How a 16 Year Old Started Building His Future Through Instagram

Wais Sarajzada is a 16 year old social media strategist, whose parents came to the United States from Afghanistan to look for a better future for their children. Wais’ young success shows that his parents achieved that purpose. 

Wais started using Instagram when he was 12 as a way to connect with his friends. Two years later, when he was 14, he started doing research on how to make “contagious content”, that is, how to target specific audiences, create viral posts, and grow niche-based accounts. For him, Instagram was no longer just a place to connect with friends; it was also a place for opportunity. 

Back then, Wais tried to grow his first account, but he recounts that he failed to do so. Fortunately, he took the time to look into what he was doing wrong and realized that he had not researched the platform’s algorithm enough. That is when he started @ovrher, an account based on romance. This was his first attempt at a niche account, which are accounts that target a specific audience (of specific demographics) around a specific subject. In this case, he targeted people who wanted to read about love or heartbreak. Through this account, Wais realized that the more organic the engagement is on posts, the more a post would appear on the explore page in Instagram. He then began to create multiple other niche accounts. 

After achieving social media growth, Wais decided to create a business to help influencers grow their social media. Ever since, Wais has been offering free social media growth strategies (through his business instagram @VerifiedStats) to influencers even 15 years older than him. Some even tell him, “I learned this when I’m 30 and you are over here doing it at the age of 16!” 

As a high school student, Wais is also a member of the cross country and track team and at times struggled to manage his time between studying, athletics and providing his clients with his service. However, he was determined to make it work because he wanted to create his business no matter what. This became especially true after working a 9 to 5 minimum wage job at his uncle’s store and realized he totally hated it. He decided to never work that type of job again and instead to spend his time investing in the creation of his own business. He says, “the people around me really motivated me especially my uncle and parents always pushing me to achieve my dreams.”

Through his services, Wais has helped people around the new Instagram algorithm, which he says, “makes it difficult to hit the explore page with a post.” To tackle this, he created a group with over 100 verified accounts of over 100 influencers who could then get together and support each other by following, liking, commenting and sharing each other’s content. With Wais’ support, influencers grew their engagement rates, their following and their reach. 

Wais’ biggest challenge has been to gain the trust of users. He has been able to overcome this through word of mouth from his clients. He keeps moving forward because success motivates him, “success is what I will be chasing my whole life.” Furthermore, Wais says he is different from his competition. “I research ideas testing on different accounts and I connect one on one with my clients, rather than rush through and not connect.” 

Wais’ new projects include collaborations with influencers and relaunching his YouTube channel. He also makes himself available to help anyone through his personal account is @xwais3.  

Wais sees the future with clarity. “It is almost 2020 and everything is social media based.” Everything has changed and now “everything is purchased off of a website.” Therefore, anyone wanting to sell a product or grow a business needs successful social media accounts, and that is something Wais can help with.