What was it about the culture in Los Angeles that helped you
recognize an opportunity?
When I got here I found that Hollywood was overly committed to one thing. Film people didn’t talk to the TV people. The TV people looked down on the music people. And the literary people on the East Coast didn’t care much about anybody on the West Coast. I’m in a place where everybody is so focused on their own silos; nobody’s looking laterally across the platforms and trying to connect the dots. I was thinking, ‘Wow, what an opportunity! Could this be my way in?’
So, how did you capitalize on that opportunity?
If you want to be wealthy, do some research and find out the characteristics of wealthy people in America. And if you want to be wealthy in entertainment marry those characteristics to the entertainment world. The idea for me was that celebrities and successful individuals or companies with a loyal fan or customer base would be able to move laterally and leverage their brands across a variety of platforms as opposed to living and dying with one platform. When I signed Angela Bassett as a client, it was after What’s Love Got to Do With It and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. She was at a crossroads in her career thinking, ‘I may not get that next film.’ My pitch to her was, ‘Why wait for Hollywood or anyone else to decide your next project? You can create your own film and other projects if you build a business strategy to leverage your brand and audience laterally as opposed to allowing Hollywood to define you by determining the next time you will work.’
What did you learn from studying the wealthy in America?
The average wealthy person in America has several streams of revenue flowing into their empire. They have their core job or a business as one revenue stream. They have stocks. They have real estate. Then most have multiple businesses they invest in or own. So I took that concept of multiple streams of revenue and thought, ‘How can I, through the world of entertainment and sports, create a business model for my practice?’ I tried to tell my clients that you too can be wealthy if you identify and emulate these characteristics.
Does it all have to be brand related?
Celebrities and smart business people can use [their brand] to get them there faster. Everybody has the ability to achieve a goal and then leverage that goal. An executive who’s finally become a vice president or a senior vice president is going to have an immediate increase in their stature and profile and an immediate increase in their revenue flow. As your decision-making power and profile increases, you have the same capacity to be more like those wealthy individuals who can set up a great stock portfolio, build a real estate strategy, and build other strategic income-generating businesses. The concept applies to everyone.