Jason Wong was a Tumblr influencer with over a million followers who decided to turn his digital influence into cash. Learn more about him during this engaging and super insightful interview.
City where you’re from: Born in Hong Kong, currently residing in Irvine, California
Hobbies: Spa, trying new restaurants, traveling
Favorite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
Very nice meeting you Jason, can you talk a bit into how did you get started into entrepreneurship?
When I immigrated to America with my mum in 2005, we didn’t bring much with us. Growing up being the only child, I knew that I didn’t make a change, no one else in my family could. To me, entrepreneurship is more of a mindset, rather than just the act of starting your own business. I knew that I desired to create my own path since i was young, and that given the proper resources, I too, can create multiple companies. My mother’s health deteriorated back in 2012, and besides my stepfather, I was the only person that she could depend on. I created my first business Trendyco to make myself less reliant on my parents financially, but also hoping that it will sprout into something bigger that can provide us with financial stability.
Who were your biggest influences? Was there a defining moment in your life?
My dad wasn’t a big-time entrepreneur, but he was hard working and wanted to start his own construction firm to provide his family with a better life. Growing up, I actually didn’t want to be my dad, who worked long hours at the construction sites and never had time for his family. Now, I found myself doing the same amount of hours, and finally understanding why my dad went into entrepreneurship. While being an entrepreneur meant that he had to sacrifice a lot of time away from his family, it resulted in a greater time flexibility and financial situation, so he was able to take time off to take me on trips whenever he wanted and bought me things that I wanted as a kid. My dad taught me to look at the world from different perspectives, and to try to enjoy life in the absence of wealth. There wasn’t a single moment in my life that pushed me to become an entrepreneur, but rather small events of seeing my friends succeeding combined with my desire to exceed them.
What’s your current venture about?
I’m currently working Fifthtee, an apparel brand that pledges a fifth of its proceeds to Best Friends Animal Society, which is the nation’s largest no-kill shelter. I also founded Wonghaus Media, a full-service digital marketing agency that works with brands and individuals to develop engaging and viral content and optimize their digital presence. Under Wonghaus, we also have an eCommerce division that owns 4 stores.
What triggered your idea?
Since I started my first clothing store Trendyco when I was 16, I had a background in eCommece and apparel and I wanted to use this experience to pursue a venture that benefits a cause that I am passionate about. I saw the horrifying statistics of homeless animals in the United States, and the amount of them that gets put down each week. I wanted to take action, and do so in a way that is scalable and sustainable.
I started Wonghaus Media from my time as an influencer on Social Media. As influencers, we control a large part of the social media that we spend time on, making contents viral and curating things that gets read by millions of people each day. At this day and age, social media influence is a currency that many companies would trade for money. A product can be an absolute 10/10 but would be worthless if no one sees it and no one can give a value to it. I wanted to bridge the gap between influencers and brands that needs exposure, and so I created Wonghaus Media.
Let’s delve into more specifics: How is your service killing it? Who are your customers and how do you find them?
At Wonghaus Media, we work to solve a problem as old as commerce itself: how do I market my product? We embrace the emerging dominance of influencer marketing in order to market a variety of viral products. We set ourselves apart from competitors with our experience in social media marketing and our connections within the influencer world. Since Wonghaus sells its own products and consults other businesses, our customers range from your average internet denizen to businesses looking to broaden their market share. Our customers come to us because they recognize our brand from the various marketing campaigns they see across a multitude of social media outlets. Personally, I myself oversee all marketing campaigns, acquire new consulting customers, research viral products, and recruit new talent. My partner, Jonathan Ge, handles all the finances, utilizes various analytical tools to optimize our business operations, oversees our employees, and also helps to develop new products and services. We are confident that within one year, we will grow Wonghaus into a multi-million dollar company.
I love that you are not only focused on the money but that you are also working to improve the lives of animals. Can you tell us more about the vision that you have for Fifthtee?
At Fifthtee, we envision a future where every animal has a loving home. Currently, over 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year because shelters cannot find a home for them. We at Fifthtee see this as a huge problem. As such, we sell a variety of apparel and accessories dedicated to combat against animal homelessness. 20% of all profits are donated directly to animal shelter and sanctuaries. There are no currently no other apparel company focused on animal homelessness. Our customers recognize this uniqueness and buy our products because they believe in animal activism. We reach our consumer base mainly through social media marketing. Specifically, we use Tumblr and Instagram as we find the users of both social media outlets to closely mirror our target market. I am in charge of organizing our marketing efforts, creating new clothing designs with our designer Pedro Dioniso, and recruiting new interns. Meanwhile, my co-founder, Jonathan Ge, manages the financial aspects of the company, helps to creating new designs, and manages our interns.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
The best time to start anything is right now. Start a venture that you’re passionate about because entrepreneurship is so physically and mentally draining that it is only worth it if it is intrinsically fulfilling.
Teach us something about social media and influence. How can someone get in on that?
Purchasing a high-level social media account is the best investment you can make with $10,000. By having social media influence, you can work with brands and sponsors for money, as well as promote your own ventures for little to no cost. If you’re tired of it, you can sell the account back for the same price or more if it has grown in terms of followers since you purchased it. Purchasing a digital asset like this isn’t really common, but it is the fastest way to earn money and grow your own brand at the same time.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
I think the single most important thing an entrepreneur should focus on is their physical and mental health. We can talk about goals, assets, networking all day, but none of that matters if the individual is not healthy enough to perform at their best. It is important to take breaks when necessary. I really dislike the notion that you should work 18 hour days to be a true start-up founder. It’s not healthy and should not be encouraged.
Any favorite reads?
Super basic, but “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is up there on my list. It made me think differently when confronted by strangers and difficult problems. Another one of my favorite is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. His teachings in the book really shaped how I think of myself as an entrepreneur and how I should conduct my day-to-day life.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
Last year, I created the Holy Meme Bible, a children’s activity book based on Internet memes that sold over 20,000 copies in a month. I plan to take this product and make it an annual edition with each year’s best Internet Memes. We were in talks with Urban Outfitters for retailing, and I hope to take this product and make it a series. For myself, I think I will continue to pursue ventures that I am passionate about. I don’t like staying on a single project for too long, and I am always exploring new ways to dive into fields that I had no prior experience in. I am a firm believer in learning by doing, and I hope to keep learning.
Studio photos credit: @issac_photography Issac Chan | @Chrisleestudios Chris Lee
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