04 Jun Young Entrepreneur: Tina Wells – Creating the Buzz
Tina Wells started her first business when she was just 16, tipping other teenagers off to products she thought they would like. Today, she continues to focus on teens and young adults as the CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, a full-service marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia.
“Looking back, I feel my strength as a young entrepreneur was the very fact that I was young and inexperienced,” she says. “I just dove in headfirst.”
Wells started the company right after she graduated from college. Today the 10-person firm has a network of more than 9,000 people that it taps for insights into the needs, wants, and desires of the Millennial generation. Wells has been named by Inc. magazine as one of its “30 under 30” Coolest Young Entrepreneurs and by Essence as one of its “40 under 40.”
Wells says that, for her, the most essential element of being a successful entrepreneur isn’t competitiveness or innovation—though those qualities certainly don’t hurt. The real key, she says, is balance. “Entrepreneurs have to carefully plan ahead but know when to take risks,” she says. “We have to approach our profession with a lot of flexibility and open-mindedness but still take our work seriously.”
It’s been half a lifetime since Wells, now 32, started her business, but she’s still fascinated by young people. “The Millennials are so dynamic and creative,” she says. “It’s hard to stay away!” In 2011, she wrote Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right, a book aimed at helping marketers and others understand the youth market. Even closer to her heart, though, is a series of books she’s written for young girls featuring Mackenzie Blue, a spirited tweener heroine who loves reading, art, and music.