Today I wanted to share with you the story of Nate Webster as part of the next installment of my Better Know a Young Millionaire series. Nate is 21 years old, and is currently the CEO of Warrior Diamond Inc., based in Pennsylvania. You read that right: 21 and a CEO of a multi-million dollar business!
Beyond being a CEO of a medium-sized business, he is still a student at Villanova University, with plans to graduate in 2014. And if that wasn't tough enough, he's also become a major political influencer in his state!
Remember, the purpose of the Better Know a Young Millionaire series is to inform, inspire, and show you that, as a college investor, it's possible to make it big with just about any idea. There's a lot of press out there about millennials being lazy, still living with their parents, and not getting jobs after graduation. But, at the same time, there's a whole other subset of young adults like Nate, who are really making an impact!
Anyway, let's get to know Nate a little better.
Getting Started with Nate Webster
Tell me a little about yourself and your company.
Nate: My name’s Nate Webster, and I’m currently a senior at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, majoring in political science. I’m also CEO of Warrior Diamond, Inc., a diamond saw blade and construction equipment company. My company manufactures and sells equipment used to cut concrete and asphalt. We have customers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries around the world.
I can't believe you're the CEO of such a big company while you're still in college! Why did you want to become a CEO before graduating?
Nate: I didn’t actually set out to be a CEO before I graduated! As a sophomore I took a part-time data entry position in a company and worked my way up. Then, like many shrewd entrepreneurs, I took advantage of a great opportunity, and now I run the company.
What have you struggled with the most when it comes to balancing work and school?
Nate: I’ve had to master strict time management skills, and I have to be able to communicate that with my sales team. I’m effectively doing two full-time jobs, so I have to be able to divide my time and let people know when I’m available to answer questions or deal with issues that arise — and also be firm in letting them know when I can’t be reached.
I know that you've also become pretty heavily involved in politics as well — which is almost like a third full-time job! Why become so involved in politics when you have so much else going on?
Nate: I’m a political science major, so it’s kind of par for the course! Seriously, though, I’ve been interested in politics for as long as I can remember. My dad was always interested in politics and when I was younger we always listened to NPR and watched Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, which just fanned the flames. More young people should be involved in politics, no matter what they study or where they work, or what their passions are.
I ran for Township Supervisor a couple of years ago and I got a lot of encouragement from people, regardless of affiliation, because I was a young person who was standing on their doorstep trying to make a change.
Nate Webster on Being a Millionaire
How did you make your first million?
Nate: My holdings in Warrior Diamond, Inc. put me over the $1 million mark.
Where do you currently invest your money and why?
Nate: Most of my investment is in my company. I do have a bit of money in the stock market, which I mostly manage myself. I do, however, have a brokerage account with one of the large investment firms.
Have you received any help in managing your money?
Nate Webster on Entrepreneurship
Is there another way to become a young millionaire without starting your own business or basically being an entrepreneur?
Nate: I don’t think there’s an easy way, that’s for sure. But being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean having a eureka moment and inventing something new.
What's the biggest risk you ever took? Do you regret it?
Nate: By far the biggest risk I’ve ever taken was taking a leave of absence from the University of Denver freshman year with no set date of return. Needless to say, I never went back. Not long after I started working here, I now own the company, so no regret at all.
If you could make one change, what would it be?
Nate: Sometimes I wish I could make things happen more quickly. It’s taken a lot of time and hard work to build my company, and I still have a long way to go to meet my goals. But when I do, I know it’ll be worth it.
What advice do you have for young adults and college students when it comes to entrepreneurship and money?
Nate: Don’t pursue money for money’s sake. Selling diamond-tipped saw blades doesn’t sound sexy or cool but I absolutely love what I do, and would never have predicted that this would be my first company. I took an existing business, learned how it worked, and then made it better. You don’t need to create a brand new product to be an entrepreneur.
What I Learned from Nate Webster
I love Nate's story. Just when I think that I have a lot going on between work and running a small business, I listen to stories like Nate's, and it just amazes me how much you can layer on, and still be successful.
A few key phrases from Nate really resonated with me. First, Nate said, “Don't pursue money for money's sake” (<- Click to Tweet). That is such great advice. It reminds me of my interview a few months back with Neil Patel, where he was all about following your passions, and not worrying about the money. I'm a firm believer that you can be successful in anything if you really like to do it. The money will come — but you have to understand your passions and how you can make a difference.
Second, I really agree with Nate that more young people should be involved in politics. A lot of the decisions being made today by our politicians will impact us for the next 20 years. In a lot of cases, the politicians that made the decisions will be dead and the young people who were apathetic will be dealing with the consequences as middle-aged individuals. Even though I don't know where he finds the time to go door-to-door for political causes, it's an extremely inspiring position to see and take.
Finally, you don't have to create a brand new product to be an entrepreneur. In fact, it's pretty hard to invent something new and revolutionary these days. However, I believe what you do need to have is a unique selling proposition. In Nate's case, it's a better product. For others, it could be a different brand identity or story, or a new way of doing things. Forty years ago, it was always about being first to market or about being the cheapest in the market. Today, consumers care about more than that, and your job as an entrepreneur needs to be identifying sellable uniqueness.
What are your thoughts on Nate's story? Could you balance school, entrepreneurship, and politics?