I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeet Banerjee. Jeet is a 25 year old serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker and digital marketing consultant. He started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17 and since then have sold 2 businesses and launched 10+ companies. In addition to that, he has spoken at conferences around the world and helped others start their entrepreneurial careers.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
When I was 15 years old, my father walked into my room one day and notified me that I had to get a job if I wanted the latest video games or tickets to the movies. It was a rude awakening but I went out and got a job after school for 10–12 hours a week. In a span of 2 years during high school, I held 12 different jobs. I was either quitting or getting fired from each of the jobs and I was miserable during this time period.
My whole plan was to go to business school, get a nice college degree and work a 9–5 corporate job. When I couldn’t even work for a few hours a week, I got extremely concerned and began Googling my so-called “symptoms”. I came across others who felt the same way that I did who suggested entrepreneurship as the best path and never looked back since.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
With all the companies I created/start, I try to solve problems. With my second company StatFuse, we were an online web application that was replacing the roles of counselors in high schools. We would provide students with college chances and ways for them to improve their odds of admission into Universities. As an entrepreneur, my goal has always been to make a difference, solve problems and create value.
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, currently I’m working on a big passion project of mine called The Income Incubator. It’s a full-scale academy that I’ve launched where I share 7 different online business models with students and how they can replicate them. I share blueprints, lectures, resources and documents to enable them to succeed and get their own entrepreneurial dreams off the ground.
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
One of my favorite books that I ever read when I first became an entrepreneur was a book called Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco. It’s one of my favorite books because it really validated why I was going into entrepreneurship. It provided a realistic comparison of entrepreneurs versus employees and what it truly meant to be an entrepreneur. When I had initially started off, I didn’t know many other entrepreneurs and I really didn’t know if what I was doing was right. My family and friends thought I was too young to start a business at 17 and advised against it telling me to wait. However, this book gave me the confirmation I absolutely needed that I was on the right path after all.
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Fail Fast & Often — I learned as a twenty something founder that failure isn’t negative. Everyone perceives failure as a negative thing but it was one of the eye-opening things I went through. If you can get back up after failing and learn from it, you have the ultimate potential in the world to succeed at whatever it is that you do.
You Don’t Need All The Answers — When I started off as an entrepreneur, I was still in high school so I had no degree, I had no real experience and I had no money. The biggest thing that I learned as an entrepreneur was that you don’t need all the answers. The most powerful thing to be successful as a business owner is taking massive action. You’re not going to have the perfect plan or all the answers, but it’s okay because you’ll figure things out as time goes.
Personal Brands Are Vital — When I was 17 years old, I never thought about branding and building up my own name. I was hyper-focused on building the brand up of my business. After 2 years, I ended up selling the company. Once I sold the company, it was as if I had absolutely no identity. Nobody knew who I was and what I was doing. It was at this point I realized that a personal brand will carry on with you for the rest of your life. It’s just as important as the brand you create for your business.
It’ll Be A Lonely Journey — As an entrepreneur, one of the toughest things for me to get used to was how lonely the journey was. I’ve always been a very social person so spending so much time in solitude was something that definitely took getting used to for me. If you want to be successful, you must be prepared that very few people may accompany you in your journey and you have to be okay with it. You won’t get recognition or credit or extra pay for all the additional things you do, but you have to do it anyway.
Don’t Be Scared To Say No — When I first started out, I wanted to say yes to everyone and every opportunity that came my way. I quickly realized that I was getting burned out and doing things I didn’t really want to do. I learned that NO was one of the most powerful words that I had to use. Just be polite and respectful about it when saying it. When it comes to saying no, I ask myself if what I’m being asked to do relates or pertains with my goals/visions. If it doesn’t, it’s an easy NO for me.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Kobe Bryant. If you’re reading this Kobe, I want to tap into the mamba mentality and learn more about what made you one of the most driven and successful individuals in the world. I’ve watched Kobe since I was a little boy and he taught me so much on and off the court about success so having the opportunity to have a sit down meeting with him, learning from him and giving value back to him would be the most amazing thing in the world!
— Published on June 27, 2018