One to watch: whizz kid Eli Smit

What would you think if a 10-year-old approached you for an interview? Eli Smit is rubbing shoulders with New Zealand entrepreneurs in his Ground Breaking podcast as well as running his own business Get Mowed. This kid is one to watch.

What’s the idea behind Ground Breaking podcast?

Ground Breaking Podcast is focused on talking with entrepreneurs and leaders making an impact on the next generation of business. My guests share the stories behind the businesses they are building, what’s worked, what hasn’t and how they are figuring things out.

I started the podcast because I did not know a lot about running my own business, I was struggling to find the information to help me, in a format that was easy for me to understand. I watched some YouTube videos but the content was all for older people. I like talking to people and dad suggested I give podcasting a go.

Twenty-eight episodes later I’m now in season two and I’ve met some amazing people across New Zealand, Australia and the USA. I love telling their stories and I really hope my podcast inspires and challenges others as much as it does me to think about what is possible.

Who was your first interview? Were you nervous at all?

Rees Vinsen, the CEO & Founder of Adduco , was my first interview. He really gave me my break. What would you think if a nine-year-old approached you for an interview? But Rees was amazing, I guess because he started when he was 15 years old. I still keep in touch with Rees occasionally through LinkedIn. Adduco is definitely one to watch.

How do you promote your podcast?

Well, I have three primary channels. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I spend most of my time on LinkedIn. I belong to a few groups and try to share relevant episodes. I am even a manager on one of the groups I’m apart of thanks to Allan Johnston, he has the coolest title, chief encouragement officer at the Entrepreneurs and Mentors Network.

He invited me to help manage the Alaska Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Group. I’ve never been to Alaska but I love seeing what other entrepreneurs are doing and sharing with that audience the amazing people I come across.

What’s been your biggest challenge? 

Getting my first business, Get Mowed, off the ground was a good challenge. It is one thing to talk about entrepreneurship on my podcast and it’s another to be an entrepreneur and get some customers across the line. That is going well, I have some regulars now but it’s finding the time between school, football and just being a kid to expand and grow.

What’s your secret to success?

Probably a couple of things: I like being in charge and controlling my own future. I really like talking and meeting people.

I’ve learnt that you’ve just gotta keep knocking on doors cause eventually one will open. Lastly, people aren’t always going to be in your corner but don’t take it personally because if my dream doesn’t bring out the haters, perhaps I haven’t dreamt big enough.

Has age been a barrier?

Well, I was nine when I started and not everyone thinks a nine-year-old can run a business or be taken seriously. But I look at how many kids out there are already running significant businesses and I am keen to be a part of the action. Most people seem pretty open to me doing my thing.

I do laugh sometimes – at new mowing jobs people still go and speak to dad thinking it’s his business and then he introduces me and some people don’t know if he’s joking or not. I’m 10 now, double digits, and I reckon whatever I face my passion will trump any issues with age. 

This article first appeared in the NZ Marketing 2019 Media Issue. 

About Author

Comments are closed.