Today is the first of a series of stories that will highlight teens and twentysomethings who have started their own business.
The “Business Sense” series will focus primarily on entrepreneurs who have connected with established organizations that mentor or provide funding, including Junior Achievement and the Farnsworth Fund.
Grant Giszewski, a typical teen, liked cool stuff.
That might be a quality camera or particular lacrosse gear. And he definitely liked “really cool shoes.”
But cool has a price tag, and Giszewski, now a Carroll High School senior, said his parents expected him to help pay it.
Meet Grant Giszewski the entrepreneur.
The 17-year-old said he earns thousands of dollars each year by creating popular content on social media and videos for companies.
“It's mainly just me trying to make money, and since my parents don't pay for, like, fun stuff, I guess, I had to find a way to do that,” Giszewski said. “I also find it fun just running my own business and making a difference in the world.”
Giszewski found that many businesses wanted a stronger social media presence and video storytelling. He could offer time and skill.
Giszewski said he unofficially started running his own business in eighth grade and recently registered his business name – Grant Giszewski LLC – with the state of Indiana.
He initially focused mostly on social media, including Facebook, and created various topical Instagram accounts, such as one on cleats. Many of his pages or accounts ended with “etc.” One Instagram account grew to about 250,000 followers.
Creating videos is currently Giszewski's primary focus. He has about 10 clients, including one in Boston he said hired him last year to create all of its videos.
Giszewski was one of the teen entrepreneurs who shared his business story at Junior Achievement's annual BEL Awards banquet in May.
On his website, Giszewski suggests he can help businesses get to the next level, including by shooting advertisements, product shots, drone videos, podcasts and more.
And while video production is taking more of his time, he manages to promote his social media savvy.
“Where I differ from others,” Giszewski says on his website, “is that I am young and I understand what works and what doesn't work on social media in order to funnel traffic into businesses.”
Running a business means Giszewski – who uses co-working space at The Atrium downtown – sometimes has to bypass social outings with peers.
“It's definitely a struggle,” he said. “I can't really hang out with my friends too often.”
But Giszewski sees the investment of time now as something that will continue to pay off.
“All the money I get, I reinvest into getting new equipment,” he said. “I put a little bit of money away for myself, but most of the money I use for camera equipment, because camera equipment is really expensive.”
Giszewski doesn't plan on attending college when he graduates from Carroll but wants to grow his business. His dad has provided some assistance with his startup business, including offering some tips on camera usage and help with filing taxes.
Eventually, Giszewski envisions possibly bringing on someone who could manage the camera while he's directing video production.
“Mainly, I would like to have someone who would collaborate, rather than just having someone work for me,” he said.