Interview: Ben Weissenstein, Major League Young Entrepreneur

Ben Weissenstein Interview: Major League Young Entrepreneur

by Nick Scheidies and Nick Tart on February 25, 2010 · 24 comments

Every kid has started a lemonade stand. Usually it’s not front page news. But, at the age of four, Ben Weissenstein was featured on the cover of The Houston Chronicle, touting lemonade for 25 cents a cup. Ben only earned a few dollars that day, but he came away with a thirst for entrepreneurship that motivates him to this day.

When Ben was 14, he helped his mom with a garage sale. She suggested that he could help friends and neighbors sell and organize their extra junk. So Ben and his friend started a business. In a few years, Grand Slam Garage Sales had expanded to offer more services and employ over thirty part-time workers.

Now 19, Ben and his booming business have been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and on the Dr. Phil Show. He has started The Entitled Group, a company that helps musical artists like Mike Jones, Little Flip, Young Hash and Cory Gunz book concerts and other events. Ben has moved from Houston, TX to Tucson, AZ, where he is helping launch the first of many Grand Slam Garage Sales franchises.

The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).

Q:  How did you plan and organize your business?

A: Everything started as nothing. We started with just the principles of wanting to be professional, keep records, and keep our customers and workers happy. We just figured it out as we went. When I started Grand Slam Garage Sales with my friend Matt, we went to Walmart and bought two red polo shirts for about eight dollars apiece [as uniforms]. We thought we looked professional, at least. The red polo shirts turned into to blue uniforms with Grand Slam Garage Sales logos.

We knew we had to keep records to an extent, so we started by opening a Word document and writing, “We took in x amount of dollars, we had x amount of expenses.” Eventually that turned into a nice excel spreadsheet, which turned into software that we had developed so we could put in [financial] information.

Grand Slam Garage SalesOur first website was all right, but it was nothing special at all. We had a friend do it. Then we had another web guy do it, who did a better job. Then we had another web guy do it who did an even better job. Basically, I started not knowing much and I just kept learning as I went along. That’s the biggest thing: always learn, change, and grow with your business.

Q: How did you get in Entrepreneur Magazine and on Dr. Phil?

A: A lot of the press we’ve gotten has just been random press that’s come to us. It wasn’t from us sending out a press release. For example, I was just at my high school reading an email that said, “We want to do a story on you and blah, blah, blah.” Then I saw ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’ at the bottom. I was so excited that I told all of my friends. That definitely brought more credibility to the table and got the word out about Grand Slam Garage Sales.

Dr. Phil was completely random. I think they found out about us when they were searching the internet and saw the interviews we did when we were on FOX News in Houston. They did a story on us that was a lot of fun and got us a lot more prospective franchisees.

But before we really start franchising here, we’re going to be calling all sorts of press and getting our company’s name out there. The more press we get, the more credibility we have. Good publicity is good. I don’t believe that bad publicity is good.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Anyone can go check out my personal website and the official website of Ben the CEO Ventures. You can also check out Grand Slam Garage Sales, Entitled Group, and follow me at Twitter.com/bentheceo.

This is an abridged version from Ben’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. There’s nothing revolutionary about garage sales, but Ben is creating and revolutionizing a garage sale industry. What makes him different is his drive. Ben has a bonfire burning in his belly and Grand Slam Garage Sales is about to blow-up! By the way, Ben is putting on a concert at Texas A&M on March 27th and is looking for sponsors. Contact him if you’re interested in sponsoring the event.

Ben Weissenstein’s Top Quote

“Everything started as nothing.”

Want even more inspiration?

Emil Motycka Interview: From ‘Mow Boy’ to $135KFind out how a Colorado kid made $135K in one summer mowing lawns:
Emil Motycka Interview: From ‘Mow Boy’ to $135K >>

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 martin February 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Another great interview Nick! Its surprising how we all get our entrepreneurship inspirations. I personally got a taste into business by first selling greeting cards when I was way younger!!

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2 Nick Scheidies February 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Martin — it’s amazing to hear how all of these young entrepreneurs started. Even the biggest successes start from humble beginnings, selling hats or pokemon cards or lemonade.

I guess it doesn’t matter where you start so much as how long you keep at it and how hard you work for it. Good luck with your current entrepreneurial ventures, Martin, and thanks for the comment.

P.S. I’ve been helping Nick T with these interviews from the onset, but I’ve decided to take a more active role in the community as well. So, you might see me around here every once and a while now…

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3 Nick Tart February 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Hey Martin! Yeah, learning how young entrepreneurs got started has always fascinated me. Pretty much all of them thus far started by selling something to their friends in school.

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4 Alex March 3, 2010 at 9:34 am

Pretty cool kid here. Unbelievable what someone can do at any age. Nice interview Nick.
.-= Alex´s last blog ..Calling All Kids! Want to Make Some Money? =-.

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5 Nick Tart March 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Hey Alex! Yeah, Ben’s interview went really well. He offers a unique perspective on what he’s doing because most of it is offline.

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6 King Sidharth March 3, 2010 at 9:44 am

Super star! Great interview Nick!
It’s ever so exciting to know that greatest of ideas emerge from simplicity. I really love hearing about how entrepreneurs use opportunities around them – gives so much more inspiration!

YAY! for another great interview.
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..Ego v/s Self – War of the Worlds =-.

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7 Nick Tart March 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Yeah, one of the unique things about this interview is that Ben reveals how he conceived his business idea. It’s inspirational to think that there is so much opportunity behind the things we do in our daily lives. If people lived in a mindset in which they’re constantly looking for business opportunities, we would have a lot more entrepreneurs and our lives would be a lot more efficient. Thanks for the comment, King!

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8 King Sidharth March 4, 2010 at 3:05 am

So true!
Don’t you dare thank me for my comments…. you never thank anyone for Love. Do you hear people say ‘I love you’ and they reply ‘Thank you?” Nah! LOL Just kinding… Your welcome.

PS: A hint about the post, is hidden in the comment.
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..Ego v/s Self – War of the Worlds =-.

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9 Nick Tart March 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Haha! I literally just thanked you for your last. And you’re right. I’m going to stop thanking people for their love!

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10 Art Studio Furniture May 15, 2010 at 4:59 am

a person so much!! possess simply discovered this wonderful artist and his works. They are therefore serene and soothing, I use them on my personal desktop at work. It is hard to find information written in English about your pet, though..anyone have great links? Thanks again!!

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11 Audio Interconnect Cables May 15, 2010 at 5:41 am

Good blog. I plenty of good data. I’ve been keeping an eye this technology for awhile. It is fascinating how it retains shifting, yet some from the primary elements stay the actual similar. Have you seen much alter since Google created their latest acquisition in the field?

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12 Nick Tart May 15, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thanks, AIC! Yeah, blogging is moving quickly. I can’t wait until people realize that it’s not just a way to vent personal issues. There are real, enormous businesses being created around blogging and I know people are going to start realizing that really quickly. It’s amazing that a one-person blog can make more money than a small restaurant with 20 employees.

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13 KOKOO March 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

WOW! this child is aweessome:|:|

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