I often hear about the homeless crisis in our own country. When I go to New York City and walk the streets it breaks my heart to see all the homeless people. I’d love to someday have a mobile truck or even a building in the city that would give these people simple services that will expand their motivation to get more out of life. I imagine a place that would have showers, clean clothes, a barber and a stylist, councilors and temp agencies that would not only get them transformed to look for work but would assist them with living expenses until they are earning a paycheck. I do not want anyone to live off a system but want to empower them to stand on their own two feet and get motivated to make their lives better.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert White CEO of Dolphin Entertainment Company Inc. Robert launched the company in 2013 with only $400. The company was originally created to be a talent agency but quickly adopted multiple divisions. The 2019 version of the company is the home to a talent booking and management agency for models, musical acts and actors, two magazine publications and a full-service marketing and advertising company that specializes in services for small and medium size businesses.
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 really appreciate the opportunity. A story that most people do not know about me and Dolphin Entertainment Company Inc. is that we started at a talent agency. This all stemmed from me being a 16-year-old kid in the Music City. I have had a love for the entertainment industry since I was a kid. Just before my 16th birthday I moved from New York to Nashville, Tennessee with my family. It was there that I learned the inner workings of the music industry and that lite a fire in me that will never burn out. My mother landed a job at a well-known song writers café in Nashville that lead to me meeting some pretty amazing people in the music industry that were behind the scenes. It was these folks like, Reese Wilson, and Tony Lane that were/are major songwriters in Nashville and in the country music scene that introduced me to songwriting and performing. It was these contacts and many others that pulled the courage to perform out of me and through my teens I started performing and playing songwriters nights in and around Nashville. I left Nashville at the age of 20 and moved back to New York and worked multiple jobs for other companies but was never satisfied. I never stopped writing, playing my guitar and in 2013 decided to launch my talent agency. It was the contacts in Nashville that over time became friends that really help me push forward with launching my own business.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company is a unique mix of multiple services. I often joke that if Hearst and William Morris Endeavor had a child my company would be it. I really feel like If we expand and continue to grow, I could give these very prominent and respected brands a run for their money. Our company is as unique as a model or music act. Everyone has something that makes them stand out, it might be the way they look, the way they work, or the way they get things done. Either way our company takes its individuality in the same light. I am a hard-working CEO and put in long hours every day. My friends and family often don’t understand the drive for success I have, and they often request that I put my phone down, but I never do! I have big goals for my future that require me to reaching specific financial goals so that I can invest in changing my genealogy. I come from a long history of men and women that have always worked for others and lived paycheck to paycheck. I want to change that lineage forever and change the future for my family tree.
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 have made so many mistakes starting my company. Probably more than most. Why? Because I was self-taught on everything I did. Thank God I launched a company in the digital age because it was Tools like YouTube and Google that have given me great insight to the mistakes I have made and guided me through options to do things correctly. When I first started my company, I was very naive about the modeling industry. It was a world I had not worked in before and I was easily distracted by requests. As a talent manager and as an editor of a magazine you get a lot of attention but also a lot of requests. It took me a long time in the beginning to learn how to say No. Often I would get requests from models to buy clothes, and other gifts that they would need for shoots. I quickly learned that these things were not my responsibility, but it took me years to figure out that saying no is okay. I think some people think that the modeling industry is a fun world to be in and I do agree with that, but I would also warn people that it’s a lot of work. You have to be in the right frame of mind to deal with models and there demands day in and out.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self what would you tell him and why?
If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would go back to the teen age me and tell him to start this company when your 20! If I had all those years to work, learn and fail I would be a larger brand now, then I am. I have big plans for my future, but I wish I had started this company when I was 20 and not at 34.
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?
One of my publications has an online contest that reaches 1000’s of people a month. One of the contestants in the contest had her boyfriend at the time reach out to me to learn more about the rules and regulations. After learning that the contest was attached to a publication and the publication was owned by a larger corporation, he had a lot of interest in the company and he became one of the first investors in my company. He believed in me and my work ethic and I respect him highly for that. He not only invested in my company but was able to bring on others that have become great business mentors and investors as well. I have a lot of respect for these guys that are all financially sound and I know if I listen to there guidance I will reaching my goals.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I often talk to people about success and think that wealth should be shared. I often used the analogy that when you are just starting on your professional path you will be surrounded by many people. Some are good for you and others are not but as you climb the mountain of success the path will get narrower and narrower and you will not be able to bring people with you. You will eventually be on the path to the top alone and it will get lonely. People will not understand your drive to succeed, but you can’t listen to them. You have to keep moving till you reach the top. When you do, you can then pull others up to your world. Its this that I want to do in the future. At the moment I am still climbing and feeling the pressure of getting closer to the peak and standing alone. One thing that my company is the proudest of today, is that we do give back to charities. In the past we have given to groups that do ocean conservation and also that take care of third world countries and their children.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
There is a lot of advice that I get every day from the entrepreneurs that I admire and respect, but I wish that a few things would have been told to me before I started my company…
1. It is lonely at the top, you will lose people you love during your climb, but it will all be worth it in the end.
2. You are going to make mistakes, people will talk about you, don’t let it bring you down. You need to use those words as motivation. The higher you climb the less you can hear them.
3. YOLO! You only live once. It took a lot for me to get settled into being self-employed and not working a job that would provide me a solid revenue each month. But, for great reward you must take great risks.
4. If you want to be a millionaire, you have to have at least 8 solid revenue streams. The path to financial freedom is being really good at one thing and duplicating it over and over again.
5. The last one I wish I would have heard before I learned it on my own is that you have to delegate. Some of the most successful people in the world are great at delegating tasks to those that can do them better. There is someone that is better than me at finances, there is someone that is a better graphic design artist and someone that can shoot photographer better then me. It was a blessing to learn this lesson, but I wish I would have learned it earlier.
What’s your favorite quote and why? How has it inspired you in business today?
My favorite quote is by Mark Twain who coincidentally wrote all his great books in Elmira, New York only 20 minutes away from my front door. (Elmira is also the same town Tommy Hilfiger is from) The quote is “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” This quote means a lot to me. It inspired me to realize that I was already a winner for being born a human but also that I was able to find out the reason why. I know that I was born to change the world and I know that my company is the way I will do that. I am excited to see what the future holds for me and how the world will change because of me.
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 often hear about the homeless crisis in our own country. When I go to New York City and walk the streets it breaks my heart to see all the homeless people. I'd love to someday have a mobile truck or even a building in the city that would give these people simple services that will expand their motivation to get more out of life. I imagine a place that would have showers, clean clothes, a barber and a stylist, councilors and temp agencies that would not only get them transformed to look for work but would assist them with living expenses until they are earning a paycheck. I do not want anyone to live off a system but want to empower them to stand on there own two feet and get motivated to make their lives better.
If you could meet anyone either living or no longer with is for breakfast or lunch who would it be and why?
This is an easy question for me. I want to meet Sir Richard Bronson. The man behind the global Virgin brand has been an idol since I started music at the age of 16. His work ethic, his adventurous lifestyle, his goals to change the future are all inspiring and I would love to give back to the world the way he is. If I could sit down with him and talk, I would first ask about the music industry and what inspired him to get into that industry. I would then talk to him about the future and the goals of Virgin. Why space is so exciting to him and what three things I could do to change the trajectory of the future for my company and my goals.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Readers can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube under the handle the @SavoirFaireMan or they can check out the section of the Dolphin Entertainment Company Inc Website called ‘Robert White” (www.dolphinentertainmentcompany.com)