John Robb is the 18-year-old founder of InfluencerHive, an influencer agency and digitally native brand development company. His business has worked with some of the largest accounts on Instagram, as well as run advertising campaigns for numerous eCommerce brands and apps. InfluencerHive manages and represents top social talent, helping them with strategy, branding, and monetization. The agency also helps brands create and distribute content, run advertising campaigns, and build communities. Along with driving revenue to others’ businesses, John currently runs his own brand that’s grossing over $300k per month using his digital ad strategy.
With wisdom beyond his years, Robb’s business building skills are way past that of his peers. The teenage business phenom shares some of his best advice for building a solid brand and business at a young age.
Curiosity can build empires: Robb developed a fascination with the internet and with the power of social media from a young age, and he leveraged his curiosity to start learning and building before he was a teenager. “I’ve always been intrigued by how the internet grants anyone the potential to deliver content to millions of people, regardless of who you are,” Robb said. “By the time I was 14 years old, I had accumulated several hundred million impressions across my various Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter profiles. I was regularly doing promotion deals for different brands, working primarily with eCommerce stores. When I realized how much revenue these brand partners were generating from my audience, I thought I’d be better off starting my own eCommerce business to advertise to my audience and beyond. Instead of acting as a marketing channel for other businesses to leverage, I was inspired to create my own.” Although there are tons of variables in an ad campaign, Robb credits a two-part framework to his marketing success. “All of my campaigns start with 2 questions: How can I cost-effectively capture attention? How can I convert that attention into as much value as possible?” Robb’s creative, data-driven, and cost-conscious approach to digital advertising has allowed him to unlock explosive revenue growth.
Never stop growing: When in the early days of building his first eCommerce business, Robb continually looked for ways to continue growing and improving his brand. He was never content to settle with what he had, which made the outcome so much sweeter. “I quickly realized that this venture could and would be much bigger. I continuously improved my (eCommerce) store’s website, brand identity, and advertising strategy. Countless hours were spent creating and curating content for my brand’s Instagram page, where I developed a loyal community of over 50,000 followers within the first month,” said Robb. “I worked with dozens of influencers, making deals with them to promote my store, and by the end of winter break, I had achieved $50,000 in revenue. I continued to grow and scale my store to the point where it was generating $3,500 per day with very little adspend.” Robb has gone on to build more successful brands, with his current eCommerce website at a $3.6M annual run rate just months after launching. This rapid growth led to Robb being invited to join Google’s exclusive invitation-only Brand Accelerator program, where he’s been given access to several invaluable tools such as Fortune 500 account representatives, internal Google Ad data, consumer behavior, and a number of other resources that would otherwise cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Social media makes moves, and it makes money: Early along in his career, Robb noticed the massive power that social media could wield in terms of capturing attention at scale and building communities. He harnessed it and built his business from it. In addition to simply noticing the power that comes with it, Robb was also smart enough to use his own experiences as leverage as well. “Realizing the power in harnessing social media to drive traffic, I started InfluencerHive, a business that enables influencers to better grow and monetize their influence as well as help brands to put their products in front of people the same way I do,” Robb explained. “In my time as both an influencer and a brand, I recognized a number of pain points and barriers within influencer marketing that I’ve sought to fix with the creation of InfluencerHive.”
Age is but a number: At times, Robb’s age has been a business restriction. However, not letting his age halt his business is what has led Robb to build a successful business as a teenager. His passion won out, which means that his age didn’t have to matter. “I’ve had to deal with the restrictions of being a minor, which has led to several PayPal accounts and other payment processors of mine being shut down or limited, thereby stunting the growth of my businesses,” Robb said. “I also had to avoid voice calls with my partners or clients before I hit puberty, otherwise, they would have known I was very young and may not have taken me seriously. Further, it was difficult to access financial services such as banking, which was another obstacle to accepting payments. Lastly, I started with no money or guidance, but I worked hard to build my business from nothing but a laptop, an internet connection, and a desire to build.”
You have the power to change the world, and you should be proud of it: As a business builder and an expert in influencer marketing, Robb has found joy in being able to help others reach their potential. By way of his determination and aptitude for brand building, he’s been able to build a viable and thriving business. “I’m delighted that I’ve been able to help other entrepreneurs grow their brands in the same way I’ve grown mine,” said Robb. “I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve enabled my influencer partners to make income, which is especially important now as young people deal with high costs of living, expensive education, and low wages.”
In a digital marketplace that becomes easily saturated with #ads and #sponsorships, it can seem hard to find people who truly care about the science and art of influencer marketing and social media. At the ripe old age of 18, John Robb has built an influencer empire based on hard work, following his passions, and pushing back against obstacles. With his advice, other young brand builders and influencers can find the inspiration to keep going.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.