Codie Sanchez quit her job on Wall Street and became a serial entrepreneur and investor focusing on the niche of “boring businesses”— car washes, laundromats, vending machines, etc. She built a $30M portfolio of 25 of these businesses that produce 8 figures in revenue.
Then she launched Contrarian Thinking, a content platform and consulting agency focusing on helping others do the same. Her newsletter has 110K subscribers and built an audience on TikTok of over 1.1M followers.
We asked her how she uses TikTok to grow her audience and the ins and outs of the platform. If you’re dipping your toes into the world of TikTok, Codie is the perfect example of how the platform can boost your brand and your bottom line.
TikTok Following Q&A with Codie Sanchez
Q: TikTok is the dominant social media platform for youth culture. Why should entrepreneurs and small business owners utilize the platform?
A: Proximity to capital = pushed virality. What this means is that every time a new platform comes online and receives a lot of funding, and press, they transfer that audience and dollars to creators. That is how they grow. The company is in sprint mode and instead of using ad spend on other platforms YOU the creators, companies, and content providers become the product of their “ad spend” in the form of product updates and pushing of your content.
Q: What works on TikTok and not on other platforms?
A: Tik Tok & Twitter don’t get along. I’ve found almost everything that works on TikTok works on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube Shorts. But Twitter is the snarky, smart, tech bro and TikTok is the ADHD, funny, teenager. If you write on Twitter like you do on TikTok you’ll look dumb and if you write on TikTok like you do on Twitter no one will ever watch your videos.
If you write on Twitter like you do on TikTok you’ll look dumb and if you write on TikTok like you do on Twitter no one will ever watch your videos.
It’s a case study actually in how to speak to different generations and interests. Which is a wonderful skillset to have. Imagine how you’d speak to your friend who is a CEO of a Silicon Valley startup that loves Elon Musk, memes, and talking about fundraising rounds. That’s Twitter. Then imagine how you’d talk to your cousin who’s in high school and thinks he wants to be an entrepreneur but doesn’t know anything about it. That’s Tik Tok. Speak accordingly.
Q: What was your most successful TikTok video, and why?
A: 19.5 million views. About a vending machine. Who would have thought? Why? Authentic–I’m in front of the actual vending machine, which proves it’s “real.” The hook is killer, makes you want to listen to more. It’s controversial, with a bunch of comments saying NO WAY! It details an idea people can relate to, want to do, and also understand easily.
Q: How do you brainstorm content ideas for TikTok?
A: You want to go viral on the internet? Obsess on one thing, ideas. How do you get em? How do you execute on em? How do you make it so that you are a content-making machine? That formula is different for everyone. For me, it’s time and space. Ideas are like plants they need room to breathe and sunshine. So I do everything I can to create that space.
Q: What’s one mistake you made early on using TikTok?
A: Early on I tried to trend chase. I’m a 35-year-old woman who has been in finance all my life. I have one rule, I DO NOT dance on TikTok. Maybe that works for most people, but it’s uninteresting and not authentic to me.
I’m a 35-year-old woman who has been in finance all my life. I have one rule, I DO NOT dance on TikTok.
Q: How do you stay on top of the latest TikTok trends?
A: Be a consumer of the platform you want to dominate. I think of platforms like mistresses, every woman is different. Some want red roses, some want trips, some want to brainstorm, if you treat every platform the same they’ll leave you behind. You have to obsess on the uniqueness of each platform in order to get them to love you. So the short answer is, consume a lot of TikToks until you speak its love language.
Q: TikTok videos are consumed like potato chips, but the videos take much longer to produce. How do you keep up with the rapid demand for content?
A: Create a potato chip-making factory. Anyone on the internet who is going viral often has a machine behind them eventually. Don’t believe the simplicity of videos or the influencers that say that they just jump on and go live. Unless you have a process and help it’s damn hard. Hard is ok.
Anyone on the internet who is going viral often has a machine behind them eventually.
Q: You’ve grown an impressive community on TikTok. How do you keep them engaged?
A: We haven’t done a good job of this on Tik Tok. The only thing we’ve really done consistently is give, give, give, give. Free content 100x to everyone all the time. That shows that we are here to do more than sell them things. We are here to grow together. To get rich together. To get smart together. But the next step is getting more into the comments.
Q: Your videos highlight “boring businesses” and how they can be a profitable career path. What’s the next untapped “boring business”?
A: In the future, all small businesses will be tech-enabled. Going forward I don’t want to just own the laundromats and car washes. I want to own the companies that power them. 10,000 boomers retire a day. 8-10% own a business. There are 2.4 million boring businesses for sale. The problem is their kids want to TikTok not take over a plumbing company AND scaling SMBs is hard. So, the solution I’m putting my money into? Investing in picks and shovels.
We invest in the startups that turn fax machine-using companies into auto text when your service is done companies. We’ll own companies that take them from writing your invoice on a sticky note to auto-billing. Those boring businesses fascinate me.
Q: You’ve been successful in various business sectors. What does success look like now?
A: Complete autonomy. An empty calendar. A packed calendar of all interesting options. The more “wants” I have in my day and the less “musts” the happier I am. The happier we all are really. You find as you get more success, that the marginal increase in dollars isn’t what is more satisfying it is the right to say no to anything anywhere without pause. That is the freedom most people actually are searching for, although they get it confused with net worth or income.
The more “wants” I have in my day and the less “musts” the happier I am.
Q: What’s one thing an entrepreneur could do today to grow their TikTok account?
A: Start, commit, copy and repeat. Start posting daily, commit to continuing for 1 year, copy the greats in your industry, and repeat but with your own flair. If you do those 4 things on TikTok you’ll grow, period. I’m happy to tell you it’s not rocket science.