Book Review: You Call the Shots

You Call the Shots Book CoverCameron Johnson started 12 successful businesses before the turned 21. Now at the age of 21 he has a book out sharing his stories about what things he’s done to get where he is today.

To be honest this book was both inspiring and frustrating at the same time. the writing was very captivating and easy to read, the stories were interesting and, for me, easy to relate to. It was frustrating to hear about someone else who has had all the opportunities and success that I wish I had. In that regard it felt like Cameron was rubbing his success in my face. Now at 21, he’s a millionaire just from his own hard work, and business savvy.

Throughout the book Cameron goes into detail about his various businesses. He talks about the lessons he learned along the way and the excitement and rewards he got for his work.

Cameron’s eagerness shines through in his book. The way he describes the work he put into the businesses make it seem like anyone could orchestrate a startup. Everything from his first big venture with selling beanie babies on eBay (where he became one of the largest distributors of them, at the age of 13) or his latest business The perspective he has and shares in this book is priceless.

Many of his businesses were sold quickly after starting them up, in each case his timing seemed to be impeccable. Several times it seemed he jumped out just as the market was about to crash. There was certainly an element of luck involved in making his money so quickly. On the other hand repeating the process 12 times was quite impressive.

The fact that he started most of his businesses with little or even no startup capital makes this even more accessible to young budding entrepreneurs hoping to get their first venture off the ground. On the Internet it doesn’t take huge amounts of money to get something off the ground. With all the various examples Cameron shares just about everyone could learn something about the startup process.

Some of the key business lessons that I got from the book are:

  • Most business problems can be boiled down to basic issues: good customer service, revenue > expenses.
  • Over the internet you can hire developers from anywhere that will do a good job more cheaply than locally sourcing the development.
  • Always consider that you don’t need to be involved in the day to day running of a business. It is possible to hire customer service, call centers, etc. rather than taking on the ‘labor’ of the business yourself during the early phases.

Cameron strikes me as a pretty cool guy, and someone that I expect to hear more from in the future. If you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur, I recommend this book. I give it a 4.5/5