In a few short years, 19-year old Austin Stenson has become one of the largest influencers and most recognizable faces in the Instagram meme community. Austin creates and features pieces of funny content daily on his Instagram page, @__extendo__, which often reverberate throughout Instagram, being reposted by dozens of other pages. He has over 1 million hyper-engaged fans, mostly composed of teenagers and college students (as well with A-list celebrities such as Bella Thorne and Diplo). Along with being a distributor of memes, he has become one himself. His face is often incorporated in memes or used as a reaction picture. With his platform has come partnership opportunities and promotional deals from brands and budding artists, looking for new and effective ways to reach young audiences.
Being within the demographic he’s posting for, Austin has his finger on the pulse of content that’s “in”. His page is regularly used as a feeding ground by larger pages looking to find content to reshare. His tweets are often reposted by more traditional internet media outlets such as Worldstar. Austin has also spurred viral crazes such as his “earth sandwich” stunt, which garnered 10s of millions of impressions.
Austin was born in Opelika, Alabama, but raised in Atlanta. He’s the youngest of 3 children, having 2 older sisters. Growing up, he’d get in trouble in school for bad behavior because he would mess around and try to be funny. When he’s away from his phone, he spends most of his time playing video games or basketball.
I had the chance to interview Austin to share his social media story.
Tell me about your Instagram journey.
Austin: If I had to summarize my Instagram journey I’d say it’s a teenager who turned nothing into something. Some of my most memorable moments is when my first meme page got deleted on Halloween 2016 and after that I made the meme page I have now and hit 100k in March just 5 months after my first page got deleted. It felt like a setback followed by a comeback. A notable event is in the summer of 2017 I beefed with smokepurpp over Bella Thorne which led to Bella Thorne and Smokepurpp following me. He even went live dissing me and me and him raided each other’s comments. And every milestone of me getting closer to a million is an achievement to me because when I first started my meme page, I didn’t think it’ll be this big. I didn’t think back in 2016 I’d have nearly a million followers, 100k+ on my personal page or nearly 100k on my twitter. So I’m proud of the support I’ve always got from the followers.
What made you start Instagram?
Austin: It was just out of boredom, I use to just watch YouTube videos a lot all summer. I also already had Instagram but I was just a regular dude who followed meme pages. Then I thought it would be cool to try to get into the meme game since I always loved memes and seen the fun in the community from the outside. The page that inspired me the most was a page called Ksteezy, that was my favorite page at the time and I wanted to be like him. But I never would I think me being bored during summer would lead me to make a life changing decision. So that’s how the extendo persona was born.
What is your advice to others who want to build a large, engaged audience?
Austin: Try to interact with your followers, as your page gets bigger it’s gonna be a lot harder to do so, so even try to interact in your comment section or do things on your page that involves engaging with your followers. And try to be personal and show your personality it what makes you different.
What are your plants for the future?
Austin: Right now I’m in college so that’s a focus of mine, I also want to continue to build my brand on my meme page, my personal page, my twitter and twitch. So hopefully more success, more business opportunities and continue to interact with my supporters
Thanks for the interview! What’s the best way for our readers to find you?
Daanish Azim – The Phonepreneur
Earlier this week I was able to sit down with Daanish Azim as we discussed his journey and how he got to where he got today.
- Hey Daanish, how old are you, where are you from, and what is it that you do?
I just turned 23 years old last month, I’m from Chicago, IL. I Currently run few online businesses such as an amazon dropshipping store, I’m building up an entrepreneur clothing brand, and I resell phones for profit as well as teach others my methods on how to flip phones for profit.
- What was the first entrepreneurial experience you had that you can remember?
The first entrepreneurial experience I would say I had was buying and reselling phones when I was around 17/18 years old just so I can make some extra income so I can help my dad as he was going through some job issues. But as my first business owner venture, I would say it really began with joining a network marketing company.
- When did you know that you wanted to work for yourself and go a different route?
I knew this at a pretty young age, but it wasn’t really until my last year of high school, that I really started studying the number of people who went to college and the amount of debt they took on for college and how long it took people to actually pay back all their student loans while they were maybe even working at a job they don’t even like. This is when I knew I had to figure out ways to work for myself and take a different route than the majority of people. Also, a quote that really stuck with me that I heard from a successful multi-millionaire was “watch the masses, do the opposite” this quote till this day sticks in my head.
- How did you get into flipping phones?
It honestly happened pretty randomly, I was always amused by the fact of flipping things to make a profit rather than just working a job to make $10/hr(or whatever per $/hr). So as I was one day looking to buy a new phone I found a nice phone at that time called a Moto X for like $150 which I knew was a good deal, so I ended up driving about an hour with my dad to go buy the phone, pretty randomly I decided to list the phone for like $280 on eBay the next day and literally the phone sold within 24 hours of my eBay listing and I was in shock. Imagine I bought a phone for 150 and sold online for 280 without much work or time involved and netted about $100 profit on that one sale, that’s when I knew there was money to be made with flipping phones and that’s how my journey started with this side hustle!
- How have you had so much success in your industry?
In simple terms I was able to figure out how to flip a phone for a profit and by doing it enough times and learning through trial and error I was able to understand this hustle A-Z and by now I’ve been able to buy well over 300-400 phones in the past few years and flip them for a profit and done well over 150k in sales with it while never having a warehouse or shop or anything, just straight out of my house mainly just leveraging my phone to do it, And now I’ve been able to start teaching some students 1on1 and coming out with a course soon to teach people how to resell phones for a profit to make additional income.
- What would you say your 3 core values are?
My 3 core values would have to be integrity, responsibility, and self-improvement.
- How have you leveraged personal branding and social media to grow your business?
I had just opened up a business Instagram page like less than 2 years ago and I’m so glad I did. By posting content and being my true-self and connecting with others it has helped in many ways. I’ve built some great connections with other like-minded individuals, been able to partner up with other people just leveraging my personal brand as well as being able to take on a few students who I’ve never met but just by leveraging and building up my personal brand it has given me so many opportunities and been able to connect and make some great friendships through it.
- What advice would you give a young person looking to get started in entrepreneurship?
One of my biggest advice would be to just get started! Most young people tend to think more and act less. I would also tell them to focus more on self-education and first start by investing into themselves and start to go to any entrepreneurial events they can get a chance to go to and try to find a mentor/coach who is where they’d like to be and is willing to guide and help them.
- What do you want your life to look like in 5 years?
5 years from now my goal is to be totally financially independent, making a positive impact, speaking on stages, helping my parents in any way, having a partner, traveling the world, giving lots back to charities, and just overall being fulfilled while still chasing a bigger dream and vision for myself.
Sports, Startups, Sneakers, Strategy: Max Martinez Envisions/Chases It All
It is not every day that you see a sportsman excel in business as much as they did as an athlete. Even so, some defy the odds and shine even more as entrepreneurs.
Max Martinez, a former Cornell running back, is a classic example of an athlete that has managed to do just that. He has overachieved in the business industry by using his athlete mentality and applying it in entrepreneurship. As the first Ivy Leaguer in his family, Martinez achieves anything into which he puts his mind. From playing college football, founding startups, working for Instagram, managing a VC firm to running his agency, he really wants it all.
Martinez is a dreamer and an achiever. In this piece well get to look at his success journey, achievements, and where he sees himself in the future.
A Brief Look into His Background
Martinez is a Miami born and raised athlete turned entrepreneur. The founder and creative director of his own agency, Maxfuture Strategies, since 2016, he focuses on solving unique problems that companies face, including strategy, advertising, content production, and software in the digital, business, and creative industries. Fluent in both English and Spanish, he is a dual citizen of Spain and the United States.
At 18, he left Miami and went to play football for the Ivy League Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he went on to play for four years. During his time there, he utilized every opportunity that came his way. While dedicating most of his time to football and his Government major, Martinez managed to start two companies, MaxyClean and Cornellious. MaxyClean was a pickup and delivery laundry service business, which he sold for $20,000 after one month, and Cornellious was a non-profit humor site that raised over $4,000 for three different charities and accumulated over 500,000 YouTube views.
After graduating with a bachelors in Government, the time for Martinez to take on new challenges in the real world.
Taking the Athlete into the Business Industry
In 2013, after graduating from Cornell University, Martinez moved to San Francisco and co-founded Phroogal. Though not easily, he managed to run a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo. With a set target of crowdfunding $75,000 in a month, Phroogal raised $78,000, becoming the first ever FinLit startup successfully crowdfunded. Investors voted them as winners of 2014’s Most Promising FinTech’ startup at the Bank Innovation’s Demovation Challenge in Seattle. Martinez then went on to work for Instagram after moving on from Phroogle.
At Instagram, he was part of a six-person team responsible for streamlining the verification process of NBA, NFL, and Premier League players. He did this for three months and moved back to New York where he became the Managing Director of a venture capital firm, General American Capital Partners. Martinez built strategies for their portfolio companies and found new investment opportunities for the company. As a long-term result, they were able to purchase FC Bordeaux of France’s Ligue 1.
Being an athlete, Martinez thrives off of challenges and competition. After achieving his goals with General American Capital Partners, he needed a new challenge. In November 2016, he moved to Madrid and founded Maxfuture Strategies.
Martinez’s Successes and Dreams
Martinez’s success story goes back to his teenage days. When he was 16, he broke Michael Vick’s all-time Nike Combine record as a junior at Belen Jesuit high school. He has continued to conquer new challenges to this day because of his love for strategies and sports. In 2016, he created the Miami Legacy MLS team concept, including the name, color scheme, logo and uniforms, for David Beckham’s MLS franchise which was endorsed by AS.com and the Miami New Times. Later on that year, Adidas chose him as a global finalist for the Real Madrid 2016-2017 alternate jersey design, which led him to successfully networking with former Nike designer, now Adidas Creative Director, Marc Dolce.
It was then when Martinez realized he wanted to take his talents to the sports apparel world. From creating strategies for Puma basketball and StockX to designing uniforms for the Long Island Nets of the NBA G-League, he has dedicated 2019 to getting his foot in the door at Nike. After finishing courses in Sneaker Ergonomics at FIT in New York City, the latest concept he’s working on, his Jordan Z1ON line for NBA rookie sensation Zion Williamson, is a project he truly believes will show that he understands the sports apparel industry from every different perspective.
A competitive athlete who has also had tryouts with the LA Galaxy of the MLS and Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G-League, Max Martinez is a true conqueror and go-getter. He has proven he is more than just an athlete. Martinez believes his elite work ethic and versatility are what make him the best.
Ryall Graber a Professional Athlete Turned Business Mogul Shares Her 5 Tips for Success
Ryall Graber the 8x IFBB Fitness Champion has now transformed her career as a successful athlete into a successful entrepreneur helping thousands of people change their lives. As a former athlete, Graber discusses how she transformed many of the habits that she developed as an athlete in the business world. Graber stresses how creating a structured group of habits can teach anyone to become more successful or happier in their lives. She then shares five different guidelines for how to shape a more successful future. She focuses much of her talk on self-belief and pushing through difficult circumstances. Furthermore, she promotes an ambitious attitude where one is setting goals high and achieving them constantly.
Tip 1: Follow Your Dreams!
Human behavior is often unpredictable. Nonetheless, Ryall Graber discusses how she felt that her transition from a dental hygienist to her athletic career just “felt right.” Despite the pragmatic and practical concerns of those around her, Graber remained confident in her decision because she felt that it was the right decision for her to make. Typically, Graber discusses, humans can naturally feel doubtful about things that scare them. She was able to squash her own fears because she felt passionate about what she wanted to do and then set about doing it.
If you are in love with your career or business, Graber argues that you will work harder to keep it going. She discusses how great ideas can only be great if you are daring enough to try them, and put them into practice. This determination will help you to set your goals and drive you forward.
Tip 2: Set Goals and Reconnect With Them Every Day
Ryall Graber then talks about how it is important to set goals. It is one thing to begin the journey, and quite another to continue the journey effectively. By setting small, achievable goals at first, one is able to gain confidence in themselves. If there are certain goals that cannot be achieved, Graber recommends evaluating and then adjusting the goals to something that is more realistic. Patience and focus are central components to future success, according to Graber. Motivation ultimately should not be something that one finds hard to come by. Re-tinkering your goals should be an effort of focus, not trying to be interested in what you do. Graber conveys that it is difficult starting out into a new career or a new job. It is important to set goals so that you do not waste time and lose the ability to improve oneself. As you set goals, it is important to constantly revisit and re-assess them to make sure that you are busy with tasks for yourself. If you are not focused, chances are you are not motivated either.
Tip 3: Don’t Let Circumstances Define You, Believe In Yourself And Never Give Up
Everyone goes through difficult situations in their lives. In order to be successful, one must be different from everyone else. When a situation might force the average person to quit, figuring out how to persevere it can be a valuable lesson. Circumstances will test your will and your love for what you want to do. If your first answer is that you don’t want to continue through your pain, it might not be the “dream” job that you want. Ryall proposes that success is like a pathway – you start at one end, and then you must journey through it in order to find it. She utilizes the analogy of “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” In order to do this, you must remain confident but learn from your mistakes.
Graber discusses how everyone runs into tough circumstances. It is important to grieve during times of loss, but at the same time use this as fuel towards never experiencing those emotions in the future. Graber frames the discussion as “every champion must start as a beginner.” By understanding that you have a lot to learn, you must avoid being overconfident and also learn from each experience. A champion’s mentality, or an athlete’s in general, comes from learning from your errors and mistakes.
Tip 4: Focus on Commitment Not Motivation
The motivation we seek will follow if you’re truly committed are to your goals. As you hit your goals your motivation will rise. It’s super important to set daily goals you can hit, as you hit your goals your confidence and motivation will rise and start to domino effect that is why being consistent is important when achieving complex goals. Once you start building the momentum you’ll be unstoppable.
Tip 5: Don’t Let Your Circumstances Define You
In Ryall’s athletic career she mentions “During my athletic career I suffered dozens of setbacks. I suffered from an eating disorder that was developed from extreme dieting as a fitness competitor, I gained and lost hundreds of pounds, I experienced low self-esteem, I experienced multiple injuries, hypothyroidism and I endured a painful divorce. She says “I am human just like you, so when I say ‘Don’t let your circumstances define you,’ it’s not from a place of judgment or from a pedestal. I say this to remind people that they’re not alone. If I can overcome and conquer then so can you and remember that regardless of whatever you’re facing in your life right now, there is only one person that can change it. It’s YOU!”
In order to achieve your dreams, one must know what they are. Brainstorm ideas of what interests you and drives you every day. Ryall says that ‘clarity of knowing exactly what you want to achieve will give you power. And once you find them, commit to them 100% and continue to ignite the inner flame within you. It will take time to achieve them, it will even take time to fully understand what passion really feels like, but as you continue this journey it will mold and sculpt the person you were destined to become.’
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