4 Lessons From a 24-Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Built a Million Dollar Business

Aleric Heck didn’t set out to stumble upon a ridiculously straightforward way for entrepreneurs  to generate leads online. He was just a young visionary who set up a mobile app review YouTube channel. However, after building his channel to 400,000+ followers, he realized he’d stumbled upon an in-plain-view secret. What was his epiphany? YouTube was uncharted—and uncrowded—territory where anyone’s advertising could stand out.

After his realization, Heck pivoted his business model to mentor other entrepreneurs looking for a way to affordably scale. Under his guidance, countless individuals and organizations have boosted earnings, not to mention swamped their sales pipelines. But he’s hardly stingy about giving away advice. In fact, he’s quite adamant about sharing five lessons he’s learned on the way to the Gen Z millionaires club.

1. Choose blue over red oceans.

Maybe you’ve heard of red oceans. They’re crowded places, like Facebook, where everyone’s vying for a tiny speck of consumer attention from the same pie. Like a sea filled with hungry, aggressive sharks, the waters eventually turn red from all the competition.

Blue oceans are different. They haven’t been fully explored, so the water’s still a bright, inviting color. YouTube is what Heck considers to be a blue ocean, mostly because there’s still room for anyone to jump in the pool. As he points out, YouTube regularly allows for ROIs of up to five times an advertiser’s investment.

As an entrepreneur, you want to swim mainly in these types of blue waters. Sure, it’s fine to dabble in the red oceans, but it’s not wise to spend all your resources there. No matter what your industry is, seek out the blues. You’ll often find untapped opportunities waiting.

2. Live the early adopter lifestyle.

Whenever something new hits the scene, consumers flock to it in stages. First come the innovators, willing to test anything as long as it’s novel. Second are the early adopters, followed by the early and late majority, and then laggers.

To remain at the leading edge in your field, try to hang out in the early adopter phase. Not a lot of people will have the risk tolerance to join you, so you’ll stand out. In terms of YouTube advertising, Heck has noticed that early adopters gain a huge advantage because they can depend on repeat success. (YouTube hasn’t been flooded by the early majority joiners.)

Want another reason to adopt earlier than others to emerging platforms or products? You’ll get an early first-mover advantage by differentiating yourself as a forward-thinking leader. You may even want to push out written and video content to share your experiences and boost your credibility.

3. Meet your clients when they intend to buy.

Have you ever felt like you’re not connecting with prospects when they’re ready to make a purchase? Do you wish you’d made contact with a customer earlier or later? The problem could be that you’re not leading with a customer-centric “intent” mindset.

For instance, you can generate a dossier of a “perfect” client, right down to demographics like household income and geography. Still, you won’t sway anyone if you don’t get in front of them when they need you most. That’s where choosing the right mix of advertising platforms comes into play.

Heck has found time and again that YouTuber viewers tend to be in a “learner’s mindset.” That is, their intent is to feed their brain immediately. When they use the site’s search engine, they are ready to be sold. On Instagram or Facebook, users are more apt to just be clicking and hanging out. When they see an ad, it might push their buttons—or not.

Unless they’re intently focused in the moment, they won’t be as likely to click. Consequently, you’ll want to experiment with a variety of video ads and targeting options. See which ones allow you to be in front of people at the right time.

4. Get hooked.

Hooks aren’t just for songs. They’re also for advertisements. Whether you’re putting together a digital ad or a printed direct mail flier, pay attention to your headers. If you don’t have a hook, you’re wasting your money.

Remember: Hooks can sometimes take a lot of brainstorming. Hooks also require you to think about your messaging from a consumer point of view. Heck suggests coming up with several hooks that will add value to people who want to learn more and buy something soon.

Since you can’t tell 100% if a hook will produce results, you’ll need to conduct tests. Try different headlines, including for any video ads. You don’t have to change your relevant, high-performing video content. Just switch up the copy that accompanies it.

Building a business involves taking chances. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Learn from the advice of pioneers like Heck. You’ll avoid pitfalls and be able to skip ahead on the entrepreneurial learning curve.