Recently, Next had the opportunity to talk with a young entrepreneur who, at the age of 10 -- yes, 10 -- founded a successful business.
Eric Van Pyrz, 17, project team manager and chief Web master of World2Kids systems, is a junior at Lancaster High School. He has found time to run a successful business between his music, academics and other extracurricular activities.
According to his business Web site, world2kids.org, the company's goal is to "unite young adults that have talents with digital media together. Our entire company is run by young adults with talents in the media industry." It offers such services as Web design, video production and computer services.
NeXt talked to Eric about his busy lifestyle.
>Next: You say that you have a variety of musical talents. What do these include?
Eric: I play piano, bass clarinet and I sing. I've been playing the piano since the age of 4, and while I've been in high school, I've played the piano for the school choir. I also sing with the choir and have sung solos for All County auditions in the past. As for my bass clarinet, I've played that for about five years now for band. I also tutor young piano students.
>Next: Do you play any sports for your school?
Eric: Not right now. I have played lacrosse in the past, but as school progressed, I found that I don't have much time. I really have quite a busy schedule.
>NeXt: Do you ever have any free time? If so, what do you do with it?
Eric: Well, when I do have free time outside of all my work, I like to go to small parties and get-togethers with my friends. Also, during the winter months, I try at least once a weekend to find time to go tubing with my friends at a local hill. It's loads of fun and I just love it.
>NeXt: What specifically is World2Kids systems and what do you do?
Eric: There are many branches of the company that cover all sorts of different fields of work. One of them includes Web design and the other Internet software. We also do volunteer work all the time. A few months ago, we organized a food drive for the needy. I've even contacted other kids from places like Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago in the interest of organizing other volunteer work.
There is also another branch in which we specialize in media production. For example, we will often organize stage direction and other services for musicals and plays. We've also incorporated rental equipment for media productions with an online billing system. We also do all sorts of video productions and recordings for bands. We've even recorded weddings before.
>NeXt: How is your business? Are you doing well?
Eric: It's doing well in the sense that I'm a 17-year-old and I own my own business. Recently, I've been trying to branch out and organize other events. I've even tried to record local bands to get their music online in Web sites like iTunes, including a Battle of the Bands competition in which the bands that World2Kids Systems sponsored were showcased. This was mainly an attempt to get these up-and-coming groups on their feet.
>NeXt: Are you making any money?
Eric: For myself, I earn on average $500 a month without my piano lessons fee added on. So, yes I do make a significant amount of money.
>NeXt: How is school for you now? Do you get good grades?
Eric: Right now I get decent grades. I'm not a star student, but I try as hard as I can with my full plate. But oddly enough, my friends call me an overachiever.
>NeXt: What would you like to do career wise?
Eric: I've actually always wanted to be a technical producer and director for all sorts of shows on Broadway. That's really always been my dream.
>NeXt: Do you think your business will play a role in your future plans?
Eric: I think it has already played a huge role in the path I'm headed down. This company has really helped me into deciding where I want to go and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Alex Howard is a junior at Grand Island High School.