On the up · 28 August 2018

Sixteenth Talent founder: “Too many young entrepreneurs lose control of their ego”

Danny Lowney – Sixteenth Talent founder

With all the emerging talent coming from YouTube channels and Instagram these new versions of celebrities need looking after and this young founder does just that.

As influencer marketing is on the rise, so is the amount of people cashing in on this marketing tactic.

To get paid for “living your best life” and promoting products in a specific field seems like the dream to most. But this young entrepreneur makes his living from looking after up and coming influencers.

24-year-old Danny Lowney started his business last year with just him and his laptop, Sixteenth Talent has now grown to a team of six without any extra funding.

As part of our Young Entrepreneurs series, Business Advice caught up with Lowney to discuss how working for a company that closed that sparked his own startup success.

Who are you and what is your business?

I’m Danny Lowney, 24. I started an influencer talent management agency called Sixteenth Talent.

We look after YouTubers, Instagrammers and other digital talent, with an absolute focus on helping them become a ‘good influence’ on their audience.

We started at the beginning of 2017 and are now a team of 6, representing 15 influencers.

What inspired you to start your own business?

The startup I was working for closed down. Other companies were asking for help with influencers and influencers would ask me for help with their content, so it seemed like a pretty good reason to start Sixteenth.

I remember hearing advice that said to look out for signs telling you to start a certain business. When a market is already demanding work, products or output from you, that’s a pretty convincing sign that you should start.

What are the barriers to starting your own business as a young person?

Absolutely nothing. Now is as good a time as ever – being young can be a huge advantage.

I totally respect that experience can be very valuable in starting a business, however the lack of responsibility and abundance of time that young people often have is invaluable and puts us in a great position to get started. The internet has done a great job of smashing down most traditional barriers to starting a business, including any surrounding age.

What is more important is that you can perform at a high level – once you achieve that, people won’t care how old you are.

How did you fund your business?

had one paycheck left to live on. It was just me and a laptop, so I didn’t really have overheads. Luckily, I was generating revenue pretty quickly, so didn’t need funding and haven’t taken any funding/investment since.

I thoroughly recommend starting a business on a shoestring budget. If you can’t test an early version of what you want to create at next to no cost, it very often isn’t the best thing for you to pursue.

What do you think the younger generation can bring to the business world?

healthy dose of ignorance. Because we don’t know how everything is supposed to work, we often have to start from scratch, which can be good when the old/normal way isn’t necessarily the best.

At the same time, I think it’s important to balance out that sense of juvenile know-it-all-ness with passionate curiosity and respect for what has come before you.

It’s true that smart people learn from their own mistakes but I think it’s foolish not to at least to try to take something from the mistakes of others. Too often, I notice young founders lose control of their ego and their early success can fuel the fire

I think it’s important not to become too impressed with oneself and stay humble, to allow the fire to maintain a healthy glow, rather than getting out of control.

Will you ever work a 9-5 job?

No, there is no way that I could do it.

Is a degree a necessity?

No. Spending time trying different things and putting prolonged focus on a single topic are two things that are necessary and both can be achieved through doing a degree. However, that is absolutely not to say that the degree itself in a necessity.

What tips do you have for other young people wanting to start their own business?

To take the first step and just keep moving. Also, leverage your age. It’s surprising how willing people can be to help a ‘student’ or young person.

Who is your celebrity icon?

Kurt Cobain. I always wanted to be a rockstar. Still do, really.

What app do you use the most?

Gmail. I spend too much time in my inbox.

Where do you see yourself at 50?

really don’t know. Hopefully somewhere sunny.

What song should be your life anthem?

My Way, Frank Sinatra.

Netflix or night out?

Netflix. I stopped going out when I was 18.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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