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Interviews

5 Life Lessons from Fanny Axén

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Fanny Axén from Stockholm, Sweden. She is a competent, committed and very experienced PR/ Branding and Music Manager, with over 10 years of professional experience working with some of the biggest European & a few worldwide names in the music business, she has been working with and getting praised by managers, artists and producers for the likes of Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z.

She also behind managing and building new artists on her own that caught the attention from people like the manager of superstar Steff London,Music Legend Craig Logan (managed Cher, Pink, Diana Ross, and running major record labels ) to Terral Slack, who is 1 of the guys that found and managed Drake. Capitol Records US, Atlantic Records, and Johnny Phillips at SJM Concerts ( promoter Bruno mars, Drake, Take that and more) and having her artists get interest and work with producers and songwriters as P2J, K.E, Akil King, Rymez, Chris Hanebutt, for the likes of Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez to only mention a few.

She is a builder of high-performance teams and a natural team leader, mentor, and motivator who thrives in environments requiring a high-level strategist with dedicated focus on details. Which has really put her stamp on the map when it comes to PR and Branding especially for new artists out there.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank You for having me. I always knew seens i was a little girl that i would be doing something with music and working with talented people.
I started of as a Stylist & Image consultant and i started my own company when i was 19 years old, working both in London and Sweden.

My music journey actually started off working for my own Idol today grammy award winner and multitimes nominated international superstar Mohombi.
He really believed in me, my drive and Passion and gave me a chance working for him, i designed his clothes and styled him to start with.But i was coming up with different ideas and campaigns and connecting him to different kind of brands like the Pharrell owned fashion brand G Star and other big profiles. He saw my potential and drive and hired me as his own PR Manager after seeing how much i got done and believed in him. Mohombi became at one point one of the biggest new artists in the world getting signed by Lady Gaga producer Red-One and with his song Bumpy Ride being nr 1 on most charts all over the world, he also getting signed with Cash Money Records, and been doing collaborations with Birdman, Shaggy, Pitbull, Akon, Nelly & Craig David and more. He also co wrote & produced the 2 biggest hits right now Jennifer lopez new single feat Dj Khaled and Cardi B and J Balvin feat Beyonce Mi gente with over 2 billion streams.

I was also asked to work with this new group called Little Great Things were two of the boys in the group is the grandchildren of Benny Andersson from Abba and their mom is one of Scandinavia’s most famous names Nanne Gronvall.
The group was entering Melodifestivalen which is the biggest music competition in Europe and i was in a situation helping this young talented guys to find their own identity through clothes and everything around competition for them to be able to be confident on stage and put on the Best show. I Spend a couple of months with them basically helping them with everything around the competition.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I got a few very interesting stories. But if i have to choose one i think i have to say putting together a show for Legend Ryan Leslie in Sweden.
I basically had to do everything on my own from getting the venue, selling tickets in 3 weeks, I also had my own 2 artists Jay Samson and Mikaela i managed at the time open the show for him.
Because of a lot of difficult people and situations i had to do all this without any sort of Promotion Budget, so i had to come up with Ideas using my social medias and network to make everything work, the person who booked him didn’t do it in the correct way but i had absolutely no idea planning everything around the concert and the artist showing up and i got left with everything. It was the craziest 3 days in my life but i told myself if i can do this there’s nothing i can’t do.
In the end we pulled it off with the help from my amazing friends. And not just that but i also had the whole crew of Mariah Carey coming to the show.
But i created great relationships with both Ryan and the Mariah team after seeing my hard work and not giving up so it was all worth it in the end.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Funniest mistake… I’m not sure its that funny but a big mistake i did is trying to be this person wanting to help everyone out with basically anything they needed, and that made most artists or promoters come to me me if they needed anything from booking an international artist, putting together music videos to getting sponsored by fashion brand and other brands, with artists and people i wasn’t even working with officially. I have created all my relationships completely on my own and i was there helping them out risking my own relationships and reputation with all this people for absolutely no reason, so i would more call it a stupid mistake more than funny , but i have learned so much from it and that the most important thing in this business is your relationships and your reputation.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I had one huge producer ,grammy winner that’s been working with everyone from Jay Z, Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber asking me to represent him, after seeing what i’ve done with my own artists.
He told me that he never meet anyone with the drive and passion i have but also actually making things happen as i do.
So I think i have to say that what makes me different just be hearing what other people say about me, It would be my drive and always finding ways to get things happen.
I mostly been self employed never having to do things on my own so its 100 times harder then to work for a major label or something like that where you can make a call and because of the name you work for they will help you , no I haven’t been able to use a name to get our songs on the radio or book a show , i have to sell myself and my team.
Also Loyalty to the people i work with and i always takes risks if i believe in something i invest everything i got in it, no excuses. I see it for what it is i work with people’s Dreams and life.
I Also never want to do things the easy way instead i always think outside the box.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

A great advice i would share is try not to work too much with feelings and your heart, just see it as what it is a business. Not saying you should care about who you work with but just try to keep personal and business a bit separate, most times when you work with someone or something that you care to much about, like a family member or a really good friend, it’s always 10 times harder because you can’t always make the right decisions for their business instead you trying to protect them, and another thing is when u love something it takes more energy from u then when you only work to work if that makes sense.

I would also say make a long term plan for your Dreams, and then cut them down in shorter goals, is easier to not get stressed if you don’t look at the big dream all the time, instead seeing monthly or even a yearly plan will make you not thinking things is impossible.

And my last advice is try to focus on what you are best at, and try not to do everything on your own, create a team where everyone does what they are best at, that’s the recipe for long term success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There is 2 very special people , my amazing friends Anette and Jason.
Anette been there from the start even in the hardest times never let me give up on my dreams, i can definitely say that i wouldn’t be where i am today without her. The second person is my friend Jason, he was the person who made me believe that there’s nothing i can’t do and opened my eyes when it comes to working on my own brand and not just artists and other people always. He has given me an opportunity that i could never dream of and im forever grateful to have a friend like that.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m trying to be a good role model for young girls that wants to enter the entertainment business, everything today is about your social media and having millions of followers and the really young generation seeing this and believing that all is about that, or them saying i will do anything for my dream to come true and not understanding the sort of power a lot of this people in the business has and what they actually will ask you to do once your saying that you do anything. They are starting so early now aswell having instagram account s from ages 12 and sometimes even younger thinking it’s not about being talented or working hard to become successful anymore.

I’m trying to share my story and advice and the truth is i have actually personally worked with most of my own idols, like Mohombi, Ro James and Ryan Leslie m.m and anything i tell myself i am gonna do, i have actually accomplished so far, of course not with a few bumps along the way but i just don’t ever give up if i believe in something. I get company’s, press, fashion brands, artists and producers willing to support me in basically anything i choose to work with, not because i’m huge on social media but because they see my passion and hard work and say you don’t see good and loyal hardworking people often in this this business anymore and that’s why they support me in what i do. It really means alot to me to see messages i get from girls saying that my story inspires them and they want to go out and work for their dreams, and if i can do it they can.

Some of the best things i’ve done is also when i can make other peoples that’s not having a easy life dreams come true like i partnered up with Barncancerfonden and Fighter Hjälpen 2 Swedish companies that works with young kids with cancer and other illnesses. I arranged for around 50 kids from Astrid Lindgrens children’s hospital to come and spend a day together with their favorite group Panetoz and also being involved in there music video shoot, that’s still today one of the best days in my life seeing the smile and laughter on those kids faces meant the world, and seeing that you can really change people’s life through music, stil today i get messages from parents thanking for making their kids dreams coming true and making them smile. I also always had my artists perform at charities events to help raise money for great causes, and any chance i can to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life i will always do.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Treat people like you want to be treated.

I just always believed in being a good person and never trying to get back at people who done you wrong, i have had a few of those experiences where people use you and don’t even have a problem trying to ruin your name when they dont get there way anymore, But my thing is i believe in Karma and if your good, good things will come to you in the end.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I think they same thing i said earlier about working not to much with your feelings and think of it as a business.

One example is managing your own artists it’s basically like having a kid you take care of everything around them and giving up your own life or at least that’s how i work im there 24/7 and in all aspects. And in the end they can just stop working if they want to and there’s nothing really you can do about it.

2. Another 1 is wrote about earlier stick to what your best at and let other people do the rest.

If your trying to do everything you won’t be able to do anything 100% instead everything might be 60% and you might not get the results you want.

3. Work on your own brand and name as much as the person you work with, cause if you stop working with them for some reason everything you worked for with probably don’t matter in the end and if you instead working on yourself no one can ruin it for you except you.

I learned that hard way not giving everything to someone whos not prefered to work as hard as you are.

4. Make sure you work with people that see the value in you don’t let anyone tell you your not good enough or try to change you.

They probably really want to do exactly what your doing or being involved in your projects and then when they cant deliver or doesnt work hard and get cut off they will try to ruin your name instead of working on themselves they will blame it on you.

5. I guess the last thing is something i have done as well as i wish someone might told me, but that is never ever go against you gut feeling, if you feel something will work and you are prepared to work for it it most likely it will work, and if someone tells you it won’t they are probably jealous or just wants you to give up.
So never let anyone doubt yourself.

I had a few of them experiences where iv done my work im hired to do and once i decide not to keep someone around and it could be for a lot of reasons they will do everything to try to take credit for what you done or even go as far as trying to make up lies and have people doubt you, and then if your a good person and loyal and also delivers no one will believe anything they hear about you and they will stay on your side.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If we thinking of the business scene that’s what we are talking about here. I would start a movement where all the biggest stars on social media that has over 100.000 followers would have to do or just say 1 good thing on their social medias everyday for 1 year. It could as an example be putting a video or a picture of them visiting a kid in the hospital, or giving food to a homeless, writing a positive status, giving a compliment or just supporting someone else, maybee giving away something that’s material and wouldn’t really matter to them to someone that it would change that person’s life. Really just something small but as long as its positive. I truly believe if more people could see the biggest stars do things like this regularly it would inspire others to do the same, cause the truth is in today’s society everything is about social media and the biggest instagram stars, and everyone wants to be and act exactly like they are doing and apparently they don’t realize that doing good things for their followers to see will make them follow in their footsteps and the world would have a lot less pain. In my mind this would be so obvious but it’s just not, seems they think it’s more important to show off a new car or bag then to do a good thing for someone else or actually all the millions of people that follows them that would see this and hopefully get inspired of doing them same, the world would definitely be much more happier than what it is today.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
My instagram is @Fanny.Axen, feel free to follow me on there 🙂

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you !

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

Staying Authentic in a World of Noise With Nick Covey

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“Be Yourself” is the most popular individualist based advice but in the real sense, it is the vaguest adage. We want to stay authentic and want to advise others to be authentic but somewhere we don’t know the real definition of it.  Is it really so easy to be authentic in this noisy world as giving someone a “Be yourself” advice before an interview? With social media, smartphones, T.V, internet and a world of endless information, there are more distractions than ever before. Focusing on our goal is becoming increasingly difficult because of constant advertisements and distractions everywhere. We are living in a world full of noise where our perspective is completely dictated by the crowd. If our mentor, idol, or a person we truly like have a certain opinion, we purposely or unknowingly change our opinion to match theirs. The biggest thing that restricts us from being ourselves is our human nature of being worried about how people think of us. It is extremely difficult to be authentic in this world, but it is not impossible.

 

Today, we have Nick Covey, a visionary, a true-hustler and a person who helps others find and represent their authentic self. He believes that through the relentless pursuit of their passions, anyone can find this authenticity. Here are the top 3 tips for staying authentic and being yourself in this world of noise coming from the man himself.

 

  1. Limit Your Time on Social Media and T.V

 

Humans have a tendency to believe what they see and hear, especially when they come across the same thing multiple times. It’s hard to have a different perspective because we are used to believing what we see and hear. We can’t see it in any other way. That’s all we know. How can you truly understand what you want if your mind is constantly being influenced and distracted by others?

 

We have to get out of this matrix. You can’t really find out who you are and what you want when you are constantly exposed to what’s on social media, the internet, and T.V. It’s good to be educated but it’s not good to blindly believe what you see even if everyone is presenting the same picture in front of you. Nick asserts that limiting your time on media consumption will drastically change your life. Limit your media consumption to 1 hour a day and you will find out that you are more energetic, focused and clear-headed.

 

  1. Spend Alone Time With Yourself

 

You can’t be yourself if you don’t know yourself. The primary goal is to find out who you are and what you want and this can best be done by spending alone time with yourself. He considers mornings to be the ideal time to be alone with your thoughts and to listen to the conversation that’s going on in your head. What are you telling yourself? What are you thinking about? Chances are, the things you are thinking about have nothing to do with you and are just a regurgitation of all the media you’ve been consuming.

 

Meditating, reflecting, and journaling are all great tools to get to know yourself better. Practicing these and including them in your daily routine will drastically change your life.

 

  1. Reconnect With Your Passions

 

The key to being happy, successful, and yourself is to reconnect with and persistently follow your passions. However, it’s easier said than done. But, chasing your passions is not the most difficult part, figuring what you are truly passionate about is. These are the things that excite you and when you are doing them, you don’t think about anything else in the world.

 

Everybody has something different. It could be anything from entrepreneurship to outdoor activities like surfing, skateboarding, etc. Or it could simply be Reading or taking a walk in nature. If you are still confused about what this thing may be to you and want to find your inner passion, you can check this article.

 

Staying authentic doesn’t mean staying static. Your interests may change but it should not change because of anyone else. When you stick to who you really are, your character becomes your fortress. Accept the challenge of staying authentic and you will definitely see a different and better version of yourself. It won’t be so easy, but it is far better than having the regret of living a life that isn’t yours.

 

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How Michelangelo Azzariti Grew to Become Italy’s Most Inspiring Artist

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A lot of people wonder how great people come into being. More often than not, these people come from normal or even disadvantaged backgrounds but have an X factor and inner motivation that uplifts them to success. This is the case with Michelangelo Azzariti, one of the most sought-after photographers in Italy.

 

Michelangelo Azzariti was just a normal guy whose life after graduating from college began by wiping tables and serving drinks in a couple of bars and hotels back home in Alta Badia, Italy. During this period, he also worked as a communication assistant and social management personnel.

 

He Decided To Pursue His Passion

 

Michelangelo loved to travel and also had a dream that he will be able to travel the world and make lots of money while at it. While on his numerous trips on various parts of the globe, he took the opportunity to capture great moments, places and people with his camera. This is when he discovered that he was a good photographer. Sooner than later, his love for traveling and photography intersected. This is how his formidable career as a travel influencer kick-started.

 

Created His First Instagram Account

 

Michelangelo Azzariti created his first Instagram account in 2013 in an attempt to market his photography services. He started publishing the photos he had snapped on some of his travel expeditions during a time when Instagram had not gained much traction as a marketing platform. These photos include landscapes, hotels, and cities among other interesting things and places. He improved his skills over time and also acquired new and superior equipment that helped him grow his careers in photography, and also a travel influencer.

 

His big break

 

As his Instagram account grew thanks to his exceptional work, the lucrative Italian tourism and fashion industry began taking notice of him. His fortunes changed when Giulia Gaudino the famous Italian fashion blogger showed her interest in his work. He took photos of Giulia and her boyfriend Frank Gallucci or their trip to the UNESCO world heritage site which garnered over 30,000 likes on her Instagram account.

 

Michelangelo Azzariti Current Success

 

5 years down the line, his travel photography business is thriving more than ever. Currently, Michelangelo Azzariti is one of the most sought-after photographers in Italy by established fashion bloggers, hotels, travel companies and businesses alike. He boasts an active following of more than over 58,000 followers on Instagram, which is the major platform that he uses for travel blogging.

 

More recently, he has franchised to YouTube where he runs a thriving YouTube channel and is also set to start contributing to popular established websites on the topics of online marketing and travel marketing. His success online has enabled him to collaborate with scores of luxury hotels and travel websites. Most of his clients are often more than ready to fully cater for his travel and accommodation expenses making his dream to travel the world while making money come true.

 

His Success Didn’t Come Easy Though

 

In an interview, Michelangelo admits that one of the questions he’s commonly asked by people is how did he manage to grow such as a huge following. Others ask, how he does get to be hosted on a hotel for free or even get paid to travel. Another popular question is, how does he manage to get those huge advertisement deals.

 

He responds to these questions by saying that, it was not easy to achieve this. His success has been as a result of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to his dream and career. He spent hours on end behind his PC carrying out research on the travel niche. Not forgetting time taken to hone his skills as a photographer, learning photo editing skills and also ways to market his craft.

 

What Makes His Photography Stand Out

 

What makes his photography stand out is the fact that he adds an empathic component to it. When this is coupled up with the strong aesthetic sense that is characterized by shots taken in unique places and from suggestive corners, he is able to treat his audience with a different perspective of the world. What more has contributed to his success besides his top-notch photography skills is a mix of luck and the fact that he took time to learn marketing strategies and skills that have enabled him to secure well-paying clients.

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Building an Engaged Following with Joey Ruben

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As massive portions (sometimes even 100%) of today’s businesses’ revenue comes from social media, learning how to please the Instagram algorithm is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. I was able to interview Joey Ruben, a social media entrepreneur who has been able to master rapidly building audiences on Instagram, on what kind of strategies he’s learned in his experience growing dozens of accounts (some over 1 million followers).

 

What are those trying to grow an audience doing wrong?

Joey: “Posting isn’t everything. Although posting good content is important, it isn’t enough to grow. You need to foster and nurture an engaged follower base in order for Instagram to organically promote your account through recommendations and explore page. I focus on 5 things when trying to build a highly-engaged following:

 

1. Direct Messages

I try to respond to nearly every direct message I get. Along with showing people you care, Instagram will rank your posts higher in the feed of those accounts who direct messaged you. You’ll also gain additional insight on what you can be doing better with your page through the suggestions people make and questions they ask.

 

2. Stories

Half a billion Instagram users watch stories daily, so if you aren’t publishing content on your story you are missing out on a large viewership. I’ve found that by posting your followers will tend to engage better with your feed content as well.

 

3. Responding to Comments

Show your followers you care by responding to comments! They took some time out of their day to leave a comment on your page, it’s only right that you spend some time to reply.

 

4. Going Live

Instagram lives are ranked higher than stories, so it is easy to get additional engagement from your followers by occasionally going live. Instagram live is also a powerful tool for garnering page feedback from your followers or redirecting them to engage with a post.

 

5. Engaging with Followers

Follow your followers! You can create superfans by engaging with your followers’ content. Scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours.”

 

How can I quickly boost engagement?

Joey: “If you’re looking to authentically increase your account’s engagement overnight, you should pay attention to what kind of content top pages are posting. Repost high-engaging, proven content to your page and you will notice a difference. You can also boost feed engagement by adding niche-related hashtags to your posts. Another tactic to get more engagement on your posts is by adding posts to your stories. You can also gain extra organic impressions on your account by posting content that is shareable, this is usually content that is funny or provokes some sort of strong emotional response in the viewer that they may want a friend to experience. There are lots of quick cheat codes to getting better engagement on your posts. They are constantly evolving so the best thing I can recommend is for you to model after what top-performing pages in your niche are doing.”

 

What kind of tools do you use to run your pages?

Joey: “There are a few different tools I use to free up time when managing my pages. Before publishing video content, I often use the app Vont to add text or edit the video. When I make commentary-based based photo posts, I’ll add a comment to the photo with Twitter, then screenshot and crop it to a square. This is what you see most large Instagram theme pages do. I use IGBlade to track my growth over time. I also use the in-app analytics tool to monitor my pages’ performance as well as to gather insight into what kind of people follow me. There are a number of tools out there to streamline various tasks like content creation, scheduled publishing, analytics and more. I recommend anyone who runs multiple pages to look into using some of these tools.”

 

How can readers connect with you?

Joey: “Instagram: @jo.ey”

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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