Building A 6-Figure Business From Scratch Using Instagram

Darius Tan

Super Scaling - Scaling Your Business - Darius Tan

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How would you describe/sell yourself and what you did in 60 words or less?

When I was 19, I spent the next 1.5 years building a following of 250,000 followers through Instagram & Twitter. 

I now help coaches and marketers to systematically attract followers, leads & sales repeatedly on Instagram without ads, complicated funnels or cold messaging. 

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Well, ever since I was 13, I thought I would be dedicating my life as a speaker and trainer in one of Asia’s largest training companies, Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group. I was a really rebellious teen that got sent for counselling, so one of the turning points was going to one of their programs and changing my perspective on life. So I wasn’t focused on building a business, but growing as an individual and giving back to more people. 

When I was 19, I bought into programs that taught me NLP and Value Investing to further my growth, but that was when I realised that the training industry was so much bigger than what I’ve been playing at. So in a choice to leave my comfort zone and continuously explore growth, I left the company as a program director and went out on my own to start training & speaking. 

But it was a total flop as nobody trusted a young punk as a speaker. I was cold calling and emailing dozens of organisations but nobody bothered to reply to me. Since nobody trusted me, I decided to place that trust back in myself and build a brand so that others would recognise me. Well, I guess it did work out after all. The 2 people that really inspired me then were Gary Vee and Tony Robbins. I was really into peak performance and I wanted to have a social media reach like Gary Vee, and that’s how I tumbled into the world of social media.  

What does ‘grit” mean to you, and what lessons have you learnt as a result?

Grit to me, is the relentless pursuit of honing your craft repeatedly even without any awards, recognition or achievements. Grit isn’t easy at all. It’s the times where I don’t feel like doing it,  I’m really fearful of the next step I take, but I still have to lean into it & do it. 

For the first year in business, I receive an honourable sum of $0 and dozens of rejection. I thought that I did not have the gift of speaking nor business. I was using up my savings & I was afraid that I’m just not gifted in speaking.

My first 6 months on Instagram were a flop. I was producing content 3 times a day (because Gary said so) and after 540 pieces of content, I had merely 500 followers. That was when I realised, a gift doesn’t come innately nor naturally, it’s earned by honing your craft. I had 2 choices, one was to give up and find a new business, or two, stick with it. So I made option 2 with coaches to accelerate my growth and success on it. Sticking with it was one of the best choices in life as it opened up my belief that a gift can be created. 

How did your business get its initial clients?

This is an obvious one, Instagram. But it took me many months to get one because I feared asking from people. I was operating from a zone of giving but I thought that I wasn’t ready or qualified enough to ask. What I realised was, as long as you can guarantee results that your clients want, ASK. Because it benefits them more than you being kept from them.  

Do you have a daily routine?

Not a 5am club guy. I wake up at 8am, take 15min to plan the day, 15min to read 1 chapter of a book. I’ll do Wim Hof breathing exercise right before I start my first chunk of work which lasts for 1-1.5h. During my lunch time, I watch food videos from Mikey Chen or Mike Weins to destress for about 1.5h. Then, I’ll watch a comedy tutorial and craft out 1 line of joke so that I can finally be funny while trying hard. Dinner time is when I learn from courses that I’ve previously impulsively bought. At 11pm, I learn and implement one new angle of copywriting for social media. At 11.30pm, I reflect back on my day and end off with a call to say I love you to my partner. 12am, I’m dead. 

What career advice would you give someone who is 20 years old?

At the time of writing, I’m just 1 year older than 20. So I’ll say, just do what you truly want to do. Even when you feel the fear, do it anyway. Don’t focus too much on external validation and what others have to say. The opinions of others are not a validation for your own success. The more you focus on the journey and route of others, the more you’ll crash in your own route. So stick to your journey, work on it and commit to the route to mastery. Ultimately, live a life filled with actions rather than regrets. 

How do you respond to negative feedback?

Feedback = Learning opportunity. Unless the input does not serve a purpose to help but to damage, I LOVE FEEDBACK. It is the greatest way of finding how and what we have to do in order to further improve our products. 

Why did you choose your industry?

I was exposed to the whole training and coaching industry at 13, and to see how the industry has grown yet also receive a lot of unjustified and justified hate fuels me to do the work that I do. Be it speaking, coaching or consulting, my team and I always have the policy to make sure that our clients feel that we’ve delivered or over delivered. The best way to know this is just by asking for their true experience. My intention isn’t just to right the wrongs that others have made, but to push the standards of the industry to a higher level, so that everyone in the training industry has to raise their standards or fall out. In that way, only the greats will continue to stick around while those that fail to deliver will be out of the market. 

What’s a catchy headline that would describe you? 

From 0 to 100,000 followers & 6 figures just leveraging IG

How can people connect with you?

Instagram: @dariustanofficial 

FB: @dariustanofficial

Twitter: @dariusthw


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