Cameron Johnson, Interview with a Young Entrepreneur
Cameron Johnson – The BIG INTERVIEW
Now 23, Cameron Johnson has been featured in over two-hundred newspapers, magazines and television stations worldwide including Newsweek, BusinessWeek, USA Today, The New York Times, The New York Post, Time Magazine, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, and dozens in Japan as well.
Today it is my very great pleasure to introduce Cameron Johnson – one of the worlds best known Young Entrepreneurs
I had the pleasure of seeing Cameron present at Yanik Silvers Underground 4 in LA – and he did it all without a PowerPoint! Very impressive and inspiring.
Enjoy the Interview
Thanks for doing this interview – I know there will be many Young Entrepreneurs at RetireAt21.com whom this interview will inspire.
First off – can we have a little background information – Where you live? How old you are? What motivates you? Inspires you?
I’m originally from Roanoke, Virginia but am living in California now. I’m 23 and what really inspires and motivates me is the same as when I started…and that is, creating something out of nothing. The start-up phase has always been the most exciting for me and I love being able to have the freedom to live life the way I want, and try and help as many others along the way.
You are famous for a number of things, such as starting your own business aged just 9 and writing the book, 15-Year-Old CEO following your time in Japan. We say at RetiredAt21.com that Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger – but what inspired you to start at such a young age?
I’m not sure there is something that really inspired me, other than simply not knowing what couldn’t be done. In other words, having access to a computer and the internet enabled me to start my businesses, and had it not been for those resources – I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today. The internet enables entrepreneurs of any age, race, location, experience, education level to compete on an equal platform. It is truly a global marketplace and I love seeing more and more young people getting their start on the Internet – and you’re right, entrepreneurs are starting younger and younger…simply because they can. At the end of the day, my businesses were fun to me and I think that’s what is most important for any entrepreneur.
When did you realise you were an Entrepreneur? Was it something you knew from the very first business or something you became aware of later?
It was certainly when I was very young, whether it was when I was 7 years old and simply selling vegetables door to door, or when I started my printing business at 9 – it was definitely very early. I realized after the printing business, as I moved on to other businesses, that it was a real passion of mine and I knew it’d guide me in life.
Can you describe a typical day for Cameron Johnson?
Actually that would be very difficult because what I love most about my life is that every day is different. Some days I’m traveling, some days I’m consulting others, some days I’m relaxing at the beach. Every day is different but what’s really important is doing what you love and creating the lifestyle that allows you to follow your passion and find success on your own terms. I’ve never been one to do the same thing day-in, day-out.
Recently you have been in the Headlines for your involvement with Oprah’s Big Give. Tell us about this, what it is like, how you came to be involved?
Oprah’s Big Give was Oprah Winfrey’s first ever prime-time television program. It was extremely revolutionary because instead of contestants competing to win something, and fighting each other in order to win, the show was all about competing to help others. To give our time, money, to rally communities, and to travel the United States doing it. It was very impactful, emotional, and life-changing at the same time. I was honored to be a part of it and it was one of my proudest accomplishments.
Your latest book is “You Call The Shots”. I like your quote: “True prosperity isn’t something you take from the world: it’s something you share with the world.” Can you explain this a bit more and also about the book in general, what it covers, why young entrepreneurs should own it?
I think, as humans, we all have responsibilities. One of the greatest feelings, and one of the greatest forms of accomplishment, is being able to give back and to help others. A good friend of mine, Joe Polish, says “Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.” It’s a simple quote but it’s very powerful. I want to share everything with the world and true prosperity isn’t the nice car or the mansion, it’s being able to sleep each night peacefully. Giving back gives you that sense of peacefulness, and accomplishment.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
What a brilliant question. One piece of advice I’d give myself is to never be afraid to reach out to others, to try new things – don’t worry about failing, and not to care what anyone else thinks. Focus on doing your best and helping others, and the rest will follow.
Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
It’s a question open for debate. I think I was introduced to entrepreneurship at a very early age but I don’t think I was born with the ability. I discovered my passion for it very early, which obviously helped shape the skills and traits – but I believe anyone can find their passion at any age. “Being able to start a business” can be learned…but the lifestyle or boldness of being an entrepreneur – I think that’s a way of life.
Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one)
I look up to successful entrepreneurs who have created a life for themselves. They’ve created for jobs for others, they’ve enabled themselves to give back in big ways, and they create value for everyone they come in contact with. A few would include Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Michael Dell, and so many others.
Do you have any favourite business related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
First, I’d recommend my own ;)…shameless plug for You Call the Shots. Actually at the back of my book, I give the readers a list of my favorite books. My favorites tend to be business biographies and success stories (Michael Dell, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, etc.) and then more specific books on marketing, time management, etc. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is another great book and David Bach’s books on personal finance are simply the best.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best piece of advice is to Put Yourself Out There. It sounds simple because it is. Literally go do something and take the first step. Don’t question yourself or make excuses, just get started. Start small, focus on doing good for others, and the rest will follow. Know your competition better than they know themselves and pay attention to every detail and every dollar.
These days, you appear to do a lot of Public Speaking – having seen your present at Yanik Silvers Underground 4 Seminar, I have to say you have a very polished, inspiring and motivating presentation style. Any tips / suggestions on how to make a better presentation / speak in public?
Well thank you, that’s very flattering. I think it’s really important to connect with your audience. I typically do not use PowerPoint presentations or anything else because I don’t want to give the audience distractions. Confidence is very important but also being real is even more important. I try and relate my stories and the lessons I’ve learned to the audience. Public speaking is very rewarding to me.
Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
Stay tuned. Goals are just dreams taken seriously. Dream big, start small, and that’s how I try and live my life everyday. My lifetime goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it, and to have a seriously good time while doing so.
“True prosperity isn’t something you take from the world: it’s something you share with the world.”