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Sophomore Caleb Helmick Runs Instagram Account with over 14,000 Followers


Credit to Jordan Milewczik

Sophomore Caleb Helmick poses with his Instagram account @boat.nation. Helmick created the account in February of this year. The account has more than 120 posts. He takes photo submissions from followers and then posts them on the account for everyone to see.

By Ronald Joel

Just another day of English class in late February. The movie plays, while students play on their phones due to boredom. Sophomore Caleb Helmick gets on Instagram and takes a look at his feed. He observes the different accounts, the likes, the DMs. Caleb looks at the big accounts, the ones with many followers, the ones that sponsor other accounts as well as companies. He then decides to create a social media account on Instagram dedicated specifically to boats because of his family’s interest in the overwater rides. He named his account @boat.nation.

Over the course of a few weeks, he posts a variety of different boats, from speedboats to yachts, with a caption along the lines of “Check this out!” It starts just for fun, but later leads into something more.

“Honestly, I was just scrolling through Instagram,” Caleb said. “It then came to me: why not see where a social media account takes me?”

Within the English class, students took it as a joke. In fact Caleb even went home and told his family. As he told the story of the making of the account, his family laughed it off and joked about it. They didn’t take what he said seriously, although they didn’t turn down what he wanted to do.

“But they didn’t take it quite seriously, I mean I didn’t either, but I started to get mass followers, which I didn’t expect at all,” Caleb said. “My parents said I wouldn’t get anywhere with this and I told them, ‘You just wait and see.’”

Within the first week, Caleb gained 1,000 followers on his account. Caleb had asked all his friends around school to follow his new boat account, they did just as he asked. He knew this was going to get serious. As he gained more and more followers, he soon began to get companies to advertise their boats on his page. They contact Caleb through his DMs and give a price. Either Caleb agrees or he bargains for more.

“When he walked in I was like, ‘Great, what’s he going to say?’” Caleb’s sister, sophomore Courtney Helmick, said. “He tells us that a company just paid him $25 for a picture to post. I was actually so surprised.”

What was first just an account started as a laugh, has now become a small business. Caleb started getting multiple companies to contact him through his boat page, looking to see if they could get Caleb to accept their offers in advertising their boats. With 14,000 followers and rapidly growing to this day, Caleb has made $150 so far through these advertisements.

“Just the thought of him having an account like that is really cool,” sophomore Anthony Cardoni said. “It’s different from just companies sponsoring and advertising themselves.”