Digital Marketing

Iman Gadzhi

How I Went From A Personal Trainer To A 20 Year Old Millionaire.

Digital Marketing
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June 24, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My name’s Iman Gadzhi, I’m an entrepreneur, run a digital marketing agency, and the world’s leading online agency education company: On my YouTube account, I document my daily life and give advice on entrepreneurialism, and specifically running a social media marketing agency (SMMA). Whilst I primarily produce my own content, I also work with a videographer and various team members.

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory!

In the last few years, I’ve grown my education company and digital marketing agency to six figure businesses, and even launched my own clothing line. At the age of 18, I made my first million dollars in profit.

BUT, I take great pride in the fact that if you scroll down to the bottom of my YouTube channel, you’ll find my first ever video uploaded when I was still working as a personal trainer.

Because for the past four years, I’ve documented nearly every second, hour and day of my life. It’s equally important to me to create inspirational and educational content for my incredible audience as it is to show my journey: the ups and downs and everything it’s taken to get me where I am now.

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

I try and treat my content like any entrepreneur should approach their business: what do customers want, and does it solve a problem they have?

That’s why I dedicate so much time to producing high-quality, genuinely informative content about entrepreneurship and running an SMMA.

I’m also incredibly lucky to have a dedicated and active subscriber base who constantly suggest ideas for videos. These can vary between general questions like which do I recommend, Kindles or Books, to more specific queries like the best outreach method for SMMA.

All this being said, I know my subscribers find incredible value in my vlogs, and more general updates about my life. Occasionally I have to remember that at 20, many of my followers look to me for inspiration and find equal value in seeing me chilling in an incredible villa in Bali or Cape Town as hardcore agency education.

What are the tools and platform you use to help with your brand?

Behind most videos on my channel are two simple bits of kit: my Sony α7R III and Final Cut Pro. 

It’s great that I’m able to shoot and edit my own content (and think this is an essential skill for nearly everyone) but I’m also lucky to be able to work with a host of incredibly-talented videographers and content creators in their own right.

YouTube is my primary channel as a creator but I am active on the others. That being said, I much prefer YouTube as it’s the most efficient platform for creators. I get to schedule my content, don’t have to worry constantly about stories and can just focus on high-quality content.

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

I think every content creator is scared of the same things when they first start out: what people will think of them, how people will react, and being in front of the camera. Ultimately, once I got started I learned not to care what people think, to take peoples’ reactions with a pinch of salt, and that you only get better in front of the camera with practice.

It’s incredibly important that you take the first step as soon as possible - that’s the hardest step.

Even if it means pointing your iPhone at yourself and talking for five minutes about nonsense, your second video will be better than your first.

As a self-made man, I still get daily comments accusing me of flexing my parents’ money. I can either get angry at these and respond to each one or laugh.

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

Consistency is incredibly important in becoming a creator. You’re not just producing content to be consumed, you’re building a relationship with your audience. They want to see and hear from you they would in any other relationship. And as well as speaking, you also need to listen to your audience. I love responding to comments, and genuinely getting to know my subscribers. 

It’s also important to remember that you’re not going to be popular for a while, it took me 13 month of posting 2-3 videos a week spending 15+ hours filming and editing videos to reach 1,000 subs on Youtube. You may not see the crazy numbers you expect. That’s why it’s so important to build a real relationship with your audience. I’d rather 100 followers who know the ‘real’ me, than 1,000 subscribers who never watch.

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

As I’ve said previously, the most important step is to get started. The adage of ‘you’ll be glad you started in a year’s time’ holds particularly true here. 

Also remember to remain authentic and not to try and contrive a ‘brand’. People can sniff this out and you’ll look back and cringe. Speak honestly and from the heart.

One of my favourite tricks is taken directly from Stephen Graham. He recommends having a coffee before you film anything: genuine enthusiasm is great, but if you need to fake it, caffeine does a great job.

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

I dropped out of high-school age 17. I’ve never worked a 9-5 job and kind of went ‘all-in’ from the very start. 

That being said, I don’t recommend this to anyone. You can grow a brand and a business in your spare time before quitting your day job.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

A couple of months ago, I was in the capital city of Nepal, on my way to the remote countryside to visit schools we were helping to build. 

As I walked through departures, one of my subscribers stopped me and shook my hand. It was a surreal moment and it really reinforced to me the power of creating real connections with people.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

As much as I’d like to tell you that growing a brand is as simple as posting great content and being yourself, it takes a hell of a lot of a work. 

I employ a variety of strategies from SEO, PR and giveaways to grow my brand consistently. I track and implement new tags frequently with the help of TubeBuddy, respond to as many comments as I can, and am currently experimenting with uploading my own subtitles (apparently these are SEO-crawlable).

Whilst I love collabs, I’m incredibly careful who I collaborate with: my brand aNd personal reputation is more important to me than anything else.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

Currently, I don’t accept any deals, sponsorships or promotions. 

For the time being, I consider this a distraction from my other business activities and every promotion runs the risk of harming my relationship with my audience. 

That being said, I will regularly promote or review (for free) anything I genuinely use. For example, I recently uploaded a video reviewing my Apple Watch.

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