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EXCLUSIVE: This Entrepreneur Built A 15M Follower Instagram Empire. Here’s How He Did It

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What’s up, WealthGANG… so we all know the importance of social media in today’s media and business landscape.

In a world where follows and likes are currency, the ones who know how to win on social media, win big.

(Just ask The Rock. He charges studios $1M just to tweet about the movie he’s in…)

In this WealthLAB exclusive, we sat down with NuMedia CEO Brandon Harris, who’s built a modern media powerhouse by acquiring popular Instagram handles and growing these accounts to seven figures in annual revenue.

Across the board, Brandon has over 15M followers and gets more than 1B views a year. Here’s how he did it…

WealthLAB: What’s good, Brandon?!

Harris: What’s up.

Let’s get right to it. What is NuMedia?

NuMedia’s a hybrid media-company-slash-influencer-marketing-agency with almost 15 million followers. We generate over 1B views per year. And, we help brands reach and engage with Millennials at scale.

How did it come about?

I’ve been in the sports industry since I was 19 and I identified a huge opportunity. I was on the buying side of a large basketball apparel brand, and I was seeing 12, 14, 15-year old kids make over $50,000 per year off us because of these enormous Instagram channels they built.

No way.

Yeah. And, the crazy part was, even with the high prices they were charging, it was insanely profitable on our end, too.

I knew Instagram influencer marketing was a rare win-win niche. I decided I wanted to be the biggest sports network on Instagram.

And, outside of Bleacher Report, ESPN and other huge corporations, there are pretty much no other companies with our level of reach in the extremely passionate sports media industry, available at prices that small businesses can afford.

You’ve gotten crazy follower numbers on IG. How did you do it?

Many people are social media gurus/experts. I’m not. I’m an entrepreneur. And, that’s probably my greatest advantage in this industry.

Do tell…

I am super passionate about finding growth hacks. I constantly look to find scalable methods of growth. And, the biggest driver in this case is basic understanding of unit economics.

For example, this person has this many followers, they get this much engagement per post, their prices are x, their daily sales volume is y. What levers can I pull to squeeze more dollars, more followers from this channel?

We always look to invest in consultation and staying with a finger on the pulse of the latest social growth techniques. First it was share for share, then giveaways, then private/DM technique, and now it’s essentially impossible to gain followers organically.

Who do you work with and how do you decide to go about it?

We hire under-appreciated young content creators. I hire operations people so I can focus on sales and business development. It’s a daily grind of looking at ways to improve the people and processes. We strive to get better every day.

It’s been a lot of growth hacks—social growth and sales growth—a lot of reinvesting, and a lot of strategic acquisitions to help us get to where we are now with the business.

I gotta ask you this. How the hell did you get those popular handle names?

I would love to say I have the secret sauce. To be honest, it’s mostly relationships.

The same person who helped me land the username @sports, helped me acquire @peace. @Acknowledge was someone who I spent over $100,000 on shoutouts with. @Legal was someone who wanted to work for me.

Which one? 1,2,3?

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So acquisitions mainly?

Yeah. And I made sure that everyone who was doing major things in the industry knew who we were. And, I got in very early and collaborated with the biggest influencers in the game. They knew they could trust me, given my history of making many of them very wealthy when I was solely on the buying side. So there wasn’t very much I had to do other than respond to incoming inquiries.

Lots of channels sell shoutouts. You have a different monetization strategy. Why is that — and how does it work for you?

I think the biggest difference is, like I touched on earlier, I’m much more of a general business person than a social media expert.

While others were focused on content and social growth, I was focused on scalable content systems, sales processes, other services, branding and so on.

Our monetization model is super balanced. We sell shoutouts like the others, but we’ve also built such a large network that we can offer guaranteed growth at a firm cost per follower.

We sell seven figures in apparel, we drive traffic to media content for a fixed CPC [cost-per-click], we create viral branded content and we help popularize hip hop artists, among other revenue sources. We’re always looking for new ways to profit without damaging our network.

Lots of entrepreneurs—budding entrepreneurs—are reading this. What’s your number one advice for someone who wants to start a business but still is on the fence?

I’m a big believer in taking risks and jumping at opportunities. Learn as much as you can, be great at what you’re doing, and understand that failure, at its worst, is temporary.

I got internships to learn SEO, I bought courses on social media, I’ve spent six figures on conferences and masterminds. There’s nothing more powerful than investing in knowledge and experience. Then, all it comes down to, is moving quickly and jumping at opportunities.

You can follow Brandon and NuMedia on Instagram here and here

Travel or clean? 🔥 (via @kobi_simmons2 h/t @bestcrosses)

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Entrepreneurs

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Passes Away At 41

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away earlier today in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA, according to various reports. Four other passengers, including 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died in the crash as well.

TMZ was first with the news.

The news comes as a shock to not only the basketball community, but worldwide.

Since retiring in 2016, Bryant had reinvented himself as a venture capitalist, raising $100M in 2016 for a fund that’s had made a number of successful startup investments, including Epic Games, the company behind the Fortnite craze.

As of Sept. 2019, Bryant Stibel had $2B in assets under management, invested in 28 companies, 10 exits, with three of them—Dell, Alibaba and National Vision—going public.

 

“It’s finding that winning company as an investor,” Bryant said when asked about what excited him the most: hitting the winning shot in the playoffs or finding a winning company as an investor. “Because I always expected to hit a game-winning shot growing up.”

Overall, roughly a third of the 19 active companies in the portfolio is worth more than $1B.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters, including a six-month old, born in June of last year. Along with a legacy that will live forever.

Rest in peace, Mamba.

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Entrepreneurs

Here’s How Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Starts His Day

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Apple has became a trillion-dollar company. Despite the tech giant’s great numbers, how does its CEO Tim Cook actually start his day?

In a recent Axios interview, Cook revealed he starts each day just before 4 a.m. with a strict morning routine.

What that consists of might surprise you: He reads user comments about Apple products.

“I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like this that sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,” Cook says.

In other words, he reads comments from fans, trolls and everything in between.

You’d think the CEO never bothers to read stuff like that; that he’d have an assistant ready to give him the rundown.

“And then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay.”

Workouts can be super critical. Billionaires and other successful entrepreneurs cite fitness as a key component to their success (and overall sanity).

“I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life),” Branson once wrote in a blog post. “If I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness.”

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Gary Vee’s ‘$1.80’ Instagram Strategy To Hack Your Follower Count

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Entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk—aka Gary Vee!— is one of the biggest business on social media today.

His IG currently boasts 4M followers while his YouTube has near 1.6M subscribers.

The CEO of Vayner Media, Gary uses (and absolutely loves) social media to propel the growth of his business, now valued at a whopping $125 million, which even includes a media franchise.

(And no, WealthLAB’s not for sale, G.)

Obviously, if you’re someone just starting out in business, you’re looking for ways to get your business out there. How to get more followers.

For 90%+, you pick a couple of platforms, you post. More often than not, you end up with dwindling traffic, or no shares or comments.

So how do you get around that?

According to Gary Vee, you can get more followers and more engagement through a $1.80 strategy. (Well, sorta.)

Here’s how you do it.

Make a list of every hashtag that fit the work your business does. Apart from this, check out the other tags people use when generating content similar to yours.

With this in hand, check out any hashtag for the top posts surrounding that description—and then share your two cents about it as a comment.

If you were to do this ten times over, your work would equal $0.02*9 posts*the hashtags= $1.80. (Yeah, kinda corny, but you get the logic.)

Check it out here, in his own words.

Over time, this can help you snag followers, and you will continuously learn about what matters to many of your followers.

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