge. And I love your sense of having the work first to make sure it gets done, because it sounds like for you at this stage, and I guess your agreement, you, your parents, that the school work and whatnot, that's still first priority. Is that accurate?

 

It's a tough thing. I consider at the moment, everything else I do my Wednesday, Thursday, Friday things a little more priority on Monday than my Monday Tuesday school work. But I guess that's the advantage of home schooling is that all the work I do is condensed in that it's all, you know, I honestly consider my learning equivalent and or possibly even greater than if I were to spend more time at a regular high school, because my work now consists of one or two assignments a week versus five days of busy work. One or two assignments a week that are just bigger assignments that have more thought involved. The college professors are not competing I'm compared to college students. But all in all I do save time and I feel like other and better. So I wouldn't say it's number one priority, it's always there. But I don't talk to my parents really too much about school. I occasionally say, oh, I got this internet wade on this something, or I was really proud of this. But mainly I talked to my parents about business, about investing in the stock market ten times more than I do about my school life.

 

Okay, so now it's my turn. Excuse me.

 

I'll do the snap.

 

Yeah, I'll say thank you. There you go. Well, that's good. But it sounds like you have a clear sense though that the school work needs to get done. So that almost feels like this sense of similar to again, I have bills that need to be paid and I definitely don't lead with that, but I'm aware of that. And so there are certain things that I need to do and I've never seen a work situation that has always been where a person always gets to do what they want. I've seen entrepreneurs that evolve to that point where they make enough money, they build a team intelligently and then they really do get to do 80, 90% of their time what they want doing. But usually at some point they've had to at least move into that intentionally. One of the things that you and I talked about at the pre interview, which I loved, was just I love the way very simple advice of helping people get started. So it seems like you've developed confidence as you're moving along in your entrepreneurial journey and just in your work. In your school and what you're doing. What have you found is a good way or the best way or ways for people to build confidence and yet still be able to absorb what feel like the failures or the losses or the hits and still keep wanting moving forward.

 

Even if moving forward means a pivot or something. As opposed to just okay, no, I just give up.

 

A lot of that I think, has to do with humility. I'm still working on it. But there's a great fine line in equilibrium between confidence and humility. Entrepreneurs inherently need to be confident because you're doing something that everyone else does not believe in a lot of the time and kids have a little easier, but no one's going to really tell 15 year old what you're doing is terrible. But like adults, especially younger people who have friends from college that are all working at JPMorgan or whatever, there needs to be some sort of confidence in that you can withstand those everyday blows from family or friends. But there also needs to be humility, that you need to be humble enough that your self worth isn't tied up in this business. So that if you do have your self worth tied up in a business and you need to pivot because you know it's going to be a better thing to temporarily lose money because this other thing is so much more beneficial. But in between, if you're so confident that you're not going to do it because all your friends are going to say, oh, I was right.

 

So I think that's how you absorb failures. Pivots is, yes, you need to be confident because being an entrepreneur, if you're too vulnerable to criticism, then it'll knock you down. Over time, it'll start making you seem like this is going to be a failure. Right. So you need to be confident enough, but not too confident in that you lose humility and being able to pivot and taking those temporary blows because you know that you're building something bigger and it's just kind of finding that balance.

 

Awesome. So would you say that's how you've built resilience? Because you and I talked a little bit about this, the idea that if you're not yet called to have to be resilient at a certain age or a certain stage of responsibility, it can perhaps almost be not in your best interest, as opposed to being able to have some exposure, have some growth, and then have perhaps again, some losses. Would you say the learning, the growing has actually better? Question. I think what would you say is the balance between and it's the same theme of the question, but it's a little bit better. How much of your resilience would you say has come from you learning content and versus how much of it has come from you implementing content and then having to then see what came out of what I did?

 

Yeah, let me think about it. Can you kind of allow me on your question?

 

Sure. And this is not meant to be a controversial question, but I think it's a relevant question. A lot of time when parents are looking at education well, there's a debate right now, is college worth it? Of course it depends which college and which major, and there's a lot of other variables and the tuition and all that stuff. But in essence, the concept of knowledge alone excuse me, versus applied knowledge risk taking in action. What would you say you've learned from each and then what has been perhaps the best teacher, either of those two or even something different?

 

As someone who has started a business and taking a business class, a Business 101 at a community college, I will say that's kind of where we're at, right? Like learning textbook learning versus applied learning. As someone who's taken both and who's tried hard at both, I will say that I've probably learned more in my life going to my parents expo, west food shows and talking to customers. I was in New York City two weeks ago at an expo at Jeffrey Center in Hudson Yards and meeting people and selling them and just kind of sitting at dinner table watching TV while my parents are handling finances and stuff and then do my own things where I have to search up on Google. What is this tax? What is this tax? How to calculate this? I will say that I probably learned more that way than in a business class. And I guess the order is important too, because I started my business class after I learned a lot of this. So for me there are some times where I would do the test and get an A without actually reading it just because there are things hired in you.

 

And I don't mean to sound like Eric or anything like that, but I think that's what I'm at right now with applied learning versus classroom learning, there are things like English class where of course a structured class we learn about grammar is probably going to be better than just saying, here's a pen and paper, go write a book, right? And same thing with math, here's an equation, solve it. There's a place for learning. But things like business, maybe even economics, art, I think definitely a lot of these kind of the majors, right? The things that are out untraditional, political science, maybe even. I think there is a lot of value in reading news and watching every debate in history versus the political debate in history versus sitting down in a classroom and doing a political science class. And this is my take on it. If you want to be an entrepreneur, I think there's more value in learning what you need to learn on the way then spending a lot of time in the classroom learning and then you really don't have to use you'll use a good amount of it, but you're not going to use all of it nearly an actual business environment.

 

So that's just kind of my take on it. As someone who stick in both the business class and just use Google to wing it, I think that in certain things like English and math, there's value in a classroom learning in a structured environment. But a lot of things like business, I think there's honestly it's cheaper probably, and a little more fun, I think to learn it on the go and just have to guess a lot, like use context to it to figure out what revenue is. But that's just my take.

 

Yeah, I think a lot of that also reflects the idea that I'd say, let's say I use the contest starting the podcast. I definitely want to well, first of all, I want to know that I can search on Google my style. I would say, okay, I trust wisdom enough to say, okay, what are the best practices to starting a podcast? As opposed to me literally just starting out of thin air, right? So I think there's that interplay and I think about some of the teachers that I enjoyed most and I learned the most from and they really did help us focus more on wisdom or seeing trends like you mentioned watching debates versus discussing what a debate is. Well yeah, let's watch a debate and then let's talk about the themes, what happened there because the themes seem to repeat themselves. Maybe not the exact details definitely, at least from my perspective, the memorizing of the facts and those sort of things or the names of who did what is less to me relevant than being able to see things. So yeah, I'm curious to see how our education will evolve because I read one consulting book before I started my own business and they really weren't as many.

 

This was a little over 20 years ago, but one of the things that the person said in the book I still remember it was very important but it took me reading almost a 200 page textbook to get this one piece and it was worth it. But it would have been nice gosh, it would have been so nice if it was a tik tok video or seven in the YouTube and this person just said you're not going to bill out $2,000 a year. My father was an entrepreneur. He's an entrepreneur but he is in a different business. He's not in a charge for your time business model. So just the idea of saying, hey, you know what? You're probably thinking that if you make $50 an hour and you work 2000 hours you're going to make $100,000. Well yes, that's true if you're an employee, but you're not an employee now. You're now looking to start your business and if you're lucky you're going to bill out a thousand of your hours. Chances are you're going to build out somewhere between 508 hundred of them. So if you actually want to make that $100,000 well if you're going to build out let's say 500 hours, then you're going to need to charge 200 an hour, not 50 an hour.

 

And just that one idea that was so huge just to even get but at the same time, goodness gracious to have to read a whole textbook. And the best way I can put it to you is whatever else was in there, I didn't get it because it wasn't highlighted well enough to reach me. Now I'm not saying I'm the end long deal but at the end of the day I'm an entrepreneur 20 years later. And so there are some entrepreneurs like me where I said, man, again a top seven list or a blog post might have helped me in that way. So I'm curious to see and I know with Podfest that leads to a lot of that type of learning.

 

Awesome.

 

So how have you decided what you want to focus on now you and I are talking about I want to get you to share a little bit more about what you're doing now. So you do some consulting. You do some social media, you do NFT projects. Share a little bit about it, if you don't mind. What are you doing and about how much time do you invest in each of those in a week and what are you finding that you like about those fields and what are you learning?

 

Yeah, I mean, still podcasting, I'll spend a little over 6 hours. Yeah, maybe a little more than that, depending on the week. Six to 8 hours a week. It's all spent on podcasting, which involves young trap, recording interviews, questions, editing video editors and posting things, writing captions, and then also tickets on the block. I'll spend 3 hours a week. I'll add that together. So 8 hours together. I'll spend 3 hours recording interviews and the Divine and then and social media content about that. And then in terms of the energy project, right now we're taking it pretty slow. So two to 3 hours. And we're doing that intentionally, two to 3 hours a week. It's more about just kind of reception rather than it's my project, but it's all about consumer reactions to it and getting their feedback, so it's a little more one sided. So two to 3 hours in that one. And then with what else do I do? I'm working on a few more things that are kind of underground, but I'll normally make up the remainder of my time on those things.

 

That's awesome.

 

Yeah.

 

And what I just love about what you're doing is playing. I've told people I feel blessed that I've been able to do that at times, and I definitely do not always get to do what I want to do, but I'm learning reality. I'm learning what it takes to do things. And I remember for years I thought that was like a less than thing until I saw a video clip from Seth Godin, it was part of his Udemy course on freelancing. And here's this guy who's one of the top marketing experts for the last 2030 plus years. And he basically, unless I misunderstood it, self identified as I'm a freelancer. And because I'd always heard people say, well, freelancers, it's almost like this temporary status, like a hack, like somebody hasn't figured out what they want to do. And he's like, no, I get to do projects I enjoy and I just keep going after projects that really are engaging to me and exciting to me. And of course, in that he's developed the skill to how do I monetize that? And I think that might be the main difference between a hobby and something that's not a hobby.

 

Because if you could monetize your hobbies, wouldn't you? I mean, I would. I did enough to make you feel better. Just so you know. Ben, I just did a couple of times for you. Awesome. All right, so what I'd love to get your thoughts on as we're coming towards the close here. What would you say to a person who's thinking that they might start something they're not sure you mentioned earlier, thinking about what they love. What do you find is an amount of time or energy that allows a person to still feel like, okay, I'm doing something, I'm making some progress, and yet I'm not losing myself in this because the whole thing is obviously something involves risk. But you mentioned this whole idea of risk reward. And I even think of the concept of in any endeavor you want to learn to play piano, how much time you want to put in and how quickly do you want to get good. What have you seen, though, as you've seen different people doing it? What would you say is kind of a sweet spot for people that are investing enough time in something to get a flavor for it and to build some momentum without it, yet feeling so now more speaking to the person that's the side hustle, let's say, or the person that's starting to venture.

 

What's a good sweet spot you'd say to enjoy it. And about how long should they give themselves? Three months, six months to kind of see, okay, hey, I'm going to invest X amount of hours for X number of months to kind of see if I get some traction, as opposed to having this sense that, okay, I'm going to pull an all nighter and I'm going to start a business and all of a sudden it's going to make money for me. What are some wisdom or real estate expectations or things that maybe you didn't know when you first started that you would now tell somebody who's starting out.

 

Yeah, I saw someone who always made it their goal to be a millionaire before 18. It's not XYZ goals anymore, but I would say I'm going to give a contrarian view here. Follow your excitement. One day, if you have an excitement for your business and whatever you're doing, if you have an excitement for social media content and excitement for a new job and you're just on a roll, you come home at 05:00 and you're on a roll and you're working past dinner. If you're happy and you're on the roll, as long as you can handle a little asleep, I would say keep going for a little bit. You sleep at some point and the same thing on the other end. And then the next day, if you're super excited again, try it again. You don't need such a time limit if you enjoy that. But then the flip side is if you don't enjoy it, that's when you stop. Just one day I have a bad day, I'm going to stop everything. But over two or three weeks, I'm not feeling it anymore. Like we talked about earlier, great. Follow your next assignment. Maybe you don't like that as much now you're really into New York real estate and you want to go learn to be a real estate agent in new York.

 

Great. Go look up some courses on New York real estate. Get your license. Boom, you got your license. You just sold your first home. I don't really love that anymore. It's been a month now. I'm kind of miserable. Sure, great. Follow your excitement. Something else. So I would say more than kind of cutting the time in the months and time SaaS, just kind of follow your site. Are you really excited about something that you want to spend? You're not forcing yourself. You genuinely want to spend a lot of time on this thing, then keep going. That's great. But then when you're not no longer excited, when this is becoming a miserable task for you because you want to tell yourself that you're committed to this, but you know you don't like it, you don't like doing it, you're kind of wasting your time, then stop and then follow your next assignment. Especially when you're young, especially when you're old, too, but especially when you're young.

 

I love that. I think that's so true. I think of it kind of similar to dating. You're not going to know who that person is or what you like, or what you don't like, or how you like being treated, or what things you like doing. And I think we put a little less pressure on it. It can be a little more enjoyable. And certainly I look at my career and certain things that I did 15 years ago that I never thought were going to be relevant. I was into computers, and I never really took to computers. In fifth grade, a friend of mine and I were demoing an Apple II, I think it was, at the school, and I didn't realize there was going to be computers. And 25 years later, there was one opportunity to create one software piece, and I had just enough of knowledge computers, and that's been 60% to 80% of my income for the last 20 years off of literally just an interest that had just enough that I felt confident enough, like, okay, I've done this one thing. I could pivot from that. Like you say, I've got a garage selling, oh, I could do this other thing.

 

I've sold candy, I could open a store. And so I think it was that of just that sense of not feeling. It was so far away from me and so impossible. And so I definitely think there's so much to what you're doing, really love what you're doing. And I'm going to put all the links below ben, where can people find it about you, your work, your podfest?

 

Yes. We can get to my Instagram at official benjamin Wong or my website, Benjamin Wong Co. Or you can feel free to email me if you have any questions. I need some help on anything. Always happy to give my input.

 

Awesome. Thank you so much. Again, I'm so grateful for the role model you are. What you're doing and appreciate you for everything you're sharing. So thank you again for doing that for all of you listening. As always, I look forward to helping you impact more people and make more money in less time doing what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life. Hope this interviews help you take you close to that and hope you have an awesome rest of the week.

 

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Benjamin Wong

CEO/Host

Benjamin Wong is the CEO of Kid CEO Media, a youth-run communications company dedicated to uplifting the growing community of young entrepreneurs.
He hosts the YoungTrep podcast, where he interviews renowned entrepreneurs and experts on topics ranging from sleep health to career acceleration.
He also hosts the Kid CEO Podcast and co-host of 2 Kids on the Block.