Richard Lorenzen is one of the most iconic millennial entrepreneurs in America. The CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, which he founded at the age of 15, became one of New York’s fastest-growing public relations firms. His agency specializes in data-driven PR, serving clients in a variety of industries.
As a successful young entrepreneur, Richard has been recognized as a leading voice for entrepreneurship, especially for millennials. He speaks about entrepreneurship to audiences ranging from high school students to CEOs at conferences, community centers, and schools across the nation.
Being a business prodigy creates unforeseen challenges, especially for someone who can’t drive a car, and it’s not easy to acquire a business bank account as a young teen. But Richard kept at it because he has a passion for business just like his hero, Donald Trump. Now Richard wants to share his expertise and experience to empower and inspire other young people to become entrepreneurs.
Richard was born in Long Island, New York, on February 28, 1992. His father, Richard, is a New York City Fire Department lieutenant and his mother, Chris, is a freelance writer. Richard and his younger sister, Katie, were homeschooled by their mother. This boosted his work ethic, and it also led him to develop interests in topics beyond the syllabus. Like many other great minds, reading books was pivotal to his success. Richard gained an early working knowledge of writing, computers, and business.
After reading Donald Trump’s Surviving At the Top, Richard started his first online business venture at the young age of 13. His company, Executive SEO Writing, was a service that wrote web content for businesses, specializing in keyword sensitivity so clients’ web sites would top search engine lists. His early dive into the emerging field of internet marketing became a launch pad for his career.
Richard closed down Executive SEO in favor of a new enterprise, Prestigious Hosting, which is still up and running today. Richard also launched an online mall where viewers could examine and purchase everything from high-end jewelry and baseball gloves to digital cameras and perfume. He took a commission from each item sold and earned revenues of up to $1,000 a week.
At first, few of Richard’s friends even knew what he was up to. “My friends were very surprised about my businesses,” he said, “but very supportive.” By starting early and “cutting out the fluff” of the classic school day, like busywork and long breaks, he would finish his assignments by midday and spend the afternoon focusing on his business. Richard briefly attended NYU to pursue a major in international relations and affairs, but dropped out after a year to concentrate on his already thriving business pursuits.
Richard gained a lot of attention after he wrote an article that was published on Fox News about the ten things he wished he had known before he started his company at age 15. In a subsequent Huffington Post interview, he talked about many of the challenges that young people face in founding a company.
Richard has been recognized by many media outlets as a thought leader in digital marketing. In addition to The Huffington Post and Fox News, Richard has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business News Daily, AdWeek, Tech Crunch and Mashable.
Richard was listed as number 21 on Entrepreneur‘s “50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016,” and Business News Daily‘s “25 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow.” LinkedIn named him one of the top millennial influencers of 2016. Inc. magazine named him one of the top eight entrepreneurs on Twitter in 2016, and in 2017 he was named one of the top 25 inspiring entrepreneurs by Inc.
Richard is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, the foreign policy think-tank Concordia, and he serves on the Young Professionals Board of the Friends of the Children New York, a non-profit that seeks to break the cycle of generational poverty among New York City’s most vulnerable youth. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and Huffington Post. In his spare time, he likes to play golf and travel to warm climates like Los Angeles, which he considers to be his second home.
Helpful Homeschool Habits
Here is a list of habits that Richard developed during his homeschool days, which have benefited him in business:
- Waking up early. From the age of 15, Lorenzen started waking up at 4:30 a.m. so he could juggle his school work with his business. “I’m awake by 4:30 a.m. every day. When I’m in New York, I’m at my desk by 6:30 a.m.”
- Spending 1-2 hours per day reading (or finishing at least 1-2 books per month). “Self-educating is really what separates those who are successful from the rest.”
- “Reviewing my goals and my plan to achieve them every single morning and night.”
- “Prioritizing my schedule and to-do list for the day and only focusing on high value tasks while delegating the rest.”
- Building a routine. “It’s very hard to control every moment of your day. But if you nail the beginning and the end right, it keeps you in control and at peak performance.”
- Dress for the status you hope to achieve. “I wanted to be the CEO of my own company,” so even when he was a teen working out of his bedroom, “I would put on a suit and tie to do my work.”
- Drinking lots of water— no soda, coffee or alcohol.
- Staying honest, forthright, and genuine.
In October 2016, Richard released his first book titled Surge: Supercharge Your Life, Business, and Legacy. It’s a practical guide for entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs, who need a tactical game plan for how to get ahead when starting from scratch. In this book, he shares his strategies, habits and mindsets to show aspiring and current entrepreneurs how to leverage their personal habits and goals to make themselves into the type of person a successful entrepreneur is. Richard is a firm believer that success is achieved through the kind of person you become. You can learn from his insights and hard-won life lessons on:
- The right way to set goals
- Developing winning habits
- Creating an attitude that separates winners from losers
- Cutting information overload out of your life
- Turning your life vision into reality
Richard Lorenzen’s Advice for Young Entrepreneurs:
- You need to have the discipline to sacrifice, persevere and stay focused on your goal.
- Entrepreneurs tend to suffer from shiny object syndrome— every time a more attractive venture comes along, they jump ship from their current one and leap to the next. I see many entrepreneurs that give up far too soon because they haven’t seen results yet. They start and end businesses like they are changing clothes. With this mindset, you’ll never succeed at any of them.
- Always keep your momentum, because if you lose it, you might never get it back.
- Seeking instant gratification, not controlling our minds and our tempers, not staying focused on a singular goal, these are all problems and they need to be fixed and replaced with habits that are conducive to success.
- Practical consistent actions are all it takes to move you towards your goals. Little actions every single day, and staying very consistent, gives you the accumulation of small wins that compound exponentially over time.
- The main thing that holds people back is limiting beliefs—”I have no education,” “My parents aren’t in business,” “I’m too young,” “I have no money,” etc. If they can move past this, then they can do anything.
- I’ve found that the most successful people look for an opportunity in every obstacle we encounter. Almost every problem has a silver lining. Training your mind to find it will make you very successful.
- Transactional business is the short-term game. The long-term game is referrals. Don’t think of how much product you can sell; think about building relationships.
- One of the most effective ways to increase your media pickups is to enhance the newsworthiness of your story by tying it to a relevant current event. If there was recently a major research report or other piece of industry news released that relates to your niche, tie your story into those headlines.
- Never take no for an answer.
For more of Richard’s advice, see: Common Regrets a Lot of Entrepreneurs Have
Fun Fact: In October 2016, Richard married Pinsi Lei, who runs her own marketing agency, PinsiLeiCreative.com.