COLORADO SPRINGS — Many teens dream of becoming a social media influencer on sites like Tik Tok and Instagram, but the reality is only a handful of people actually make it big.
What is the key to success?
News 5 sat down with a young Colorado Springs entrepreneur to find out how he's using the power of social media to build his business.
There are videos and web articles all over the Internet claiming to show you how to make money on Tik Tok or YouTube, but Sebastian Wolfgram says there's no such thing as fast and easy money without having some type of business plan or model in place.
Wolfgram, 18, is the owner of ShowCar Auto Spa--a mobile detailing company in southern Colorado. He attributes his success to having a clear business model and then utilizing free social media platforms as a way to advertise and earn new clients.
News 5 asked, "When you think of someone who is only 18-years-old, most people would think about a high school senior who is about to go to college. You took a different route?"
"I just didn't feel it was for me," he said. "I've always had my heart leaning towards being an entrepreneur which business school is great for that. However, a lot of these kids who are 18-years-old, they sign on to these student loans which rack up for years. By the time they are 40, they may have a high paying job, but they're not going to have that income to pay off that debt super fast."
Wolfgram says the average 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job just didn't appeal to him. Before running ShowCar Auto Spa, he worked in the restaurant industry. He says he quickly learned that type of job provided little satisfaction for him.
Wolfgram says he eventually started trying to earn extra money by flipping electronics, furniture and cars on online. He then used that cash flow to save up enough money to invest in a mobile detailing van.
He admits he doesn't have decades of experience in the auto detailing industry. This business venture all started with a simple hobby and drive to become successful.
"A lot of kids our age lack the motivation to be able to go out and hustle," he said. "They're trying to make quick money in Cryprto, stocks and stuff like that. I'm trying to build a business."
Wolfgram uses nothing more than a camera to show Tik Tok fans the ins and outs of his auto detailing company. He has been successful with attracting followers and fans from around the country.
"I've always been into social media and thought why not use social media as an advantage," he said. "There's billions of users. We've actually grown our Tik Tok to about 50,000 followers in the span of about 2 months. That's really benefited us. It brings in clients and it's really important to us."
News 5 followed up by asking, "What happens if Tik Tok goes away? At some point the next big thing is going to come around?"
"You have to jump platforms," he said. " If you don't stay with the trends, you will not keep up. People are flocking to social media and they're seeing you. Let's say Tik Tok dies, some other company will produce the next Tik Tok."
While Wolfgram says Tik Tok has been a huge marketing tool for attracting new clients, he adds that customer satisfaction and the drive to do the job right are equally as important.
News 5 asked, "What is the hardest part or challenge you face as a young business owner?"
"I think it's ageism," Wolfgram said. "A lot of people look at me and they're like he's 18 years old and he doesn't know what's he's doing."
That couldn't be farther from the the truth, according to Wolfgram. He says in the short time his company has been up and running, he now has two employees and caters to both high end clients with fancy sports cars to the everyday "family" car owner.
Wolfgram says he has no plans of slowing down. In addition to mobile detailing, he also does ceramic coatings and more complex jobs out of his garage. He says his next plan is to secure a shop location to expand.
News 5 asked, "Do you ever wonder (as a young entrepreneur), what if this plan falls apart? What if it doesn't work?"
"I'll start right over again," he said. "I wake up each day acting like I have nothing and that's how I keep going."
Wolfgram's social media presence continues to grow on a weekly basis. Because of his age, we asked him what advice he has for young entrepreneurs who look up to him for advice.
"Stay dedicated, stay unique and set a goal," he said. "A lot of people don't set goals. I try to set daily goals, one month goals, three month goals and then an end goal."
Wolfgram says he starts his days around 6 or 7 a.m. and tries to post video content daily for his Tik Tok followers. He says on any given day, his company can do 2-4 detailing projects but adds that he's more focused on quality work over quantity.