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Justin Lam is the CEO of MogulX Marketing– a modern-day marketing agency that helps businesses utilize cutting-edge social media strategies to effectively grow their brands and bring in more revenue.
A natural-born leader and an evolving entrepreneur, Justin discusses his journey as a 17 year old founder, and the lessons he’s learning along the way as he navigates the world of business.
1. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I always knew I wanted to do something in the business sphere. I’m a natural leader, love creating things,take things seriously (sometimes I might be a bit too serious), have high levels of ambition and drive, and hate taking orders and being in a subordinate position. I didn’t venture into thinking about starting my own company until my sophomore year in high school.
I remember as I kid I would look up things like“how to make a lot of money” and “how to be a CEO,” or even just “how to be successful.”At the time it hadn’t occurred to me that I could ACTUALLY go out and start something on my own,presumably because society has it so ingrained it us that the lofty CEO position, or even just the title of successful entrepreneur, can only be obtained if one is either a genius inventor, or a fifty-something with a degree from a prestigious university who’s taken years and years to climb up the corporate ladder.
And so I would continue on to move from new passion to new passion, trying to become wildly successful at multiple things. First it was basketball, then it was making music, and finally I arrived at fitness. My love of working out and nutrition was the first instance of me actually taking something so seriously to the point where I adopted it as a lifestyle. I grew almost addicted to the feeling of mini-successes –
I would physically see my body change and get stronger every day as I put in work. That translated into further growth of my ambition and the level of seriousness I put into my craft. Fitness actually instilled in me the value of discipline and even some fundamental business principles, and little did I know, it would grow into something much bigger than I could ever imagine at the time. To put it shortly, when I was 15 I started growing a small Instagram following by posting my daily progress, workouts, and physique updates. Little by little I would come across other young, ambitious,
and like-minded individuals who were already dominating their niches and starting and scaling businesses, creating influential personal brands, and documenting their journeys.
I saw one similarity between all of their ventures – they all took advantage of the incredible digital and social landscape that we live in today. At 16 I’d network with them occasionally to give and receive value, and at one point I even decided to start my own supplement brand.
That of course was just one example of a failed business, but I jumped ship after it didn’t make sense to continue, asked people in my network a little bit more about starting an online business, and took the leap. I started with learning how to grow my personal brand, moved on to affiliate marketing, and then eventually started up my main business, my marketing agency, as well. I’m 17 now, and those three businesses are currently my most profitable ventures.
I plan on keeping them for at least the next 2-3 years.
2. One interesting thing to note about you is that you’re not the typical high school dropout – in your situation, you’ve put a huge twist on it. What makes you different?
I actually dropped out of my last two years of high school to attend college early, full time. I even attended Stanford classes in the summer quarter of 2017. Not your typical high school dropout situation, and it’s actually pretty funny when people ask me, I explain, and they try to wrap their heads around this concept. I’ve always performed at a high level academically, but mainly as a result of my work ethic and disinterest
with all of the things that many teenagers do – drink, smoke, take drugs, party, worry about petty relationships, and generally just disregard goal setting and living for something greater.
3. What do you see in the social media marketing space that makes you such an outspoken advocate of it?
It’s the way forward for all businesses. If a business isn’t online and on social media, they’re missing out, no matter what industry. There’s at the very least one relevant platform for everyone – LinkedIn for B2B,Instagram for ECommerce, Facebook for local biz, etc. You can play both sides on social media. Build a genuine brand through valuable content and influencers, or drive leads and sales, or both. You’re people
collecting in as many ways as possible, which is powerful.
It’s no longer about shooting in the dark, which is exactly what things like TV commercials and billboards are. There are so many ways to measure your ROI, and you actually get to re-market to a very specific audience and build a tribe that actively wants to purchase from you and share your story. In most cases, commercials, flyers, postcards, and billboards only turn out to waste businesses’ marketing budgets. The fact that you can easily and accurately segment out exactly which audiences you want to spend money on is already insane.
Add on the fact that you can actively build rapport with those audiences through valuable content (which means they don’t even feel like they’re getting sold on a product/service), and it’s pretty much a no-brainer to get on social.
4. What are some of the challenges and failures you faced when growing your marketing agency?
There was never one big failure, but I’ve had many series of failures all strung together. In the beginning, it was getting my first client after getting so many doors I thought were open slammed in my face. Towards the middle it was undercharging for my services and not knowing what I was worth. Now, it’s issues with scale, and putting systems and processes in place so that my workload doesn’t shoot through the roof. At this point, as a business owner I have to aggressively protect my time. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s a much better long-term move to give up my short-term gratification of receiving a bigger cut of the revenue in favor of building an elite team and delegating client work to them.
Although it may seem like I’m making less money, what it does is free up my time so that I can focus on the stuff that actually brings in more business, which is outreach, closing deals, building my personal brand, putting
systems in place, and networking with high-level individuals.
5. Jumping over to the personal brand side of things – why is it so significant to put yourself out there on social media, document your story, and provide value?
Without my personal brand, I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much opportunity as I did. A few of my clients came through my personal brand. I met both of my business partners, and a majority of my team, through my personal brand as well.
Eventually, as long as I keep documenting and giving value to my audience, I know it will pay back tenfold when I launch a digital product, promote a big affiliate offer, host
meet ups and events, or even close deals with high-level individuals. Your personal brand on social media often acts as your resume in the B2B space, even more often than your resume actually does its job.
People can see your entire journey and you building something from the ground up, instead of just words on a piece of paper. It also acts as a passive attention stream – a way for you to follow up with your connections or prospects without even having to say anything to them directly.
6. You’re big on a holistic approach when it comes to business. Why isn’t it just hustle and grind?
I’ve studied my mentors and some of the people I have genuine respect for, because they’ve achieved genuine, sustainable, and actually, still pretty swift success. All of them took a holistic approach in one form or another. Forget the quotes about “I’ve got a dream that’s worth more than my sleep” or all this other rah rah BS.
Those are for people that read quotes all day, post about how hard they grind on social
media, and then go back to partying or playing video games or whatever the hell they did in the first place. Your health needs to be a priority if you are to consistently perform at your very best. I no longer believe in the “I’m going to lock myself in a room for 16 (highly inefficient) hours a day” or sleeping at 4 am and waking up at noon. I also don’t do half-assed work by blasting loud music and checking my phone every 2
minutes. However, I do meditate – not for some abstract reason, but to crush everyone else when it comes to focus and deep work.
I do have a set morning and night routine, complete with affirmations, visualization, gratitude exercises, and a lot of other incredibly powerful mindset exercises. I do make sure my sleep is on point. I do hit the gym 3-4+ times a week. These, combined with a complete overhaul of my mindset and how I thought about the nature of power, money, and success, are all things that I’ve applied once I moved away from the lower paradigm of grind, grind, grind. My efficiency as an entrepreneur has increased exponentially since.
7. Have you had any mentors who have helped you get to where you are now?
Definitely. I’ve personally had a few that I would consider “major influences” on my journey. I’ve also had 8-10 people I consider “coaches” that have helped me learn specific skills. The right coaches and mentors can completely change the way you capitalize opportunities that come your way, and the best ones can completely change your direction, not only in business, but in life as well.
8. What are your top 3 lessons that you can impart to young, aspiring entrepreneurs?
● Learn to be patient. A big part of that revolves around limiting your usage of social media. Sounds counter-intuitive because you see me doing all of these incredible things with social media, but when it comes to personal life and your vision, don’t let it interfere. Granted, I’m not telling you to shut yourself off, because opportunities manifest often through the proper use of social, but my point is that social media is also very superficial. People naturally will only show the best parts of their lives, and even then, lots of people put up facades and document fake experiences.
Don’t let yourself get caught up by putting yourself back into the cycle of watching others achieve “fast success,” because in reality, a large number of them don’t actually have it as good as they like to portray, and yet another large number of them have put in countless hours and made tons of sacrifices to get where they are. Don’t fall victim to the idea of overnight success -entrepreneurship is not easy. Learn to take the good with the bad, have an almost foolish belief in your vision, and stay persistent. Success doesn’t favor desperation and neediness.
It favors those who have the abundance mindset, long before they achieve any real measure of success. Your time will come.
● Focus on one thing in the beginning. Don’t get distracted by so many opportunities that you become a jack of all trades. Specialize first. Once you’ve built a stable source of income with one financial vehicle, try to build another, one at a time.
● Stay grounded and work on yourself. Especially if you’re in B2B, or even just any business model that requires you to directly deal with people. This is why I emphasize personal development so much. For example, your mind needs to be in the right place when you close clients. You need to have conviction in the things you think and say, and especially if you’re young, you need to be able to show that you are the expert in your craft and flip the script. Even if you’re in B2C, you still eventually have to lead a team. If you’re not grounded and self-aware, you can’t expect to have your team follow you. Once you start becoming self-aware, you’ll start to know your worth and what you deserve. Miraculous things will manifest as soon as you understand that concept.
9. What legacy do you hope to leave?
I want to let other people in my generation know that it’s OK to want more out of life, and to have these huge ambitions. There are so many people who don’t act out of fear, whether it’s because they’re young, they don’t have much money, or they’re afraid of leaving their old selves behind. It’s an obligation for me to inspire them, and to let them know that this is the craziest and most opportunity-filled time to be alive. This is why I document my journey and give out so much value.
I want to help them understand that success is very real – they just have to believe it and take massive action to back it up