Standouts in the world of online entrepreneurship - and especially influencer marketing —are few and far between. Thousands of names vie for attention. But separating the genuine article, someone with both personal passion and the ability to build brands, from the pretenders is exhausting.
Zach Benson is one of those standouts.
A TEDx speaker, social-media trainer for international brands like The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and ViceRoy, and past participant on "So You Think You Can Dance," Benson doesn't just manage his own Instagram network of millions; he's also the founder of Assistagram, where he's guiding other influencers and Fortune 500 companies into social- media success.
Lastly, he is the founder of a 6 Figure Dancer Academy, where he teaches other dancers the exact step-by-step system that he used to create a profitable 6-figure dancing business while traveling the world.
What you probably don't know is that Benson's childhood resembled something far closer to outright failure than the kind of wins he has experienced today.
At only 4 months old, Benson, who was born in South Korea, was adopted by his parents in the States. He was taken home to Des Moines, Iowa and was one of a very few Asian kids who attended school. Benson was bullied and abused by his peers in school due to his ethnicity.
"l remember at soccer games, kids were using racial slurs, or at elementary school kids called me China boy,"
On top of looking different, he sounded different too. Benson was diagnosed with a speech impediment and was placed in speech therapy classes.
"l couldn't say the letter 'R'. Kids would tease and make fun of me so I hated public speaking, my hands would get super sweaty and my stomach felt weird when I was asked to read. So, I just didn't say a lot or talk to other people."
To top it off, Benson was diagnosed with ADHD and consistently found himself getting into trouble at school.
"l was constantly being sent to the principal's office for being disruptive in class. I had a hard time paying attention and focusing. I got really bad grades with a school GPA of 1.6. My parents thought I was going to be a juvenile delinquent."
With this type of background and behavior, many people would assume that these were the characteristics of somebody who was headed down a dark road. Many of us have never had to face daily battles against racism, learning impairments, or even the inability to talk properly, but a combination of all three seems unthinkable.
Like anything, though, change is a series of small steps, starting with one foot in front of the other. Benson took it day by day and implemented this in his own life.
Be Patiently Persistent
You've heard this conventional wisdom from everyone. Your mother, your lecturer, and every other motivational speaker say the same thing. Benson explains why this is a crucial lesson to learn early on in life:
"When you really go for your dreams you are gonna have doubters and haters and people that you are close say things and try to stop you from going for it and shutting you down. Listen to them respectfully, but don't let their negative words stop you from going for it.