Staying young and hungry is everything, said the teenage entrepreneurs at TRNDSTTRS Media.
With a team of ten 18- to 19-year-old go-getters, the tech-based firm focuses on providing affordable, in-depth marketing service to small and mid-sized companies. They use their age as an advantage rather than seeing it as an obstacle, said Jake Bjorseth, founder and chief executive officer.
That confidence, however, doesn’t automatically translate to trust and respect from clients, Bjorseth said.
“Right from the get-go, we walk in the door and constantly have to prove ourselves,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle already within the service industry and now we’re double, triple that because of our age and their unwillingness to trust us.”
Founded in May 2017 with services limited to Snapchat-based marketing, the team has since expanded to using every tool in their media arsenal. They currently have eight full-time clients with several firms on tap for sporadic jobs, Bjorseth said.
“We have our own videography team, graphic design, content creators, blogs, all that jazz — so we can provide the full-scale solution that encompasses the web, the marketing, and the content creation to sort of package it all together,” he said.
TRNDSTTRS latest big project teams them with Universal Music Studios’ youth talent department to focus on influencer marketing, Bjorseth said.
The hustling mindset must be constantly tapped, said Kyle Berger, chief operating officer, noting the team frequently gathers to review goals and accomplishments, as well as holding each other accountable.
“To generate new business consistently, you have to stay hungry for it,” Berger said. “Once you get lax, sit back and try to just let business come to you, that’s right when you’re going to stop seeing revenue come in your door.”
Bjorseth and Berger both began their entrepreneurial journeys at 17, they said. As students in Blue Valley Schools’ CAPS program, they worked together to pitch a homeless management software to the United Way of Greater KC, said Bjorseth.
“We ended up deciding not to do the project, just because it was going to take such a level of development and cost that — being at our age then and experience — we weren’t really comfortable with,” Bjorseth said.
The two worked independently on other entrepreneurial endeavors before teaming up to grow TRNDSTTRS, he said.
Finding an office space and keeping up with overhead costs was difficult in the beginning, said Berger, but solutions came as their experience developed. The team currently operates from Windmill Village Office Park in Overland Park.
The TRNDSTTRS team doesn’t work for immediate wealth, said Bjorseth, noting the ultimate goal is to build teams for other companies.
“We want to see TRNDSTTRS Media become something is an umbrella for a lot of incubation within Kansas City and hopefully be able to be replicable to other cities as well,” he said.
With several team members working for the startup while also venturing off to college — and others who are still in high school — Berger emphasized the potential for learning outside the classroom, he said.
“We’re sort of doing all the action by going out there, doing it and sacrificing our free time,” Bjorseth added. “I mean, we should all have internships in larger companies trying to build a career but instead, we’re doing this because we want to inspire others and motivate them. If we can do it, then why not you?”