Ben Lang is an 18-year-old Internet entrepreneur whose journey began at age 14 when he started his own eBay business. He’s the founder of EpicLaunch, a popular blog for young entrepreneurs. Ben’s also the founder of MySchoolHelp, a site for students to find and share notes from their schools.
Right now he’s living in the Tel Aviv area of Israel, working on the marketing team at Wibiya and will be joining the Israeli army in March.
What are you working on right now?
Where did the idea for your businesses come from?
EpicLaunch – EpicLaunch began as a blog for young entrepreneurs a few years ago in my name: Ben-Lang.com. Slowly guest posters began to trickle in so I decided to rebrand the blog to EpicLaunch. Since then it has grown much more in terms of community and traffic.
Wibiya – I only joined the Wibiya team a few weeks ago. I’m helping out with online marketing, social media, blogging and everything in that realm. Wibiya’s beginning is a very interesting story, even more so, because of its acquisition by Conduit.
MySchoolHelp – MySchoolHelp started as a note sharing site for high schoolers 2 years ago and was called RamazHelp. It was very successful and had an adoption rate of more than 70%. Due to that, I decided to expand the service to all high schools which is how MySchoolHelp got started a few months ago.
Innovation Israel – Innovation Israel is the leading community for Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, angels, developers, scientists, researchers and recruiters with close to 3,000 members. It began as just a Facebook group and has now evolved into something much bigger.
What does your typical day look like?
7:00 AM: Wake up
8:00 AM: Leave for work
9:15 AM: Arrive at Wibiya
9:30 AM: Daily Wibiya meeting
9:45 AM-1:00 PM: Work on various marketing projects
1:00 PM: Lunch
1:30 PM-5:00 PM: Work on projects
5:00 PM: Leave Wibiya
6:00 PM: Usually attend a networking event for entrepreneurs
8:00 PM: Work on MySchoolHelp, EpicLaunch and Innovation Israel
12:00 AM: Watch one hour of a TV show
1:00 AM: Sleep
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m not a coder myself, however I’ve been using WordPress to make sites for a few years. Even though it’s limited, it still has tons of potential use cases. Through it, I’ve created blogs, portfolios, a note sharing site, small business sites and more. Whenever I have an idea, I buy the domain name, install WordPress, put up a WooTheme (the placeholder theme until it’s ready to be launched) and work on it. If it’s too sophisticated to make in WordPress, I find a coder to create the site.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Mobile payments. As of now, Square and Paypal are dominating but there is so much more room to grow.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Thankfully I haven’t had a bad job yet.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have become more of an early adopter. If I paid closer attention to new innovative services and tried them at the beginning, I would have more influence. For example, if I had joined Twitter or Foursquare in the beginning, I could have made much more of an impact.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’ve failed over and over quite a few times. I’m not saying it’s always good to fail, but in the beginning it’s a great way to learn. I’d much rather fail now than in the future.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I was just thinking about a chat support widget for mobile sites. Something similar to Olark but built specifically for mobile. I think that could be an interesting venture.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay. It’s an old book but as it says, it’s “the only networking book you’ll ever need.” After reading that book, I understood how important networking is and it has helped bring me to where I am.
What’s on your playlist?
I only listen to Israeli music so the artists on my playlist probably aren’t familiar to many people.
If you weren’t working on Wibiya, MySchoolHelp, EpicLaunch and Innovation Israel, what would you be doing?
Good question, I certainly would have a lot more spare time. I’d probably go over my list of ideas and work on more interesting projects. Ideas I have plenty, time I have less.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @AskAaronLee: By far one of the nicest guys on Twitter. He tweets useful and interesting posts on social media. He responds to every single person that tweets him.
- @TheYEC: Represents the most amazing organization of young entrepreneurs. Keep up to date with top notch entrepreneurs.
- @Brett: Awesome guy who heads up business development at The Next Web and is always tweeting relevant posts.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This image made me laught out loud: http://picplz.com/user/benlang/pic/b2810/. It was from College Humor: http://www.collegehumor.com/article/6647975/the-seven-deadly-websites. The first 4, representing Facebook, Netflix, eBay and Twitter very much resonated with me.
What difficulties do you run into as a young entrepreneur and how do you overcome them?
At first it was difficult to build trust, especially at the age of 14. Many people were hesitant about sending me their items or even meeting me in person. But once they realized that I could do the same job as someone twice my age, they were fine with it. The older I got and the more businesses I got into, the more trust I was able to gain.
What do you do with your “spare” time?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends in my spare time. I’m also very much into running, skiing, tennis and biking. Unfortunately, working on a bunch of startups doesn’t leave too much spare time though.
Ben Lang Web Site: http://benjaminlang.com/
Ben Lang on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/benjaminlang
Ben Lang on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/entrepreneurpro
Ben Lang on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/benmlang
Ben Lang on Google+:https://plus.google.com/114188216603728208646/posts