“You’re Going To Fail, Have Amnesia, Learn And Move On” The 5 Lessons I Learned Being a 20-Something Founder

I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Shapiro, CEO & President of Ballyhoo Media.

Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?

From a very early age I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout my early 20’s, I quickly realized that I was not built to work behind a desk or in a cubicle. Throughout my youth, I spent summers working as an umbrella boy on the beaches of Maryland. I always dreamed of owning my own business on the beach, combining my love of business with my love for the beach. Ballyhoo Media was conceived when I was a high school student and I was finally able to see the vision through a decade later in 2016.

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

Ballyhoo stands out as it’s the only large format mobile media platform. With 46’ screens, we have the ability to travel throughout South Florida creating experiences through unique advertising campaigns or fun special events.

We have worked on such fun projects in the first year highlighting our mobility. One project specifically, was when we partnered with Atlantic Records for the BET Music Awards highlighting 18 of their artists’ new album releases. The boat traveled throughout South Beach and Downtown Miami reaching Bayside Marketplace, Bayfront Park, the bars and restaurants along the Miami River, and much more.

Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?

We are working to play the World Cup games in the middle of the bay for free. All Miami boaters can watch and enjoy the soccer game outside and have some fun on the water!

Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

“Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” I read Robert Kiyosaki’s famous “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” while I was a high school student. The book advocates for financial literacy and financial independence through creating an investment portfolio in which your money works for you, rather than you working for your money. Many people create a life where they have to be physically present to earn a living. This book taught me at an early age that I wanted to build a business in which my business could one day function without me.

Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

· Filter who you let in your life — Many people around you have a tough time dealing with success and failure.

Story: Ballyhoo was a dream of mine for over 10 years and when discussed most people instilled doubt and fear in my dream, rather than supporting me. Surround yourself with people that lift you up and support you through failure.

· The knowing circle — be aware that you don’t know everything. Always be learning!

Story: When I launched Ballyhoo I had no idea what industry I was apart of. We thought we were launching this fun beach business. It wasn’t until we were about 4 months in that we learned about out-of-home (OOH) advertising and how our world works.

· Be flexible and ready to adapt quickly. Creating a business plan is great, but your business model is often created by listening and responding to the market. Listen to your customers and make the appropriate changes quickly.

Story: We have changed our sales model seemingly every month in the first year. We initially created a unique platform with a unique sales model, however we learned quickly that we need to sell the way our customers are used to buying.

· You’re going to fail. Have amnesia, learn and move on.

Story: When you have a boat with big digital screens you are going to run into problems. Things break down. We had a huge event for our first Memorial Day Weekend as a business and our generator broke Saturday morning. No mechanics, no handyman, no engineers were working Memorial Day Weekend. We lost thousands of dollars and learned we couldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. Today we have built systems throughout to try and prevent a complete collapse again.

· Victory is not won in miles, but in inches.

Celebrate the small victories. Building a business is a grind. Remember to take your team out and celebrate your accomplishments as your next challenge lies ahead tomorrow.

Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

Elon Musk. I believe Elon Musk is the greatest visionary on earth today, the real life Tony Stark. His vision to change our world for the better echoes with everything he does. I would love to sit and just listen to his multi-planetary vision!

— Published on June 27, 2018