Eli Hochberg is a 22-year-old entrepreneur who attributes his success, in part, to his Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. Most people with ADD see this developmental disorder as a stumbling block, but Eli sees it as something that fuels his success.
While it is common for most to get discouraged with rejection or failure, Eli says his ADD allows him to move on quickly and think about what’s next, instead of dwelling on the past – which is especially important as an entrepreneur.
Eli’s story is fascinating, intriguing, and inspiring for any young entrepreneur trying to overcome their fear of failure
Starting Out at a Young Age
Ever since he was a little kid, Eli had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for making a name for himself. He especially loved how entrepreneurship allows individuals to do anything with their lives. Naturally, he was drawn to starting his own business.
At the young age of 19 Eli founded Merchant Solutions EDGE, a business aimed at helping merchants keep their edge by offering solutions such as QuickBooks software, payment processing, rate negotiation, and hi-tech terminals.
“I got started by accident! When I was still in school, I bumped into my neighbor and asked him what he did. He said, “credit card processing” and I was intrigued. Next thing I know, I’m doing credit card processing.”
Eli had a few sales reps working for him but all the support and technical work was handled by the processors he represented. The basic model was to find merchants, analyze the system they currently used, and then present a solution. It was a classic example of “finding a problem and fixing that problem.”
The biggest hurdle Eli faced was convincing merchants he was the best option – especially when most of them would get multiple calls daily competing for their attention.
“The biggest success comes when you can streamline a system,” Eli said, “and save them serious money!”
Passion for Connecting and Networking
Early in Eli’s entrepreneurial career, he realized that trying to obtain new business through cold calls and emails was frustrating. It was at this point in time that Eli became passionate about live networking events, mostly because it was so much easier than other methods.
“I made five cold calls in my life. It sucked. That’s when I threw myself into networking. (net)work smarter was born out of a frustration with not being able to find local networking events.”
His dream is to have a central place for networking events, news, and resources (similar to business.com). So, he created (net)work smarter – a clever play on words with some high ambitions.
For Eli, networking is gold. Instead of making cold calls, you get warm referrals. However, live networking events are hard to find. He had 30+ bookmarks in his browser, each with different networking groups and their events, and he thought, “there has to be a better way!”
“If it was easier to find events, more people would network. More networking = more people making money = helping more people = my passion 😊”
On top of all this ELI was in a BNI group with David “Big Daddy” Addi. His group was amazing and he loved it. However, he was among the youngest members by far and wanted to gain more leadership experience – so he launched his own group with one of his younger peers.
They started Thursday BNI Evolution with the goal of attracting young hustlers. Their main selling point is how much energy they have at their meetings. At 7:30AM, it’s still a party! Plus, they make some serious money.
The group was launched in January of 2017 and as of August 2017, they are at 25 members and have passed over $250k in business. By January of 2018, Eli projects to be a 30-person group and pass $500k in revenue amongst the group.
CMO of My Content Co
His current role is as the CMO of My Content Co., a one-stop shop for high-quality digital content with services starting at only $49/month.
Eli’s role is essentially marketing for a marketing company. This includes attending networking events, meeting a ton of people, and growing the company’s sales numbers – he makes the brand look good.
The role is a good fit for him considering his passion for networking and helping business grow.
Advice for Young Entrepreneurs
Eli has three pieces of advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs:
- If you have an idea, you’re the only one who can make it come true. Put your heart behind it and turn your dreams into reality.
- Fail early and fail often, but don’t mess up a second time.
- I wasted my first 3 months in business waiting for leads to come to me. That doesn’t happen. Get out there and hustle!
The Future for Eli
Eli has some big goals for himself and his careers. In 5 years, he will have a successful consulting firm, specializing in marketing and systems – this might happen sooner than later. By 30, he will have written a book about the main issues he sees small business owners struggle with everyday; Stay tuned! Lastly, by 40, he would like to retire and begin his ultimate passion – helping others, for free.