Chase Conley and Luke Morgan are not your typical 8th grade students. Not only have both young men attended three CYLC leadership programs but they are also partners in their own business, DemonHotSauce.com!
Chase and Luke exemplify the CYLC mindset of striving to be young leaders in all that they do. They have taken what they have learned about the leadership trait of goal setting and used it to set and achieve their own unique goal of starting their own hot sauce business. Each boy brings his own expertise to the business, and they are even donating part of their profits to help their local community. Read their interview below to learn about true teamwork at a young age.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Luke: My stepdad would make West India hot sauce at home, as he’s West Indian. The West Indian culture is to not only make the sauce hot, but also flavorful, no recipe involved. I thought it would be a great product to make and sell. When I realized how much work was involved in starting my own business, I asked my friend from school, Chase, to help. I knew Chase was really organized and would be a big asset to the business.
Have you always been fans of hot sauce?
Luke: I’ve always loved it and eat it on everything.
Chase: I didn’t like it when I was younger, but my tastes have changed since I’ve been older and I like it now.
Tell me about your web site. Did you do the design yourselves? How often do you update it? Do you get many people contacting you through your site?
Chase: We originally tried to do it ourselves and partly designed it, and then went to Go-Daddy for a template to actually use.
Both: We try to update it frequently but not as often as we’d like. People ask us questions about the product or their orders.
What skills have you gained from attending the leadership conferences that have been beneficial to you in starting your own business?
Luke: One of the main things we learned was goal setting. You need to be able to set goals to achieve them when starting a business.
Chase: I agree – goal setting.
I see from your web site that you donate 10% of your profits to a local charity. Which charity did you choose and why?
Luke: We haven’t yet chosen a charity; we’re waiting until the end of the year when we know our actual profits. We definitely want to keep it local – keep the impact of our work local.
Both: We have been talking about using the profits to help with a service project we’re doing at school, planting trees in the Wilmington area to improve the air quality and beauty.
What is your favorite moment from the programs you’ve attended?
Chase: I loved the Junior Alumni Boston program – Boston is a great city.
Luke: The inauguration was inspiring, but I agree about Boston.
Do you have any ideas for future businesses?
Luke: Not right now, but I have the type of mind that is always thinking about lots of businesses. No plans to move to another genre.
What have you learned from the experience of starting your own business?
Chase: Sometimes you’ll have no orders and then get a ton of orders. You can’t get down when there’s nothing happening or super excited when you have a lot of orders. Luke: You can’t wait for people to come to you. You need to have a compelling story AND a quality product. Make it so people WANT to come to you.
What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business of their own?
Chase: Plan, plan, plan. You need to establish a plan, and then be flexible as things change. You may not always sell as much as you’d like when you like, so you need to be flexible in your plan.
Luke: If you are going to run a business, you need to do it about something you are passionate about. It’s a LOT of work. If you’re not passionate about it, it will become a drag. My favorite saying is: Do what you love and love what you do!