We are so honored to speak with Sean Pour about his incredible experience as a young Kidpreneur. Sean is 25 years old now, but when he was 14 started his own company called Sellmax. His business is now thriving, and he is passionate about wanting to give back and help inspire other young entrepreneurs. Sean said that “Entrepreneurship allowed me to rescue my family from a tough situation.”
Sean, thank you for allowing us to take a peek inside your journey as a kidpreneur.
1.) First, tell us a little bit about your background and experience. What, or who, inspired you to pursue your ideas?
I was lucky to have two very hard-working parents growing up. My father owned a used car dealership in San Diego and I really looked up to him. When I was 14, the financial crisis affected the family business. I noticed that it was becoming hard for my parents to make ends meet, so I decided I wanted to help out. I was still in school at the time but would go straight to the dealership instead of hanging out with my friends. That was tough. But my parents matter so much to me, that I was willing to do whatever it took to save the business. I started getting creative and tried to find new ways to expand the dealership’s inventory. Through the use of the internet, we started buying cars in San Diego. That way, my dad could sell those vehicles at his dealership. So, I was able to help my parents expand opportunities because of my tech abilities, and then realized I enjoyed the work as well.
2.) What was the first business that you chose to pursue and what process did you go through to start it? What did you friends and family think?
The very first business venture I pursued was the car-buying model that we used to save my dad’s dealership, which ultimately became SellMax. Our first office was here in San Diego, and now we buy cars from all over the country. In fact, it’s become one of the largest cash-for-cars companies in the United States. It’s amazing reflecting on where it all began: the economic recession. My family welcomed my help and ideas with open arms and were very supportive. They motivated me to work even harder and to push the limits of what I thought was possible.
3.) What obstacles, challenges, or setbacks did you face as you began to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship?
The biggest obstacle was having to learn how to code. In order for me to build this project, I taught myself PHP and HTML. That doesn’t just happen overnight. It took a lot of trial-and-error, patience, and determination to get better over time. The most important thing is to never settle. When something is difficult, it just means you need to get better at it. So, I ended up spending a lot of time building my skills and abilities.
4.) How did you celebrate your milestones and successes?
Well, in the beginning, successes were celebrated in the fact that it meant another month could go by without worrying about the bills. That put my mind at ease, which was a huge treat during that anxious time. My parents and I would always take the time to acknowledge major milestones as well. Whether it be a toast at dinner or dessert afterward, we celebrated such moments humbly. As SellMax continued to grow, I became less cognizant of clear successes and milestones. My brain is so often in “ready, set, go” mode that I forget to take the time to process what I have accomplished before heading on to the next thing on my to-do list. My quiet time to contemplate these things is when I go for my daily run. I feel amazing after, and have time to reflect on the good things that have happened.
5.) What kind of feedback have you heard from your
customers/clients/community and how does this make you feel?
I’m proud of what we do at SellMax, as we provide a very easy platform for our customers who want to sell their cars for cash. This helps them out because it takes a lot of the hassle of the selling process away for them. Because our service is so streamlined, people are thankful. That makes me feel like I’m doing something that’s useful to the world and that more people, besides myself, are benefiting from all the work I have put into it.
6.) Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments as a kidpreneur?
When I saw the true impact, my work had on my family. I was so young but realized it was worth the sacrifices to keep us afloat. After the recession, my website started to drive lots of traffic. That moment was surreal, as I couldn’t believe I was the one responsible for bringing in so much new business. I learned that anything can be accomplished with the right mindset and work ethic, no matter how old you are.
7.) What advice would you give to a young person who has the kidpreneur spark and wants to start their own business?
First of all, you should learn all facets of the business you want to be in. So, if you plan to start a software business you should learn a bit about code, a bit about marketing, and a bit about design. You want to be educated in all aspects. Secondly, don’t get down on yourself. People tend to take kids less seriously, as being a kidpreneur is unconventional, so you’ll have to show your ideas by taking action.
Enjoy the moment. I missed a couple of things in my life that I wish I could go back and see. Take your business seriously, but also live life.
8.) What three words describe you and/or your work ethic?
Routine, perseverance, and laughter.
You need a routine in order to maximize your day, including scheduled break times and an hour dedicated to exercise. This keeps your mind strong and steady. That way, you can persevere. When there are tricky questions or issues to fix, I never just give up in the middle of things. I like to cut through the toughest parts of the problems head-on. It makes them easier to solve. Without laughter in my day, life wouldn’t be as much fun. Finding humor in the small things keeps you grounded.
9.) Who is another (or more than one) Kidpreneur that you admire?
Mark Cuban is a huge inspiration for me. He was only twelve when he started selling garbage bags so that he could buy a pair of basketball shoes. From there, his mind was always operating in business-mode. He always found a way to make money. He even sold stamps and coins at one point and ran newspapers at age 16. Now he is a billionaire. If that isn’t an amazing life trajectory, then I don’t know what is.
10.) What’s next for you in terms of your goals, projects, and bucket list?
I try not to think too far ahead in time. I keep a close watch on what’s happening in the market and what I need to implement to keep my business competitive so that it continues to grow. My goal is, certainly, to maintain my happiness while I continue to expand SellMax. Additionally, I am working on a lead generation software as a service company that I will be bringing to market very soon. I think it’s going to be GAME CHANGING!