One homework assignment in Middle School was asking us, what do you want to be when you grow up? This homework assignment was a difficult assignment for me because I had no idea! Who knows what they want to be when they grow up in middle school? I thought long and hard about it. I ran across a word called ‘entrepreneur.’ I was curious about what it meant. I looked it up. Here is the definition I found “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” A fancier term for a business owner.
I knew from then on; I wanted to become that. During class, the other students shared, “I want to become a doctor, policeman, nurse, engineer, teacher.” I think I was the only one who said, entrepreneur. It was in my blood.
Somewhere along the lines, that dream faded. High school came along. I was pursuing what other people expected me to pursue. I worked hard to get accepted into a university, and I chose to be a business major because I knew I didn’t want to pursue anything else. Still, I didn’t know what business major I wanted to choose. I knew deep inside I wanted to own a business, but I didn’t think it was realistic enough. I felt successful entrepreneurs came from wealthy and educated families. I switched in between different business majors until I chose Management Information Systems and Business Management during my fourth year in college.
I was not passionate about either one of them. I didn’t pay attention in class and was not motivated to do the assignments. I thought there was something wrong with me. I saw others getting better grades and receiving internships. My grades weren’t the best, and I didn’t receive any notable internships. I got some business development/sales internships, which they hand out to everyone, and I became a data entry person for my sister’s company, leapdoctor.com. I wasn’t being challenged and felt lost. For a couple of years, I brainstormed a couple of business ideas and never acted on it.
The summer before my 5th year in college, at 22 years old, I read a book called Success Principles by Jack Canfield, which changed my life. For the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a speaker.
My logic was I loved giving people advice and teaching people lessons, so why not get paid for it.
I had no idea how to achieve this goal. I remember the first time I told one of my older classmates my dream, and he shot it down. I don’t think he meant it, but it came off that way.
After I graduated, I went ahead to become a door-to-door salesperson so I can get better at selling. If I was going to inspire people, I needed to be a great communicator. Although I lasted two months knocking on doors 60 hours a week, it wasn’t a complete failure. It taught me the fundamentals of selling, created tough skin, and built work ethic.
Then I went to join Leapdoctor full-time as a Physician Recruiter. My sister and brother-in-law moved the company to Tampa, where I was one of two employees, and the only one in Tampa. For almost six years, we went through a lot of trials and tribulations. From pivoting to different companies, creating products, growing the team to twenty-five people, and most of the projects we took on didn’t work out the way we projected. One project started to take off, which was LeapCaller, a communication software tool, and we started gaining traction between small businesses & Mary Kay representatives.
During these past five and a half years, I wasn’t just working a full-time job and trying to build one company; I had a side hustle. I wanted to make my dream of becoming a speaker a reality. I worked on this dream, every day on nights and weekends. I joined Toastmasters to get better at speaking. I won several speech competitions.
Not bad for someone who used to get laughed at for the way he spoke (for 15 years). I knew to be a speaker; I needed more than to join a Toastmasters.
- I started taking programs like Brian Tracy’s speaker academy
- I started a YouTube channel where I was consistently posting videos
- I got hired to lead Public Speaking programs for the youth
- I hired other mentors who have spoken around the world
- I started speaking in schools
After all this, I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I had no clarity.
While my full-time job got busier, I was not motivated to keep going. I knew my passion was inspiring the youth, and I wasn’t quite doing that at the capacity I wanted. I reflected one weekend in April 2019 to see what I truly wanted. I was putting up content that I didn’t enjoy, and my YouTube content wasn’t geared towards the youth. Then it hit me; I want to be the brand that focuses on teen mental health. It’s always been a passion of mine which I never pursued. I wanted to interview people so they can share their stories as a teen, what struggles they had to overcome, and tips for teens who are going through the same struggles.
I surveyed a couple of hundred teens for market research. That is how Teenage Impact came about. I started messaging well-known people to interview on Instagram for my podcast. Then I created a cover for my book Never Fight Alone. After I released my podcast, it wasn’t that much traction but more traction than I have ever gotten, and it was international listeners.
As much as I loved working for LeapCaller, I made up in my mind to take the leap of faith to go full-time with Teenage Impact.
I gained a lot of skills in the last five and a half years: Sales, marketing, networking, leadership, market research, video creation, public speaking, passion, & a vast network of people in Tampa, FL.
I knew it was the right time. If not now, then when? Mid-December, I moved to the cold, Philadelphia.
My goal with Teenage Impact is to share tips, stories, & strategies from people around the world who are making an impact on how teenagers can overcome adversity in life.
Here I am writing this article a month as a full-time entrepreneur. I felt a little bit uncomfortable & anxious in the beginning because my mind was racing at a thousand miles per hour. Forty-eight episodes & thirty-three interviews later, I am about 60% done with my book Never Fight Alone. I have interviewed well-known people.
- International 13-year-old motivational speaker
- Ex-professional tennis player.
- Teenagers who are creating multi-million dollar businesses
- TikTok influencers with over a million followers
- Motivational speakers who have spoken in over 600 schools around the world
- Former WWE/WCW champion
We talk about their stories on anxiety, depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, dwarfism, bullying, dealing drugs & so much more.
How can I help you?
1. If you have a teenager at home or teach teenagers: Share my podcast Teenage Impact with them. I now have over 2,000 downloads in over 25 countries. It is available on all major podcasting platforms. Click on the podcast tabs if you want more information.
2. If you are looking for a youth or anti-bullying speaker. I’m your guy. Contact me at www.teenageimpact.com/hire-me
3. You can also prepurchase my book, Never Fight Alone. The pending release date is May 18th. www.teenageimpact.com/never-fight-alone
Happy Tuesday everyone 😊