I met my friend Shane at our school, University of Baltimore. We are both currently in the Entrepreneur Fellows Program and it is an awesome pleasure getting to know this guy who is full of life, experiences and most of all talent.
Question 1: Why did you take the leap towards your goals? What was the biggest thing you wanted to change in your life before gaining your success?
” Growing up I never set out to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to be a pro golfer or if that fell through, be a news anchor. When I was 5 I told my mom I’d love to be a garbage man.. I guess that never panned out. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was always in a leadership position or trying to create something. I was the guy the group pointed to when the teacher said nominate a representative; I ended up being the captain of sports teams and presidents of clubs. I was an only kid who lived on a farm; being involved was my ticket to avoid loneliness and my parents supported me.
I went to Salisbury University for 2 years, and again was president of many clubs, my dorm, and my fraternity (I was the youngest president they had). I spoke at the open houses and gave university tours too… I was much better at the tours. I met some amazing people and professors on the Maryland Eastern Shore. My tipping point at college came after being denied video equipment from the school. A bunch of friends and I started our own news outlet (The Independent News Network) and had a blast creating stories, weather reports, and graphics. We rocked the boat a bit by doing that, but our content was solid. I began to skip some class to keep pursuing my passion. I still passed and eventually Salisbury became a client, along with the United Way, and other local businesses.
I looked further yet and happened to meet a media producer in Bethesda who I wanted to intern for. It was a small shop in a green business incubator, nothing fancy but I was hungry. I commuted from Salisbury to Bethesda 2 days a week, for free. After 3 weeks, I was asked to tour the world with the Beach Boys for half a year. I quit school, bought a high end camera, and said yes.
5 years and 2 ventures later, here I am!”
Question 2: What are the motivators of your life when you put your actions towards your dream?
” I think there are a few points that jettisoned me forward in my life, each at really critical moments that would define my life’s path. The first came when I won my hometown golf club’s club championship. I was only 16 or 17 at the time and I beat men 2-3x my age, I even shot an opening round under par. Not everyone took it that well; After I won, I actually went home and cried. It didn’t feel like a sweet victory, some of the guys weren’t that happy and I didn’t totally understand it. It was a huge goal of mine to win it before I was 18; It taught me a huge lesson, one I wasn’t ready for at the time. Achieving your goals will mean creating resistance. I keep the parking sign with my name and champion written under it in my room to remind me everyday of how it is always going to feel uncomfortable when pursuing goals.
The second was being denied camera equipment at college. As I mentioned earlier, a bunch of buddies and I wanted to further pursue our video/broadcasting skills at the university. We set up a meeting with the CMAT department and then were denied use. We wanted to learn and jump the line but protocol stopped it. I’m not a follow protocol type of guy. Being a stubborn freshmen, I bought our group our own equipment, rallied about 10-15 kids, and created our own news agency, INN. We created a video every week, published news articles 2 times a week, and did green screened weather, all without taking a single class on it. Looking back that was an insane amount of work. I would skip class to make it happen; I made a ton of leadership and management mistakes, but learned more than any class could have taught. I also gained confidence.
I quit school 2 years in. Surprisingly it wasn’t a big deal to my parents or me. They created a wonderful life degreeless, and wanted to see me pursue my passions. It helped I was quitting school to travel the world with the Beach Boys. After 6 months on the road, I partnered into company number 1, MLP. It was a media agency run by an older man who’d been in the biz for awhile. I wasn’t ready for that either. We made many mistakes too. At 22 I had to make serious financial and creative decisions for brands like Stihl, Hitachi, and Honest Tea as well as smaller businesses that couldn’t afford issues. It was stressful. I think I was reading 2-3 books a month on marketing, video production, business management, etc. I didn’t want to screw up in front of these guys. I would sleep at the office some nights, using a portable backdrop as a blanket and be woken up around 5AM by the janitor, Jose. I hated his vacuum.
During my time there I had visions of many ventures I wanted to pursue; 3 years later I left MLP to start my own agency. This was super painful. I had to abandon all of my work and planning. We were growing too. Starting from scratch changed my life. It magnified mistakes, and rewarded execution. I was sloppy with discipline, but have since tightened everything up.
Finally, what has recently made me razor sharp with focus and strategy, was the death of my dad. He passed away in Oct 2016, and everything hit me like a slap in the face. It was unexpected to say the least. I realized that every moment of time we are alive is so so so important. To waste it on trivial things is doing the world and you a disservice. For me, impact on a large scale is my goal. How can I help 1 person, then go on to help 1 million. “
Question 3: What changes occurred in your life after taking the leap? Health, wealth, happiness?
” Choosing to dedicate your life to growing ventures and impacting people is not for the feint of heart. Most reading this will likely quit before year one, look at the stats. A few crazy people will survive and create tangible products with impact. I put on weight. My eyesight got worse. I sleep crazy hours. I wear all business function hats and still get stuff wrong. I’ve failed college classes for the first time. I’ve lost friends and fired others. I’ve laid in the grass wondering what the hell I’m doing and have no idea where to go next.
I take a deep breath and then it all connects again.
I feel alive. I win contracts. I help people and see them grow. I travel to places and experience things others can’t, I get to meet interesting people who change how you you view the world. I’ve been able to buy a home and now rent it on multiple sites. We have some pretty awesome people come through the door!
It’s all worth it. The struggle is part of the adventure. It makes life worth living.
I’ll leave the readers with this,
Go to a mirror, look into it. Is who you want to be, looking back? Do you know who should be looking back? Think about your day down to the hour. Are you maximizing your time?
Good luck! ”