Willie Pena | Founder of Teens Wanna Know
Success leaves clues.
Finance Strategists sat down with Willie Pena, founder of Teens Wanna Know. He discussed his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight he gained from running the business.
Who is Willie Pena?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I am a longtime digital content creator initially involved in music as a producer and disc jockey, starting as a teen in New Jersey, and then delving into other media such as video, photography, web design, blogs, and social media as I started doing content work for other people.
While always an artist, I have also simultaneously been involved in several entrepreneurial pursuits, with which developed my marketing and sales skills. This has allowed me to offer content to help businesses increase their branding and sales, since I have a strong background in both.
I have an AA from Daytona State College in Pre-Law. College was never quite my thing however!
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
My biggest influence is my father, who is a great artist/sculptor from Cuba and who taught me many of the basics of design that I still use today. He always encouraged me to pursue my talents in the arts but also to develop my mind in many other areas. He has always been my biggest cheerleader and is the one who taught me that I can be anything and do anything I set my mind to.
Another thing I owe him is my critical thinking skills – to delve deeper and find the truth or reasons why things are the way they are and not accept things at face value. It has served me well in business.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
I always felt that I was way ahead of my time – so I would tell myself to keep going with many of the ideas I had when I was younger and not abandon things just because I wasn’t getting spectacular results or sales fast enough. I would also say that failure is a necessary part of the journey, so it’s better to fail more often by getting more ideas out to market rather than letting them die before getting feedback and performance data. Putting myself out there earlier would have been better for me overall – instead I tried to wait until everything was perfect – a big mistake which I no longer repeat.
Q: What is Teens Wanna Know?
Teens Wanna Know is a leading teen lifestyle and entertainment brand with a focus on Young Hollywood – actors, musicians, and social media stars. We help promote a lot of young entertainers via our website, YouTube channel, and social media platforms via interviews, articles, red carpet coverage and more. We also provide articles with info useful for teens – things they really “wanna know” such as tips for buying a first car or dealing with credit cards, relationships, etc.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
We don’t go out of our way to pander to celebrities nor focus on gossip. We try to cover the entire teen experience, which can be challenging, in a positive way. Another thing which sets us apart is that we lean a little towards the conservative side, as opposed to the liberal/leftist side that most teen media leans to. We encourage good decisions, personal responsibility, and things of that nature although we are never preachy about it.
Q: What led you to start Teens Wanna Know?
Namely, the desire to provide something different from the endless negative gossip, hyper-sexualization, and worship of terrible role models prevalent in teen content. It cost us clicks and ad revenue to avoid salacious coverage of the latest celebrity drug overdose or affair, but we’d rather stick to our guns and grow our audience in a different way.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
Attention is everything. If you can figure out how to capture people’s attention and turn that into revenue, you will be very successful. And we have gotten pretty good at it over the years without compromising our editorial integrity, so we are helping other businesses with their content marketing based on what we have learned.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
I am launching many other websites. All are being built right now and will cover a wide variety of topics with the end of providing brands more exposure along specific niches while generating recurring, scalable income.
Content is absolutely king, and I love creating it and helping brands succeed with it. You could say I am in empire-building mode in the content space, both for my own media and for select brands that want to partner with me. It’s an exciting time to be a digital creator and content marketer!