During my years as an international business consultant I have met a lot of emotionally mature entrepreneurs. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing a teenager who displays more emotional intelligence than most his age. At 18-years-old, Canadian social media influencer and entertainer Crawford Collins handled himself as a true entrepreneur should.
Are You an Entrepreneur?
Elizabeth Garvey: My first question for you is, do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Why or why not?
Crawford Collins: Yeah, I definitely do because I am kind of in a space that not many people are in. It opens up opportunities in an entrepreneurial way where there are so many different things. It’s like a platform. Social media is a platform that you can move into doing so many different projects. Music projects to starting up different companies to collaborating with companies. I would definitely say so.
EG: At what point in your career did you realize you are an entrepreneur? Was there a defining moment for you or was it always a way of life for you?
CC: I think it has always been a mindset of mine to be an entrepreneur. I don’t think it was ever one moment. Just growing up my dad was an entrepreneur so I learned stuff from him and I always admired that mindset.
EG: You have three siblings who are also in the spotlight. Did their success influence you? Why or why not?
CC: My brother was definitely a big influence in what I did. He was the one who got me to first start posting videos. I saw him doing it and he enjoyed doing it. We always kind of made videos together, not for social media just for fun, when we were younger. So, I guess my brother has always been a big influence. We collaborate on a lot of different projects.
Also, my sisters are definitely an influence on the music side. Growing up, my oldest sister was always singing and performing all over the place. So that was a big influence on the music side as well.
EG: Social media influencers either relate to the public in a professional or non-professional way. From what I can see of your family, you all tend to relate in a professional and more mature way than most people of your age. I am wondering if that is something that you saw emulated in your siblings or if it was something you saw emulated in your parents and how did it affect you growing up?
Impacting Lives is a Big Responsibility
CC: It was definitely something my parents taught us. Growing up, my parents raised us really well. Just to have good values and spread positivity. Not to be over vulgar. If you have that kind of influence it is important that the stuff you are putting out is influencing in a good way and not negatively. You have a big impact on people’s lives so you definitely want to be putting out stuff that is more positive than negative. That definitely started with my parents, just how they raised us.
EG: Looking at your social media profile and your audience [size]… Building social media tends to be a slow process for most people, but for you it was very fast. (Crawford gained 750,000 followers in just 5 months. He now has over 8 million followers.) Do you feel your sibling’s success helped to pave the way for you? What was it that made your following grow so quickly?
Collaboration is Key to Success
CC: I think… definitely collaboration is a big part. The collaboration between us definitely helps all of us. Also, it was just posting consistent content, good content that people liked. Posting content that I was being myself and that people could relate to. It just spread from there.
EG: Being so close with your siblings, which it seems like you are, has it been a challenge for you to find your own voice?
CC: I wouldn’t say so. We all kind of do a similar thing, but we are all doing it in our own sort of way. So it’s cool doing different types of music. We collaborate on content but we also do a lot of our own personalized content. So it is cool to be able to do both.
Advice for Others On Social Media
EG: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in social media?
CC: My biggest advice would be, just be yourself and create the content that you love to create because people connect with that. They can tell when you are creating the content you love and just being yourself… people connect with that very well.
The Crawford Collins Mission Statement
EG: Do you have a mission statement for your career? What do you want to accomplish with your celebrity status?
CC: I think the biggest thing is if I can make people smile, make someone’s day through the music, or through a video-just spreading positivity or love. Just good vibes.
Social Media is More Like Family Than Fans
EG: Being an 18-year-old has enough challenges. How do you see yourself becoming an adult while in the spotlight and still enjoy the process of growing up?
CC: The cool thing about social media is it is almost like a family rather than a fan base. So everything I do with them, they are really supportive. It is not really challenging. They are not really negative so it is almost kind of helpful. When I am going through stuff I can talk to the fans about it and they will definitely help me through. I don’t think it is too much crazier than any 18-year-old. But it is cool to have that support.
Challenges Collins Faces in Life and Career
EG: What do you feel are the biggest challenges in your career as an entertainer?
CC: You got to always be staying on what is relevant and creating the content that people like to see. Social media and music is constantly evolving. So what people are listening to and what people are watching is changing -even on a daily basis. You have to be constantly staying on what is new, what people want to see and listen to.
EG: And what are the biggest challenges in your personal life?
CC: I think it is the balancing of work and being able to hang out with friends and the family side of things. There is a lot of balancing the work and the personal. It is definitely a challenge.
Scheduling to Stay Connected
EG: I understand that completely. So, how do you handle those challenges?
CC: I try to just schedule it out in a way where I get all my work done earlier in the day. Then leave time for spending time with my family or hanging out with some friends later on. Social media is kind of cool where you can involve your friends and family in it as well. That definitely helps.
EG: How do you handle the rough days of business? Days where you might be dealing with loneliness, conflicts in the industry? What are your coping mechanisms?
CC: The biggest thing is I have a really good family support as well as the fans. If I am ever going through some stuff I will just go online and they are always saying positive stuff. Going through their comments and going through their tweets and all that… definitely always makes my day. They are definitely a huge part. The support is just crazy. The fans, I can’t thank them enough for all that.
Is Crawford Collins a Secret Introvert?
EG: Being a Social Media Influencer is an outgoing profession putting you constantly in front of your peers. But your recent answers on Balcony Fire Music Video Release Party pointed to potentially being an introvert. You prefer whispering to shouting, rather be alone on an island than with an enemy, and you chose to keep your dog rather than a computer. Which I commend you for… Does the spotlight ever get overwhelming to you?
CC: There is certain parts of it that are less… some parts of it I like a lot more than others. But I wouldn’t say I am an introvert. I am a really social person but there are just certain parts of it. I am not the biggest fan of interviews but I love going on stage and performing. And I love meeting the fans. There are certain parts that are not as fun as others, but altogether it is a good time.
EG: But when it comes to certain things you are a little more private.
CC: Yeah, I mean… It is kind of tough being private on social media because it is such a personal space. I love performing, it is just the interview side of things that I am not a fan of… (he says laughing)
Crawford Collins on Being Treated Differently
EG: Is there anything that you not like about being a celebrity, aside from interviews?
CC: I don’t like when people treat you differently because of it. Like even friends or when people come up to you and treat you different. I mean, I don’t think I am any different or any better than any of my friends or anyone who watches my content.
I like when people come up to me and talk to me as a human instead of putting me on a pedestal.
EG: So, what do you love about being a celebrity?
CC: I don’t know. The coolest thing is just being… it has given me tons of opportunity to just travel the world and meet so many different people. So may cool opportunities I wouldn’t get otherwise. There are so many cool experiences that you just wouldn’t normally get. Events, getting to go to certain events and getting flown out to certain places. It is pretty awesome.
Who Do You Follow on Social Media?
EG: Who are the Social Media Entrepreneurs that you follow and why?
CC: I follow a lot of social media entrepreneurs. Some of the big ones would be… (noise in the background muffled the first name), King Bach, Jack and Jack, Life According to Jimmy, my brother as well… Those are just some of them. There are so many. I have a lot of friends in the space as well. There is a lot of different people that I watch in the space that I see doing big things. It definitely inspires me to do the same thing.
EG: You mentioned previously that being a celebrity has given you access to opportunities that you probably would not have had otherwise. What has been your favorite opportunities and how have they changed your life?
Collins as Youth Ambassador for United Nations
CC: One really cool opportunity I got was being invited to be part of the United Nations… I am a Youth Ambassador for the United Nations. They flew me out to New York twice. Once for World Peace Day and once for World Aids Day, to bring awareness to the cause and make a difference. Which was a cool thing to do… to give back and do something with my following that wasn’t for me. It was to help a lot more people. That was a really cool opportunity that I got through the United Nations.
British Polo Day Invite
And another really cool opportunity was I got flown out to Morocco by British Polo Day and the country of Morocco. They showed me all the really cool places in Morocco which was a really cool experience as well.
EG: So the British Polo Day invited you and flew you out?
CC: Yeah. It was a collaboration between British Polo Day and Morocco Tourism. We were brought out there to bring awareness to the beauty of the country, as well as British Polo Day, and all the cool stuff that happens in Morocco. It was a really cool opportunity. They showed us all the cool spots. It was amazing.
EG: I watched the video of Morocco on your branded website, and it was very nice…
CC: Yeah, I wish we would have gotten more content. We should have filmed a lot more, but the video turned out really good. It was a good time.
Meeting Richard Branson
EG: Speaking of opportunities, not many people your age gets to meet a legend like Richard Branson. What was that like for you?
CC: That was really cool for me just because he’s one of the biggest names of being an entrepreneur. Not going with what people say, just doing your own thing and just being super successful doing it. It was a really cool opportunity. I didn’t get to talk to him super long, but it was definitely inspiring to talk to him for how long I did.
EG: Right, and now you have it in your portfolio for life that you met him.
CC: Exactly, it was crazy. He flew in on a helicopter to the British Polo Days. Right in the middle of the field. It was pretty wild.
EG: Did you ever feel out of place or was it really comfortable for you?
CC: Everyone was kind of like 30, 30+… We were definitely the youngest ones there. It was really cool because we had all these really influential people who were really successful in what they did, and they were all really interested in what we did. It was kind of a new space for them. We had so many cool conversations with influential people just trying to get to know what we do because social media is such a new space. Even though they are super successful in what they are doing, they could see that we were killing it in what we are doing. They wanted to learn more about that. It was really a humbling and cool experience to have so many people interested.
Encouragement for New Social Media Influencers
EG: What encouragement can you offer to young adults and youth who are going to be in the spotlight?
CC: Stay yourself. Don’t let the social media and all the fame change you. Once you start to let that into your mind, you start to get big-headed about it, and it translates into your content. Especially in social media where it is such a personal space. You can tell when someone is letting it get to their head. Stay positive and try… I would encourage people to spread a positive message versus a negative one because you have a lot more power than you think. You’re influencing… especially the younger generation so anything you do is going to have a big impact. Whatever you say is going to have a big impact on your following.
EG: One of the things you said you dislike is when people treat you different. What else would you encourage young adults to do or say when meeting a celebrity?
CC: Be polite, be respectful of their space. Mostly, just talk to them like you are meeting anyone else. Just be yourself and be respectful.
Are You Successful?
EG: Do you consider yourself to be successful?
CC: I would definitely say I have achieved, especially I guess for my age, a large amount of success. There is so much more I want to do. I wouldn’t say that I am not successful, but there is a lot more in my future that I can accomplish.
EG: What aspect of your life do you want to be remembered 20 years from now?
CC: I just want whenever people bring up my name that it all be positive. Like, oh he helped me through this with his music, or he used to put on an awesome performance, I loved his videos… just a positive- any sort of positive impact I can make. So when people bring up my name it is all positive is definitely the goal.
What is Your Life Goal as Social Media Influencer?
EG: What is most important for you to see accomplished during your lifetime?
CC: It sounds cliché, but just world peace. Everyone setting aside their differences. That was a big thing we talked about for the United Nations which I thought was so cool. The path to peace starts with forgiveness because without forgiveness there will never be peace.
I am a big believer in just loving on people. My parents raised me that way. So just people getting along and setting aside their differences.
Do You Support a Charity?
EG: Is there any charity that you support?
CC: I am working with this one charity right now… They work over in Thailand on sex trafficking. Children over there are being sex trafficked. So they set up these houses where they bring kids in and teach them that they are loved. They bring in older people as well that have been trafficked. They just love on them and show them that it is not the only way to live. That’s one of the cool organizations that I am working with. It is called Justice Speaks. They work out of LA and Thailand.
EG: That is important to me personally. We have a mission in Mexico that helps pull people out of the prostitution rings and slave labor. So it means a lot to me personally that you support that charity.
Where Do You Want to Visit?
EG: If you could travel to any location, where would you go?
CC: One of the big ones is definitely Brazil. I have like a crazy awesome following and support in Brazil. It is one of my biggest and I have heard it is a really beautiful country. Brazil is definitely on the top of that list. The UK would be amazing. Mexico. There is a lot of them… as much traveling as possible. I love it, minus the flights, I love traveling.
Do You Consider Yourself Emotionally Intelligent?
EG: One of the last questions I have for you, it is big. It is well known and accepted that artists tend to have high emotional intelligence and thus maturity. That affects everything you do as an artist. Obviously, you consider yourself successful on certain levels. You have a lot more to accomplish in your lifetime as an entertainer and social media influencer. Do you also consider yourself to be emotional intelligence and mature for your age?
CC: I would definitely say so. The experiences I have had at such a young age has helped develop that in me. I don’t want to sound like I am bragging or anything, but I would definitely say so.
EG: Last question. Are there any subjects that we did not discuss today that is important to you as an individual, as an artist, and as a world citizen?
CC: My fans. I just released my first music remix about a month ago now and the amount of support is way… The support on the social media side of things transferring over to music has been… the fans have been crazy supportive.
It is always hard going from one space, not that I am leaving the social media, but showing them a new side of my life. Showing them something I have been working on passionately. Expanding my brand and moving to the music side. It is really cool to see how well it has been translating. Definitely a lot of positive feedback.
EG: Yes, one thing I have noticed with all your tweets and stuff, you have been humble and grateful to your fan base.
CC: Everything I do is because of them. Without my fans, I couldn’t do any of this. I owe it all to them. I try to take every opportunity I can to thank them and show them appreciation. Let them know that I wouldn’t be able to do this without you guys. So much love for the fans. Everything is because of them.
This article completes the three part series on Social Media Influencer Crawford Collins. In the first article Crawford talked about transitioning into the music industry as a Dee Jay. Click HERE to read that article. The second article focused on his work with the United Nations. Click HERE for that article.