Young Ambition: How a 13-Year-Old Thinks About Business

Knowing how much passion and gusto it takes to be an entrepreneur, it doesn’t surprise me that a kid can channel the entrepreneurial spirit — after all, kids can be the most daring and energetic people. However, it’s surprising to see a young teenager actually execute on an entrepreneurial venture with the focus and determination of an adult whose livelihood depends on its success.

I had the opportunity to speak with Lane Sutton, a 13-year-old entrepreneur who launched his first business at the age of five (a small newspaper for family and friends), about what motivates him, how he balances work and play, and his vision for the future of his website.

Q. Tell us about your business, KidCriticUSA.com.

A. Kid Critic offers family friendly reviews on movies, books, activities, restaurants, products and more written by a kid.

Q. What inspired you to start the website?

A. My parents and I wanted to use my entrepreneurial spirit to put it towards a website I could grow and share my thoughts online.

Q. Who’s the target audience for your reviews?

A. Families and kids are my main reader base but I welcome all to the site!

Q. How does KidCriticUSA.com run?

A. I am the founder of the site, webmaster, writer, and photographer. It is basically a one man band where I run and operate everything!

Q. How did you decide what types of reviews to do (i.e. movies, books, restaurants, activities)?

A. I always enjoy trying new foods and eating! I also like to read and watch movies and at least I have enough categories to write articles about.

Q. How do you decide what to review next?

A. A lot of my reviews are spontaneous, or it may be a place, movie, or something I want to do. Some products are sent to me, and I occasionally get requests from people to write reviews.

Q. What are your favorite reviews to do?

A. I love getting new products and electronics (especially gadgets) to review. It is always fun getting something new and exciting in the mail! My parents are amazed when they see the UPS or FedEx or post office delivery trucks almost every day!

Q. How do you spread the word about KidCriticUSA.com?

A. I use Twitter, Facebook, and the web. I also spread the word using word of mouth and business cards.

Q. What’s your long-term vision for KidCriticUSA.com?

A. I see it becoming a site where other kids contribute reviews and their opinions and being able to post their articles online at some point.

Q. Do you plan to start more businesses? If so, what kinds of businesses are you looking to start?

A. Definitely! My mind is usually always brewing up something. I want to become the CEO of a large technology company inventing new gadgets.

Q. How do you balance school, friends, and other extracurricular activities?

A. I have priorities, so homework is first when I get home from school. Family is also important so dinner is all together. Other than that I am pretty much working the rest of the night with meetings or other priorities.

Q. What’s your advice to other people looking to start their own businesses?

A. Start early. Even if you’re young or old, if you have an idea, don’t wait. Go for your dreams and passions! You will go far in your future if you are willing to stick with it and be persistent.

You can learn more about Lane at www.LaneSutton.com or www.KidCriticUSA.com, and follow him on Twitter @KidCriticUSA.

About Monica Appelbe

Monica Appelbe is a member of Intuit’s Small Business communications team. A Pittsburgh native, her favorite hometown restaurants are family-owned small businesses.
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