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Interviews

Interview with Sandy Gholston

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy Gholston, who has more than 20 years of award-winning professional experience, including graphic design, journalism, marketing PR, public relations and media relations. Sandy is the News Services and Social Media manager at Ferris State University, in Michigan, and is the founder and CEO of SG3 Communications, a full-service digital marketing agency. His passion and talents include creative writing, photography and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? My story is one that is rich with a lot of twists and turns. As a college student in my home state of Michigan, at my alma mater Ferris State University, I developed my passion for writing. I blended one passion, writing, with another, sports. That was the start of my journalism career at Ferris’ student newspaper. I transitioned into a professional career writing for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering Ferris State University Athletics and the local high schools. After 10-plus years of award-winning work as a writer, a columnist, a photographer and a designer, I started the next phase of my professional career working at Ferris in the University Advancement and Marketing division. I started as a marketing specialist. In short order, I moved back toward the media as I took over our News Services department, working in public relations. Eleven years later, I’m still working on Ferris even as I’ve taken on a new challenge: being an entrepreneur. I started my company, SG3 Communications. In addition to all that, on the side, if you will, I am a radio announcer for Ferris’ football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? Before I started, I invested a great deal of time studying the landscape. I did a lot of the usual stuff like market research, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of my situation and interviewed other entrepreneurs to pick their brains. Advertising can be expensive. However, I invested significant resources into advertising in getting the word out about my business. However, my first two clients came via word of mouth, recommendations from people who knew me and trusted me to work with people they care about. A good reputation can pay off. So, the lesson is to work hard to advertise your business, but don’t forget to make the personal contacts that could bring you leads.

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? I was prepared to sign my first client to a contract when my company was literally just getting off the ground. I was so excited during the negotiations until I realized something: I had not developed a contract. Needless to say, I had a long night of work to put the contract together, got it signed, and the rest, as they say, is history. The client didn’t know any better, but I did. It was a good lesson to learn. I had so many of the pieces of the puzzle in place, but I needed one more.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story? What makes SG3 Communications stand out is that we bring a broad range of experiences to every client or potential client that I encounter. I’m good at becoming a true partner to my client to help them work through challenges and build on successes at the same time. Additionally, I have a network of partners I can call upon for a variety of services. This network is a significant component of what makes my company, though small right now as an upstart, high-quality in the services we can deliver. We have seasoned professionals with proven track records. When I first started my company, I had associates from my past and present who reached out to me offering to work with me, to work with SG3 Communications. It pays to have a network of talented professionals.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Pursue your passions, vigorously. But … pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember to take time to do the things that you enjoy and to be with the people who make life worth living. Don’t work yourself into the ground. Live a full life. A significant part of that is enjoying life’s pleasures. That balance you bring to your life will pay off personally and professionally.

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? I am blessed to know several entrepreneurs who have achieved success. That they are friends is a bonus for me. We continuously network and inspire each other. I could name one, in particular, but that would shortchange others who have made a significant impact on my life. The exciting part is that a few of these entrepreneurs are in the same field I’m in. We are supportive of each other. The most influential people in my life, the ones who have inspired me most, are my parents who always believed in me and pushed me to pursue greatness. My mom remains supportive and my dad, who passed away in 2004, continues to inspire me.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Yes. I always take on at least one client, pro bono, as a service. Many potential clients have great businesses or promising brands and need a start. This is where I like to come in to find a client that I can boost. Additionally, I partner with the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at Ferris State University to mentor students and give them real-world experience working with external clients. This relationship has been beneficial to the PRSSA students, to me and to my business.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? “Faith is the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase,” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is one of many quotes that inspire me. Then again, many things about Dr. King can serve as inspiration. This quote inspired me as I was ready to start my business. When you start something, like a business, you don’t know how every step of your journey is going to play out nor do you know how the journey is going to 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.

  1. Don’t waste too much time thinking about it that you stop yourself from doing it. I thought about it for years before I finally made my move.
  2. Seek out and solidify partners you trust. Doing this gives you a trusted ally who hopefully shares your goals.
  3. Have a mission, believe in your mission. Trust that what you’re doing is the right thing, the right way.
  4. Write a thorough business plan. Think through your business plan, carefully.
  5. Seek out a trusted, knowledgeable mentor. Find this person and use this person as an essential resource.

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. 🙂 I would start a movement that would have a public college education fully funded for students. I believe this would make us a more educated society, it would relieve student loan debt, and I’m confident that would also benefit our economy. An educated population is a progressive population.

How can our readers follow you on social media? I am all over the place in social media.

Here are some personal social media accounts:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sandygholston/

LinkedIn: https://www.instagram.com/sg3comm/   

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandygholston

Here are my SG3 Communications accounts:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sg3comm

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sg3comm/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandy-gholston-62b639b

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sg3comm

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePvV7f_Msp3PdIJnbcAX0Q

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

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

16-Year-Old Tucker Leary Makes People Famous On Instagram With His 5 Million Follower Network

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Tucker Leary from Boston owns a 5 million follower network of pages on Instagram, manages rap artists social media, and is most known for “making people famous.” I had the pleasure to interview him, here’s how it went:

When did you decide to start building a 5 million follower network?

Tucker: I always wanted to make money doing something I loved, so I started  an Instagram page of football highlights at 11 years old. Since then, I have been able to grow one of my accounts to 409,000 real active followers in 5 days. I’ve grown @thutmose rap carrier to where it is now, along with helping many others start an Instagram Carrer. Another big accomplishment is when I did over $40k in a month drop shipping.

That’s amazing Tucker. What have you done to differentiate yourself from everyone else in your field?

Tucker: One thing I do is see where people’s weak spots are, then I take advantage of it. For example, I use physiological methods like certain color ways on my posts, certain amount of words, certain hidden images etc. When I capitalize on these, it disadvantages others in my field and makes me one of the top dogs.

What would would you say to someone looking to jump into entrepreneurship?

Tucker: The one piece of advice I would give someone would be that nothing in this world that is worth working for happens overnight! I started Instagram when I was 11 years old, and it’s taken 5 years for me to build my 5mil network. Now that I’m here I look back and see all the times I almost quit, but just kept grinding.

What have been the biggest lessons you learned over the last 5 years?

Tucker: To keep my head down and stay in my own lane, not let others opinions differ how you do you, take risks.

After learning that what is your personal definition of success?

Tucker: My definition of success would be able to live freely with no money struggles, and to make sure my mom never has to worry about anything financially.

What is one thing you wished you knew when you started?

Tucker: I wish I knew that the internet isn’t always good to you. For example, when I started Instagram 3 days after my birthday. I had an amazon gift card, an iTunes gift card and some Starbucks gift cards. I used those instead of PayPal to buy shutouts and I got scammed on every deal.

What do you think has been that best advice you have ever received?

Tucker: Don’t listen to what others say about you.

What do you think has been the biggest challenge? 

Tucker: The biggest challenge was when I got sim hacked. The hacker took all my Instagram accounts, my money in my bank etc.

Tucker: My biggest reward was when I did my first $10,000 account deal when I was 14.

What was the most interesting story that’s happened to you?

Tucker: The most interesting thing to happen to me is when I was out to dinner with my brother one night. There was this guy in our community known as the “god”. He was the best of the best, had all the connections, and had a huge Instagram account etc. I had seen a picture of him a long time ago and was standing in line to get a seat. This guy walks in and it was him, the “god”. After that I introduced myself, and we got lunch the next day. A couple months later I was visiting his apartment in LA.

What are two thing you wish someone told you when you first started?

Tucker: Two things I wish someone told me when I started is that success doesn’t happen overnight, and that your network is your net worth.

Is there anyone that inspires you? 

Tucker: Two people that very much inspire is me include my business partner (Cristian) @cristian on Instagram and my good friend (Dylan) @trippin on Instagram. Cristian has helped me gain multiple connections, and brought me into the real business world out in Los Angles CA,. Dylan has helped me learn the ins and outs of how to really gain an account to its max, how to run a successful page and how to talk to real business men and women.

Tucker: One person who really helped me to get to where I am is Shane Howard, @showoff on Instagram.

A lesson I learned from them is to take risks, without risks there is no reward and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Awesome story and advice! What’s the best way for someone to reach out to you?

Tucker: The best way for someone to reach me is by Instagram dm, my Instagram is @Tuckerrs

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Interviews

How Digital Marketer Anthony Ocasio Helps Brands Successfully Get Digital Exposure

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Anthony Ocasio (@rsvpant) is a self-taught successful E-Commerce business owner & Digital Marketer who has launched, & assisted with automating multiple online businesses. During Anthony’s time working with various marketing agencies he has had the opportunity to help brands like Mercedes Benz, Toyota, WWE, Crunch Gyms & many more reach new heights with their Online Digital presence through marketing.

Since establishing his own SMMA while receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from The University of Tampa Anthony has been able to transform his own life by living on his own terms, and being able to reach people all over who are looking for core knowledge. He’s worked side by side with small businesses in creating a source of revenue through E-Com, and has helped with expanding their Digital Footprint. Anthony has been recognized, and published in Newspapers like The Minaret, and NFTE for his outstanding online business achievements.

Besides working with Small Businesses owners Anthony has worked alongside Fitness Coaches, Realtors, Musicians, and Independent Entrepreneurs who wanted to increase exposure digitally, and continue to build their personal brand. 

His goal is to help as many entrepreneurs through his 1-On-1 coaching, and mentorships. Anthony’s goal is for everyone to realize that financial freedom is possible, and E-Commerce, and Digital Marketing can definitely be an outlet to achieve just that. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony. Here’s what He had to say: 

Hey Anthony! Could you tell us a little more about your background story?

Anthony Ocasio: I grew up in Brooklyn New York with my mom, and two brothers. During my childhood I always had an entrepreneurial spirit which let me to find multiple ways on generating income. During elementary school I use to sell lead pencils, erasers, and supplies to my friends, and other classmates. Generated about $10-15 a week, which for me at the time felt like a lot of money. That continued as I entered middle, school & college. Throughout high school I traveled across New York with the Peer Leader Program helping other students prepare for college, and develop their business ideas. Through that program I received the “Peer Leader of the Year” Award.

My first business plan competition was also in high school, but took place at Columbia University. It was through a great program called Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). I did not win, however I was a semi-finalist, and subsequently still received funding for my clothing idea shortly after. In college I started my first SMMA which was acquired, and I later resigned to pursue Ecommerce full time, which led me to create an Ecommerce / Digital Marketing Development Agency called “The Ecom Way”.

What have been your major accomplishments?

Anthony Ocasio: Besides being the first sibling in my family to graduate college. It’s definitely running successful businesses, and ultimately helping 100’s of people see potential, and growth within their own business.

What differentiates you from everyone else in your field?

Anthony Ocasio: I prefer taking the 1-On-1 approach to working with entrepreneurs, and business owners. I don’t mass distribute materials like courses etc; instead I work, and understand the unique needs that everyone has. With my diverse background, I’m fortunate to not just be skilled / experienced in one area, but multiple as it pertains to running, operating, and essential building a “brand.” That allows me to not only reach more people, but help with different components to running a successful business.

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking ‘the leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Anthony Ocasio: Don’t be afraid to take risk, and to fail. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned came from my failures.

What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you’ve learned?

Be patient, but understand when to take action!

What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Anthony Ocasio: They can reach out to me from my website www.theecomway.com , send me a DM on Instagram @RsvpAnt, or simply shoot me an email at [email protected]

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Entrepreneurship

How Matt Hamilton Cultivated High Performance Skills That Put Him In The Position To Capitalize In This Billion Dollar Industry

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  • Matt Hamilton went from college dropout with a 1.8 GPA, to being the Founder & CEO of Revenue Forge – A full service marketing and branding agency built for the modern day. I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt. Here’s what he had to say!

Hey Matt! I’m interested more in your background story and how you got to where you are today. Could you give us a look into your background story?

Matt Hamilton: Growing up, school wasn’t a choice for me. It was mandatory. I was always reminded by my friends, peers, coaches, parents of the cliche “Go to school, get good grades, play sports, train for the scholarships, and then get your degree so you can get a well paying job.” This never sat well with me. I never really knew what I wanted to do, but that was just about the last thing I was interested in. Interestingly enough though, that’s exactly what I did.

I quickly found out that the education system was not the platform that would teach me the proper principles of high success. I looked around and compared the habits of college students and teachers against the habits of those who had already attained high performance and success, and (not) to my surprise, I found massive differences. College is sort of like pre-school for adults. No matter how similar to the real world it may be, it’s just not the real world.

What did you decided to do after realizing that? 

Matt Hamilton: As you may be able to tell already, I think very differently than a lot of people. Instead of going out every night, I stayed in my dorm room to work on business projects and network with celebrity influencers online. The work I was doing pushed me to cultivate high performance skills, and put me in a position to build key relationships. In a few months time, I realized if I didn’t go after my passions, I’ll be stuck at a desk job paying bills for the rest of my life. So I left.

After leaving what was your vision for the future?

Matt Hamilton: My vision consisted of working full time on my business, and massively changing the lives of my clients. There was one problem. When I got home, I had no clients. Zero. I went from making money and progress in my dorm room, to living back at my parents house with zero clients. I fell into bad habits, bad routines, and left room for complacency in my work. I was shocked by the raw reality of the real marketplace. This is not what I wanted, but it is what I expected. I took the safety net out from under myself. I gave myself no other option. I wanted the real, raw, non simulated experience of being punched in the mouth, and having no choice but to work my ass off to get the results I wanted. I was jolted awake by the stark reality that if I continue to allow my surroundings to dictate my actions, I would never achieve any of the goals I set for myself.

What did you decide to do once you realized this?

Matt Hamilton: I did everything to get new clients. I went to local business alliances, Networking groups, I did walk-ins, cold emails, cold calls, free work, work through referrals, and just about any other way you can think of. I just worked. That’s it. Sure enough, I started noticing that something was happening. Suddenly I had people reaching out to ME. I started gaining momentum.

I didn’t get complacent this time. No. This pushed me to go harder. And then harder still. Quite possibly the best feeling about being in this business is seeing the look of sheer joy on any of my clients faces when we’re able to really deliver for them. That’s why I do it. The impact it has on their business is worth way more to me than any sort of monetary value I can receive.

I will continue to grow and scale my agency to a National powerhouse, and hopefully impact others on the way. I want other people to understand that we only have one life. Only one. If you don’t ever take the risk to chase your dreams, the probability of you living out that dream goes down to basically 0. So don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that can happen?

You have an amazing story. What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you’ve learned?

  1. Persistence. Even when things get real dark, or there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities for you to capitalize on, its extremely important to stay persistent in those times of
  2. Uncertainty. The persistence and faith that you show in times of uncertainty are similar to the correct answer on a multiple choice test. When you’re tested, the answer is to keep going. No matter what.

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking the “leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Matt Hamilton: If it’s something you want to do, take the jump. Don’t think about it, because the “what if’s” will paralyze you. Realize that the only voice you need to listen to is the one in your own head. And when you do, don’t quit on yourself – ever.

What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Connect with me on instagram @officialmatthamilton

 

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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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