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Maidstone beauty salon owner and West Malling digital marketing boss speak about running businesses as teenagers

In the last decade the number of teenagers starting their own companies has increased by more than 800%.

Reporter Sophie Bird spoke to two such Kent entrepreneurs about the advantages and difficulties of being young and in business.

When Laurence Moss was 13 he was struggling to find success on YouTube and Instagram.

Instead, he decided to set up Instagram pages themed around things like travel and cars - and took his face out of the picture.

These pages became very successful, gaining 350,000 followers in total, as people flocked to consume content they were already interested in.

He eventually used his knowledge of gaining followers in niche communities to build– a digital marketing company called Greedy Growth.

Mr Moss said: "I have never used any courses. All the knowledge I have was learnt through YouTube videos, online forums and practice.

Laurence Moss on a phone call while working at Greedy Growth
Laurence Moss on a phone call while working at Greedy Growth

"I'm very lucky. I was born into technology and I've got it at the tips of my fingers."

Now 15, the West Malling student balances his school and business life and has begun to earn almost £1,500 a month.

Mr Moss believes his age has been an invaluable asset to many online businesses who often have young people as their target audience. After all, who has better insight into how to market to a teenager than a teenager?

He says his age never becomes a problem as many business people trust what he can achieve more than they distrust his youth.

Mr Moss added: "I've got a lot of time to learn. So business owners do get the feeling that I know my stuff and understand what they're looking for in a marketing service."

Laurence Moss of Greedy Growth
Laurence Moss of Greedy Growth

He says there are many advantages to being a young entrepreneur. With no bills to pay, he can invest more in his business and if Greedy Growth was to fail he would have no expenses to stress over.

He added: "I'm breaking away from the stereotypical teenager who goes home, plays two hours of Fortnite, watches two hours of Netflix and then just goes to bed. Most nights, I'm thinking about my business because this is what is fun for me.

"Age doesn't determine how successful you are."

Business is also booming for Aimee Hobbs after she opened Aimee Hobbs Makeup Studios in Maidstone last December.

The 19-year-old saved up for a year-and-a-half while running a small studio in the back of the Beaut Boutique and studying at Mid Kent College.

Aimee Hobbs, owner of Aimee Hobbs Makeup Studios, wants to prove the naysayers wrong
Aimee Hobbs, owner of Aimee Hobbs Makeup Studios, wants to prove the naysayers wrong

Now she has her dream studio Miss Hobbs is seeing new clients for appointments and classes every week and is selling lessons online.

But in her experience, being young and building a business has meant fighting to ignore the naysayers.

She said: "It seems not many people are willing to take you seriously at 19 and seem to think you’ll never succeed.

"Our Trainee Artist, Ellie, works in the shop alongside me and she's 16. When both of us are young and ambitious it’s hard but we just continue to prove people wrong.

"You can be successful and run your own business as soon as you leave school. The later you leave it the more time you could’ve spent reaching those goals."

She aims to not only change the perceptions of young people, but the beauty industry itself.

Miss Hobbs, from Simpson Road, Snodland, said: "Young people are thought to be disorganised, unmotivated and untrustworthy. But I think we have proved all of these preconceptions wrong. Young people have the most creative ideas for the future.

"And being a make-up artist is not seen as a ‘proper job’. People don’t think you can go very far with it and it's looked at as a side job to your main career.

"We want to show people this is our full time job. It is possible to have a career in makeup."

In a bid to offer advice to others like herself, Miss Hobbs added: "If you’re a young person looking to become an entrepreneur, I’d say do it. Don’t listen to people that say it’s not possible because a lot of the negative comments are from people who have never tried to run their own business.

"As long as you have a dream and you believe in yourself and you’re happy to work hard every day until you achieve it, there’s no reason why you’ll fail."

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