When Stanley Tang was an 11-year-old growing up in Hong Kong, his school banned snack foods. Instead of taking his empty stomach in stride, Stanley bought snacks at the local convenient store and sold them to his classmates for three times the price.
A few years later, he was introduced to Google Adsense and the ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ series of books by Robert Kiyosaki. They inspired him to get online with his business and to develop a book called ‘eMillions: Behind-The-Scenes Stories of 14 Successful Internet Millionaires’. When ‘eMillions’ was published in December of 2008, it rocketed straight to the top of the Amazon Best-Seller lists. At just 14 years old, Stanley was the world’s youngest best-selling author.
Since, he has been making six figures with his blogs, StanleyTang.com and TheUniversityKid.com, which he eventually sold to another young entrepreneur. Stanley also just graduated high school in May of 2010 and he will be attending Stanford University in the fall, where he plans to study computer science.
The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).
Q: What is the single most important reason for your success?
A: It comes down to hard work. There is no magic pill to get overnight success. Overnight success doesn’t exist. ‘eMillions’ took 15 months. But, then it seemed like it came out of nowhere when the book launched.
Success comes down to hard work plus passion, over time. If you work really, really hard over a long period of time, it will pay off. It’s not about working super-hard for a week and then expecting a huge payload. For example, when you tried to arrange this interview for me, you were really persistent. That is what I admired about you.
Q: How did you manage to make eMillions an instant #1 best-seller?
A: Basically, you have to coordinate a successful product launch. I sent out a blog post, wrote tweets, and all of that stuff. But, you also have to have a great sales letter that converts and an irresistible offer. When ‘eMillions’ came out, I said, “Buy this book – and I’ll give you all of these great bonuses.”
The bonuses came from my affiliate and joint venture partners, who also promoted the book on the same day and sent out an email to their list. Obviously, you first have to gather and contact all of those partners. For ‘eMillions’, naturally, the joint venture partners were the 14 internet entrepreneurs who I interviewed. Since they were part of the book, they wanted to promote the book – a win-win situation.
I think the press was a huge factor as well. I got featured on the front page of the second largest newspaper in Hong Kong. That attracted a huge buzz. I think I got something like 15,000 unique visitors in 24 hours to my website, StanleyTang.com. It actually crashed on the day I was featured.
Writing a book is not for the money. You could make way more money if you simply repurposed that content as a video course or anything like that. You could sell it for $99 or $199, rather than just $20. But writing a book is not just about the money; it’s about all of the benefits that come with the book, like credibility. So, even though Amazon takes a huge chunk and my publisher takes a huge chunk, I think that it is a great platform to distribute your book. It’s more about getting to a wider audience, as opposed to just making money.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: To all of the young entrepreneurs out there, just go out there and take action. Take a risk. Follow your passion. The best time to take action is when you’re a teenager. You’ve got nothing to lose. If your business fails, so what? You’ve always got your parents and your school to fall back on. Later in life, it’s going to be harder because you will have responsibilities, like a family. Now is the best time to take action.
This is an abridged version from Stanley’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. StanleyTang.com is the first blog I ever found. One night over two years ago I spent hours reading his content and interacting with his community. This was one of the key steps along my personal, entrepreneurial journey. I had a blast talking to Stanley and I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of him over the next few years.
Stanley Tang’s Top Quote
“Success comes down to hard work plus passion, over time. If you work really, really hard over a long period of time, it will pay off.”
Want even more inspiration?
Find out how Stanley’s friend from the UK makes 6-figures with a blog:
Michael Dunlop Interview: Voted ‘Most Likely to be a Millionaire’ >>