Asher Dahlgren turns 16 this month, but his activities and demeanor carry him beyond his years.
“Everybody thinks I’m older for some reason,” he said.
This resourceful entrepreneur has his own social media marketing business.
It’s all about breaking out of your comfort zone, said Asher, who was once just a shy elementary school kid.
“Once you get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and you try things you’ve never done before, that’s where success comes from,” he said.
It’s also important not to give up.
“You’re not going to be successful the first time you try. You might not be successful the 10th time you try, but every single failure you have, you learn more. You get uncomfortable, and you grow because of it.”
Asher Dahlgren started his company, Dahlgren Social Media Services, when he saw people failing to take advantage of all that social media can offer them and their businesses.
There are tools that are generally more familiar to the younger set, including Asher.
“I knew I could get more customers through their doors if I were to work with them.”
He started as a freelance volunteer with no brand, no website, just an idea. He did social media work for a skate park in his hometown of Wyndmoor.
“I still work with them even though I do have clients that pay me,” Asher said.
The skate park connected him with his first paying client, and from there, he built up relationships and his clientele.
He officially branded his business as Dahlgreen Social Media Services last March.
His business model is based on building relationships by getting to know people and transparency, “not giving them a sales pitch but instead saying ‘hey, I can see value can be added here.’”
Asher is part of DECA, a nonprofit high school business club that encourages students to become leaders and entrepreneurs. He and his partner created a fictitious company for the competition, Biz Tips, which offers small business advice to young people.
Their concept placed fourth among hundreds of entries.
“I also met this nice guy named Ken Knickerbocker” (Publisher of American Community Journals). They exchanged information and had a good conversation.
Next thing he knew, Asher Dahlgren was interning for ACJ.
“I have a young mind. I’m very cutting edge, a new young perspective that will target other younger customer segments. With Ken [Knickerbocker], I think that’s a strength rather than a weakness in the industry I’m in. I think Ken really saw that in me.”
Asher creates videos for the company, which are posted a few times a week, summarizing stories that appear on ACJ’s county platforms. He also generates Instagram posts and does behind-the-scenes analytics to see how the stories are performing.
He believes being younger lets him pivot more easily to make changes when he sees what’s working and not working.
“There’s no one age group I think we should be targeting,” he said, reaching them with a variety of content in a variety of formats and platforms.
When he’s not running a business, Asher Dahlgren serves as class president. Elected as a sophomore, he’s running again in his junior year.
“It’s really awesome doing stuff as class president,” he said. If re-elected, he’ll get to design the prom. Last year, they created water bottles with the school’s Spartan logo. They dug a garden in the courtyard, and they’ve raised thousands of dollars in fundraising.
His interest in politics extends to the Youth in Government program, where he had a chance to visit the state Senate chambers and roleplay debating a bill.
He’s also into Tai Kwon Do and has earned a black belt.
“I could get more involved with that, but I feel like my business is where I want to focus right now.”
His grandfather got him interested in investments when he was ten, and he remains an active investor to this day.
“I’m really into finance. Sometimes in my spare time, I tinker around with a spreadsheet I’ve created.”
Asher thinks he’d eventually like to pivot into a career in real estate and finance, though he cautions against deciding too early what path you want to take.
“Life is all about exploring. It’s all about adventure. Even though I know the general direction I want to go, I want to explore more.”
Check out this Instagram video from Asher Dahlgren.
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