“To create a successful business, you must be willing to put an enormous amount of time and effort into making it thrive.” – Aaron Golbin
Our latest featured Kidpreneur didn’t stop at creating just one business. Aaron Golbin continued his entrepreneurial momentum by achieving success with implementation of three more businesses. At just 14 years old, his commitment to innovation proves that no one is too young to make a mark on the world. We were thrilled to have a chat with Aaron about his experiences as a Kidpreneur and are excited to share the interview with you.
Hi, Aaron! We are so honored to speak with you about your business endeavors and your journey through becoming a “kidpreneur”.
First, tell us a little bit about your background and experience. What, or who, inspired you to pursue your ideas?
In fifth grade (2014), I began to take online programming classes, which first sparked my passion for coding. Approximately two years later, I decided to create a debate website due to my enjoyment of in-class debates. I founded DebateIsland.com, a leading online debate platform which leverages Artificial Intelligence to revolutionize online debating. About a year later, DebateIsland started to gain users and content and continues to grow today.
In early 2017, I founded BestDealWins.com, an online platform that uses gamification to make saving money a more game-like experience.
In September of 2017, my great grandmother, Tsilya Zaslavsky (http://www.lostcry.com/tsilyazaslavsky – 92 years old as of August 5, 2018), a holocaust survivor, told me about her experience of hardship during the Holocaust. She also gave me her diary entries, where she wrote about her Holocaust experience. Shortly after, I decided to make LostCry.com, a website where users share their ancestor’s story of hardship (Holocaust, Wars, Immigration, etc.).
In 2018, I created Debra A.I (Artificial Intelligence), which is a component of DebateIsland.com. Debra AI is a mix of APIs and proprietary code which analyzes arguments, and predicts the winners of Debates.
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 first business that I started was Kings Corporation, in 2012. I was in 3rd grade when I founded this venture. Kings Corporation provided indoor and outdoor activities for kids during lunch time. There were about 20 volunteers and 50 students who used the services.
To start the venture, I had to gather games, equipment, etc. for the activities, reserve space, recruit volunteers, and market the business to students. Also, I established roles (CEO, head of customer service, etc.) and departments (Customer Service, Business, Security) to increase organization and efficiency. My friends and family were impressed with my early entrepreneurial start.
What obstacles, challenges, or setbacks did you face as you began to learn the in’s and out’s of entrepreneurship?
Some obstacles I faced with DebateIsland was the online debating industry and developing a marketing strategy. Marketing is a core part of a business’ success and manifesting a great marketing strategy is challenging. I learned that a business can not excel without effective marketing. Also, gaining market share in an industry of established platforms is exceptionally difficult. That’s why a product has to be unique and needs to be perfected based on the feedback of consumers in a market.
How did you celebrate your milestones and successes?
I usually celebrate my business-related milestones by going to a restaurant for dinner with my family. Nevertheless, I know that not being complacent is vital to a business’ consummation. Therefore, I like to celebrate my success in small ways and continue to reach even higher milestones.
What kind of feedback have you heard from your customers/clients/community and how does this make you feel?
I have heard many pieces of feedback from moderators on competitor websites, college professors, users, and others that range from bad to great. I try to implement reasonable feedback. I understand that a product can never be perfect, because there is always a way to improve it. It is extraordinarily important to let users know that a platform is actively developed and open to feedback, because of the increased community loyalty.
When users know that a business greatly appreciates and may even implement their feedback, they are more fond of that business compared to competitors who aren’t as active with their venture and customer service.
Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments as a kidpreneur?
One of my proudest moments related to my businesses is launching DebateIsland.com. That was is my first venture and I’m immensely proud of its continuing growth.
What advice would you give to a young person who has the kidpreneur spark and wants to start their own business?
If you believe that you have a good idea for a product, create a business plan and think the idea through. If you still think that you have a good idea… go for it! To create a successful business, you must be willing to put an enormous amount of time and effort into making it thrive.
What three words describe you and/or your work ethic?
Diligent, positive, and thoughtful.
Who is another (or more than one) kidpreneur that you admire?
I admire Shubham Banerjee, founder of Braigo Labs. His company is making websites, documents, etc. more accessible to the blind with their Braille printer.
What’s next for you, Aaron, in terms of your goals, projects, and bucket list?
I look forward to continuing the development of my businesses and eventually I would like to be able to mentor and help other youth entrepreneurs who have or would like to start a business.
I want to continue integrating Artificial Intelligence into DebateIsland’s online debating experience. AI functionality which could be integrated into DebateIsland includes Debra AI moderation. I would also like to share my great grandmother’s (Tsilya Zaslavsky, holocaust survivor) story of hardship with more people.
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