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How This 23-Year-Old Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Million Dollar Influencer Agency While Battling Cancer As A Teen


How This 23-Year-Old Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Million Dollar Influencer Agency While Battling Cancer As A Teen

At just 17 years old, Suhit Amin launched his influencer marketing agency, Saulderson Media, from his small Scottish hometown after shifting his focus from gaming YouTube to the booming business side of the creator economy. Diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma in early 2018, the young entrepreneur channelled his business drive into starting the venture full-time.

After volunteering at online businesses catering to YouTubers, Amin secured roles managing talent at esports giant ESL. “I discovered the sort of business side of YouTube, how influencers actually made money, and how YouTube monetization worked,” he says. “And that piqued my interest more than being an influencer and a YouTuber myself.”

His cancer diagnosis was the catalyst to start his venture. “I realized I might not be alive in a year’s time…I want to build something,” Amin states. “Right now is the only time to do it… I realized I wanted to be a successful businessperson entrepreneur in this space…I’ve got to stop letting what I’m going through tear me down.”

Balancing cancer treatment and launching his company, Amin leveraged his academic strengths: “I was always quite good at school. And school made a lot of arrangements for me, obviously being ill.” He built his business during weeks off from classes. “I was just on my laptop, just trying to take my mind off of what was going on and trying to build things.”

He spotted an opening for a premium influencer agency serving gaming and entertainment creators. “A lot of talent agencies would sign influencers up, promise them the world, and deliver them zero value,” Amin explains. “I came in to…put value first with our content creators.”

How Amin Turned Saulderson Media Into a Successful Venture

Initially just representing talent, Saulderson Media quickly expanded into a full-service influencer marketing firm that pairs brands with gaming creators and digital culture influencers. The agency has carved out a niche with its deep expertise in the gaming space, agility in quickly executing influencer campaigns, and mission of educating brands and professionals on the creator economy.

According to Amin, Saulderson’s mission is to “build creative influencer solutions that really make an impact for brands. Nothing that is just mundane, boring, cookie-cutter work.” The agency aims “to make influencer marketing accessible for everyone,” regardless of brand size.

The full-service firm has three core divisions. The agency services side handles brand strategy and campaign execution. The influencer partnerships team assists with influencer media buying and matching creators to brands. Talent management remains a central piece, an “exclusive” offering where “we work for the influencers.”

In the crowded influencer marketing space, Amin believes Saulderson stands out through “our deep specialism in the gaming industry” and “our speed and agility” in executing campaigns rapidly. “We can sign a contract with a brand, and we can get a campaign live within a matter of days.”

Beyond client work, the young entrepreneur is focused on shaping the creator economy by “educating brands, educating people working in the space” through video content and other resources. “There’s very little information out there on how to run an influencer marketing campaign, how to start an agency…We’re trying to educate the audience so there are no barriers to entry.”

Ultimately, Saulderson’s founder measures the impact by the creators they empower. “We’ve seen influencers able to quit their 9-to-5 and go full-time into their influencer career…Allowing creators to create in the career and passion they love, and us being a part of that.”

“We have a lot of really great case studies where we have helped brands do some incredible stuff,” Amin shares. He highlights their work with Sandbox VR and Netflix launching a Squid Game VR experience. 

Despite a “relatively low budget,” Saulderson executed an experiential campaign featuring 35 major influencers collectively reaching over 100 million followers. “We generated hundreds of really good content for free…It really just helped Sandbox VR enter the influencer marketing space.”

Sharing the Framework of Saulderson Media’s Operations

According to Amin, technology is core to Saulderson’s operations. “We use a lot of technology in our agency,” including the influencer marketing platform Tagger. However, they are also “developing other bits of technology in the back end” to support workflows and data analysis.

“Technology is super important in this space because it allows agencies and brands to move a lot more quickly and with more agility to find content creators and run campaigns,” the agency’s CEO explains. It also yields better campaign data to “drive results.”

One investment area is AI tools, which are “to watch content and find different brand mentions at different points through video” better to identify true brand ambassadors and report on sponsorships precisely. Amin sees “exciting pieces of technology” emerging using “behavioral science and psychology” to predict an influencer’s performance for a campaign.

“We are definitely investing more in data and technology to improve our service offering to our brands,” he states. The goal is to leverage innovative tools and data intelligence “to improve our service offering to our brands.”

After running Saulderson as a “relatively small boutique agency” for five years, Amin has set his sights on major expansion over the next half-decade. “I decided I was really interested in scaling the business…we put a lot of things in place to expand and grow and have a very good plan to grow over the next 5-6 years.”

The main focus is building out the agency services division to take on larger brand budgets and bolster offerings. “We’re adding some new services…building a more structured and experienced team” with enhanced leadership. Geographic expansion into European markets like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy is also being explored.

On the product side, Saulderson is investing in proprietary influencer marketing technology that could be commercialized as a software platform for agencies and brands. “We are looking at developing our own technology…to make it a better service for our brands, but then maybe offer that as a service within the space.”

How Amin Predicts the Creator Economy Will Develop

Amin believes the “influencer marketing industry is only here to stay and massively grow” at a projected 28% annually, citing research. One key trend he sees is “a lot more brands are going to shift it into being a performance channel” focused on lower-funnel metrics like driving purchases and conversions rather than just awareness.

“I think we’re also going to see a lot more influencers and creators building their own brands,” Amin states. “It just makes a whole lot of sense to attach an influencer to a brand” through influencer-owned labels or partnerships with corporations on product lines.

The rise of “nano and micro influencers” with niche, engaged audiences will also continue according to Amin. As “influencer costs have been rising,” smaller creators can offer brands “a better bang for their buck.”

Finally, Amin predicts “a lot more influencers involved in different forms of the marketing funnel” beyond just sponsored content – being featured in brands’ paid ads, social media, websites, events, and out-of-home promotions. “Attaching influencer faces is going to be very prevalent over the coming years.”

Reflecting on Saulderson’s unique journey from his launch out of cancer treatment at 17 to now running a multi-million dollar agency, Amin expresses pride in what his young team has built while acknowledging room for more growth. Key lessons were “you can’t do everything alone” and “you need to build systems and structures” for scalability.

Looking ahead, Amin is “most hopeful for” and “excited to do really fun, creative, and interesting projects with content creators” that provide value to brands, influencers, and audiences alike. “Pulling together stuff that can go truly viral that the brands love, the influencers love, and also, most importantly, their audiences love.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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