Many successful people have started their careers prior to graduating college; some even drop out of college to pursue their dreams such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs. This new monthly column will highlight students on campus who have achieved something significant outside of academic life at Rutgers. Too often these students are overlooked by administrators and their achievements are not celebrated. This week Brian McCarty (SBC ’13) will be the highlight of the column.
Brian McCarty is in his fifth, and final, year at Rutgers-Camden. He went to Eastern High School in Voorhees, NJ where he graduated in 2009. Not only is he a double major in accounting and finance, but he also is a successful entrepreneur focusing on the online consumer technology market. Brian went from starting in his father’s basement to recently moving into office space and a warehouse to pursue his business. At his pinnacle did over $1 million in sales.
Upon entering Brian’s office, you’d see his personal office space surrounded by many popular products and even more shipping accessories. He has stations set up in his office for each stage the product goes through; from a receiving area to a product testing area. It would remind you of a typical small start-up company’s office.
Here are his thoughts:
When was your first entrepreneurial venture?
My first entrepreneurial venture was in 6th grade. Someone had brought a few glow sticks to one of the school dances and they were a big hit. I decided to buy them in bulk off eBay and resell them at the next school dance. Everyone went crazy for them which of course attracted attention and I was shut down. I was directed to the student handbook which didn’t allow selling on school property and was told to return everyone’s money
Have you ever worked for someone else?
For one summer I worked at a dog kennel and for 2-3 years in high school I worked at a grocery store. I had hoped I could one day do enough business on eBay that I wouldn’t have to have a “real job” but it didn’t work out that way at first. By the end of high school I was pretty much matching my grocery store wages with my eBay income.
What does your current business consist of?
I currently sell consumer electronics on both eBay and amazon.
How did it feel when you moved out of your parent’s basement to your own office and warehouse?
At first I was a little annoyed I had to move the business out of my dad’s garage/basement. I was going from a free option to one that cost hundreds every month. But he was getting tired of a business being operated out of his house, which I understood. But after getting here I couldn’t imagine going back. I get to work whenever I want and take up as much space as I need. People tend to think of cleaning out their garage, or selling their old cell phone when they think of eBay, so having an actual office adds some legitimacy to it.
So far, what has been your most successful year?
My best year was 2011 where I ended the year with slightly over $1 million dollars in sales.
Any advice for students looking to start their own business?
I would recommend people looking to start a business find a niche they love and excel in. I see people try to enter a market that is huge and it’s just difficult to stand out or add value there. The internet gives you access to a market of billions, so you can make something specialized and still find enough customers to make it worth your effort. It’s always better to create a job than find one.
Are you currently looking for new business ventures?
I hope to get into real estate investing. It’s an area where I don’t have a lot of knowledge on right now, but I’m working on it.
When you’re not at Rutgers or doing business, what do you do for fun?
I like to spend time running, cycling, and browsing Reddit.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Camden?
I have two, so it’s kind of tough to pick between them. The street vendor in front of the city hall makes a mean ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. And across the street there’s Pho Eden, which is always a good choice on a cold day.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be graduating this December and will hopefully continue the eBay business and study for the CPA exam. Then maybe save up and work for someone else for a few years. And then move onto a few other business ideas that I have
If you believe you should be featured, or know someone who should, email the News & Features Editor explaining why at firstname.lastname@example.org.