The Hound's Bark
Healdsburg High School
Entrepreneurship With An Early Start
By Jack Ready
Photo by: Tyler “Crape” McBratney
Running a record company at the age of 16 is not necessarily something that everyone is capable of, PJ Rousche is however. PJ runs a company called “Rousche Records” and he has been operating it as the sole owner since 8th grade. He has recruited talent for his company and features artists like Lil Crape on his roster. Lil Crape boasts 40 thousand listeners on Spotify and has been with PJ since the start. How does someone run a company at this age? PJ Rousche is the answer to this question.
What’s it like being an entrepreneur at 16? PJ responded “It's stressful at times and school gets in the way a lot but the biggest obstacle is not being taken seriously because of my age. I love having that title and I feel that it makes me more aware of the world than other teenagers.” Being an entrepreneur is something that requires the skill of multitasking, you have to be able to balance everything in your life and be efficient enough to consistently allocate time to running your company. It does however give you some insight on how the world works.
In what ways do you feel you aren’t taken seriously? “Obviously my age but it used to be the fact that I couldn't drive. Another problem is that I am not able to go to different cities for meetings often.” Being able to travel allows you to be taken more seriously as it allows you to travel greater distances and be able to make meetings further away from your home.
What about being respected in an authoritative position such as being the leader of a record company? “I don't think that they have trouble respecting me because there is tons of evidence to see what I've done. I think that they have a hard time believing me when I say that I'm going to accomplish something or that I know a certain person.” What garners respect in the business world is not the amount of time you’ve been in the business but what you’ve done with it, if you expect to be respected as the leader of a company you have to earn it and prove you're worthy. The reality is that sometimes you will be judged for your age especially when you are young because if you are doing things unexpected from your age level there can be a level of doubt present.
How would you say it’s impacted your free time? “It takes up almost all of my free time. There's alway a question to answer or someone I have to get in contact with. It's good that I like it so much.” Running a business is demanding but it pays off if it is something you are passionate about. However if it isn’t it will likely drain you and be demotivating for starting a future business.
How is your business going so far? “It's doing well. It's slow right now for obvious reasons but I'm moving fast so it's all good.” COVID-19 has certainly been a dampener on entrepreneurship but if you are passionate about a business and think it can succeed in the current climate for businesses you should go for it.
How do you feel your artist's production of music has been affected by corona? “Music production hasn't been too bad for music. Because we have our own studio we're ok but we have been delayed because artists we get features from can't find studios. The real problem with corona is video production and performing. I mean corona hasn't been too bad for music” Various industries have been affected by corona in many ways and if an entrepreneur wants to start a business they should certainly take it into consideration.
How long did it take for your business to gain traction? “Longer than you would think. It goes so slow because sometimes not everything is in your control.” A lesson in life is that things will not always be predictable and will require you to adapt, when being an entrepreneur it is smart to avoid being static.
What would you say to a teenager who also wants to be an entrepreneur at a young age? “Only do it if you absolutely love it. Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone and It's not worth all the stress and time If you don't enjoy what you're doing. Don't do it for the money.” Do what motivates you.