While most teens his age are still recovering from the aftermath of Schoolies Week, 18-year-old Nathan Testa is burning the midnight oil, running his own digital agency across multiple time zones.
Having dropped out of high school in 2015, he started digital development company Teko in 2016, focusing on both website creation and digital branding services.
“I’m working with 25 partners across Australia, the US and India. When I’m asleep, they’re working, making sure projects are getting delivered on time,” he says.
Recent projects for the business include working on the digital presence and site for indoor football centre The Football Grounds — a project former Central Coast Mariners captain Nick Montgomery is involved with.
Testa’s entrepreneurial journey is one that began at age 12, inspired by the many in his family who’ve trodden a similar path.
“My great grandparents came over from Italy and then my dad’s parents and mum’s parents did. They’ve all run business from fruit shops to restaurants and dad runs an accounting and advisory firm,” he says.
But it’s technology that’s informed Nathan’s own path and now through his agency Teko he’s trying to help businesses grow a digital presence, particularly those in the construction, hospitality and corporate sectors.
“Rather than just saying, ‘hey we’ll build your website’, we’re making sure people can find them online. Technology’s so big now that you need to have a presence, especially through search engines and social media campaigns,’ Testa says.
To make that happen, he’s enlisted the support of a broad range of digital experts, including marketers, web designers, mobile app developers or branding specialists. Though they’re scattered across three continents, Testa oversees it all from his own office on the central coast of New South Wales and another in North Sydney.
“As we keep expanding and aim for larger clients, potentially one day I’ll move to the US where there’s a much bigger market. I’d be keen to build it from the ground up there, make it the go-to place for websites and apps,” he says.
Starting a business is about finding positive people
Until that times comes, Testa’s still got plenty of home-grown advice to draw on here.
“My biggest advice is to surround yourself with positive people – not negative people. Leverage off the people who’ve been there, done that,” he urges.
“And be around people who’ve built businesses from the ground up because they know what it takes.”
But with so much out there to learn, will this go-getting teen still have time to rest for Christmas?
“Well I went to bed this morning at 3:30am, making sure a few projects are on time. But this Christmas I want to spend more time with the family to have a bit of a break.”