Pranav Arora has proven himself to be an entrepreneur at heart, even at a very young age. He’s started his first million-dollar business at the age of 16. Pranav is a brilliant businessman driven by a passion to make a change and a keen skillset that it takes to be successful within the world of business. He’s the Head of Division at Just Funky where he is also responsible for overseeing B2B and B2C sales and marketing.
Hello Pranav, it’s indeed a pleasure to have you with us, welcome to Startup Fortune. Being a highly successful entrepreneur at a very young age, could you tell a little about your early journey to entrepreneurship?
I have always felt a passion for entrepreneurship. When I was younger, I would constantly come up with new business ideas that I would want to share with my parents. In middle school, I began my first “business” by buying packs of gum and pencils then sold them to my classmates in between our classes. This was my first real taste of being an entrepreneur, and I was in love.
When I was sixteen years old I started my first business. It was called Highly Educated and was a business focused on selling smoke products and accessories like hookahs, stash jars, and incense. Through the remainder of high school and into the first half of college I grew my business in my spare time. After half a semester at college, I made the decision to drop out and focus my full attention on growing my business.
This decision was one that was not well received by everyone, especially my parents. However, I knew to effectively grow my business I needed to give it my full attention. Once I made that choice, I never looked back. I was able to successfully grow Highly Educated to be a million-dollar company. It was after a few years of growing the business that I made the decision to sell and pursue other passions.
Today, I hold the position as Head of Division at Just Funky, a premier manufacturer of all things pop-culture as well as the founder and CEO of Stunned Mind, the sister company to Just Funky that handles all e-commerce business. Looking towards the future, I am excited to help grow Just Funky and Stunned Mind, as well as, develop my new companies Naturable, Deciph-AR, and JTMD Holdings.
Did your parents feel comfortable when you decided to become your own boss instead of pursuing a conventional career path?
In the beginning, when I made the decision to drop out of college to pursue my business full time I could tell they were not supportive, but I think that would be a normal reaction from most parents. However, when they saw how passionate and determined I was to make my business work, paired with my growing success the finally gave me their full support.
On your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, what skills and tools do you think are fundamental to success in business?
Fundamental skills to have when becoming a successful entrepreneur and business owner are passion, determination, and willingness to learn.
Passion and determination will get you through the many ups and downs that ultimately come with being an entrepreneur. It is easy to put in the work on days when everything is going right, but the truly hard work comes when you have to put in the work for weeks when nothing is going right.
As I mentioned above, the road to building a business will be filled with countless ups and downs. To thrive as an entrepreneur it is important that you learn from every decision that you make. There is an amazing quote my dad has attached to all of his emails. It reads, “you can never make the same mistake twice… because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” I have let that quote guide me through my entrepreneurial journey and found that it has saved me from repeating a majority of the messy mistakes I made at the beginning of my journey.
What was it like to be a teenager and at the same time be a responsible business person? Did you feel any pressure back when you were starting out?
I will be honest, it was hard. I was stuck between wanting to be a regular teenager and desperately wanting to be a business person. In the end, my passion for wanting to start my own business outweighed my want to be a normal teenager. This meant I never fully enjoyed my teenage years and missed out on a lot of events others might look forward to. However, in its place, I accomplished goals some people wait decades to make. When it is all said and done, I am happy with the decisions I have made.
Could you tell us a bit about the initial challenges you had to face while building your business?
The two biggest challenges I faced while building my business were not having the complete support from people were closest to me and not having sufficient funds to scale the business right away.
How do you feel when finding yourself doing so much more than the regular person you age? Do your friends and family treat you any different?
It can be odd to spend time with people my own age. Most of my young adult life has been spent around business professionals who are much older than me. When I do have the chance to spend time with friends my own age I need to remind myself to act my actual age and enjoy being young.
I would say my friends and family do tend to sometimes treat me a little differently. Though, at the end of the day, I am a normal person.
In your experience, what is the most important quality as a person one must possess to become a successful entrepreneur?
When pursuing the path of being a successful entrepreneur, the most important quality to have is determination. When challenges arise, it will take grit and determination to find a solution.
What is your advice to the young entrepreneurs who are still struggling to find success with what they do?
Never give up. If you find something you believe in, pursue it with everything you have. One day, all your hard work and determination will pay off and you will be happy you never gave up.