How to Make It in the Digital Media and Marketing Space: Kieran O’Brien

Kieran O’Brien sits in the driver’s seat of social media – literally. As the founder and CEO of an automotive marketing agency and media company GearedSocial, O’Brien works with some of the most notable brands and influencers in the automotive industry. The young 19-year-old entrepreneur has made it far and fast, and shares some of his biggest tips for making it in the digital marketing field:

Create your own luck: When breaking into any industry, success will lead people to assume you had luck. The truth? That’s not the way it works. Your job? To work so hard that you draw your own luck to yourself. “Create your own luck,” Kieran advises. “At the end of the day, you are completely in control of your own life, and attacking every day with the objective to grow and create the opportunity for yourself is the most important habit to get in. Then you’ll be ‘lucky.’”

Be. On. Time. 

People don’t like to work with people who are consistently late – it’s just the way it is. Especially when scaling a business or building a brand, there’s nothing more unprofessional than being the last to show up or the first to walk through the door after everyone else has already been there. “If you aren’t 10 minutes early, you’re late. This is advice my first mentor, Matt Curry, gave to me when I showed up two minutes early to my very first meeting with him,” Kieran explains. “Since then, I’ve always been 10 minutes early to every meeting.

Get to Know the Business Side of Things

As an entrepreneur, you’re the one who’s in charge. Besides leading a team and accelerating growth, you’re the one responsible for digging into the nitty-gritty that comes with running a business. Whether you dig through books or listen to podcasts, begin to understand all the things that go into the backend of a business. “Learning about taxes and legalities would’ve been a very useful topic of advice that I wish I received,” Kieran says. “But I am also a firm believer that you have to experience things yourself to really feel the gravity of something and be motivated to apply it.”

Make Sure You’re Adaptable 

Things change quickly, especially in the digital age that we live in. If you’re hoping to reach success in any field – but especially one related to digital media or marketing – you need to be able to catch up quickly to any change at any time. “In the digital marketing space, things move very quickly, and strategies that used to work are phased out just about as quickly as they become popular in the first place. Being able to adapt and learn quickly is extremely important in this space,” O’Brien says. “This is a lesson I learned early on when I would experience failure. I realized that it was just a matter of me trying to force things to work after they were no longer effective.”

Find Your Niche

The best way to set yourself apart from others in the digital media and marketing space is simple: specialize, as O’Brien did with GearedSocial in the automotive industry. Whether your niche is coffee beans or thread counts, it works. “There are tons of digital marketing agencies out there, and not many specialize in the aftermarket parts for automotive industries,” Kieran explains. It is this kind of specialization that can help you carve out your own space in the marketing world.

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