Meet Teenage Generation Z Marketing Strategist and Speaker Connor Blakley.
Northeast Ohio teenager Connor Blakley was recently named by Inc. as one of the top youth marketers to follow. Blakley works with brands large and small to develop strategies for turning Generation Z consumers into brand loyalists.
Blakley: To say that my entrepreneurial journey has been a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement. For as long as I can remember, I have been looking for more efficient ways to do things.
My entrepreneurial experience began with my selling of rocks, which then moved to lemonade stands, and then I found myself selling miscellaneous items on eBay. It all hit a pinnacle when I was in eighth grade and was diagnosed with a variety of “learning differences.” While feeling like I had no sense of direction, I serendipitously heard the word “entrepreneur” from my dad for the very first time. I was curious so I watched a TED talk given by Cameron Herold called “Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs.”
My dad, an entrepreneur himself, suggested I find something that I was super passionate about and start working on ways to make it better. At the time, that was social media. I was obsessed. I ended up helping a lot of small and medium sized businesses with their marketing and was then fortunate enough to work with Mark Cuban Companies and Vineyard Vines. This inspired me to solve bigger problems and have a much larger impact on bigger brands. This inspiration led me to build my own company, YouthLogix, a youth marketing consultancy that helps brands better understand, connect with, and engage with Generation Z.
Blakley: I have had to learn a lot to make my business the success that it is. The most important lesson I have learned is that one of the worst things anyone can tell you is, “No.” Life is way too short to not do what you love or think you are too young to start. So, go all in. Don’t worry about being labeled as “not normal.”
Blakley: The most challenging thing I have faced is figuring out how to help others realize, like I did, that just because a path is “traditional” doesn’t mean it is the right path for them. There are many paths to take.
Blakley: When it comes to running a business, I have learned to focus on my strengths. Like anyone, I struggle with some things, but I have realized it doesn’t matter. I surround myself with people who counteract my weaknesses, which has proven to drastically improve my entrepreneurial mindset.
Blakley: I am fortunate to have been influenced by multiple people throughout this experience. The various mentors in my life have impacted me in so many wonderful ways! Among those who have been crucial to my personal, spiritual and business growth are my dad, Cameron Herold, and Jay Abraham.
Blakley: Sometimes it doesn’t! To me, education and school are two different things. It is hard for me to fit school into my busy schedule, but I do what I have to do to make it work. My take on this? You have to be on fire for your business and your mission to make it worth unbalancing your life for.
Blakley: I think that you have to be born an entrepreneur. It is a DNA trait.
Blakley: I would really like to learn how to play the piano and I think it would be really cool to learn how to code!
Blakley: I would tell myself a few things. 1) I do not know as much as I think I do. 2) Youth is a gift I only get once. Leverage it. 3) Mentors are essential. They bridge the gap between failure and knowledge.