Co-founder, Jay Richards, is the 5th of 6 children from migrant parents. From a rebellious start while at school to now the Founder of Imagen Insights, a Forbes 30under30 entrepreneur and Mediatel’s Future Leader finalist of 2020, he credits his Business Studies teacher at school for guiding his sense of entrepreneurship in the right direction at the right time and now aims to provide opportunities to Gen Z.
Where did the idea for Imagen Insights come from?
When I was in secondary school, I was pretty good at being bad and was quite often getting into trouble. Nonetheless, my business head, and flair for entrepreneurial ideas was encouraging. That made me want to get a Business Studies degree, after which I started working in the City of London in Sales.
While working I wanted to do something with more purpose, something to give back and to support current students, something I wished I had when I was doing my studies. I initially started an incubator where I helped students fund business ideas. A few months later, after speaking at a Facebook event, I was contacted by the National Football League (NFL) who wanted to work with me to use my network with university and secondary school students to help them with marketing. We knew we would need something great to equip us for this scale of project and as a result, my Co Founder Cat Agostinho and I started Imagen Insights!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I always start in the gym or doing Jiu Jitsu, exercise is so important to me, for mental and physical wellbeing. My working day, broadly speaking, consists of lots of meetings and getting out and about meeting with potential new clients. I support with our app development, attend awards and events, join panels and podcasts, network, compile finance admin and manage relations while forecasting our sales pipeline. It definitely keeps me busy, but to ensure I am productive I refer to my Trello constantly to prioritise and encourage our team to do the same.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We come up with some high reaching and punchy ideas – especially in our team strategy meets, but seeing them come to life is what excited me most. When we think of something great, we all then collectively group together to work out what steps need to be taken to make it happen! It’s a team effort.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Naturally as an insights business we try and stay all over current trends to ensure we are on the pulse. One thing that is really exciting for us at the moment is brands are really starting to realise that in order to succeed long term they need to listen to their Gen Z consumers who are set to have a spending power of 4.4 trillion dollars by 2030. That is where we can help, by giving them access to a huge cohort of brutally honest young people ready to tell brands exactly what they think.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a people person, I genuinely love people and I think (hope) that really shines through. It means I’m productive when it comes to building relationships and a rapport with people, and that is what it is all about really!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take it easy on yourself and don’t take life too seriously. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes and learn. It’s not that deep.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Brands hate doing research but it’s the backbone of their business and without it they make copious amounts of mistakes.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Funny you ask that, it’s consistency and doing things over and over that has resulted in success for me. It is about staying front of mind, working hard and trying things again and again until it sticks or someone remembers you.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Adding value to every single person I can, I’ve found that even the smallest gestures or things I’ve said have helped us to grow the business in some way. Whether that person became a client or whether they became a friend.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Oh I will be honest and say I’ve made loads, it’s how you learn. I kept trying to start businesses on my own, I’m not skilled enough to do everything that is needed to grow a business. Having a co-founder who is my exact opposite has been very helpful.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Write a book on something, this book should have a QR code on it, once someone scans that QR code, they join a special community. Each month you can add value to their lives by “updating” your book with new learnings etc via a newsletter. For an extra £5 to £10 a month, allow them to upgrade their subscription and they can get exclusive access to extra content.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Oh that’s easy. I’m big into my fashion and specifically trainer game so I bought some new off-white dunks. I’ll be honest, I am unapologetically myself, so I was rocking those trainers when I spoke at SXSW, in Austin, Texas.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I am Trello’s biggest fan. Our whole team uses it and we couldn’t operate the way we do without it. We use it to track progress, deadlines and to be aware and supportive of the team’s workloads.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Will Smith’s book is PHENOMENAL read!
What is your favorite quote?
“Everybody has worth” – it reminds me that no matter what someone does, we all have innate worth and we should treat people accordingly.
- Gen Z will have a huge spending power by 2030 and brands need to account for this within their plans – Imagen Insights can help with that.
- Jay has built his business from the ground up by being genuinely invested in people. Using trello for the day to day tasks has helped the business and internal team thrive and consistency is key when it comes to winning new business.
- The mission at Imagen Insights is to give Gen Z a platform to voice their opinions and to shape their futures and drive change. With more than 20,000 Gen Z consultants in 111 countries, the business creates paid work opportunities for young people to close the gap creating an open dialogue between brands and agencies providing them with access to our community. By crowdsourcing feedback, ideas and insights within our community of young people, aged 16-26, we enable our clients to build their branding, marketing and/or their products, by truly involving their target consumer.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.