Many Forbes Councils members are CEOs. But how many started their companies when they were 15 years old?
Tina Wells founded Buzz Marketing Group, one of the first agencies in the millennial marketing space, when she was 15 years old. Now, 20 years later, the company is going strong, creating marketing strategies for clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors. Over the years, Buzz has grown to include market research, influencer marketing, and public relations.
Tina is not just an entrepreneur and successful CEO; she’s also the author of Chasing Youth Culture And Getting It Right (a guide for professionals, marketers, and entrepreneurs) and the tween fiction series Mackenzie Blue. She’s the academic director of Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World program. And she’s working on a new venture, Elevation Tribe.
Somehow, Tina found time to talk with us. Here are her thoughts on business, success, and making the most of life:
On Her Path as an Executive
When I was 15, I began writing for a newspaper for girls called The New Girl Times. I was a product review editor, and through that job, I got to test products from many well known CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies. That writing gig led to more independent work for those companies, and within a few short years I’d launched a market research company with the encouragement of one of those “clients.”
[Now] I’m really focused on launching my new venture, Elevation Tribe. This platform is content, community, and experience focused on women of color who want to launch, grow, and lead companies. I’ve spent most of the year engaged in conversations with inspirational women who are committed to helping other women reach their goals and potential. The first issue of our quarterly magazine just launched and I am so, so proud of my team.
On Success and Failure
For me success is based on the reaction of our clients. Did we give them the information they needed to engage their customers? Did we solve the problem? Did our influencer activations meet our KPIs? In my work there are usually ways to measure success and I really like that.
I love that I get to spend my day observing culture. I have many amazing colleagues who focus on pushing culture forward and creating the next big thing, but my job is to understand consumer needs and find moments of connection for brands. I love every part of that.
I’ve learned so much from my failures and I wouldn’t trade those lessons for any success. I have also met so many amazing people, and without all of the career twists and turns, those people wouldn’t be in my life. I value my relationships above everything, and my path led me to these amazing people.
I think the two biggest things I’ve learned is that I’m a very curious person and I’m pretty resilient. I’ve also learned that there is always more to learn. I am always on a mission to do better and learn more.
On Making Time for What’s Important
Travel! There is nothing I love more than immersing myself in another culture. I’m inspired by how people live, shop, love…all of it is so interesting to me.
I read (or listen) to a book each week, and I spend hours each day reading and consuming anything of interest to me at the moment. I really do consider this my greatest indulgence. I am the queen of content consumption!
Spending 15 minutes each morning intentionally focused on how I want to spend each day has really been life-changing. And my friend Ari Meisel, author of The Art of Less Doing, has really profoundly shifted my day to day life and how I spend my time.
I have had the most engaging projects this year and even made time to launch a new venture, Elevation Tribe. This was only possible because I made space and literally reclaimed my time.
Advice for Executives
“Do the next, right thing.” Such good advice. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I focus on doing the next, right thing. That always seems to work.