So to continue on,
Phase 5: Bands
In high school I joined my first “real” band which was a “old school hardcore” band (think Minor Threat). We played shows at local halls and houses in the metro-west area, rarely making a dime but having a blast. After a while we recorded a terrible record in three hours in an 80’s metal head’s basement. We were on the bleeding edge of a revolution and could burn copies of the cd so we finally had something to sell. Our show became a marketing tool to sell our music and for some reason people bought it. The next band I joined got a lot more serious from a business sense, we printed merch, recorded in studios, bought a van, and hit the road. Again, we were on the bleeding edge of internet marketing. We had a website with music and game, a Friendster page and then a MySpace page, we built flash banner ads and had fan post them, and we made “business” connections on social media that allowed us to tour without the aid of managers, booking agents, or record labels. It was an amazing six years and when the band finally dissolved we actually got paid out from the band account, not much but I’d pay to relive those years.
Phase 6: Money for nothing
While playing in the band I didn’t focus on building a career, I was only interested in finishing school and getting by after that. When I moved in with some of my mates I discovered a great way to supplement my $10/hr in a college town. At the end of each semester bookstores buy back books from students but after they reach a limit of each book, they stop buying them, even if they’re still the current edition. At the end of each semester I’d drive my beat up Jetta around to the local colleges and raid the recycle bins. I’d take the books back to my apartment and sell them on half.com for a 100% profit margin. I’d end up with a few hundred bucks for a few hours worth of raiding and posting. Again, a little sketchy, but it got me by.
Phase 7: Awesome Audio
I was always a tech and gear nerd (aka, I knew how to plug things in), so a fan of the band’s dad asked me if I’d be interested in helping him out with the audio production company he owned, KTK Sound. I jumped at the chance because not only was it something I was totally into, it paid well too. He taught me the ropes and then sent me out on my own to run shows on my own. This grew into me starting to purchase my own gear and build my own clients into what would become Awesome Audio, the production company I’ve been running on nights and weekends for 8 years+ now. It is always a learning experience but figuring out profit margins, determining what capital investments should be made, business development, and keeping it fun has been, awesome.
Pulling it all together
Along with all of my experiences outside corporate walls, I’ve spent the last 8 years working full time for the Boston Phoenix. I began my career as an intern in 2004, got a full time position in the traffic department after college, got laid off on a Friday and rehired on a Monday at a 50% pay increase in as a circulation assistant, and when my boss retired I became the circulation manager. The Phoenix has been great to me because it’s given me an opportunity to experience all sides of a media company. I’ve written for the paper, had my photography published, produced video content, built marketing plans, closed sales, run operations, and performed just about every finance role possible but it lost its luster somewhere for me.
In 2009 as the economy crumbled and I witnessed the havoc unleashed with my organization, I knew it was time for a proactive change. I took a Kaplan class and began to prep for the GMATs. Although I’m pretty sure my 10 year old nephew tests better than me, I was able to get into my first choice of Umass Boston. I’m a strong believer in the state school program and can bear witness to the fact that quite a few of my professors teach at the private schools in the area that may start with Harv, Bab, Bent, and Bos during the day.
Business school ignited a passion for me. Everything I understood about marketing was compounded and confirmed. Paired with my entrepreneurial spirit I’ve found the spark that fuels me and can’t wait to put it to use. It may be one more semester until I get the piece of paper but I’ve already gotten what I was looking for.