At the age of fifteen and as a freshman in high school, Cameron Johnson’s internet company had grown to sales in excess of $15,000 per day. Cameron is now 22 years old, and his most recent endeavor is writing. Cameron Johnson is the author of You Call the Shots, a book I highly recommend. In this guest post, Cameron answers the question: “If your businesses are going so well, why take the time to write a book?”
There are several answers. Credit card debt and student loans are at an all-time high. The cost to attend college increased 57% between 2000 and 2005 alone. Having a college degree, in many cases, isn’t by itself enough to compete in today’s job market. Instead of entering the job market after four years in college, many students are opting for graduate school to make themselves even more attractive to potential employers. It’s very expensive and if we look at the statistics, they can be very alarming.
Financial literacy is not something that is taught in schools. It’s not something that’s taught at home either, although that’s probably a good thing given the record high consumer debt. I feel it’s an important topic and it’s hard to believe an 18-year-old adult can leave for college and enter the real world, without ever being taught how to manage their money and knowing very little about the risks associated with credit cards.
There are dozens of books and plenty of media attention associated to the topic. My generation is very unlikely to buy one of those dozens of books on financial literacy, simply because they were likely written by someone twice their age and they feel they cannot relate. I wanted to change this. I felt like I had a story which would be valuable to young people, but also to parents and business people as well.
I started my first business when I was 9 years old with a personal computer. My parents taught me the value of a dollar and how to manage my money, and I realized I would have never learned those principles otherwise. My father also said to me, “If you chase the money, the money will run out. If you chase the skills, the money will come to you.” I took that to heart and began reading books on business, marketing, sales, management, and any business biography I could get my hands on.
I’m now only 22 years old, yet I have started 12 businesses, I’ve been an advisory board member to a Tokyo-based company, I’ve served as a consultant to several Fortune 500 Companies, my story has been featured in more than 200 newspapers and magazines worldwide, and I had a bestselling book in Japan when I was 15. I was hesitant to write a book because it was a huge decision to put my entire business life and lessons into a 270 page book which is available to the entire world to read. Although I felt like I had a duty to share my message as it could very well inspire other young entrepreneurs or help struggling small business owners.
So a year and a half ago, I was interviewed by the editor of a business magazine and I make this declaration to him: “We should write a book together!” The rest is history. The book follows the business lessons I learned through some very unique stories which I’m honored to be able to share. My publisher described the book as “Harry Potter meets Donald Trump” – and with that description, I’m flattered. What a powerful duo! I’m very passionate about the book and I really hope you’ll take the time to read it, and share it with the young people in your life.
Now if that doesn’t convince you to pick up the book, stay tuned for the excerpt from You Call the Shots I will post later today. You can purchase the book through Amazon.com. Also, check out Cameron’s blog.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published February 12, 2007.