The Early Grind (1990 through 2003)
2 years old
Drawing art and trying to sell it to my babysitter
4 years old
Selling lemonade and ended up on front page of Houston Chronicle
7 years old
Ben’s Job Co. (doing odd jobs for family and friends)
7 years old
Ben’s Pet Co. (taking care of pets for family and friends)
Garage Sales (2004 – Present)
14 years old (2004) I started Grand Slam Garage Sales (GSGS) because my mom had a garage sale and said something along the lines of “you like
helping people and you like making money, so you could do both by running garage sales for people”. Ran over 500 garage sales, was featured in lots of local and national press (ABC 13, Fox 26, Dr. Phil, Entrepreneur Magazine, PBS, etc. etc.). There were a few variations of this business
and is coming back in a different form in the not-too-distant future. Oh also did a funny garage sale commercial with Lil’ Flip.
Concerts (2006 – 2011)
Kids at a nearby high school threw a party and made some good dough. I wanted to make some good dough and thought we should one up them. I got some friends together and we ended up finding a club, put some money in, got lucky while at a club we were checking out – met a guy who represented and/or knew several rappers, some of which were big names at the time. Ended up throwing a concert with Lil’ Flip. Then, ended up becoming friends with Flip and booking shows for him at locations throughout the country. Basically, I’d build lists of potential venues and people I knew in different cities and at different colleges. I’d contact them to see if they were interested in booking Flip. Word spread and people would contact me, too.
Fast forward, I got connected with and did the same for other artists including Mike Jones, Cory Gunz (who became a good friend), Slim Thug and more. Also met some interesting artists along the way. I started booking concerts for Cory before he signed to Lil’ Wayne and after and let’s just say that experience was quite interesting and motivating to say the least.
After some success, I was getting cocky. Instead of just making booking fees, I wanted to be the one throwing the concert which would bring the opportunity to make much more, simply put. I didn’t think into the fact that it also put me at risk to lose a lot. Instead of just being the middle man essentially (the booking agent), I endeavored into throwing my own concert. The concert was at Texas A&M University. I lost all my money and incurred debt. The reason we did the show at Texas A&M is because they had the largest Facebook group saying they wanted the concert at their university. (Basically, I asked friends at different colleges to make a group with artist line up I sent asking people at their school to like it if they wanted the show. Texas A&M had the most by far so we did it there.) Several reasons why it failed, some of which were out of our control. The only thing that felt okay is that I know I gave it my all. Definitely learned lessons but felt terrible after the concert and for months after. One of the lessons… don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose.
Reality Show (2010 – 2012)
Yeah, this was kinda cray. Out of nowhere, I got contacted by several production companies and networks in regards to doing a TV show. Most of them wanted to either do a show about my garage sale business or me as an entrepreneur (showing me running the garage sale business, the concerts, chasing my dream, trying to live life). Long story short, I ended up signing with Dick Clark Productions. They filmed a sizzle reel but the guy who signed me ended up going to NBC and the new guy wasn’t as interested in my project. I didn’t want to wait as it had already been a year. I asked to get out of my contract. They let me and surprisingly said it was open arms if I ever wanted to come back. Then, I contacted companies that had contacted me at that point over a year ago. They were no longer interested since I turned them down or they just weren’t interested at the moment. So before contacting all of them (I had contacted probably like 4 or so) at that point, I decided to contact the guy who originally signed me when he was at Dick Clark Productions. He gave me great advice which was to focus on my businesses and if I want to do some sort of show in the future contact him and he’ll see what he can do about making it happen. That’s where it stands for now. I think I want some sort of show in the future – Not a stupid reality show but a real interesting show in the realm of entrepreneurship. We shall see.
Everything Started As Nothing (2016 – Present)
During an interview, I said a quote that went viral. At first, I thought it was funny that it went so viral. To the point where, my quote, “Everything Started As Nothing” was on all sorts of top quote lists where you’d recognize every name except mine (unless you know me). Names like Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, etc. Thousands of people post it on social media giving me credit. Also businesses including Visa. So, I decided to create soft t-shirts so I could motivate people and make some dough. We’re currently sold out and will be launching the next line at some point in 2020.
Marketing Biz – Fresh Right Hand (2015 – Present)
As mentioned above, I lost all my money at 19. I went from running my garage sale business remotely (had kids running it for me while I was at U of Arizona), enjoying college, booking concerts across the country, making dough. I lost all my money and incurred debt by throwing a concert that failed miserably. After that concert fail, it took me some time to get back on my feet. This included going from traveling around and having some $ to being broke and living home with my mom. The gym is part of what helped me get back on my feet. I went back to building my garage sale business through different forms (resale shop(s), warehouse selling online, etc.). However, I knew I needed a real switch up in my life.
Plus, I wanted to further build my brand. Plus, I wanted to learn more. So, I realized I needed to start a business that was online, where I could move anywhere. I realized that I could start some form of marketing/content development business where I help grow businesses. In turn, these businesses/entrepreneurs would speak well of me which would help me build my brand.
And as an added bonus, I’d be working inside all sorts of businesses and projects which would enable me to see more data and thus learn more while helping these businesses grow. I knew I had marketing, branding, sales and copywriting skills to offer. Then, thankfully I filled in the areas where I don’t have skills with awesome specialized people such as video editors, graphic designers, etc.
Highs & Lows
- • Got a lot of press (both local and national and international), including Dr. Phil, Entrepreneur Magazine, PBS, Italian Millionaire Magazine and more.
- • Been written about in 6 books including 2 Oxford textbooks.
- • Created a lot of happy customers.
- • Met some awesome people.
- • Learned a ton.
- • Got lots of offers for a reality TV show.
- • Signed for a reality TV show with Dick Clark Productions.
- • Traveled to many cities for concerts.
- • Met a lot of very successful and “famous” people.
- • Been backstage at big concerts and on stage at a sold out stadium concert.
- • Made some dough ($). Not a ton, but made some dough. Currently trying to make bread though.?
- • Created a quote that went viral. “Everything Started As Nothing.” – Ben Weissenstein
- • Received multiple investment offers for equity in Grand Slam Garage Sales (GSGS).
- • Worked with some of the biggest brands including StubHub.
- • Learned a ton. Did I already say that one? Sorry, I guess I’ll say it again. I’ve learned a ton.
- • Threw a concert that completely flopped. Lost my money and other people’s money as well. Felt terrible. (Understatement of the year award in regards to it only feeling “terrible”).
- • The guy who signed me to Dick Clark Productions (DCP) ended up getting a job offer elsewhere. Long story short, the guy who took over didn’t give my project much attention. I asked to get out of my contract since they weren’t doing anything to push my project, plus I previously had offers and contacts from a bunch of production companies and networks. DCP let me out of the contract but no companies (out of the first several I contacted back) were interested when I came back to them as it was already about a year since they originally contacted me and since I went elsewhere to begin with. I ended up deciding to hold off on the reality TV stuff for a little while to focus on my business. (Thankfully, that was a good decision.)
- • Kid tried extorting me/stealing my company name after I let him go because he wasn’t a good staff member. We got that worked out so he backed down but it was very frustrating to say the least, going through the process.
- • The guy I had running GSGS at one point stole a few thousand dollars from me while I was traveling for concerts.
- • We bought a box truck, put most of what I had in the bank at the time on the truck and the truck ended up dying after a flood less than a year after purchasing. The engine they said was going to cost over $7k so we held off and decided to rent trucks. It didn’t make sense at the time to just go buy another truck or spend $7k on getting a new engine installed.
- • A guy I let go messed with our truck (wrote with sharpie on the truck) and broke windows.
- • Crazy customers…a few customers over the years who have been completely unreasonable in expectations of what their items were worth and got pissed at us for not getting them more money.
- • Rain outs…had garage sales scheduled that got rained out on several occasions. This always creates a mess as for money already spent to get our workers out there, then not being able to make any money, then it being very hard to get the person’s sale back on the schedule quickly since typically we had traditional (driveway) garage sale bookings for a month or two out. Rain outs always sucked.
- • No shows from people who said they were coming to meet me to purchase items (I already took the items out of our storage unit or warehouse space) and then they decided to stand me up.
- • No shows from workers…workers would accidentally sleep in during a garage sale and not show up. That’s a recipe for a pissed customer.
- • Crap bs reviews written about us… The few negative reviews GSGS has, currently are from such bullshit. One is from a lady who was mad that we didn’t give her the price she wanted when trying to buy an item and she made all sorts of complete crap up that wasn’t true. Another is from a guy who was mad that he didn’t like a furniture piece that he came to buy and he tried claiming all sorts of crap. Thankfully I can at least respond which I did and will always do…with the FACTS. If we’re wrong, I’ll own up to it. But it sucks that we have had a few people write false and negative content that was completely baseless.
- • Partnered with a company who we trusted, they lied to us and screwed us over as for not fulfilling on their end of the deal. Trusting them was
- • Unable to make ends meet at certain points while doing too much without enough resource or things going wrong all at the same time or things going wrong during a slow time, etc. There were many times where it was hard to make all ends meet.
- • Holding back on eating or eating fast food a lot, doing whatever food wise to save money. Yes I could have called someone for money to let them know I literally was eating less to save money and gotten some help. I didn’t though. I grinded it out. And no, I’ve never gone starving not eating for several days or weeks or anything like that. But I have held back on eating/been hungry and been extremely frugal as to what I’m eating/buying for food many times throughout my grind.
- • A company/person we partnered with lying to us and not following through on what they were supposed to follow through on, which resulted in bad reviews for us. The dude who we partnered with turned out to be a big time bullshitter. He would say stuff and then not do it, all the time.
- • Furniture being damaged because of a worker being careless and my business/me having to pay for their mistakes.
- • Workers not disliking me, but not “liking” me simply because I’m the “boss” and never really giving me a chance. That’s always frustrating. I understand it though and it’s especially hard with part time staff. I can be intense too but I’d like to think that I’ve always tried to make my criticism constructive. I’m sure I’ve failed at that at points but I think overall I’ve been able to give constructive criticism when needed.
- • Being introduced to someone by someone else that I trusted. I then referred that person to do some work for a friend of mine. That guy (who was originally introduced to me by someone I trusted) screwed over my friend leaving me in the middle.
- • Workers messing up all sorts of things and my business/me having to take blame and fix it.Those are some of the ups and downs or “highs and lows” throughout my life so far. The lists above are mainly focused on my business life. Of course there have been ups and downs in my personal life as well from baseball victories, to being cut from a Baseball team to playing really well in Baseball to having really bad games in Baseball to parents getting divorced to making friends to losing friends to falling in love to breaking up to losing loved ones to getting helped to being screwed over to a ton of small day to day negatives along the way that we all have to deal with in different ways as well as random day to day wins like meeting a cool new friend at the gym you get to talk to while working out every day among others.
Some parting thoughts…
I’m big on speaking my mind, whether it’s the “right” thing to say or not. I’ve definitely spoken my mind to some people throughout my life. I get really frustrated when I feel like someone is playing games with me and not giving me basic respect.
I want to be very successful for a few reasons. 1) Of course, I want the nice things in life and to be able to travel a lot, home movie theater, etc. That’s part of the dream. 2) The other part of the dream is just as genuine. I really want to help a ton of people in different ways from financially with things to help their lives to motivation to get people to go for their dreams. If you have a lot of money and connections, you can do a lot of good.
I’m goofy at heart and that won’t change. I hate when people see my goofiness and don’t take me seriously or don’t see past that. That’s fine though, because I’m not changing. I stay goofy and I’m gonna stay dancing. If I hear music, I have to dance. I’ve been like that since I was a little kid and it hasn’t left me. Music makes me happy.
I love good friends. I hate fake friends and people that talk crap behind my back. I love family. I love Baseball.
I’ve learned that this world is a dog eat dog world. Sucks but it is what it is. There are a lot of crappy people out there who literally don’t care about anyone besides themselves. And I’m not referring to having a bit of an ego, but rather not caring about other people and doing everything with them selves in mind.
To the outside perspective, I hope I don’t come off as having too big of an ego as I don’t have enough to have too big of an ego about to begin with. I am confident though but ego or not, at the end of the day, I seriously want to help a lot of people. And while I make a lot of decisions to try to further my career and businesses, I’m really thinking with a lot of decisions of how I can bring someone up/help someone out in one way or another too (whether it’s a business referral, tip, connecting them to someone that can help them, etc.)
I’m Jewish and proudly so. I’m not super religious, but I’m a proud Jew. A LOT of people have at least some hatred or dislike towards Jewish people. In fact, I truly believe that the majority of people in this world that aren’t Jewish have anti-semitic views (hatred towards Jewish people). This stems from all sorts of reasons including that Jews are a small minority in the world and there are many successful Jews. (There’s a reason Jews are so motivated though – we feel the hatred towards us and over 6 million of us were called in the Holocaust not THAT long ago). There are other reasons as well that people hate or have some sort of dislike towards Jewish people. There isn’t one good reason though and those people really don’t know Jewish people. If you dislike Jewish people, try getting to know one and also try realizing that there’s a lot of love in the Jewish religion and we are good people.? If you still dislike us, please don’t ever buy anything from any of my companies. I don’t want your business in any form or fashion. Really bro? Yes, really.
I don’t care what someone looks like, what their job is, etc….if they’re a good person, I’m going to treat them equally, mean that.
I’m not the best person in the world by any means and I most certainly have my flaws. However, I know that my intentions are and have always been great and I genuinely want to do a lot of good in this world. I’m fierce and am in this dog eat dog world as well trying to get to the top, but I’d like to think that I’m one of the dogs that’s helping his comrades as well in this thing we call life. I just can’t wait to be more successful so I can really help my comrades out.
Everything is possible. You can make it anywhere in life no matter where you’re starting. Dream big and go for it. Balance is key to success and
Remember, everything started as nothing.
P.S. – If you/your business needs marketing and/or content help, check out
my biz (FreshRightHand.com).