Meeting at VidCon US, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to sit down with serial tech entrepreneur Oliver Isaacs, founder of numerous popular pages on Facebook and Instagram and the viral opinion based network Amirite.com – which has already achieved a formidable 1 billion unique visitors in its lifetime.
Oliver’s personal following on Instagram has reached an impressive one hundred thousand followers, and he has been featured, giving business advice and motivational thoughts in the Instagram and Snapchat Stories of high profile people such as Tony Robbins, Mark Cuban, and Tim Ferriss. Oliver has also worked with and helped grow some of the biggest social media influencers on the planet such as Julius Dein, who now has grown to over 10 million followers within 1 year.
I can immediately tell Oliver is exceptionally bright, determined beyond belief and has a rare ability to spot opportunities very few would be able to see. He has a diverse and compelling background, having founded the viral opinion based social network Amirite.com whilst studying at the highly exclusive London School of Economics. Many know Amirite as one of the first original 9gag and 4chan type sites where the internet meme was born, internet slang became common-place and the earlier influencers created. The site set the tone for follow up sites and was said to be the inspiration for sites like Quora. Not to stop there, Oliver founded one of the fastest growing E-Commerce companies in the UK, with close partnerships with Amazon FBA. Oliver has also secured numerous brand deals and partnerships for some of the biggest celebrities and influencers around.
At 24 years old, Oliver tells me most of his friends now work in finance or law, but he says ‘It’s the 21st Century and it no longer makes sense to work for someone else if you have an entrepreneurial streak inside you. If you have the hunger and passion to set up a startup or business, go for it and take the risk. Life is too short to be counting down the hours in an office waiting for the clock to strike 5pm or later. A job should never be a job- it should be a passion or something that you enjoy. I personally think, founding a tech startup is now the way to go. The internet has opened a whole world of opportunity for millions whether it’s through E-Commerce, Social or numerous other avenues; everything is now on the internet. We’re still really in the early stages of the internet, and it’s only going to become an even more powerful tool.
Having discussed the online startup world in length with Oliver, I ask him his advice he has for those thinking about setting up an online startup. Take note guys- you could learn a thing or two from Oliver’s excellent list of top 10 tips:
1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.
2. Get cash flowing ASAP. Cash flow is king and is absolutely essential to feed bottom-line profits. So you need to find ways to jump start cash flow immediately.
Oliver mentions a few examples: you can add value to generic items by creating private label branding, and develop continuity programmes where customers pay an up-front monthly fees to insure delivery or availability of items they will buy on a repeat basis. Of course, the key is to make sure there is little or no gap between when you pay for labour, stock inventory and when you actually get paid. Ideally, you'll find ways to get money up front, and your cash gap will never be an issue.
3. Always find new ways to keep costs low. All the cash flow in the world is worthless if it's not positive cash flow, which means you have to bring in more cash than you pay out.
4. When planning, always overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues.
5. Focus on sales and marketing manically. In business, nothing happens until a sale is made. From the jump, you'll need to find a good way to get leads, convert leads into sales, and make sure you keep getting repeat sales from your customers.
6. Find ways to exponentially increase profits.
7. Test and measure everything. You can't change what you don't measure, and you can't tell if a strategy is working if you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results.
8. Accept that learning more equals earning more. If you've never run a million dollar business, you don't know how to start a business--simple as that. But you can learn how to run one, even if it is your million dollar business you are building from the ground up. However, you need to accept right now that learning always comes before "earning" (except in the dictionary).
9. Don’t discount, add value. Whenever you discount, you are taking money directly out of your pocket and directly from your bottom-line profit. So don't do it. Instead, create added value propositions all the way up and down your product or service line.
10. Get a Mentor. Too often, we think we have all the answers and are the only people who can really get things done. The reality is that another set of eyes can work wonders for how you operate both on and in your business. An outsider can also make sure you are getting the numbers you need both on the top line and the bottom line to survive.