Becoming an overnight success is highly unlikely, even when you feel you have everything working in your favor it’s still extremely hard to make favorable profits right from the beginning, I’ve been working at this for a few years and just now starting to make some headway
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dustin Tyler. He is a rising social media star and dominating the influencer market @iamdustintyler. Dustin has spent the last 2 years building his brand as well as a large following of over 80k across all social platforms. Dustin’s passion for his unique and edgy style has led him to many successful partnerships with large brands such as Sullen Clothing, Stay Cold Apparel, Clocks and Colours and many others.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Mankato, MN as an only child. I was raised in a typical middle-class, loving family mainly by my mother and my stepfather. At a very young age we moved to Southern Oregon and that’s where I attended grade school all the way up through high school. Growing up I definitely wasn’t the most well behaved kid. I was always getting into trouble and hung out with a bad crowd. Eventually as I got a little older I got my act together and earned my G.E.D. I also attended barbering college, which I graduated from.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
The “ah ha” moment for me was when I finally got reached out to by my very first company asking if I’d be interested in promoting its product, which was a tanning lotion. I was excited that they wanted me to be a part of their brand. I would over a course of time do a lot of promoting for free just to build my resume as well as a trusted name within the influencer community. After I got a little experience under my belt the more the bigger brands would start asking me to collaborate with them, this was when I realized that I could make a small business out of this.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
I just know what I want and I think about the bigger picture and things to come. There are so many great ideas out there but people let fear or the negative input from others keep them from moving forward and pursuing their dreams. I would say just take action and take the risk of doing whatever it is you like to do. You don’t want to have a great idea and never do anything with it and always wonder “what if”.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
I would say just go for it! At least make it a part time priority to do what you love, if it’s meant to be it will happen. You don’t necessarily have to make a ton of money at first, regardless this is your hobby and passion, as long as you love what you’re doing, that’s a success in itself.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
I make sure not to burn myself out by taking on more than I can handle all at once. I personally find the challenge of trying to outdo myself from the last, and constantly pushing my creativity really rewarding and refreshing. I try to keep in mind why I started doing what I love in the first place, because I enjoy the art behind it. When you start worrying about the financial aspects, it obviously starts to feel more like a job instead of a hobby or passion.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I enjoy the fact that I get back whatever I decide to put into my business. The outcome all comes down to myself and how much time and effort I’m willing to put forth. The downside is that it can be very time consuming and it can be hard to set a healthy balance between trying to create a successful business and trying to find time for yourself and the other things you enjoy. The way I overcome these drawbacks is by simply making enough time for my friends and family and the things I find important to me. I believe that if you work hard, you need to also make enough time to play hard.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I thought it would be extremely easy to make random product sales for companies to almost anyone, I was wrong. It takes a lot more time and effort than I could have imagined. You have to really focus on creating a specific niche for yourself and only promote things that you know your audience would potentially be interested in. Just because you have a large number of followers does not mean you’re going to make a large number of sales, the right product has to be shown to the right audience of people in order to make it work.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
I always think to myself that a real job is for sure the more safe and stable route, yet at the same time I know that I’m destined to do greater things than work my butt off to make someone else rich. The way I overcome this thought is that I think about how far I’ve already come, remind myself to never give up and continue to keep pushing until I get where I want to be. The idea of achieving all my dreams and goals keeps me motivated and on my grind.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting and neat thing that’s happened to me since I’ve started my journey was getting the chance to work with my favorite brand, Sullen Art Collective. I’ve always worn their clothes but never would I have guessed that they would personally reach out to me and ask if I’d be willing to promote the clothing line. This was so surreal to me as well as an amazing experience and a great opportunity.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I made when I first started out was that I was real eager to promote for anyone who was willing to collaborate with me. I began promoting things that were not true to my character or style, for instance the tanning lotion I had mentioned earlier, I mean, if you take a look at me I’m extremely pale LOL. What I learned from this was to make sure you always stay true to yourself and don’t just do things to seize an opportunity. In the grand scheme of things people will notice your authenticity and appreciate you more for it.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
My son inspires me to be a great leader. I want to be a positive role model for him and make sure to always set a good example. I would like for him to one day inherit all the great qualities he saw in me and put them into action himself. I want to show him that he can do anything he puts his mind to, even when it feels like all odds are against you.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I always like to try and use my platforms to spread positivity. I know there are many people listening to what I say, and watching what I do. For example, just the other day I was trying to raise breast cancer awareness and went ahead and made a donation and I was asking people to go out and do the same for a charity or foundation of their choice. If only one or two people went out and made a donation after being inspired by watching what I did, then that’s a win for me. I feel it’s the little things like this that I’ve done to use my success to make the world a better place.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.
- Becoming an overnight success is highly unlikely, even when you feel you have everything working in your favor it’s still extremely hard to make favorable profits right from the beginning, I’ve been working at this for a few years and just now starting to make some headway
- How hard it is to actually maintain and grow a following. If you don’t put in the necessary work each day, you will more than likely start to notice a decline or plateau in your followers, which in return makes you less valuable for future partnerships.
- It would have been nice to have been told that you can’t do everything on your own, you have to network. Networking with others has been a huge part of my success at this, for example, doing things like exchanging services and connections, as well as other things like introducing one another to each others audience to help promote business growth.
- You can’t really tell someone how to set a healthy balance between their passion and their personal relationships, as everyone is different, although I wish I would’ve been able to foresee some of the strains it can have on relationships, as it is very time consuming and loved ones can get frustrated with how much you have to actually invest in order to make a business thrive.
- How to really understand my value and to never sell myself short. There’s been so many times in the beginning that I’ve sold myself short out of the fear of getting rejected, but all the time and hard work needs to be compensated for accordingly. Now days I’ve come to really understand my value and it makes it much easier to come to agreements with paid partnerships.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
From a business standpoint, I would like to see a movement where those who have already found success, put in more time and effort to help mentor and guide those who are trying to make it in the same field. Spreading knowledge and wisdom to help others who may be struggling to find the same success, I believe would bring an extreme amount of good to a large amount of people.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Luck is where hard work meets opportunity” I don’t believe successful people just got “lucky” to be where they’re at. The reason behind their success is all the hard work they’ve put in and being prepared when the right opportunity presents itself. This is relevant to me because I work extremely hard at everything I do and nothing I’ve done or will do has happened to me unintentionally.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would like to share a meal with Mark Zuckerberg, why? I would love to pick his brain and get some insight as he is obviously extremely smart and has a keen sense of business. He is one of the most influential people of our time and I respect what he has done.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.