Categorized | Business Authors

Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur

Jason O'Neill

Author Bio:

14-year-old award-winning entrepreneur and speaker, Jason O’Neill, recently added published author to his credits with his first book, Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur. Jason inspires and encourages people of all ages with his common sense approach and advice on a variety of subjects. He has been giving presentations at schools, organizations, and conferences since he was just ten years old. Through his business, he has helped many other kids by donating a portion of his proceeds to children’s charities. For Christmas, he holds a big fundraiser to donate teddy bears to kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.

Book synopsis:

Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur is a practical approach to business and life with straightforward tips for kids and adults alike. Regardless of age, achieving success is not brain surgery or rocket science. It does not have to be complicated. Sometimes it just means simplifying things, getting back to the basics, and taking one step at a time. Through short personal stories, Jason shares his values, creativity, strategies, and advice for those who have wondered, “Can I do it?” Whether you are a young entrepreneur, a high-level executive, or a parent looking for ideas to share with your family, this book is filled with many encouraging stories. Doing nothing guarantees nothing. Bitten by the Business Bug is sure to inspire and motivate readers of any age. Try your ideas! You might surprise yourself.

Why did you write this book?

At age nine, I started my own business, Pencil Bugs, from one simple product idea I had to sell at a craft fair. Before long, I had added bookmarks, greeting cards, as well as opening up a CafePress online store. After tweeting a lot of advice and tips about business and life that I was learning from my parents, grandparents, and business friends, someone suggested I write a book. It made sense so I did.

Do you have a blog, what is the link, what do you talk about in your blog?

My blog is www.pencilbugs.com/blog. The best writers write about what they know. I have categories about business including tips and advice, a kid’s point of view, charity, interviews with other biz kids, and then sometimes I just write about whatever strikes me.

Do you do speaking events? What are some common ones that you do on a regular basis? What do you talk about?

I do speak at events and the older I get, the more I’m asked to speak which is kind of funny because that is assuming that younger kids aren’t viewed as public speakers, which is not true. I have met many kids well under 18 that are amazing speakers and have a lot to share and teach people of all ages.

I don’t have any events that I speak at on a regular basis. I think it’s good to experience new opportunities but I have been invited back to speak at next year’s Expo for the California Homeschool Network. I must have been a hit with the small crowd because they want me to be one of the speakers in the main room next year so that’s pretty awesome.

I speak on many different topics, everything from business to education to charity. It depends on the audience because nothing is more boring than giving or even hearing the same speech from the same person. And if you don’t tailor your speeches to fit the situation or the audience, you are not a very good speaker. I have even talked about bullying and what we can do to stop it. Several years ago, I spoke to an elementary school and one teacher asked me to focus on producers and consumers as the kids were learning about business and how we get products from manufacturers to the customers. That was a fun talk since it was easy to relate to my business and experience.

Do you do your own marketing or PR? What is a good marketing / PR stratgey for a budding author?

Yes, I do my own marketing but I should really say “we” do because I couldn’t do any of this without my parents’ help especially my mom who does a lot of the daily things I don’t have time for while I’m in school.

While it would be great to get booked on national talk shows, that doesn’t happen for most people regardless of what they’ve written or what business they have. So for the average author/business person, public speaking is one of the best ways to market yourself. And remember, people do not buy products – they buy YOU!

Do you tweet, facebook fan page, myspace friend or use any other social media to get the word out?

I have Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts and up until recently, used mostly Twitter because it was easy and fast. But each of those sites has their benefits so I’m trying to use the others more too.

What free online or offline tools do you use?

The best free marketing is HARO. I have responded to dozens of media requests from the HARO list and have been featured in many articles because of that. Posting free press releases on PRlog.org and i-newswire.com have been really good too. I also join speaker groups and entrepreneur groups to stay connected because if you do it right, your best resources are from referrals.

What is the best advice you never got?

Listen more than you talk.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Not getting too stuck on one goal. I learned that you need to be open to other possibilities. That is how all of this started and I continue to do things that way. Things happen for a reason. You can’t force things to happen but you still have to do things to make them happen. There’s a difference.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

One of the hardest things for a lot of people is not giving up. Especially for a kid, we want to play a lot of the time or maybe not do the things we’re supposed to. Keeping organized and knowing priorities is still somewhat of a challenge at times. But thankfully, my parents make sure I still have plenty of time to be a normal kid because as they say, childhood is very short so they want to make sure I enjoy it even though I have a business and continue to speak at conferences.

In 50 words or less, write a paragraph stating why readers should buy your book and what they will get out of it after reading it.

My book gives a fresh perspective on many issues that people of all ages make too complicated. Regardless of your situation, you will be inspired to try your ideas after reading my book.

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