It’s not often you hear of someone building themselves into a true social media influencer with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of followers. That, in itself, is a rare thing. So how then did Amar Patel, an entrepreneur from New Jersey, build himself a social media Media Group boasting over 40 social accounts with a total reach of 23.5-million?
Amar Patel, 25, oversees the strategic direction, Manufacturing Sourcing, Distribution and Social media growth for companies with sales that exceed 14-million per year.
“People don’t understand sacrifice until they’ve experienced it themselves. My father came to the United States with his seven brothers and nothing more than $20 in their pockets,” he said. “I watched him sacrifice everything for our family. That work ethic was in me from the very beginning.”
Talking with Patel, he shared how difficult it was as a kid to watch other kids in his town turn 16 and start driving brand new BMWs, Cadillacs, or Mercedes. As he told it, “Even when my father bought my mother her first car, he bought her one before he bought one for himself. He walked five miles to and from work every single day—rain, snow, whatever, just so that she could have a car to drive to work. A lot of those early experiences made me grow up faster than I should have, but it’s also what fuels me to keep moving forward.”
When Patel was just 19, he made the decision to leave his job and pursue the life of an entrepreneur. He said, “I realized the only person that knows what’s best for me and my future is me.”
These are wise words for anyone wondering where to move next in their life—especially if they are considering entrepreneurship, and taking the reins into their own hands.
Since then, he has built a powerhouse roster of social media accounts. He learned the art of growth hacking. He began approaching pages that had 300-500k followers and started forging partnerships. He then took it a step further and began selling access to these massive audiences to brands and other influencers looking for exposure.
“I realized that brands need advertising and direct access to the right kind of consumers. A simple social media post is just as good as a billboard for a local retail store owner,” said Patel.
Fast forward to where he is today, and Patel recently closed manufacturing, sourcing, and worldwide distribution deals with an e-commerce company currently doing $12-million in revenue per year. He also has negotiations in the works with four more companies with annual revenues in the seven to ten million range.
“Our goal is not to just source the manufacturing and distribute current products, but to expand the product lines strategically to grow these companies worldwide at a healthy rate, all by driving traffic via very large social media accounts,” said Patel.
So, what sort of mindset was required for this entrepreneur to have built such a successful advertising business for himself?
1. Do not compromise quality for anything.
“You have to be clear about what you’re selling from the very beginning, and the impact poor decisions can have on that product,” he said. “For example, a lot of big Instagram accounts that make money through sponsored posts tend to make the mistake of posting content that has nothing to do with the follower base that the page has. But what that leads to is lots of people unfollowing because they only followed you for one specific type of content that they liked, and now you’re posting things that are irrelevant. You can’t compromise your primary product for a quick buck.”
Patel continued, “Take a look at an Instagram page as ad space inside of a supermarket, the space is priced based on traffic to the location. The traffic to the location are your followers, the amount of people that acknowledge your ad out of those people are your pool of people that like your posts the people that actually pick up the flyer are your commenters. It’s pretty simple because active commenters have the highest chance to be turned into sales. which is why it’s so important to be promoting content/products that will peak interest while never forgetting the engagement with your commenters.”
He went on to explain that your product—in this case, your social account—is like a vehicle you fill with premium gas. When you take good care of it and only fill it up with premium gas, it runs smooth, picks up traction quickly, etc. But then when you fill it up a few times with regular gas, the car’s overall performance decreases. Over time, this decreases the life of the car, until at some point the car is going to need to be fixed.
“What I did was I kept my page’s vision and purpose aligned the whole way through, with high quality content geared specifically toward the follower base of each account,” said Patel. “I never compromised quality.”
2. You have to need success more than you need to sleep.
“Everyone wants to know what the big secret to ‘winning at life’ is. But there is no secret. It’s just plain hard work. If you want to be a winner, here you go: you have to turn your wants into needs. You will win when you need to succeed more than you need to sleep, more than you need to eat or drink water to survive. You will win when you need success more than you need acceptance from others,” said Patel.
These are powerful words heard often in the world of entrepreneurship, and any tried-and-true entrepreneur can attest to the same overwhelming lesson: you have to want it so badly that you’re willing to do whatever it takes in order to get there.
3. Always look for how you can adapt with the market.
“When we first started, we lost thousands of dollars. We came across manufacturers that pretty much expected you to fail and never re-order, so they would set the minimum quantity for orders so high that they would be able to collect as much as they could from you until you were clean broke. But struggles are the way of business and life—if you master one, the other comes naturally,” he said.
Patel went on to explain that he spent many, many sleepless nights—with countless cups of coffee—teaching himself everything about social media marketing. He was working anywhere from 80-100 hours a week learning which strategies were most effective, employing trial and error ruthlessly.
“If I didn’t see a change, I would immediately change my approach and start over. I was never discouraged by the setbacks. I just used them as fuel. I knew I might not get it right today, tomorrow, or in a week, but I knew I would figure it out eventually,” said Patel.
Clearly, he was right. He went all in on himself, and now Amar Patel is a name to be reckoned with in the world of social media marketing.
You can follow his personal Instagram account and daily motivation to other entrepreneurs here.
Brian D. Evans is the Founder/CEO of Influencive and BDE Ventures. Inc 500 Entrepreneur. Advisor to many startups and mentor to many entrepreneurs. Columnist at Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Forbes and others.
Photo credit: Influencive
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