9 min read
This article has been translated from our English edition.
When Laurence Moss was 12, he decided to try his luck and become a YouTuber. I got a quick and tough lesson on cyberbullying. As he recalls, “people seemed to be making fun of my amateur videos by speaking in front of a camera.”
So he switched his career. At the age of 13, she took to Instagram and experimented with themed reporting on everything from memes to cars, with less emphasis on her own face and personality. By the end of 2018, he had garnered more than a quarter of a million followers and realized that he had the ability to understand what attracted people to other users’ content.
The following year, aged just 14, Moss started his marketing agency Greedy Growth from his home in Kent, UK. In its own words, the company is “turning your Instagram page into a marketing asset,” and has clients like soccer star Joel Mumbongo and organic food brand Ossa Organic.
Moss, who also zooms in from his home office and continues to struggle with high school while leading Greedy Growth’s remote sales, operations, and customer service teams, spoke to us about his daily routine and whether he likes the social networks can still enjoy as a young man.
(ENT): What’s it really like to run a business like this from home with a remote computer while you’re still in school?
Laurence Moss (LM): There are employees in many different countries. We have freelancers in the UK and all of the people working under me are independent contractors. Some work a few hours a day. They’re people on a Slack channel, and I have people in different roles across the company doing different jobs. One of the reasons I was able to climb so much at school as a young man is because I could see the things that I need to delegate so that I can spend as little time as possible on the right things.
ENT: This also happens in connection with a pandemic. Is this a balancing act that you think most students could achieve, or are you just different?
LM: I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. It was a hobby for me, a kind of desire to build communities on Instagram. Spend about a year without monetization. Not everyone can handle it. It really depends on the person. Yes, it has been difficult over the past few months, but I’ve realized that this is only part of the process. And if I want to climb I have to do it.
ENT: Have you ever felt like you missed the fun of being a teen on Instagram when you keep thinking about using it for your business?
LM: Yeah, don’t get me wrong I have an Instagram account where I talk to my friends and all of those things. I am like almost everyone. I participate in Instagram as a consumer and I think this in some ways helps me understand the position brands are in when trying to reach their consumers.
ENT: How did you come across brands that were skeptical because of your youth?
LM: The reach doesn’t stop when you run a business. I don’t think there’s a point where you stop exposing yourself. We’re definitely using an aggressive scaling strategy to help brands understand how our service can benefit them. Of course there will be people who might not trust a 16 year old for their marketing investment, but here in the UK you can register a business at that age. And in the past year and a half, we’ve built enough success stories to show people that we’re a real marketing company and that we can get results.
When I started the company, I was 14 years old and received calls from business owners. When I showed confidence in knowing my job, which was Instagram marketing, they dared to give me their marketing budget. But there will always be some business owners trying to haggle and take advantage of my age. It’s just about understanding that if you think you can get it because I am 16, I will not compromise the price I am offering for my services. Sometimes when you start a business at a young age you can fall into the trap of making such sales. You need to set an end result no matter how much money you make.
ENT: Who inspired your entrepreneurial mindset? Your family? Did you have entrepreneurs you admired?
LM: My brother is in college and has had a very academic career. My parents firmly believe in school. Obviously, they realized that I was probably more of an entrepreneur, but I never had a mentor. There are industry leaders that I look up to like Gary V. There is a UK based influencer marketing agency called Goat Agency that is quite large and has 200 employees.
I admire these types of people, but I wouldn’t say anyone held my hand. And I think part of the reason I’ve got to where I am now is because I was almost an entrepreneur. So no one took my hand or told me to do any of this. I had to go out alone and study. If I hadn’t had the drive to figure things out for myself and be curious, I probably wouldn’t have succeeded at all.
ENT: It also seems that you are still undecided about whether to continue juggling your studies and business endeavors in the future, or to just focus on one thing.
LM: Maybe you still want to go to college. I have not decided yet. Chances are, in due course, I will choose not to go to college and do business full time. Not that it’s not really a business anymore, but you know I spend more time on it than I ever could.
ENT: Instagram and social media marketing are becoming saturated spaces. Are you looking for the next market?
LM: Over-saturated is likely a word that is overused on social media platforms. I think there will always be audiences that hang out on social media platforms. As long as you are ahead of the pack when it comes to the trends on these platforms, there is a way to reach that audience. For example, when TikTok hit the market it obviously caught the attention of Instagram, but they made reels that were trying to win back a bit of that market. I see Instagram is pretty long-term, but obviously you never know what’s going to happen and what the next Instagram is going to be.
For me, it’s about which platform can help the brands we work with achieve the greatest awareness right now. That’s why I chose Instagram and that’s why we’re sticking to Instagram until now.
ENT: Are there guidelines for you to follow ethical standards as the business becomes more profitable?
LM: To be honest, what makes me happiest isn’t necessarily the money side, but the growth of my idea. We started working with professional British footballers earlier this year and it’s really interesting to me how I can bet on this idea and turn it into something real and make a difference.
ENT: If you could say something to people who used to buckle you up, what would it be?
LM: It’s about empathy and understanding; I don’t hate anyone for the decisions or actions they make. A lot of the people who did that sort of thing back then are now my friends. I think the only reason I persevered is because I learned to stay on my own track. Other people’s decisions or thoughts don’t really make a difference to me. I have a strong support network of really caring friends and family, and what they tell me has an impact. But I take whatever someone outside of this group says with a grain of salt. You never know where what someone is saying comes from.