An entrepreneurial teenage boy is cashing in on his adorable dog which has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram and poses for popular brands.
James Power estimates that he earns around £500 per month from top animal brands featuring his photogenic pooch Marley on their Instagram pages.
The 15-year-old only started an account on the popular photo-sharing app because friends complained that they were “sick of seeing” his Golden Labrador on their Facebook feeds.
Marley, who was born in October last year, has managed to generate more than 19,000 followers on Instagram and been featured on the pages of the likes of Pedigree, Tails.com and Top Collar.
James from Gorebridge, Midlothian, says he wanted a dog so badly that he would often lie to his classmates about having one before he was given Marley by a family friend.
The Newbattle High School pupil said: “In school, everyone used to have a dog and I didn’t so I used to lie that I had a dog. I first wanted to get a pug but then I decided to get a lab, it’s my best friend.
“The first month I got to at least maybe 4,000 followers and ever since it began I have been getting around 200 followers a day.
“Obviously Youtube and Twitter have also made played a part in me getting more followers.
“Also promotions have been a big part, paying a pound to get your photo seen by thousands of people.
“When you have a big following people just want to be your friend, they’ll offer to take you to the cinema just to get a shout out and stuff.
“But what I think is really cool is that I can say I’m going to the beach and 40 or so people can turn up to take photos and stuff.
“At the moment, I make about £500 a month from what I do. Sometimes it can be more but it just depends.””
James says he has been able to increase his followers mostly by using Instagram.
He added: “The honest part is by working with big brands. I’ve worked with Tail.com and you can get food sent out.
“They sent me a big package of food for free and all I had to do is take a picture of Marley beside the food, write maybe a caption, and then I literally got a free shoutout.
“That’s where I got hundreds of followers.
“Looking at my analytics on Instagram, 59 per cent of women look at my dog and the rest comes of men.
“I’ve just had shoutouts everywhere including dogs of Instagram who have around 1.2 million followers.
“I approach some big brands asking if I could do a post of their products for free of charge in order to get a shoutout.
“But the smaller brands offer to pay me which is really nice.
“I was approached one time by a brand who asked to send me money and sponsor them to get publicity. So we did it, I got thousands of dog treats for the homeless dogs and the adults.
“I uploaded that video on Youtube and that got 5.5k likes so that’s been great.”
The high school pupil takes his pictures using an iPhone 6s.
James says his family has become supportive, especially his grandmother Kathleen, 58, who he stays with.
He explained: “At first they said there was no point in me doing this.
“But now my gran loves it and my aunties want to take me to the beach to do photos all the time. My gran tells her friends, so its quite good, they’re really supportive.
“I’m just really grateful for everyone’s support. That’s why I always try and interact with my followers too if they send a message or share my pictures which edit myself.”