Raised by a single mother on welfare, Joseph Warren dreaded their weekly trips to the supermarket and hung his head in shame as they paid for the family's groceries with Food Stamps.
He made a commitment to himself that when he became a man, his life would be different...he would be happy, healthy and wealthy.
At age 19, Joseph Warren opened a professional fundraising company that specialized in assisting non-profit organizations such as... Read More >>
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-CAL-o-wits) author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement village. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again.
His experience building three multi-million dollar companies fostered a philosophy rarely taught to entrepreneurs: the lack of money, experience and resources is, in fact, your greatest asset.
Mike is the president of a behavioral web optimization firm, Obsidian Launch; is the small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is a frequent television guest; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He is currently writing his second book, to be released in 2012 by Portfolio, an imprint of the Penguin Group.
He is a recipient of the SBA’s Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award. Mike is a graduate of Inc. & MIT’s Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurial Program and is a guest speaker at Harvard, Princeton, eBay, SBA and organizations throughout the world.
Media appearences include:
For the first 3-4 years that I ran Mixergy, I never talked about MY story. I wanted Mixergy to be about helping YOU, not about ME. But ever since Neil Patel convinced me to talk about my businesses (and even show my financials), Mixergy took off and I connected with more people. So here goes.
Starting out in business In my early 20s, my brother Michael and I started an internet company called Bradford & Reed. Michael is a clever developer and I’ve been a passionate salesman my whole life, so we teamed up. Our first product was an email newsletter. That business did okay, but Michael and I didn’t become entrepreneurs to just do “okay.”
So we tried a bunch of different ideas. One of them was online greeting cards. We started out creating our own cards, but we quickly realized that we didn’t have an eye for design. So we focused on what we knew best. Michael coded up a system that enabled designers to create shareable electronic greeting cards. And I went out and sold ads so we could generate revenue from those cards.
Hitting it big Our revenue grew to over $1 million a month. I was in my mid-20s and Michael was still too young to rent a car on a business trip, but we made it. We were processing over 400,000 greeting cards per day. If you have access to traffic stats from around the year 2000, you’ll see that we were a top 25 property. (Here’s a chart showing Bradford & Reed as a #19 property in terms of traffic.)
Because we were so lean, Bradford & Reed grew beyond greeting cards into other internet businesses. It was fun. We were lucky to work with very smart people who were also our friends. The startup atmosphere of the company allowed us to keep experimenting with business ideas.
Selling out In 2003, I was burned out. I used to think that only wimps took breaks, so I foolishly worked nonstop until I couldn’t keep going. Michael and I sold the business. When I worked on Bradford & Reed, if anyone asked me, “what’s your exit strategy?” I proudly said, “death.” I wanted to be like my heroes in business, people like Sam Walton, Malcolm Forbes, and Warren Buffett who spent their whole lives building 1 company. But I didn’t have any more to give. So I had to move on.
Then I discovered interviewing. Smart people were coming to my events and I wanted the rest of the world to meet them and learn from them. So I did interviews and posted them online. I found that I loved learning and asking questions. And I kept getting emails from people who loved the interviews and told me what they learned helped their businesses.
Today Mixergy.com is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts.
The people who speak on this web site or at live Mixergy events are businesspeople who take some time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences. They are people like Jimmy Wales who taught us how he got the world to help him make Wikipedia into a world-changing site. And people like Gregg Spiridellis who told us how it felt to watch his company, JibJab, get reduced to almost nothing, and taught us how he turned his business around.
To date, Andrew has interviewed some of the world's top founders including Paul Graham (Y Combinator), Gary Vaynerchuck (Vayner Media), Andrew Mason (Groupon), plus over 500 others.
Entrepreneur Jason O'Neill is a regular teenager who saw an opportunity at the age of nine to make some money. He took action and Pencil Bugs were quickly born. Little did he know that the simple idea he created for a craft fair would become a successful business earning him awards and national media acclaim.
Jason was the youngest at age eleven to receive the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was named to a Forbes Top 10 List of Role Models 18 and Under at age twelve.
Jason speaks at schools (elementary through college), businesses, libraries, organizations, and conferences encouraging and inspiring people of all ages to try their ideas and give back to their communities. He donates a portion of his proceeds to help other kids and one day hopes to become a worldwide philanthropist. Jason lives with his parents and dog, Rusty, in southern California. He enjoys family traveling, golfing with his dad, swimming, playing with his friends, and of course, playing video games.
In addition to continuing to expand his Pencil Bugs business and publish his children's books featuring the Pencil Bugs characters, Jason has aspirations to be a video game designer. For more information about Jason O'Neill or Pencil Bugs, please visit http://www.pencilbugs.com.
Jason is the author of Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur available on Amazon.com.
A must-read for all ages, whether you're trying to run a business or trying to run your life."
~ Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul