Playing With The Big Boys

Not Kidding Around

When you look like you belong in high school, it's tough to be taken seriously by businesspeople your parents' age. When you're actually in high school, it's even tougher.

Aron Leifer was 16 when he founded MultiMedia Audiotext, a software company. He's 19 now, and last year, his firm brought in $600,000. He just launched an Internet service (http://www.gofix.com) that promises to have a technician at your door within 60 minutes to fix computer problems.

Leifer, who lives with his parents in New York City, says that when people ask your age, "The best thing is to change the subject with a question . . . a question that overquestions the other."

Another reason to avoid discussing the age issue--even if it's working in your favor--is that you're likely to tangent off into a long conversation about how you started this business so young.

"You're not trying to do something bad [by not revealing your age]," says Leifer. "You're just trying to protect yourself from anybody saying `You're too young.' As long as you can fulfill the client's need, it doesn't matter what your age is. Unless you're trying to sell someone alcohol." Which Leifer is still too young to do.

Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Playing With The Big Boys.

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