Elijah Schneider, a senior business student at CSUSM, started a social media marketing agency from the ground up at just 19 years old. In a few short years the company has grown on its platform of transparency and data-based strategies to employ a team of 17 and service large brands like Nordstrom, Mercedes, and Fancy.com. The side hustle turned lucrative enterprise is shaking up the status quo of traditional agencies that charge too much and deliver too little. Read on to learn how his company Modifly got its start and the lessons he’s learned as a young entrepreneur.
How did you get your business started?
It started out of a need that I saw in the market. Social Media is an industry that is tricky and it is hard to figure out who is real and who is not. It actually started at a BBQ when I was talking with a group of people and someone was asking “young” people what they thought of their companies’ social media. At that time, they were paying an agency a ridiculous amount of money, like 20,000 plus per month, and, unfortunately, they were getting really nothing in return. When I saw this, I jumped at the chance to help them myself. Obviously, they didn’t pay me anything near the agency’s charges, but it gave me the opportunity to learn. Flash forward to 4 months in, after reading thousands of articles and studies about social media, I was actually making the company money with my social media strategy. A few months in I started to see that I could build a company around social media management and marketing campaigns. So, that is what I did!
What makes your company, Modifly, different from other marketing companies?
There’s a saying in marketing that all agencies are the same and most promise the world and give nothing of value. This is what we aim to stay away from. We provide month to month contracts unlike 98% of the industry. We provide a fully transparent dashboard for ROI reporting that is hosted by a 3rd party so they know the data is real. We also are, to a fault, blunt with all of our clients. Being in the service industry is hard. Usually, others just say okay to please everyone, but we make sure to say no when necessary.
What was the best business decision you made?
The best decision I have made is acknowledging that I am 22. I don’t know everything. I had very little understanding of how this world worked. So, who else to turn to when you need help? Family. I asked my dad for advice from the start. He helped me strategize how to get my second client and has helped me with the business ever since. There is nothing more important than experience and he has a lot. Working with my dad has been the best thing I have done in business.
What was the best lesson you learned?
Be patient. Good things don’t happen overnight and no matter how hard you push, you need to learn to play the long game. You’ll see the most important thing in business are the relationships in your network.
Did or do you have any mentors?
Many! I don’t believe you can just have 1 mentor. Most of us learn from our environment and the people within it.
Do you have any advice for other students or alumni who want to start their own business?
Before you jump into it, really think about it. Because once you start, you can’t really stop. Make sure you have your positioning down and know who you are and what you offer. Basically, what makes you different.
What did you love most about CoBA or your experience at CSUSM?
Some of the professors here truly do care. I’ve had a few that have helped me outside of the classroom knowing that I work 60+ hours a week and have a team to manage at the same time. Some professors here in CoBA are amazing people and very smart. Make sure you take the time to learn even more from them outside of that class you’re in.
For more information visit Modifly.com.