The internet is a strange place. If you can find a niche, you can sell pretty much anything – and do a really good job doing so.
Jason’s story is an awesome example of this, and, as you’ll learn, all it takes is one hit to get yourself going.
Hey Jason! Introduce yourself! Tell us about where you went to school, where you have worked, and what you are up to nowadays.
My name is Jason Wong, I’m 20 years old and currently reside in Irvine, California. Before moving to Irvine, I lived in Canada and went to high school at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute. I started my own company when I was 16, an apparel brand called Trendyco that catered to the Tumblr audience as the hub for everything Tumblr. Later on, I created Fifthtee, an apparel brand that donates a fifth of the proceeds to saving homeless animals. With my knowledge gained as an influencer, I started a digital marketing agency named Wonghaus Media, and subsequently worked on a few more projects that I manage under the parent company Wonghaus Ventures.
Nowadays, I spend most of my days working on growing Wonghaus Ventures and Wonghaus Media as well as working as a consultant to businesses in LA and SF. Under Wonghaus Media, I am working with my team to create a meme product innovation lab, called Dank Tank (like think tank but for memes). We have four product launches coming this year.
You went to school for a bit! What was the most valuable thing you took out of school?
The most valuable thing that I took out of school wasn’t a particular skillset, but rather a discovery of my internal strength and weakness through different challenges that my teachers put me through. I learned that I enjoyed working alone, and when in group settings, take leadership roles to finish the projects. My weakness was time management. I don’t allocate my time properly to certain tasks, and as a result end up finishing them last minute.
All in all, school taught me to pay more attention to myself, and in turn, discovered things that helped me in succeeding in what I do today, and improve myself in ways that helps me move forward.
What was the scariest thing about leaving school? What helped you get through that?
The scariest thing about leaving school was the idea of not having things laid out for you to do. When I was in school, I followed a set schedule, and worked on assignments given. Out in the real world as an entrepreneur, it became my responsibility to set my own schedule, and make sure that I am doing the proper things to grow the company. The lack of direction at first was definitely scary, but it eases down once things stabilize.
What would you tell people thinking about dropping out?
Have a plan A, and a plan B.
Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you drop out. It’s fine to drop out and travel the world and discover yourself. At least that’s a plan. Make sure you lay out the steps to fix things if something goes wrong. What if your startup fails? Do you have an agreement with the university to continue your education? If you don’t plan on going back to the university, do you have an emergency fund to get you through the rough times before you get more funding?
It’s very easy to just drop out, but always prepare and double prepare in case things goes wrong.
Tell us about how you view personal branding. If you had to restart tomorrow how would you build up your own personal brand?
I value personal branding more and more as I grow older because I realized that it is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. It is your reputation as a founder, as a human, and in every aspect of your social interactions. Investors will value your projects more if your credibility is strong. That is one of the main reasons why I have been keen on polishing my personal brand over the years.
If I started with a blank slate tomorrow, I would first use my expertise to take clients on for free, and use that to build a portfolio and strengthen my network.
If I started with a blank slate tomorrow, I would first use my expertise to take clients on for free, and use that to build a portfolio and strengthen my network. With an extensive portfolio, I would leverage that to take on more clients for a fee. After working with over a dozen clients, I would write up case stories and publish as blog posts. I would then pay social traffic to my blog to increase my SEO, and leverage that to land speaking gigs as a ‘social media insider’.
Has having a big following helped you launch businesses? What are the clear advantages you see come out of investing in your social media presence?
My social media following was the first thing that I leveraged to grow my first apparel company. I feel that with a big social media presence, you’re able to solidify the brand with a face behind the brand, increasing the brand credibility. Additionally, you can test different ad campaigns on your own accounts before venturing out to paid social traffic or influencer marketing with other people, which would cost money. Having a social media following of your own also allows you to test things out before scaling it.
Tell us about the Meme Bible. What have you learned from building it to success so quickly?
Everything happened so quickly, so I needed to adapt to scaling the business to 6 figures in roughly 7 days. I learned to set up all the logistics in time to prepare for the influx of orders, and delegate tasks to the right people so I can focus on things that requires my attention. The biggest lesson taken from the Meme Bible wasn’t anything special, but rather fundamental accounting. Because of miscommunications and several errors with numbers, I made 5 figures less than what I could of made. I learned to double check all my numbers, because when the volume is so high, even a few cents can add up to tens of thousands.
My dad said that the best way to learn how to swim is to be thrown into the pool. Starting the meme bible was like being throw into the ocean. I had to learn to scale everything properly and maintain the numbers. I had to reply to hundreds of emails and inquiries, and everything was overwhelming me at once.
I had to launch ad campaigns on instagram, twitter, and tumblr. I made all the ad creatives myself overnight, and launch and manage every single one of them throughout the day. I had to be on call with the supplier to make sure the books were coming in on time and had no faulty issues. It was a crazy time, but I loved every moment of it.
The quickest way to make anything viral is to make them laugh.
People love novelty items, and I made sure my book deliveries exactly that. I customized my websites to make it ‘meme’able. I made a humorous FAQ and testimonial section that was full of jokes. People laugh, and they’re happy, so they share it. I got tens of thousands of traffic through just people’s word of mouth. The quickest way to make anything viral is to make them laugh. When you make people laugh, they’re more susceptible to share because they want to make others laugh too. Humor is a powerful tool, and everyone wants to be powerful.
Another thing that I added was “Vegan”, “Gluten free”, and “organic” options. The only difference was that there was a sticker on the book. I charged people an extra $0.50 and people still purchased it. It was funny, and people bought it because it gave them the power to be funny in front of others. That was what made me a quarter million dollars in a month.
If you had one piece of advice for people looking to start more projects, what would it be?
Know what your weaknesses are and build the right team that can best help.
Know what your weaknesses are and build the right team that can best help. I was so used to working alone until I got a great partner, who took so much weight off my shoulders. A smart co-founder would delegate tasks properly and make sure he or she are focusing on things that matters most. Secondly, don’t get involved in too many things at once. It is better to focus 100% in 2 projects than 60% in 4 projects. I made the mistake of putting too much on my plate, and it gets overwhelming at times.
What have you learned about viral marketing? What would you tell someone who is interested in marketing for their career?
As long as you provoke someone’s emotions, engage with them, you will be able to convince them to share the content.
Anything can go viral if you really want it to be. There’s certain viral elements that you will find in common in most viral content. As long as you provoke someone’s emotions, engage with them, you will be able to convince them to share the content. Humor content works the best in my opinion. Don’t try to do shock videos for the sake of virality, it’s very easy to spot those unnatural ones. Study on past cases and see what elements overlap, and try to replicate it piece by piece in your own style.
Do you have any mentors? Who and where did you find them?
I don’t have a mentor specially but I have close friends that I consult with. Such as Sydney Liu (CEO of Commaful) who I got intro’d to because he was interested in working together to market his startup. Another role model for me is my good friend Goldie Chan (Dir. of Marketing @ SumAll) who is an incredible person and gives me advice in a different perspective. I found her through a networking group focused on Asian Americans in Media and Marketing.
What is the worst advice someone has ever told you?
“Go back to school”
Where can people find you and what opportunities are you looking for? (Twitter, linkedin, personal site, medium, etc).
Looking to mentor students who are passionate about what they do and is willing to dedicate time to learn.
Questions for the Student Hustle Community:
Why do you want to do what you want to do?
What is your purpose?
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