DNot every CEO Kid that I interviewed was in “business” for the money. Some of them have been passionate about helping others and making a difference. Making a difference in safe driving is exactly what the Williams sisters are all about!
Sarah: How did you get started and where can people find you on the Internet?
The Williams Sisters: We started Drive Safe five years ago, when our Aunt began learning how to drive.
That same year we lost 16 teenager withing 20 days to motor vehicle crashes here in Columbia, SC. Those facts became the motivating factor to make “Drivers Safety Notification Signs” available for all teen drivers.
With all the technical enhancements to vehicles these days, like entertainment centers, cell phones, etc, we need resources to bring the focus back to safe driving and have our roads safe for all motorists.
Our website is http://www.drivesafesigns.com/, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also reach our business manager Richard E. Pelzer II, President and CEO of MEGA Management at email@example.com or 646-320-2300
Sarah: When did you start thinking about starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur and why did you want to start?
The Williams Sisters: We began our entrepreneur endeavors at the age of 10. We’re professional models, dancers and actors. We also own an entertainment group called Triple Threat. We started our entertainment group because we love performing. When we’re on stage and see the audience smiling and getting into our performance, it just make us so happy. There’s nothing better than to be able to do what we love and see people enjoy what we do more.
We have been performing for years, but Drive Safe became a public need and we wanted to help save lives. We have a product that can help make and difference, and when we read testimonies about how much our signs were helping, it made us want to do more.
Sarah: What things influenced you to start your own businesses?
The Williams Sisters: The increasing fatal rate of teen drivers, and all the requests we received from other motorists while our Aunt and others were learning how to drive. Also, Tiffanie is driving now, Twana is in training, and Victoria will be very soon. We don’t want to experience the horror stories like our Aunt use to tell us. Triple Threat was started because we love acting, modeling and dancing.
Sarah: What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business?
The Williams Sisters: First, it’s our outgoing personalities and also having confidence. We’re not afraid to speak to anyone about what we want to do, or what we believe in. Our grandparents are retired military, and they’ve taught us about self discipline, self motivation, along with life survival skills. This adds a lot of help because when we get lazy they never fail to give us a lecture !
Sarah: I bet you are right! Most parents and grandparents are great at “giving lectures” at least on occasion. Tell me about some of the obstacles you have had to overcome.
The Williams Sisters: We didn’t really have any problems. Because the teen fatality rates stayed the focus of the national media so much, most people were willing to do anything get on board. We’ve had so many blessings. We get so much press, support, and request to come speak at events. Sometimes it’s hard for us to keep up. Starting our a business wasn’t very hard, but becoming a non-for-profit took us awhile!!
Sarah: What about your age? How has that affected you?
The Williams Sisters: We think our age was a plus, because people want to see children succeed. We did a lot of speaking engagements at the age of 9, 10, and 11. Some people were amazed at our fearlessness to get up in public and speak. We we’re asked to be the keynote speakers for the National Transportation Summit with maybe a thousand transportation leaders from different states. No one could believe we we’re that age and delivering the speeches we did.
Sarah: That is so awesome! I love that you have been so fearless! What about college? Are you planning on going?
The Williams Sisters: Definitely. We all love the Arts, so our majors will probably focus on the Arts with a minor in Business Management. We plan to open an Arts Academy together and offer modeling, dancing and acting classes for under privileged children.
Sarah: What a great idea! What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start?
The Williams Sisters: We needed money for business licenses, to build our website, and to get our safety products made. Our grandparents were big supporters. We also received a couple of grants, and donations from the community.
Sarah: This is a fun question – what have been the best surprises that you found in starting your businesses?
The Williams Sisters: We have been so thrilled with how much people are willing to help! Victoria loves to eat, well we all do actually, but she the most (smile). We were super excited by all fabulous free food at speaking engagements. That was a big motivator for when we’d have to get up early for an engagement. We would think about all the free food, especially the sweets!
Sarah: I hear ya! I am one to admit that I do love to eat! So tell me, do you do EVERYTHING by yourself or do you have people on your team that work with you? If so – how did you find people to help you along the way?
The Williams Sisters: We definitely don’t do everything ourselves! We actually have a nation of people on our team. The Auntie Karen Foundation, Black Enterprise, Wal-Mart, State Farm, local and national news media, our community, and so many others it’s impossible to name them all. We found help just by networking and speaking to everyone we would meet about what we we’re trying to accomplish. Plus we have stayed in the media and received a lot of request for interviews. When we are acting, modeling, or doing a dance performance we give out safety signs with our information. That has helped us find even more people to help us.
Sarah: What are some tips that you can share in spreading your brand message and in making connections to grow your business?
The Williams Sisters: Get you a website built, then start networking. Start talking to everyone and anyone you meet about what you’re trying to accomplish and be sure to speak with confidence and passion. If you don’t believe in yourself, then how will you get someone else to believe in you. Contact your local news media and learn how to write a press release. You can find a wealth of information on the Internet, use it as a free resource. Also attend social events in your community.
Sarah: Great tips! So tell me honestly – how do you balance it all?
The Williams Sisters: It gets hard at times, and we do get tired but our biggest motivator with Drive Safe is reading our customer testimonies. There’s no greater feeling than to know we’ve made a positive difference in someone else life as well as helped save a life. It’s the entertainment industry and we just love it so much. Also if we don’t keep up our school work, our grandparents won’t let us do it. So that’s a big motivating factor. We don’t do a lot of hanging out. We’re either doing school work, going to dance, piano, guitar, gymnastic classes, or networking at an event. We have to keep a calendar to manage it all!!!
Sarah: In closing what final tips would you like to share with other CEO Kids and entrepreneurs?
The Williams Sisters:
- Believe in yourself!
- Don’t be afraid to speak to others about your idea.
- If you have an invention get it protected (patents, copyrights, trademarks)
- Do a lot of networking.
- Dress professional.
- Surround yourself with great people who want to see you succeed.
- Never give up on your dreams!
Don’t forget to “Always Drive Safe, Aren’t Your Loved Ones Worth It?”
– Tiffanie, Twana, and Victoria Williams.