How This Teenpreneur Is Marketing Her Businesses And Crushing It | Small Biz Marketing Specialist
Teenpreneur Small Business Success Interview

How This Teenpreneur Is Marketing Her Businesses And Crushing It

This teenpreneur and energizer bunny has done more in the past few years than most small business owners do in a lifetime. Watch and listen as “Small Business Stacey” interviews Alexius McCoy about her various businesses and her big picture goals. A truly inspirational woman!

How To Contact Alexius McCoy:

ngfcallcenter.com – virtual call center

Episode Transcript:

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Stacey: Welcome everybody. This is “Small Business Stacey.” Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Small Business Marketing Success interviews. Today I have with me, Alexius McCoy, who, I think she’s probably the youngest entrepreneur I’ve had on the show. And I think once you learn a little bit about her, you’re gonna agree with me that she is nicknamed the Energizer Bunny.

Alexius: Well thank you, thank you.

Stacey: Great. I’m gonna share a little bit about how we met. If I’m correct, I actually remember connecting with you on LinkedIn.

Alexius: Yes, that is correct.

Stacey: And what intrigued me about you was actually the title that you had as your position, which was Teenpreneur. And I had never heard that term before, teenpreneur. So that must mean that you started really young. So, give us an introduction of who you are and how you started in business.

Alexius: Alright. Well I started my own business when I was 12 years old. I started a babysitters business. And that was the first one that I did. So since then I’ve been doing different businesses, different things that I like to do. So I started out with babysitting, then I started doing entertaining with face painting, balloons. And then I moved on to doing mascot work as well. And then as I got older I started a vending machine business, which was really nice. And that lasted up until I believe last year. And now I have my own virtual call center. And I’m going to be featured in a book called, Kid CEO. Because technically I was a kid as of last month. Sot that’s what we’re at right now.

Stacey: Wait, okay. So I would usually not ask this question of any of my guests, but how old are you?

Alexius: Well, I just turned 20.

Stacey: Oh my God.

Alexius: Exactly. It’s been about 30 days now.

Stacey: Twenty for 30 days. And you’ve owned what, five businesses?

Alexius: Right.

Stacey: So, not only are you a teenpreneur, you are are a serial entrepreneur. Wow. So, did you wake up one day just knowing you were born to be an entrepreneur? Or how did this all come about? What got you so interested in being a small business owner?

Alexius: Well I think when I turned 12 years old, I had a puppy, and I told my parents I’d take care of her. And I needed money. At my house we didn’t have allowances and things like that. As my parents would say, “We allow you to live in the house. We allow you to be here”, that kind of thing. So we didn’t have that kind of luxury. So I decided when I was 11, since that’s what my [inaudible [00:03:03], I need to make money. But what can I do at 12 years old? And since I was going to be 12, in our state it was legal for us to have babysitters licenses. So I got my license, and that’s what I started with.

Stacey: Wow. Alright, so did you start with the lemonade stand, or was the babysitting business really your first business?

Alexius: Well, we did a lemonade stand one time.

Stacey: I knew it.

Alexius: Our favorite one, though, was popsicles. We would sell those. We’d just freeze ’em, put ’em in a cooler, me and my younger brother, and we would just go out and sell those. Because we felt like lemonade stands were kinda clique, every kid was doing it at the time in my neighborhood. But nobody was doing popsicles. So that was our niche.

Stacey: Okay. So when you started as young as 12, and wow, I’m impressed that you went out and got a business license to be a babysitter. ‘Cause usually you just sort of ask your next door neighbor to do it.

Alexius: Right.

Stacey: Did you find you had to go out and do any kind of marketing to get clients? How did you sell yourself so to speak for your babysitting services?

Alexius: Well, I knew basically everybody in the neighborhood on our side of the street. So I wasn’t allowed to go across the street. But I got everybody on that … . And since I was the youngest, I also had my babysitting license, [inaudible [00:04:22], and all that. So I had different qualifications. And then once I got those clients I made sure to keep them in my notebook so if they needed me again or anything like that. And then I use them as referrals so I’d get more clients.

Stacey: Wow. Alright, so you’re babysitting, and then you’re getting a little bit older. What happens next? How did you decide to move onto something else?

Alexius: Well my mother had a business called FBI.

Stacey: FBI, wow.

Alexius: Yes, FBI, for forming balloons in [inaudible [00:04:53].

Stacey: Oh okay.

Alexius: So instead of doing the clown kind of aspect of most businesses, where they do the balloons, they do the parties, and things like that, we were more formal. And it was a lot of fun. We would do different parties and events, and some charity work as well. But that was also something that we did. And I always enjoyed it. So when she gave her business to me to start, I did balloons at first. But I noticed that I wasn’t really the best at twisting balloons, so I started doing face painting as well. Me and my brother did that as well. And that was a lot of fun.

Stacey: Wow.

Alexius: And then as I got older I started getting into mascot work, which is where we do the big costumes. ‘Cause I also thought that was just really fun. It’s playing with kids. You don’t have to really talk or anything. But that they just have a good time and so do I. So I enjoyed doing that as well.

Stacey: Which means you’re putting on a costume and going out to these events. People take pictures with you?

Alexis: Right.

Stacey: So what’s your favorite costume?

Alexius: My favorite one would have to be the Minnie that one, and we had a really good time.

Stacey: Oh great. So even today you’re still mascoteering.

Alexius: Yep, just a little bit on the side, ’cause it’s still really fun.

Stacey: Now anything that you found that worked really well in marketing that business?

Alexius: Well at the time I was partnered with another business that did different mascoting and costumes. It was near my house. So I would rent out their costumes and book my own parties. Or I’d have the parties that they had booked, and I would work back and forth between that. So I was subcontracting with them at the time.

Stacey: Wow. Alright, so you’ve mascoteered. Fast forward to today. You have a business, it’s Nextgen Fusion, is that correct?

Alexius: Yes, it is.

Stacey: [crosstalk [00:06:54]

Alexius: And Nextgen Fusion is all about bringing different age groups together through my virtual call center. Because you can be 18 years old to 65 and older, and you can do the same work. And it’s based on what you do, not how old you are, or what your gender is. And that’s why I really enjoy it.

Stacey: Oh wow. And what made you decide to start this business? It seems so different from what you were doing in the past. It’s certainly different from an event, and certainly different from babysitting. How did you get into this?

Alexius: That’s very true. So last year at October my father decided to leave our family, but we had to leave kind of abruptly. So my vending machine business, I couldn’t take it with me and I couldn’t just manage it like I used to. And I couldn’t take my clients with me or babysit out of state, ’cause we were moving out of state. It would be really weird. So instead I decided I need something that was online, that was virtual, so that I can work from wherever I am. Because right now I’m not at home. So I can still run it from here. I can run it from my phone. I can run it from my tablet. I can run it from my laptop. So it was just something that was more versatile that I can still do what I need to do and then also be able to pay my employees and things of that nature.

Stacey: People may not fully understand what a virtual call center is and how that works. Can you explain who a typical client is and how that relationship works?

Alexius: Okay. So we have different clients available. We have Disney, Comcast, Staples, those kinds of businesses. And what I do as my part is I hire people for them that work for them. It’ mostly customer service. So if Disney needs a customer service person, I get them that person. I pay that person for them. So all they have to do on Disney’s end is to train them. And I do the rest.

Stacey: Okay, so basically, it’s sort of like you said, it’s a virtual call center. So you have a team of people, I guess virtually.

Alexius: Right.

Stacey: -you don’t have to have the office space and all the overhead, who are answering calls or the phone on behalf of your clients.

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: So, I’m impressed. I am so impressed. How do you get a big name client like Disney to become a client?

Alexius: Well that is a great question. What’s really nice is that it was already set up for me through the arrive portal. All I have to do is have my own business and hire people. So they already got the contracts. And I can do contracts with other businesses, which I’m going to be doing as well. So for smaller businesses that need people to answer their calls, that’s what I’m doing as well. So that it’s not just the really big names. They don’t have to have the hugest name, but they can also get that virtual person as well.

Stacey: So are you doing two types of marketing in the sense that you are marketing to get new clients for whom you would do the calling, and then you’re also doing marketing to get the call center reps, to get the people to be able to answer the phone?

Alexius: Yes.

Stacey: Is that correct?

Alexius: I am. That is correct. So I do Indeed mostly for hiring people, because there’s usually just higher end people and better skills, that kind of thing. So that’s how I hire. And then I use Facebook primarily if they need somebody for virtual, I can get them that client. I can get them that person that can be there whatever times they need and get them set up that way.

Stacey: Could you talk a little bit about the benefit? A small business owner who, and maybe you can’t relate, ’cause you’re an anomaly, but always has so much to do, not enough time to get it done, can barely find the time to hire somebody. What would be the benefit to them to having somebody remotely answering their phones or doing this virtual work that you do for them?

Alexius: I think it’s really great, because I know from when I was younger I did receptionist work. I would answer the phones, I’d answer the calls. But if I wasn’t at the office it made it really, really hard to answer the calls, because I can’t pick up my phone and be like, “Okay, here I am, just a second, let me get you to wherever you need to be.” Or something along that line. And I think it’s really nice because the virtual person can [inaudible [00:11:24] your [inaudible [00:11:25] calls, or give call backs and keep your client circulating that way, that they’re not getting missed. That way they feel appreciated instead of just, “Oh I called them and they never called back.” Or, they called back six to eight days later because you were busy. And that’s life, people are busy. But if you have someone separate doing that work for you it’s kinda like PR. If you have someone separately doing it for you, it’s easier on you because now you can focus on what you need to do.

Stacey: Right. And the reality is it’s probably not the best use of that business owners time to be answering their own phone. And it actually makes them look more professional. I would envision you could potentially have service 24 hours a day right, somebody answering the phone?

Alexius: Exactly, exactly.  ‘Cause if you have somebody that’s on Eastern Standard Time, they can be answering the calls at [8:00] AM their time. And then you have someone Pacific Standard Time, they’re answering they’re answering at [10:30], but it’s [11:00] your time. So you basically have somebody all the time answering the calls.

Stacey: Wow, wow. That’s really great. And small business owners are always thinking money. Is it a cost-effective solution to work with an outside provider like you?

Alexius: I believe so, because everything is virtual. We just set you guys up with a phone number that everybody can use within your office. That way you only have one phone line that you have to worry about. And it’s fairly inexpensive. My personal one that I have for my clients and the ones that answer my phones, it’s just I believe $5.10, or something along that line.

Stacey: Wow.

Alexius: So it’s not that expensive. Exactly. I try to make it as cost-effective as possible, ’cause I’m still a kid and I don’t like spending a lot of money on stuff. I’m pretty frugal when it comes to that. So I try to keep it very low cost so that you can have your phone call answered, all of that. So instead of having that really large fee, I’ve seen people with different phone lines that are $500, $600 dollars. When you only need one, just keep it simple and go from there. And if you need more phone lines then start adding. But you don’t need all of that at first. So that’s what I try to do. Just keep it simple and then work your way up. That way when you’re paying this person their $8.00 – $10.00 an hour, it’s actually being beneficial. You’re actually getting things done, and you’re not paying so much out of pocket.

Stacey: That is such a great solution. Because, you’re right, with all the different timezones just in the United States, this way you can always have somebody available. You’re gonna look so much better from a customer service standpoint. It’ll free up your time. And you’ll find you’ll probably get a lot done, and you’ll make more sales because you are providing better service.

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: It’s kind of funny today because people think everything is technology and I can do it online. But people actually do want to converse and pick up the phone and get a question answered.

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: I know a lot-

Alexis: [crosstalk [00:14:39] automated.

Stacey: Yeah, yeah. ‘Cause it was actually a question I was gonna ask you. Because you’re in the millennial generation. And so it’s interesting that you’re providing a solution that’s more based on an older technology, the telephone. Some people haven’t even heard of that. Where it seems like everybody wants to chat or text or some kind of other technological solution. Personally I have a client who is an online Hawaiian products company. And being Hawaii is a very different timezone from the rest of the United States, people want to pick up the phone and talk to somebody. They can’t always find what their looking for online. So when you call a business, if nobody answers, that doesn’t look good. And if the person you’re talking to can’t provide the answer that doesn’t look good. So I love the solution that you’re providing, because whether it’s a small business on Main Street or a company as big as Disney, you can fill that gap in helping with customer service.

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: Congratulations. So as I understand it also, not only are you running this business, you have a book coming out. Is that right?

Alexius: Yes.

Stacey: Cool.

Alexius: So it’s going to be called Kid CEO. And as a part of it I’m going to be coauthor. And basically I’m gonna be talking about what I did to get started so that other kids in the future will be able to the same thing, or at least mimic it. Because not every kid has the same advantages I had of having a mom for an entrepreneur and getting started in that way. Because it’s kinda hard when you don’t have the instructions to get started. And then I’m also going to be publishing this book. I’m going to be getting it into my local schools. It’s called a Success Notebook. Basically all you have to do is, I put some basic templates of what I’ve been using to be successful.

Stacey: Wow.

Alexius: The whole key business plan-

Stacey: Can you give us one example? I would love to hear.

Alexius: Okay. Well, let’s see here. In here I have just the basic business plan. I made it fairly easy to read so that it just asks you a question. Let me get to that page real quick. Because this one is already published. And I’m pretty excited about this one. And I’m gonna be hopefully getting it into my local high school, because they have an entrepreneurs class there as well.

Stacey: Oh wow.

Alexius: Okay. So on the business plan we have your customer [inaudible [00:17:28]. Who are you going to talk to? And I made it kinda like a flow chart so they know where to start. So what’s the problem that you plan to solve?  What’s your unique value proposition? What’s your solution? How are you gonna market it? What’s your income gonna look like? ‘Cause I know for a long time, I was just like, “Well, I’ll just do my services for free, its fine.” I’ll just work off of that. But after awhile I noticed it doesn’t put gas in the car. It doesn’t work that way. You have to charge something. Then your expenses, how much is it going to cost you to get started? How much is it going to cost you in the long run? How much are you gonna need? And then what are your key metrics? How are you going to measure how successful you are? Is it gonna be money based? Is it gonna be how much you’re able to give back, that kinda thing.

Stacey: Wow. You have thought it through from beginning to end. Who would be the perfect audience to read this book, somebody who has never started a business, or somebody who maybe is in a business today but is struggling a little bit? Or could it be for both?

Alexius: I think it’s for both. Because I know that when I was struggling I had my success notebook. And I could look back at what was successful, and then I could look forward as to what I can fix to make it even more successful or how I’m gonna change it to make it better, so that I’m constantly learning. That’s what this book is to help you with. And in Kid CEO, it’s the same way. You already have a business, but you don’t know how to get started. It’s written simply so that anybody with any reading level can read it and not have an issue. Because I know from reading, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, that was really hard for me. ‘Cause it’s really, really, long. And he’s drawn out, lots of stories. But when he came out with Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens, it made it that much easier, ’cause it was in kid terms where I could understand it.

Stacey: Interesting. Very interesting. Now these are two physical books. It’s something you can buy from Amazon or is it in digital format? How can people learn more about these two books from you?

Alexius: Okay. So the Success Notebook will be on Barnes & Noble and Amazon within two months. So that’ll be soon. And then Kid CEO will be published on October 28, is when you’ll be able to get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, [inaudible [00:19:47] stores. I believe InGram[inaudible [00:19:48] as well. So that’ll be out there as well.

Stacey: Okay. Well, when we publish this, as soon as you have those links we can add them at the bottom of the podcast so people can have that information as well.

Alexius: Well I will have the link for the Success Notebook right away. I have the kid version, which is in yellow. And then I have the adult version, which is in purple, per my mother’s request, ’cause she said it’s a little bright.

Stacey: Are those your favorite colors? Is that why you chose that?Alexis: Well actually, yellow I always thought was for happiness and success. When I think of success, I think people should be happy. So I always choose yellow for that. I’ve always had a yellow Success Notebook. I’ve either had yellow or green depending on the year. But I usually choose yellow.

Stacey: Interesting. Well you know, when you think yellow, you think of that big yellow smiley face, right?

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: And you’re right, it makes you happy.

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: Well I’m even afraid to ask. What’s next for you?

Alexius: Well, next I plan to get my virtual call center, just more people and more up and running. A friend of mine’s gonna be helping me get an office, so that I’m even more professional looking. So that I can do interviews in state and out of state. And then I plan on just going up from there. Wait, let’s see. I might be starting another business soon. I’ve always wanted to get into the toy industry, so I’m working on getting the prototype of that soon.

Stacey: You mean you’re creating a toy, a unique toy?

Alexius: Yes.

Stacey: Wow. Alexius, I have no doubt that you are gonna be a huge success.

Alexius: [crosstalk [00:21:40]

Stacey: I’m gonna turn this around for a second. Because you started at age 12, you’ve run all of these businesses, and you’ve been so successful. But I’m guessing somewhere along the way, certainly there is peaks, but there must have been some valleys.

Alexius: Yes.

Stacey: So share some of that. How did you get through those tough times and say, “Pull yourself up, I’m gonna keep going, I’m gonna start another business.” ‘Cause small business owners today, so many that I talk to are struggling. So share maybe some of your struggles and how you got through that.

Alexius: Okay. Well, let’s see. In 2014 of that school year, I was a senior. And I had to go in to have surgery. So that was really, really hard on me, because I’ve never been stopped physically. So having to go through that for eight weeks, I believe.

Stacey: Wow.

Alexius: I wasn’t able to go to school. I wasn’t able to run a business. I wasn’t able to do anything. It was really depressing for me. ‘Cause it was just like, I don’t know how to do this. If I can’t do it, then who’s gonna do it for me? So for about, I believe it was almost a year, up until my next birthday in June, I pretty much was just like, “Well, I don’t know what else I can do”. I tried this, I tried that. I tried to get back into babysitting, ’cause I knew that. But I was just like, I’m 18 now, I have to upgrade, do more. I have to do something. But I didn’t really know what I wanted to do anymore, because I had already done those things.  But I got pretty fortunate. A friend of my moms, that I didn’t know, he was just like, “Oh, you have a daughter. Would she like to go to this business class?” And I was like, “Well, sure I guess so.” So I went to this class and they gave me a lot of great tools. I met a lot of great influential woman that are doing so many successful things. And it inspired me again to do something else. At the time I was working on an application. But it’s a little ahead of its time. So I’ll wait on that for a little while. But it was really fun. It inspired me to do more. And that’s when I started doing the vending machine business again and doing that. So that I could do something different but not the same thing. I hate doing the same thing over and over again, ’cause everybody can do that. I like to change it up.

Stacey: So what words of advice, how could you inspire a small business owner out there who may be struggling? And you’ve done so many things in such a short amount of time. What words of inspiration could you give them?

Alexius: I think the only thing that I would definitely say is don’t give up, and you need to believe in yourself. Because if you don’t believe that you can do it, no one else is going to believe that for you. Because when I didn’t believe I could do it, I didn’t. And if you believe you’re going to do it, you won’t. But you have to be mentally prepared to do what you want to do. That’s why every morning I do my mantra, “I’m a winner. I know what I’m doing.” And I play it over and over and over again in my head so that when opportunity is there I can jump on it right away. And now I have the funds to do it, so it’s a little easier. But you gotta believe that you can do it mentally. If you’re not ready to do it, then you won’t do it. That’s how it works. Just like in school. If you’re not ready for that test, you’re gonna fail, ’cause you’re telling yourself you’re gonna fail.

Stacey: Right. Mindset, right?

Alexius: Exactly.

Stacey: Wow. Well you are such a great role model and mentor for so many people. Do you find that a lot of younger people are coming to you wanting to learn how to be a successful business owner?

Alexius: Yes. I went to a school to just speak about it at my local school for their entrepreneurs class. And apparently I gave off the vibe that I’m a millionaire. I didn’t say that. I never said that. But a lot of those kids, they just reached out to me. And I reached out to the ones that I thought had the potential to do it. Because high school, you’re kinda just like, “Well, I’m here, I have to be here.” But some of the students were actually genuinely interested. And I still talk to them. And I make sure they’re doing alright, see if they’re still running a business or not, that kinda thing.

Stacey: Wow. You’re just such an inspiration. And you’re touching so many people’s lives. And I’m so proud to see you as a younger person encouraging this younger generation to become entrepreneurial, to have an entrepreneurial mindset and start their own business. So I have no doubt that as you continue your journey you’re gonna be a huge success. How can people stay in touch with you and learn more about you?

Alexius: Well Facebook is my main way. You can also find me on Twitter. It’s A-L-E-X-I-U-S, McCoy, M-C-C-O-Y. So those are my best ways. Or you can always reach out to my business line, which is 765-518-6398. And if I don’t answer, my secretary usually answers. So if it’s personal then I can talk to you as well.

Stacey: Okay. Do you want to share any information on Nextgen Fusion of how they can learn more about that also?Alexis: Yes. So my website is www.ngfcallcenter.com. So you can find all the information on how if you would like to join, just let me know. You can put it in the contact section, and I’ll be able to reach out to you that way via email.

Stacey: Great. Alexius, thanks so much for coming on with me and sharing your wonderful words of wisdom. Congratulations on your business success. And no doubt that will continue on to the future.

Alexius: Thank you.Stacy: You’re welcome. This is “Small Business Stacey”, your Small Biz Marketing Specialist, here to help you and your business get your marketing done, by helping you become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz. See ya next time.

 

 

About the Author smallbizmarketing

Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. She's also the author of "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" where she shares the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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