Eli Smit

It’s not of­ten you stum­ble­tum­ble across a nine- year- old host­ing a busi­ness pod­cast, but then again, most nine- year- olds aren’t l i ke self- pro­claimed budding en­tre­pre­neur Eliah ( Eli) Smit.

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The K i ngsway S c hool stu­dent en­joys all the normal ac­tiv­i­ties for some­one his age, like foot­ball, build­ing Lego and play­ing Minecraft. How­ever, he is also the founder and host of the Ground Break­ing Pod­cast, which fea­tures in­ter­views with the next gen­er­a­tion of young en­trepreneurs who are build­ing busi­nesses that cre­ate an im­pact in the world. So far, he counts Weirdly’s Dale Clare­burt, PledgeMe’s Anna Guen­ther and Hal­ter’s Craig Pig­gott among guests that have ap­peared on the show.

He says the idea was born when he was dis­cussing ways he could make money with his Dad, who sug­gested start­ing his own busi­ness could help with that. But he soon found that on­line busi­ness con­tent wasn’t all that help­ful for some­one his age.

“I did not know a lot about run­ning my own busi­ness, and I started to think about how I could learn as much as pos­si­ble,” Smit says.

“I watched some YouTube videos, but the con­tent was all for older peo­ple. I spoke to Dad and he sug­gested the idea of a pod­cast. I had no idea what a pod­cast was, but af­ter Dad ex­plained it to me I was all in. Es­sen­tially you just record a con­ver­sa­tion you have with peo­ple and I could do that, I like talk­ing to ev­ery­one and if this would help me talk to peo­ple who al­ready have a busi­ness all the bet­ter.”

Af­ter pur­chas­ing a mic and ap­proach­ing a few busi­ness own­ers to in­ter­view through LinkedIn, Smit got his pod­cast up-and-run­ning. Since launch­ing in June this year, he has since in­ter­viewed 15 en­trepreneurs and count­ing in New Zealand, Aus­tralia and the US, and has also suc­cess­fully got­ten it hosted on Spo­tify and ex­clu­sive in­vi­teonly plat­form Acast.

Smit says while orig­i­nally he set out on this jour­ney in or­der to learn how to make money, he’s dis­cov­ered he’s be­ing mo­ti­vated by some­thing deeper than ma­te­rial wealth.

“I think I am learn­ing that it’s prob­a­bly not the money it­self, but the choices money gives me that drives me – choices about ev­ery as­pect of my life, in­clud­ing the im­pact I can make on the peo­ple I love and the is­sues that are im­por­tant to me like the en­vi­ron­ment or char­i­ties like Ron­ald McDon­ald House Char­i­ties,” Smit says.

He says he’s in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to the en­trepreneurs he’s in­ter­viewed who have shared their learn­ings with him.

“Craig Pig­gott from Hal­ter ex­ploded my mind with the agritech world he is in with spe­cial col­lars for cows, or Deanna Yang and the Cookie

———— “I’ m nine, and I un­der­stand not ev­ery­one thinks a nineyear- old can run a busi­ness or be taken se­ri­ously, but I can’t l i ve my l i fe based on their nar­row think­ing. I l ook at how many kids out there are al­ready run­ning sig­nif­i­cant busi­nesses and I am keen to be a part of the ac­tion.”

em­pire she is build­ing, or Chloe van Dyke and the in­no­va­tion she is bring­ing to the bev­er­age in­dus­try. I’m re­al­is­ing just how end­less the op­por­tu­ni­ties are out there for those will­ing to give it a go,” Smit says.

“I love telling their sto­ries and I re­ally hope my pod­cast in­spires and chal­lenges oth­ers as much as it does me to think about what is pos­si­ble.”

And now, he’s us­ing the glean­ings from his pod­cast to pur­sue his own en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­deav­ours. Smit re­cently launched a so­cial en­ter­prise busi­ness called Get Mowed, which has part­nered with Trees That Count to plant a na­tive New Zealand tree for ev­ery lawn that’s mowed.

“New Zealand needs more trees to im­pact cli­mate change and help re­store our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment,” Smit says. “This en­ables ev­ery­one in my com­mu­nity to be part of New Zealand’s sus­tain­able fu­ture.”

He says get­ting his first com­pany, Get Mowed, off the ground is his big­gest achieve­ment so far.

“It is one thing to talk about en­trepreneur­ship on my pod­cast, and it’s an­other to be an en­tre­pre­neur and get some cus­tomers across the line.”

But this might be his first in a line of busi­nesses, as there’s plenty of other ideas bub­bling away, too, such as plans to start an or­ganic le­mon­ade busi­ness.

Smit says de­spite all of these achieve­ments so far, he doesn’t feel as though he’s that dif­fer­ent from other kids his age.

“I don’t know that I feel like I am dif­fer­ent, what I am do­ing just feels normal.”

As for what the im­me­di­ate fu­ture has in store, Smit is cur­rently sav­ing his pocket money and busi­ness earn­ings to visit a friend in the US, at­tend a pod­cast­ing con­fer­ence and pos­si­bly con­duct some in­ter­views while he’s over there.

He’s also re­cently con­nected with three US-based pod­casts – David Meltzer (The Play­book Pod­cast), Jor­dan Harbinger (The Jor­dan Harbinger Show) and Stephen Gates (The Crazy One Pod­cast) – who all have sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ings and is go­ing to see what he can learn from them about the pod­cast in­dus­try.

Smit says hope­fully, the Ground Break­ing Pod­cast will be se­cur­ing its first spon­sor or ad­ver­tiser this year.

As for what the most valu­able learn­ing he’s taken away from his in­ter­views is, he says it’s be­ing con­fi­dent in your abil­i­ties.

“I re­mem­ber Deanna Yang talked to me about be­liev­ing in your­self,” Smit says.

“There were some peo­ple who didn’t be­lieve in her dream to run her own milk and cookie bar, but she didn’t let that stop her. I’m nine, I un­der­stand not ev­ery­one thinks a nine-year-old can run a busi­ness or be taken se­ri­ously, but I can’t live my life based on their nar­row think­ing. I look at how many kids out there are al­ready run­ning sig­nif­i­cant busi­nesses and I am keen to be a part of the ac­tion.”

And his other key bit of ad­vice for budding en­trepreneurs?

“Knock on doors and even­tu­ally one will open,” he says.

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