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Turning Pain into Power: 4 Impactful Lessons from Singer Aro Rose’s Life

Turning Pain into Power: 4 Impactful Lessons from Singer Aro Rose's Life

Guest: Aro Rose
WHY.os: Challenge – Better Way – Contribute

Aro Rose, an American singer-songwriter and actress, is a unique voice in the music and entertainment industry. Born in Manhattan, New York, Aro’s life has been deeply intertwined with music and acting. From playing the piano and writing poems in high school to attending the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, her journey is marked by a passion for storytelling, whether through melodies or on stage. Her album “Damaged,” reflecting on personal struggles and resilience, showcases her commitment to connecting with audiences on a deeply emotional level.

  • Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Learn how Aro Rose’s personal challenges, including the tragic loss of her mother, shaped her music and acting career, offering hope and solace to others facing similar struggles.
  • Creative Process and Inspiration: Gain insight into Aro’s unique approach to songwriting and acting, where life experiences and films serve as the foundation for her artistic expression.
  • Navigating the Entertainment Industry: Discover Aro Rose’s experiences in the competitive realms of music and acting, and her strategies for maintaining integrity and personal values.

To explore the fascinating journey of Aro Rose and get inspired by her resilience and creativity, tune in to this episode of the Beyond Your WHY podcast. Her story is not just about music and acting; it’s about the power of the arts to heal, connect, and transform lives.

Listen to the episode now below or wherever you get your podcasts!

Connect with Aro Rose!
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Website: Arorose.com

Find her music on Spotify and Apple Music!

Watch the episode here


00:00:39 Embrace your uniqueness and challenge conformity.
00:06:47 Express yourself through art.
00:11:38 Acting requires deep emotional investment.
00:24:12 Music has the power to heal and inspire.
00:24:47 Music brings people closer together.
00:36:44 Connections are key for success.
00:39:50 Connections are crucial in entertainment.
00:43:26 Connections are crucial for success.

 

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Embracing Resilience and Artistry with Aro Rose on Beyond Your WHY Podcast

 

The Power of Art in Overcoming Adversity

The latest episode of the Beyond Your WHY Podcast features an extraordinary guest, Aro Rose, an American singer-songwriter and actress. This episode takes us through Aro’s inspiring journey, showcasing how art can become a sanctuary amidst life’s toughest challenges.

Understanding Aro Rose’s Impact

Aro Rose is not just an artist; she’s a beacon of hope and creativity. Her journey from the streets of Manhattan to the spotlight of the entertainment industry symbolizes the triumph of art over adversity. In this podcast episode, Aro’s narrative is not only inspiring but deeply impactful for anyone facing personal struggles.

Key Takeaways from the Episode

  • Transforming Personal Pain into Artistic Expression: Aro’s experience of losing her mother in the 9/11 attacks and how she channels this pain into her music is a profound lesson in turning grief into artistic beauty.
  • The Journey of Creativity: The podcast gives an exclusive look into Aro’s artistic process, from her early days as a poet and pianist to her successful career in music and acting, offering invaluable insights for aspiring artists.
  • Strategies for Navigating the Entertainment Industry: Aro’s experiences in the competitive world of music and acting, and her approach to maintaining integrity and authenticity, offer crucial lessons for anyone aspiring to make their mark in these fields.

The Resonating Influence of Aro Rose

Aro Rose’s story goes beyond entertainment; it’s an embodiment of the healing power of the arts. Her album “Damaged” and her journey resonate with people globally, serving as a testament to the arts’ ability to heal and connect.

A Journey of Resilience and Creativity

The Beyond Your WHY podcast episode with Aro Rose is an essential listen for anyone interested in the transformative power of music and acting. Her story, from overcoming personal tragedies to achieving artistic success, is a captivating and inspiring narrative that speaks to the resilience of the human spirit.

Discover Aro Rose’s Inspiring Story

Immerse yourself in the inspiring journey of Aro Rose. Tune in to the Beyond Your WHY podcast to witness how art can be a powerful tool for overcoming life’s hurdles. Whether you are an artist, a music lover, or simply in search of inspiration, this episode is a profound exploration of perseverance and creativity.

Listen to the episode above or wherever you get your podcasts!

Discover your WHY.os now for 50% off! Click here to purchase today or visit whyinstitute.com/why-os-discovery/ to learn more!

If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using. Thank you so much for being here. I will see you in the next episode.

 

About Aro Rose

singer-songwriter-aro-rose

Aro Rose is an American singer/songwriter. She learned to play the piano at a young age and now creates her own music. She is inspired by poetry and film.

Amanda Rose O’Connor, known professionally as Aro Rose, is an American singer-songwriter, actress. Born in Manhattan New York. Music has always been a huge part of Aro’s life. Growing up, she always had a passion for playing the piano and writing. Throughout high school, Aro Rose would write poems based on her own life experiences, and later they would be turned into lyrics. 

After graduating high school, Aro attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. after which she wrote her first album. Music to her is a way of connecting with people and telling different stories. She always believed that acting was a great way of telling stories as well. She was always fascinated with getting lost in a character and creating a different reality. She believes that acting and music have a unique way of connecting with people’s souls.

Her album is titled “Damaged” and deals with different topics Aro herself has struggled with. She is hoping that the music will resonate with people that have struggled with similar things. Aro wants the message of “Damaged” to be that even though you are struggling and dealing with pain, you have to try your best to keep going and fulfill your dreams. Music touches people’s hearts, and even if she could help one person feel less alone, she will feel like she has succeeded.

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Podcast

From Sinatra to Stallone: Jaki Baskow’s Impact on the Entertainment World & Her Journey to Success

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute

 

If you have the WHY of Contribute, you are all about being a part of a greater cause, even from behind the scenes. This episode’s guest is one who completely embodies this. In fact, she has worked behind many big talents and names in the entertainment industry—Mr. Frank Sinatra, included. Joining us is Jaki Baskow of Baskow Talent, whose 45-year career in Las Vegas placed her as one of the top and preferred vendors at Caesars and The Wynn. She sits down opposite Dr. Gary Sanchez to tell us about her amazing career journey opening her own talent agency. From having lunch with Frank Sinatra to selling her destination management company to helping speakers get booked, Jaki fills us with great stories and advice for inspiration. Through it all, Jaki reminds us of her definition of peak: to wake up loving what you do. Tune in as she shows her WHY, creating an impact in the lives of others.

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From Sinatra to Stallone: Jaki Baskow’s Impact on the Entertainment World & Her Journey to Success

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of Contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your WHY, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and you relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better.

You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations. In this episode, I’ve got a fascinating guest for you. Her name is Jaki Baskow. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1976 to work at a movie studio under the creator of Batman, Bob Crane.

After they lost financing, she was talked into opening her own talent agency and her new company broke a 25-year-long monopoly in the Talent Game. The first commercial Jaki was in charge of casting and made $36,000 in royalties. This caught the eye of Mr. Frank Sinatra. Mr. Sinatra requested a meeting with Jaki because he was helping Marlene Ritchie, who was his opener at the time, acquire an agent.

That was the start of her 45-year career working in Las Vegas, where she is one of the top and preferred vendors at Caesars and The Wynn. Jaki has since produced TV segments, booked stars to take to Italy for the Telegatto and filled seats for the Oscars for many years. She has worked with Stallone, Gene Hackman, Tom Selleck, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone and so many more. Discovery Channel also featured Jaki in a TV segment on Casino Diaries, where they named her one of the Top Celebrity Star Brokers in the world and named her the Queen of Las Vegas. Jaki, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to finally be here.

I know it’s only taking us a year, but we’re here now.

So much to share, though. A lot to share.

This is exciting. You’re in Vegas now. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school?

Horrible. I don’t even know how I ended up in business. I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. When I was sixteen, my dad owned a bar. He was robbed and killed, so I had a very tragic teenage years. I barely finished high school. My friend Ann’s mother went in and begged them to graduate me. Her dad got me a scholarship for Miami Dade Junior College. I couldn’t type. I couldn’t do anything. I was a mess. I just wanted to invite people over and party.

I went to Miami Dade for two years. I was all about the music because we’d sneak on the campuses at the University of Miami and they had people like James Taylor and people like that. It was amazing. I worked three jobs to keep myself going. I eventually came back to New Jersey. I worked with my mom part-time and I would take buses to New York to try to be an actress.

I wasn’t a very good actress, but I was a good talker. I was seeing somebody cheating on me and we decided to go to the Catskill Mountains and met Bob Kane. My neighbor and I decided to move out to Las Vegas to work for a movie studio. When we got here, there was no movie studio. It was an old electric company building. Bob and a man named Russ Gerstein lost their financing. I had no idea Bob was the creator of Batman. He ended up moving to LA.

I ended up hiring Peter Guber, who bought the project twenty years later as a speaker. We live in a fishbowl. We keep going around. I started my company with $300. I took a job with Telly Savalas and they talked me into opening my talent agency. Somebody gave me an office, a man named Bobby Mars and I couldn’t afford to run my talent agency.

At night, I’d put glasses on and put my hair in a ponytail and go call bingo. On the weekend, I worked at Big Ben’s car lot. When you’re passionate and persistent, you have to do what you have to do to get to that next step. My beautiful career that I’ve had here for many years has enabled me to help others and that’s what life’s about. I hired Shaquille O’Neal and he said something like, “It’s not about how successful you are, how much money you make. It’s about what you do. You want to be known for kindness and giving back to others.” He’s very philanthropic and I was very impressed with him.

When you’re passionate and persistent, you have to do what you have to do to get to that next step. Click To Tweet

Let’s go back for a minute to high school. When you said you barely made it through, was it because of grades or getting in trouble or was it you didn’t have any interest in learning the way they were teaching?

Probably ADD and don’t know it. I could not concentrate unless it was something I wanted to concentrate on. We used to go and dance on a TV show called the Jerry Blavat Show. We went on that show 3 to 4 days a week, then we’d go to dances every night. My whole life was going to dances, and that’s what subconsciously kept me going mentally with all the tragedy I had.

In school, I never was a serious student. I got Ds, Es and Fs. It was not good, but you have to be focused. I have some relatives that went to college and they weren’t focused. If you’re not focused, you can’t concentrate. You have to put your mind on things, but I made it through high school. I went to junior college in a blink of an eye and I ended up in business.

I believe in working when you’re young and learning things. My mom was a bookkeeper for a wholesale meat house. I used to go there and I used to pick up the phone, “Do you need meat this week? Do you need that?” We sold to all the restaurants in New Jersey. She was a bookkeeper also and she did their sales.

I learned how to do bookkeeping and how to sell. I consider myself a great salesperson. You have to be able to sell your company and sell yourself and believe in yourself for other people to believe in you. Education is wonderful and I truly believe in education, but people can’t afford education and in those days, I couldn’t afford education. My mom was working two jobs to support my brother and me. You learn how to work and to do things. I’ve been a waitress, a cashier and a telephone operator. I think I’ve been everything. That enabled me to be successful in my own business and to look after things in my own company. I still love people.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: You have to be able to sell your company and sell and believe in yourself for other people to believe in you.

 

What was Vegas like when you moved? What year was that? What was it like when you moved there?

It was 1976. There were under 200,000 people here. I think the city was not run by who it’s run by now, but everybody knew your name. I’d pull up to the Desert Inn Hotel and I knew Gary, the valet guy. I knew all the valet people at Caesars at that time and it was more personal. To me, it was more personal and I loved it.

People knew you when you walked into the hotel and it’s all about relationships. I’m old school. I’m about relationships, meeting people face to face, and interacting with people because when I have a job, whether a little job or a big one, I try to show up and meet my client and thank them for their business and how important they are to me. Not many people do that these days, as you know.

You opened your talent agency. What was it called?

Baskow Agency. Original, right?

Who was your first client?

My first client was Suzanne Summers. I did a TV show called Jack and the Princess. I didn’t represent her, but it’s a very funny story about the fishbowl. I hired some people to work on that show. I also worked on a David Brenner commercial where I put a guy named Spider in the commercial and he touched the Schmitz beer in the commercial and became interactive with the product.

He made royalties, $36,000, and he went home and told his boss. His boss’s best friend, Julie Rizzo, happened to discover Marlene Rickey at the Aladdin Hotel. She was now opening for Frank Sinatra and she didn’t have an agent. I got a phone call, “The old man wants to meet you.” I called my mother and started crying. I said, “I don’t know who the old man is, but somebody, I think, is trying to steal my company. I’m coming back to New Jersey.” I ended up going to the lunch and he was lovely. I met him and Julie. I became friends with them until the end. I went to his show every single time he was here. He was such a legend and icon in the industry.

Let’s dive into that a little bit. What was it like sitting down to have lunch with Frank Sinatra? Where was it? Do you remember where you had lunch?

Yes, it was a coffee shop at Caesars Palace. He walked in with this Black NBC Peacock jacket. When he turned around, I didn’t know it was him. I didn’t even know who I was having lunch with and Julie came in. He had his glasses and his little one eye. He said, “I hear you’re the new Sue Mengers in town.” I said, “Mr. Sinatra, you can have my company. Who is Sue Mengers?”

Believe it or not, he followed my career. One time we were doing a commercial over at Bally’s, which was the MGM before the fire. We’re in the elevator and Paul Anka gets in the elevator. Frank is talking to me in the elevator and he introduces me. He said, “Who is she?” He said, “She’s an ex-Sue Mengers in town.” Paul Anka was like, “Who was she?” You don’t get in the elevator with Frank Sinatra. It’s usually security guards in the elevator with Frank Sinatra.

It was very interesting. It was a wonderful time to be in business. I started my business with $300 and I built it to a very big company. I had 24 employees a few years ago. We built it to a $20 million company, had some employees that took fifteen employees and about $15 million in business. You then dust yourself off and you build yourself up again. I became another destination management company again then I decided I didn’t want my company, but I don’t want to jump to that. You can ask me more questions and I’ll tell you the climb.

Frank sounds like he was very helpful in the early stages of your business.

I never asked them for anything because I don’t like to ask people. I would rather give, but he walked me into the catering in the office with a man named Jerry Gordon, who was the manager of the hotel at the front desk. He said, “Can you use this kid’s modeling agency? Use this kid’s company. See if you can help her.” I’m like, “Thank you, Mr. Sinatra,” like a little girl. Jerry Gordon and I became friends.

One day, he introduced me and I started doing parties at events. He said, “Can you do parties at events?” I’m like, “Sure.” The first thing I did for them, they asked me if I had a band and I hired a band called Bobby and the Imperials. They asked me if I could bring somebody into a morning meeting. How would I creatively do something fun to open a morning meeting?

I said, “What about Caesar and Cleopatra and one of those leaders with feeding grapes in the mouth?” They didn’t tell me who it was and the next thing I know, the next day, we were on the front page of the news. It was a man named Jackie Presser, the head of the Teamsters. I’m a kid. I was so naive when I moved here. I didn’t know anything. I thought a working girl was a girl that went to work for a living. That was my first job with them.

Jerry introduced me to a man that was a radio host. He was from Italy and his friend was the Johnny Carson of Italy named Mike Bongiorno. He came here and they were going to produce twelve TV shows of somebody winning some contest and coming to Vegas, in the desert, showing them at a hotel. They said, “Can you produce TV shows?” I said, “Sure.” I ended up hiring a guy named Don Jacobs, Mr. Camera, who was second unit camera for Entertainment Tonight. We traveled around and I ended up doing 26 TV shows for them and Engelbert, Lynda Carter and Frank Sinatra, Jr., Ben Vereen and all these people. I went in like I was a magazine show and did these interviews and became friends with everybody.

They said, “Mr. Berlusconi wants to know if you can bring celebrities to Italy.” I said, “Who’s Mr. Berlusconi?” They said, “He’s a man that owns a TV station.” They didn’t tell me he was the Prime Minister of the country. I started bringing celebrities. The first one I brought was Gary Coleman then I brought Michael Douglas over. I brought over Sylvester Stallone then we went to Mr. Berlusconi’s house for dinner and he gave Sylvester Stallone a lot of money for his movies.

I took Kevin Costner and his wife over and ended up helping them with their honeymoon, Tom Selleck, a doll to work with, and Andy Garcia. I ended up doing all these different crazy TV shows, Miss Italia, the Italian Oscars, the Telegattos. It was a blessed time for me. I sent Jennifer Lopez over to the San Remo Music Festival, but I ended up not going to that one.

It’s like, all of a sudden, you’re a kid from New Jersey, not knowing anything, sleeping in the same room as your mom because you barely have money to eat, then you’re living this lavish life. It’s been crazy. I decided to take the lavish life and pay it forward to other people. I’ve been mentoring kids at the university that want to be in the hospitality and entertainment business.

I try to put as many people as I can to work, whether it be a movie, a TV show or an extra. I tell people, “It doesn’t matter about being a celebrity. It’s what you do. If you do one day of your passion. You’ve lived your passion in your life.” I’ve been blessed. I brought some celebrities to Boys and Girls Club for the High Singers in Florida with my friend Cheryl Kagan. I got involved with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

A friend of mine, John Daly, introduced me to John Walsh and to a man named John Arnos. Years later, every year, when we raise money and do these golf tournaments and these events, we find missing kids. It’s every single year around the time we do the event. It’s unbelievable. I work with Make-A-Wish. It’s funny that this is happening now. A friend of mine just came in from New Hampshire. We are purging. We purged 38 bags that we gave to SafeNest and Safe House to people that don’t have anything.

When you think about it, whether you have $5 or $500,000, we save things. We become pack rats and we start with 5 sets of dishes instead of 1 set of dishes. It’s so important to start getting rid of that stuff and getting it to people that don’t have anything like the Ukrainian families that came here. I’m trying to minimalize and give to others because it feels good. It made me feel like I lost weight.

You’ve built your company up over the years and what was it like at its peak? Give us a sense of when you were at the peak of what you were doing, when was that? What was going on? What did that feel like?

I’ll tell you about the peak, but I have to say that every day I wake up and love doing what I do is my peak. I love every day, whether I’m doing something little or small. I would say that my peak, when I was bringing all the celebrities to Italy before COVID, was my most fun. You get to go there. You’re in a different country, it’s wonderful. It’s a lot of fun. My peak, I had a girl that was the president of my company that worked for me. We took my company out of nowhere to a $20 million company.

I was able to buy some of my employees cars and send them to Europe on vacations and give people deposits for houses that had nothing. It was like a dream come true. This stuff doesn’t happen in a lifetime and it was amazing. Unfortunately, she was not amazing. She turned out to be not a good person, but that’s why I was left with the fifteen employees, but you learn in life. When you do so many things for people and people don’t appreciate it, you learn something and I learned a lot because everything is a journey. In my journey, I learned that you can’t buy loyalty, love, loyalty and friendship. It just is. It was a pretty big blow.

You can’t buy loyalty, love, and friendship. Click To Tweet

It sounds like you were using your success to help others.

If I made money, everybody was making money. I had great parents. My mother taught me never to be selfish. It was funny because my mom lived in a little studio apartment when she got older and assisted living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As I started making a couple of bucks, I’d come back from Italy and I’d buy her a pretty ring. She would turn around and give it to the Russian immigrants that lived in her building.

I buy her beautiful clothes and she’d give them away. She’d rather have a sweat outfit and go to bingo. I love that about her because she was a good person and things didn’t matter. I think all of us get caught up in things and possessions. Sometimes you look around you or your friends with people who don’t have those possessions and realize the only possession we have is family, friends and our health.

When you had the scenario, how long ago was it that she took the fifteen people and left?

Also, $15 million in business. Many years ago. It was not good, but I have an angel over my shoulder. I had what was called a destination management company. We did the parties, the events, the entertainment, the speakers, everything. What happened was I ended up selling my company two years later to a Wall Street guy. His name was Steve Black. He helped take LPL Financial public. He owned my company for a couple of months, then he went back to work for his ex-boss that retired.

He paid me for full on my company and gave me my office building back. It’s a God story. My brother went through a divorce and lost everything. I went and took some of the money and bought him a house in New Jersey. I was so blessed to be able to do this because this stuff doesn’t happen in real life most of the time.

You’re at the top. When she left, took most of your business, then another guy comes along and pays you off in full when he doesn’t even need it and then now you’re back on top.

A wonderful man. What happened was when my president and her son finagled to take my employees, I was doing AT&T events all over the country and Texas Instruments. We were big time. We became a big company and a small pot here. I realized it’s funny because I sold my company to Steve Black and then, like I said, he went back into the financial world, overlooking about 123 companies for his boss and putting teams together.

I’m still in touch with him and his family. I can’t even say enough about him. About two years later, one night, I was on the internet and I decided that I did not want this event planning company anymore. I didn’t want to be the boss. Does that sound crazy? I wanted to service my clients and make sure people were taken care of. When you’re the boss, you’re sitting behind your desk, trapped and taking care of employees and it’s tough.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: When you’re the boss, you’re sitting behind your desk, trapped and taking care of employees. It’s tough.

 

I ended up selling my company to another destination management company. I’m not going to talk about them. I stayed with them for a few years as president of business development. I kept my speaker’s bureau and talent agency because that’s always been my love and passion, my movies and TV. That’s what I’m doing.

It’s funny because you were asking about some of the first people I worked with. It was Suzanne Somers on Jack and the Princess with her and Bruce Boxleitner. Years later, she’s doing a convention for me and I’m doing little doodling. I came up with the idea for the Suzanne Somers Pajama Line that’s on Home Shopping Network.

Is your favorite thing working with the talent versus doing the destination and doing the events? What has been your favorite thing to do over the years?

Entertainment, the movies, the TV, the talent and the speakers because I think with everybody that you hire, especially with my speakers. You learn something in life. You get a message, inspiring, motivating and you learn more about life. I have a young man named Nick Santonastasso that I hired. Do you know Nick?

He has no arms and no legs and he lives life bigger than anybody that I know. He opens for Tony Robbins. I used him. People were like grabbing onto the wheelchair when they saw him, like, “You changed my life.” At the end of his speech, he did this meditation about taking a deep breath in and letting the little child out that all the things you’re harboring like, “I’m mad at my Mom and Dad. I’m mad at this. I’m mad at that. I’m angry about my ex-wife and my ex-husband.” He was very moving. I can’t even believe some of these people that I’ve found. It’s like your why. How many people don’t know what their why is? Why did I do this? Why am I in business? Why did I stay in that relationship too long? Many answers and so many questions, so I love what you’re doing.

Thank you. Now, it’s Baskow Talent?

It’s Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau. Two different companies but under the same banner.

When you look back, what do you attribute? How did you have such success in that industry? What was the secret to going from small to $20 million?

First of all, I was scared. I came out here with $300. My roommate moved to LA. She ended up being the assistant to the director, Sydney Pollack for 30 years. I was here by myself. My mother did not have a dime to give me. My mother, I think she had maybe $3,000 to her name in her bank account. It’s like it’s survival of the fittest. You do what you have to do to survive. That’s why people are like, “You’re calling bingo at night? I’m doing whatever I can to pay my rent.”

I think the Caesars Palace becoming their party and event planner and doing their entertainment things over there in the day and age when it was blossoming was a big deal for me. I start at no. If I made $1,000 in a day or whatever, it was a lot of money for me in those days. Also, the Italians, I produced thirteen TV shows in a week and made 92,000 profit. It’s unheard of. I bought my first house. I went from an apartment to buying a house. I’m like, “I’m a homeowner.” It’s exciting. Any job is exciting, whether it’s little or big or whatever if you love doing it.

What helped me be successful is I never stopped. I was tenacious. I’m a networker. If I would meet you, I’d say, “Would you like to be in my Speaker’s Bureau?” I would stay in touch with people. On my destination management company up to a couple of years ago, I couldn’t do all of that. I couldn’t concentrate on that because I had to concentrate on ten employees after I lost the 24 employees. I had ten employees left and a lot of them were women.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: What helped me be successful is I never stopped. I was tenacious.

 

I’d get these boxes in the mail, they’d be in their office shopping and I’m bringing in the clients and said, “If I didn’t bring in the clients, I wasn’t paying that $92,000 overhead a month.” It’s a lot of money to be a business. As you know, COVID hit and things change. Everything changed in the world after COVID. To me, I see quality in restaurants have changed. I see people don’t want to work. I see people don’t come up and talk to you and they’re not happy. I don’t know. It’s crazy. I always try to make people feel good, whether if I see somebody on the street that’s homeless or whatever. I try to do something for somebody and change their day. Conversation and a smile changes your day.

When I first met you, we were introduced by a mutual friend. When I saw your bio and went to your website, I saw a picture. I don’t want this to come out wrong but I wasn’t expecting somebody as friendly and positive and willing to help as you were because in many situations in your industry, you don’t seem to find that.

Thank you. I got a little crazed after I saw you and we still need to do catch up. I had a girl that worked for me that was my assistant who lost her husband. I lost my assistant of ten years. I’m not technologically savvy on doing this proposal, but you learn very quickly. My general manager, unfortunately, lost her little nine-year-old daughter. You learn that you have to do what you have to do.

I have to tell you that this has been a good experience for me because when you start getting a lot of employees and you have people working for you, it’s like, “Get me this. Get me that.” I learned not to get out of my chair. Does that make sense? I expect everybody to bring me everything. Not in a pompous way because I’m on the phone all the time and doing my thing. Now I find myself more touching and feeling everything that I needed to do. I’m opening every file. I’m closing out I’m more paying attention more to a lot of things which is important.

How many people do you have now working for you?

Four part-timers.

Is it part-timers from what’d you say, 24?

I have three out-of-office remote salespeople, then I have three people that do coordinating like if I have a job, like tomorrow night, somebody is going to go check in a band for me. Usually, I’ll show up. Tomorrow night I can’t show up, so they’re going to show up and then I have two part-timers in the office. I have more than that the people that come in and out.

That’s a big difference from 24 down to six part-timers or five part-timers.

At my height, I had $172,000 overhead a month. That’s enough to put on 50 pounds and aid you.

How do you determine who you want to work with?

It’s so hard because I like everybody, I do. I try to help everybody and sometimes I get overwhelmed. I have a girl, Kelly, that works with me in my talent department. We know we’re casting a movie or TV show. She does a lot of the electronic submissions that I don’t do. The speakers and the entertainment, I try to interview in person.

My web guy, Steve, I found him and we built a new website. I’m so glad. My old website was dated. I’m marketing now. I have a girl that lives in Israel named Natalie. I forgot about her. What I do is I’ll have flyers made and I’m going to talk to you about it. You’d make a flyer, what is your why? You speak about this at the convention. We started sending out these flyers. I have about 120,000 to 132,000 emails of people who have attended trade shows, companies, meeting planners, event planners and Senate houses.

With constant contact, you can only send like 400 and some a day. She’ll take that flyer and like you’d give me a flyer built-in contact and we send it out. That’s how we let people know about you because out of sight, out of mind. You know that. It’s all about volume and letting people know because I’m sitting here as one Speaker’s Bureau and one talent agency.

If I don’t get those calls, then maybe ten other speaker’s bureaus you work with get those phone calls and somebody’s going to call you for a job. It’s been very interesting and I like it. I have to tell you that I like it. I have an office on Eastern Avenue, a small office and I have an office in my home now. I spend 90% of my time at home working. It’s easy to come down the hall and get on the phone for four hours, and then do my stuff here. I’ll go out and I’ll meet people.

Contrast for us, big 24 employees to small what you’re doing now. How is that different as far as for your clients? How’s that different for your sanity and for the impact that you can make?

I have to say that I love it. With 24 employees, There is a lot of chaos. I had a registration company and a housing company. We booked all the hotel rooms. We were doing all that for Texas Instruments then all of a sudden, the technology goes down. The world is crazy. I found myself working 20 out of 24 hours a day. As much as I loved it and I loved having all the employees. My office building was a house I had renovated on Russell Road. I didn’t live there, but we had 5,000 square feet of little chandeliers and French doors.

It looked like somebody’s house and everybody had their own little space in there. I loved it, but I saw the neighborhood changing there. It’s on the street of the airport here. We were burglarized a couple of times and I was in the building one time. It was scary. You say that you wanted to do it, you did it, you’ve been there and you’ve done it. I like what I’m doing now. I don’t miss having a lot of employees and I don’t miss having all that stress of the overhead and the payroll and everything.

The people that work for me, they’re lovely. They appreciate it. I pay them well, take good care of them, we go out, have fun, go to shows, go to dinners and get to do things for other people. We love doing Make-A-Wish because we get to see a little child’s life changed for a day and we get to do fun things. I would tell people, “I don’t think that bigger is necessarily better.”

It’s always great to grow your company. I won’t ever take that away from it. It would enable me to buy a house, an office building, and do things I always wanted to do. After that’s over, it’s like, what is it? You want to appreciate your life every day. You want to be able to wake up and do things that you want to do and just breathe.

You want to appreciate your life every day. You want to be able to wake up and do things that you want to do and just breathe. Click To Tweet

Seems like a lot of people go through that. Start small, build this amazing thing, don’t like it, but they’re in the middle of the rat race, end up with something smaller and more personable and like that a lot more. How has that affected the people that you connect with? Do you still have as many speakers as you had before?

I do. I have more.

How are you able to keep up with all that?

I put them on my Speaker’s Bureau. I’m not in the technology world, even though they’re my biggest clients. I started getting Google AdWords and I had never had them before. I hired this great company in New Jersey that has been marketing me. What’s happening now is if somebody is looking for a certain speaker or a certain type of entertainment, they’re finding me on the internet.

I’m like, “How did you find me?” They’re like, “Google.” I’m like, “I have to ask you what words you were looking for because I’ve never in 45 years used Google AdWords.” I can’t say enough about them. It’s been interesting. Everything is a learning lesson. It’s a journey. Every day is a different journey. I love doing it and I don’t care if it’s in a big way or smaller way.

As I said, we had Shaquille O’Neal and Molly Bloom here. I had a small $2,500 speaker and I love them all because I get to put them all to work. It doesn’t matter how big it is. You put somebody to work and you were able to maybe change one person’s life in that room like you know when you’re speaking. Your whole goal is like, if you touch somebody in that room or touch all those people in your room, it’s like giving you $1 million.

For sure. If I’m a speaker reading this now, because we have a lot of speakers that listen, what do you see as the key to getting booked?

I think it’s all about your subject and your delivery. A lot of people use a moderator because they are not a keynote speaker, but they can speak, but they don’t have a whole platform and their presentation. If somebody was going to do speaking, I would say do something that’s going to interest people. Attract their attention. They want to be engaged now and they’ve seen it all. Your why is brilliant. In fact, I saw something on TV that said, “Why?” Did you see that? It was a commercial on TV.

I was thinking about you. I’m like, “Is that his commercial?” It’s embracing people here in your heart and emotionally. I was talking about Nick Santonastasso. He’s speaking and I had men that were coming up to us crying, like, “I just released. I purged. I did this.” He left them with something memorable, and as Maya Angelou said, “It’s how you leave them feeling.” If you’re going to speak, it doesn’t matter what you’re speaking on, as long as you’re speaking from your heart and you know that you can engage and your audience can relate to you.

Not everybody’s a college graduate. Some of those people are there and have a set fee and a set job, but they’re barely paying their bills and feeding their family and need inspiration. I was one of those people. People work for everything that they have. You can work that hard. I see people that are very wealthy that have lost it. I think that it’s so important to be a real person.

When I’m hiring a speaker, I want to feel what they’re saying. Somebody called me recently to speak on happiness. What makes you happy? I love that. You go in a room and know you’re going to see something positive or educational. Every speaker has something to give and it’s very important that your delivery and you’re touching your audience.

If I’m a speaker and nobody knows me and I’m trying to get booked, how do I go about getting booked? What advice would you give to them?

I would say that you want to go to every speaker’s bureau that you can and get on their bureau. I’m not pompous to say, “Come with me, even though I love you,” because I only get a certain amount of jobs. I say, “If you’re going to be with me not exclusive and you want to work on getting a lot of bookings, make a flyer.” There is a company out of India. They charge like $100 to make these flyers. I’ll have to send you a couple. They’re amazing. It’s a flyer made out of constant contact. It would have your face and maybe you’d have the big Why and the question mark or whatever you put on it and whatever message you’re trying to get to your audience.

I do have a girl, Natalie, in Israel. She sends it out. She’ll start sending it out. We’ve sent out to everybody on our list and we’ll send out now and then I’ll send it down again. Maybe we’ll change it up or we’ll send it. Sometimes we embed an agent-friendly we’ll have you do it. Put an agent-friendly video in there so people can see you and see how you engage with your audience because people want to know that you’ve spoken somewhere and it’s going to be a success when you speak for them.

Having a sizzle reel is important.

Sizzle reel is very important. Professional high res pictures and you can get them without spending a lot of money. If photographers are charging you thousands of dollars for your pictures, call me. I’ll give you names. You don’t need to spend that money. I want people to spend the least amount of money and make as much as you can.

That’s why you’ve been so successful all these years because I can tell you that not every bureau thinks, acts and helps like you do. It’s not the same for everybody. I’m sure you probably already know that.

I do. There are speaker’s bureaus and I will call them. I’ll say, “I’m interested in so-and-so.” Usually, some of them are big speakers. They’re like, “Have your client call me. I want to deal with your client direct.” I’m like, “I’m your client and you will meet my client after you give me. How much are they? Are they available? No, I’m not giving you that information.” It’s very cocky. It’s not a good way to network business because we all should be working together.

I look at my one of my competitors, Jennifer Lear. She and I work together all the time and she used to work for me. Each agency has something to offer. Diane Goodman, who owned Goodman Speakers. Now she’s a speaker’s manager. I called her one day and I said, “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m in love with your website and my website sucks.” She said, “I’d be glad to give you my web guy.”

In fact, she came here and we had lunch. She’s a lovely person. Some of her speakers are on my website. I have her web guy. It’s so important that we mentor each other in this life. A couple of girls called me that opened their little speaker’s bureau and I’m like, “Call me. Do you want to put some of my speakers on your bureau? We can work together.”

I will tell you another important thing is like everybody has a set. Let’s say your rate’s $25,000 or $35,000. A lot of times, people call me and they’ll say, “We only have $10,000 for a speaker.” I will turn around and call a $20,000 speaker and say, “I’ve had three inquiries this month in Vegas for a $20,000 speaker. Would you like me to submit you or no?”

Not that I ever want to insult anybody, but somebody may not have a job for four months. If I’ve made you $30,000 for three jobs. I like to think out of the box. I never want to presume anything. I do not take 25% or 30%. I take 20%. Sometimes if the clients don’t have the budget, I’ll take 10%. To me, it’s not always about the money. It’s about the relationship.

What’s the difference between a speaker bureau and a speaker manager?

The speaker management companies charge you to manage them and to promote them. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from some of my speakers. They’ve said that they pay thousands of a month to have them submit them or represent them. Speakers Bureau should only take a commission from you if we get you a job and after you’ve done the job, we get commissioned.

I’m starting like a regular Speakers Bureau because I’ve been in the entertainment business for so long. It’s like, “I need to know where they’re staying. Is it a five-star hotel? I need to know they’re being picked up at the airport. Is there a coordinator? I need to know they’re going to have a sound check.” I want to set my speakers and entertainers up for success, not failure. A lot of people just cook it and book it. I’m not a cook and book it person. Everybody wants to make money and be in business, but you have to care. That’s why I’m a little bit different.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Everybody wants to make money and be in business but you have to care.

 

I want to know that you’re coming here. I’m taking care of you. I had Molly Bloom here. We had 70-mile-an-hour winds. She was like in the air. As I’m texting her, “I hope you’re not upside down. I hope you’re okay.” She’s a wonderful person and a trooper. She came in on those wins. You want to make sure that people are there.

I try to show up at these events. I want to see my speakers if it’s within my power and if I don’t have ten things going on that day. When I go there, I want to make sure that do they have a ride back to their hotel. Have they been fed? Is there food in their green room for them? I know it sounds silly. These are little tiny important things that mean a difference.

The last question for you is, what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever given?

A couple. One of my speakers, Dr. Edith Eger, she’s a Holocaust survivor. She told me, “We have to always be survivors, not victims. No matter how bad things get in life, you’re a survivor.” Another friend of mine, Dr. Anne Manning, told me, “The end is in the beginning. What you see in the beginning is always there in the end.” There is my mother who always said, “Be a good person. Don’t base your life on things. Be a good person and give back to others.” That’s how I’ve lived my life. I have a friend of mine, John Arnos. He raises money for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He jumped out of an airplane to raise money and he turned 90.

You hang around with some fun people. That’s for sure.

We are all about having a good time.

Always have been.

Yes, I am. I’m looking forward to seeing you when you come back to Vegas.

I’m going to be there.

You’ll call me.

I will call you. I would love to get together if you are around because I’ll be there. I’m speaking with Ashley’s group then I’ll be there for a few more days.

Are you at the M Hotel?

Yes.

I’m around the corner. I’ll make time, I promise you. You call me.

If there are people that are reading and want to follow you, learn more about you or see more that’s going on in your life, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

My email is Jaki@JakiBaskow.com. Check out our websites, Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau. We’re always looking for new people and I’m looking for people to mentor. If somebody isn’t a real professional speaker, I will take time and guide them and tell them where they can go to try to look into it. I think it’s important to go to NSA and Toastmasters and all those places where you can learn and people give you positive feedback to help you.

Jaki, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I’m so glad we finally got to do this. I look forward to seeing you soon.

I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much for having me on your show.

 

Important Links

 

About Jaki Baskow

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute

Jaki moved to Las Vegas, NV in 1976 to work at a movie studio, under the creator of BatMan, Bob Crane. After they lost financing, she was talked into opening her own Talent Agency and her new company broke a 25 year long monopoly in the Talent game.

The first commercial Jaki was in charge of casting made $36,000 in royalties – this caught the eye of Mr. Frank Sinatra! Mr. Sinatra requested a meeting with Jaki because he was helping, Marlene Ricci – whom was his opener at the time, acquire an agent. That was the start of her 45 year career working in Las Vegas, where she is one of the top (and preferred) vendors at Ceasar’s and The Wynn. Jaki has since produced TV segments, booked stars to take to Italy for the Telegatto, and filled sears for the Oscar’s for the last 18 years! She has worked with Stallone, Gene Hackman, Tom Selleck, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone and so many more!

Discovery Channel also featured Jaki in a tv segment on Casino Diaries where they named her one of the Top Celebrity Star Brokers in the world and named her “Queen of Las Vegas!”

 

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Podcast

The WHY Of Simplify: Navigating Towards Midlife Success With Greg Scheinman

BYW 45 | Midlife

 

The world is complicated as it is. Why make life harder? If you are one that makes everyone else’s life easier, then you must have the WHY of Simplify just like today’s guest. Dr. Gary Sanchez is with Greg Scheinman. Greg has more than 20 years of experience launching and leading businesses to success. He takes us into his journey, following a path of the least resistance that led him to create Team Baby Entertainment, INSGroup, and ROW Studios. Currently, Greg is the Founder of The Midlife Male, a media company and performance coaching program helping men maximize middle age. He shares how he is simplifying how they can find success through what he calls the Six Fs. Find out how Greg is living a harmonious life and exploring authenticity. Learn to look at midlife from a much simpler view, seeing age not as something to fear about but something aspirational.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

 

The WHY Of Simplify: Navigating Towards Midlife Success With Greg Scheinman

 

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of simplify. It’s a very rare why. If this is your why, you are one of the people that makes everyone else’s life easier. You break things down to their essence, which allows others to understand each other better and see things from that same perspective. You are constantly looking for ways to simplify from recipes you’re making at home to business systems you’re implementing at work. You feel successful when you eliminate complexity and remove unnecessary steps.

You like things direct and to the point, “Don’t give me the fluff, just hit me with the facts. I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Greg Scheinman. He has twenty-plus years of experience launching and leading businesses to success such as Team Baby Entertainment, INS Group, and Rose Studios. Team Baby was acquired by Michael Eisner. INS group was acquired by Baldwin Risk Partners. He is currently the Founder and face of Midlife Male, a media company and performance coaching program, helping men maximize middle age. His weekly podcast and newsletter reach 15,000 people. He is a bestselling author, coach, athlete, and most importantly, a husband and father to two amazing sons. Greg, welcome to the show.

It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me. That doesn’t sound as simple as you read.

You got to simplify that. Where are you right now? Tell everybody what city you’re in currently.

I’m in Houston, Texas. I have been in Houston, Texas for 21 years now. My wife was born and raised here. I am a born and raised New Yorker who happily has migrated and now has a life as a Texan.

Let’s go back to your life. Take us back to when you were in high school. What was Greg like in high school?

Right up until the end of high school, life was pretty simple. I was born and raised on the north shore of Long Island. We were in an upscale community. Mom and dad were together. I have two younger brothers. We’re privileged, very much so, with no hardship. We went to the school closest to our house. We went away every summer to camp and played ball up in New Hampshire. Life was very simple and good. I was popular in high school. By default, things came pretty easy to me back then.

Were you into sports?

I did sports. I was athletic. I swam and played tennis. Later on toward my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school, I got very into fitness and lifting weights. I had knee surgery early, so it got me into lifting weights and taking care of myself. I’m always athletic and happy. In my senior year, my father got sick. He got cancer and ultimately passed away not long after. That’s when simple got very hard. Heading off to college was the first real trauma and the first real hardship, losing an actual father figure, the changing of the family dynamic, and going off on my own to college, all at the same time.

Where did you go to school?

In the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was the best school I got into. I wanted a big ten-atmosphere. It’s a great school. I knew a few people there. I had a good experience when I had gone out to visit. That was where the dividing line in the country was set. I didn’t want to be too far away from my mother at that point.

I don’t know if you heard what I said, but I said it’s too bad. The only reason I said it’s too bad is because I went to USC. USC has a big match-up with Michigan. I heard a lot from people that went to Michigan about those rivalries.

You guys are better than us for quite some time. Now we’re starting to get good again. When I was there, we were really good. We hit a rough patch for many years. We’re starting to get back again.

It’s the same with us. We hit a pretty rough patch and now we’re getting back. A lot of money is now being poured into it, good and bad. I don’t know how I feel about that. You’re at the University of Michigan, what did you major in there?

Partying and drinking. That was it for a while. I spiraled out of control while I was in college. I didn’t have anybody looking over me or paying attention to what I was doing. I’m short of making sure that I passed and continued to have school paid for and taken care of. I didn’t over-index in academics. I was a Communications major while I was there. I thought that I wanted to be in entertainment and film. I was gravitating towards anything that did not seem serious, and that didn’t seem like I had to put a lot of work in. I was the guy who was looking for the simple way, the easier way out, or the path of least resistance. Let me do what comes easily and naturally to me.

BYW 45 | Midlife
Midlife: I was the guy who was looking for the simple way, the easier way out, or the path of least resistance. Let me do what comes easily and naturally to me.

 

Did you end up with a degree in Communication?

I did. I also was in a rush for whatever reason to get out of there early. I ended up graduating in three and a half years rather than four, and staying and using the extra time to have more fun. It was always what’s easier. I could take a course that’s less challenging, pick up the credits, and get through it. I always thought I had to have the way. There had to be an angle. I did graduate early. From what I remember, it was a positive experience at school, but I was also dealing with a lot of personal trauma, loss, and grief that I wasn’t addressing.

You graduate with a degree in Communication early, then what happens to you? Were you off to get a job? Where did you go from there?

I guess that’s the path as a young man that you’re supposed to follow, which is graduate college. I come back to New York where I’m from and you’re supposed to get a job. What did I do? I wanted to get a job in the entertainment industry. I thought I wanted to be a film producer and get into that industry. I got an apartment in Manhattan, a shoebox-type apartment. I ended up getting my very first job right out of college as Harvey Weinstein’s assistant at Miramax Films.

I landed on Harvey’s desk right out of college as the number four assistant. I know somebody that knows somebody. The next thing I know, I’m there as assistant number four. When you think about mentorship or father figure or who is the next man in your life post-graduation, dad wasn’t around anymore, this was what I got hit in the face right out of school. I landed on Harvey’s desk as the number four assistant. Within a couple of months, I ended up being the number one guy. They promoted one and fired another that refused to travel with a female. The next thing I know, I’m the guy.

What is he like?

I guess one of my crowning moments was I have the distinction of having told Harvey to F-off 30 years before the #MeToo era. My rationale for that was my father would roll over in his grave if he knew I let somebody talk to me and treat me that way without taking care of the situation.

What do you mean by that?

This comes up a lot. I never saw Harvey do anything illegal. That being said, I believe everything that I’m hearing and everything that he’s doing. When I was with him, this goes back 30 years, he was a prick. He was already on the list of worst bosses to work for in America. All of it was there, but it had not transcended and crossed the threshold into illegal, immoral, or everything that has gotten him exactly where he deserves to be now. It was a completely inappropriate and hostile work environment.

I’m a 21-year-old kid and most people put up with it because they wanted to get promoted within the industry. I was either too egotistical, narcissistic, ego-driven, stupid, immature, or whatever to think that that was the only way I could succeed in the industry, or that could possibly hurt me if I got up and left, so I did it anyway. That’s what I did. I left, but I still ended up producing a few movies on my own. I accomplished my goal of dedicating them to my dad, seeing his name up on the screen, and doing that. It then became a little bit of, “Be careful what you wish for,” because it wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t the healthiest lifestyle. It wasn’t what I saw myself doing long-term.

What do you mean by that?

Early on, you don’t know what you don’t know. Because I didn’t have a family business to go into anymore, I didn’t have anybody necessarily advising me or mentoring me and getting great advice. I had this opportunity to try different things, good and/or bad, and wing it and be curious. I believed we’re bought into certain stereotypes, perceptions, or ideas that I thought, “It would be this,” and it turned out to be that once you tried it. I didn’t like the downtime between projects. Do you know what they say about acting and film sometimes, “They don’t pay you for the acting but they pay you for the waiting?” There’s a lot of time in development and waiting around. I’m somebody that requires a little bit more movement.

You leave Harvey Weinstein and you start doing some other movies yourself. Is that when you got into Team Baby Entertainment?

What happened was I thought I was going to get out of the entertainment industry. I made a few movies and sold them to a production company. From there, we had a little bit of runway. Ultimately, around that time, I met Kate, who is now my wife. We decided to relocate to Houston, Texas where she was from. I wanted to get out of New York, LA, and all the other Miami stuff that we had done. Houston was where she was born and raised and we decided to settle down here. That’s where the impetus for Team Baby came from.

When we had our first child, our oldest is 19 now, I’m there like a lot of entrepreneurs. Where do you get ideas and how do things happen? You’re sitting around with nothing to do. In this case, I have nothing necessarily to do but I know I need to do something because I now have a family to take care of. This runway is going to continue to get shorter if I do nothing. Sitting at home as a new dad, what are we watching? We’re watching Sesame Street and Baby Einstein. For reference, I’m 50 years old. Go back, give or take, 25 years at this point.

There’s picture-in-picture on these giant TVs. In one little tiny picture, I got ESPN on because that’s what I want to watch. In the big picture, you got the kid plopped down in front of you glued to Baby Einstein and Sesame Street. I’m sitting there going, “What if we combine these? There got to be other dads at home that like sports and saddling their kids overall. How do we brainwash them into becoming fans of our teams or using the things that we’re into to help our children or do this? It’s a win-win for both of us.” That was the impetus of Team Baby Entertainment. We created this line of sports-themed children’s DVDs that caught fire. If you were a Yankee fan, we had a baby Yankee DVD narrated by George Steinbrenner.

If you were a USC fan, we had Rodney Peete. Rodney Peete narrated our Baby Trojan DVD. Matthew McConaughey did the University of Texas. We created this whole line of children’s DVDs and that’s what blew up. I ended up partnering with Michael Eisner after he left Disney. We were the first acquisition he made. We’re building up the company for a period of years before ultimately selling the rest of it to him. He put it in with the Topps baseball card company, which he had acquired along the way. We saw quite a meteoric rise, and then we saw a collapse when the DVD market was changing and things were becoming app-based and going online. I got to see all sides of that. It was an interesting dichotomy in my identity.

From there, did you switch over to INS group?

I did the exact opposite. I decided to go from risk taker to risk manager. All this risk was making me stressed. I didn’t want to move back to New York. I didn’t have another million-dollar idea. We’re sitting back here in Houston, I have two children, and this rollercoaster of life is happening. I’m like, “What am I going to possibly do next?” This is a theme that has come up in my life a few times. When I don’t know what to do, I typically like to go out and talk to people.

If I don’t know the answers, let me start asking better questions to people that might be able to help me because I’m a simpleton. It’s like, “Give it to me simple.” I knew how to make things and how to produce things. That’s what I had always been doing. Here I am, back in Houston without an idea what to do again so I started a television show. I said, “I want people to talk to me. What’s the best way to get important people who are smarter than me and more successful to talk to me? Let me bring a camera and a microphone.” Typically, people like talking about themselves and want to do that.

If you don't know the answers, start asking better questions to people that might be able to help. Click To Tweet

I started calling very important people in and around the Houston area. I’m asking them if I could spend a day with them, “I have a television show. I interview entrepreneurs and risk-takers. I would love to come and spend a day with you and learn.” They started saying yes. This was Jamey Rootes who ran the Houston Texans. This was Deborah Cannon who ran Bank of America and was the Chairman of the Houston Zoo. The list went on and on. McClelland, who ran H-E-B, the largest chain of drugs store. I made a bucket list of whom you would want to talk to.

I then went to PBS. I said to PBS television here, “I’ve got a 30-minute talk show interviewing the top entrepreneurs and risk-takers in Houston. Can I put it on TV?” They were like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “Seriously. I’m going to bring you fully completed episodes, 30 minutes long. Here’s the guest list. Here’s who’s on it. All I need is some airtime.” They’re like, “Okay, if you’re telling the truth.” They checked out my background. They’re like, “This guy actually has made some stuff. We’ll give you Thursdays at 7:00.”

I then went back to more people and said, “Now, I’m Greg for PBS. I’ve got 7:00 PM on Thursdays.” We ended up doing 24 episodes of this. Along the way, I joined INS Group which was short for Insurance Group. I was a client of the firm and I knew the principles for years. It felt like the least creative and least entrepreneurial thing I could possibly do after I had done everything I had done, but also seemed responsible as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a provider.

Remember, this is what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to follow this path. I’m like, “Maybe this is the time I’m supposed to follow the path, residual income, build a book of business, and have somebody paying for my benefits and a 401(k) rather than me. These seem to be the right things to do.” We had a conversation. They encourage me to join the firm. They’re like, “You can ensure anything you want, Greg. You can make it as entrepreneurial as you want.” We became partners. I ultimately invested in the firm. That was the best move I’ve ever made in my life. I had been smart enough to work out an arrangement with them so that I could have a seat at the table.

If I achieved this, I could have equity. I was able to invest in the firm and achieve certain benchmarks. That turned out to be the best move I ever made. I used the talk show to interview these types of clients and prospective clients. I didn’t know that at that time, but that’s what it became. That’s how I built my book of business within the firm. I never controlled anything there. I was a smaller partner with incredibly smart people and successful people that surrounded me.

I learned a ton. It never was a great fit for me personality-wise, dress code-wise, office-wise, and everything. There’s a lot in my book about that and what I coach guys on. I work on now about authenticity, being able to differentiate yourself, and working within a system or getting out of it. I spent fourteen years there until the firm was acquired, which is what also allows me to do what I do now. It’s a longer answer than you want. Thank you for listening.

That’s good. For those of you that are tuning in, Greg’s why is to simplify, make things simple and easy to do, and understand. How you go about doing that is by challenging the status quo and thinking differently, and putting on no limits. Ultimately, what you bring is a way to contribute and add value to other people. Your why is simplify. Your how is challenge, and your what is contribute. Once you were done, it’s now INS Group.

I used to represent a slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas. This is when I knew that this business was not for me the way that I was doing it. I would have to go down to Corpus Christi, Texas, and I represented a slaughterhouse down there. I would show up at the gate to have a meeting there. I would hand them my card and they would see INS on the card.

In Corpus Christi, Texas at a slaughterhouse that employs 2,000 people, the security would radio to the back. You would see people leaving and running out because they thought the INS was there as opposed to the guy who was the insurance agent. The card design was wrong and the pronunciation was constantly wrong. I would’ve to tell them, “Your people could all come back. Nobody is getting deported today.”

You’re out now of INS group and now you’re onto your next thing, which is Midlife Male. Let’s talk about that for a minute. What is that about?

What happened during my time at INS Group was I continued to search for a way to bring creativity to a professional service business. The way I operate and think is different from most out there. While I want things to be simple, efficient, and effective, the manner in which I go after simplicity is hard for certain people to understand. This was always part of the bone of contention, even with my partners and so on. I have a tough time doing “things.” To me, it seems like the normal way to do things the way I want to do them. Habitually, I can do that consistently but that seems a little bit different out there. What happened was I started writing. The TV show became a podcast.

People stopped watching TV and PBS. My book of business got big and podcasts became big. I said, “I’ll start a podcast,” so the TV show became a podcast. Those conversations on the podcast started to transcend business and insurance, and become very deeply personal. I wasn’t interested that much in insurance. I was interested in personal connection, networking, content creation, relationship building, and all of that, That’s where the conversations went. I rebranded under this moniker. I still don’t know who coined the term midlife male. These are conversations with midlife males and it’s like, “That’s like you.” I was like, “Okay,” so I kept it.

I rebranded around the moniker of Midlife Male and the podcast became a newsletter. It started going out every week, which was like a tree falling in the woods for a while. It was therapeutic. It was a way for me to express myself. I talked about redefining and reframing success. What was happening to me was that the metric for success was not salary and title, and what I had been taught to believe in chasing these things. It was a more holistic view of what success looks like in happiness. I was finding myself. I was looking and leaning into what that authenticity was.

When you chase authenticity where it does not exist, it’s exhausting. I found myself exhausted constantly. What salary and title became was what I started to call my six F’s. It was Family, Fitness, Food, Finance, Fashion, and Fun. These were the things that I was interested in. These were the guys I would bring on the show. I would then write about what I learned from these conversations, and how I could aggregate it from everything out there. I curate it down to what landed with me in the simplest ways and then eliminate everything else to create a personal operating system, and a way for me to live that seemed like it simply made sense.

That started getting read by people and circulated around. The podcast started getting listened to. The combination of the podcast and the newsletter, 100 episodes later, became my book. We’re 200 episodes and growing. That became a coaching program for guys reaching out and saying, “Can you help me?” That has gotten into speaking and it’s this combination of this why and how, which is so brilliant with what you do and taking the assessment. Having to take the assessment into the why is so interesting and so fascinating.

We hear so much about finding your why. What I get is they found their why. I get why you want to be a better husband. I get why you want to be a better father. I get why you want to be in better shape. Where a lot of these guys are getting hung up is on the how. That’s a lot of what Midlife Male and what I’m doing is structured for. How can I help men maximize middle age in the how portion? I help you find and identify your why. A lot of the guys I see, they’ll have it or they’ll do something. Now, how do we go from why into how and into implementation? What are the daily positive action steps that are going to get you to realize that why and the outcome that you’re looking for?

We got to get real on this stuff. Can you quit your job and follow your passion? It theoretically sounds great, but it might be the most galactically irresponsible thing you can possibly do in middle age if you don’t have any money and you got kids and an overhead. How can we strategically and tactically make a plan for you to transition or do certain things? There’s a lot of white space between being overweight, out of shape, not moving, and being jacked and physically fit.

How do we make these steps and set them up so that it’s realistic, quantifiable, achievable, and measurable? To me, it’s super interesting stuff that’s out there. That’s what the conversations and the coaching are about. All of this is designed to provide hope and possibility. More importantly, the probability and likelihood of succeeding once you also know what success looks like to you.

How do you define success now?

For a while, I thought it was about needing to reinvent myself. What I’ve learned now is that it’s more about releasing myself than it is about reinvention. It’s about acknowledging and recognizing what fills my tank and what empties it. Back to my six F’s, they are my balanced or harmonious allocation of what my life’s portfolio looks like versus over-indexing in any one area. It’s following the five rules that I created and live under which provide simplicity, structure, and a framework.

BYW 45 | Midlife
Midlife: Success is more about releasing yourself than it is about reinvention. It’s about acknowledging and recognizing what fills your tank and what empties it.

 

Knowing what’s important is the most important. For me, that always starts with family, my wife, and my two boys, breaking the cycle of what I went through with my father, my brother, and other situation, with health, sustainability, and longevity. Finance and money are super important to be successful. How much do you need to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and with who you want to do it? That is it in terms of success for me.

There’s other fun stuff that is a marker of success. What do you put on your body? What do you put in your body? These things matter. They matter to me. Are we having any fun? What are we doing any of this for if we’re not having any fun? To me, success looks like all of those things. It’s revisiting them every single day to remind myself that it is about what you’re doing and living every day, and not this destination or outcome that is seemingly out of reach or so far ahead. That’s what gets lost so much in the definition of success. It’s defined by outcome, achievement, or a milestone moment, and it’s not.

Success is being able to live your message every day and having those normal days that feel good to you. My wife and I were talking about it because Sunday was a nice day for us and it didn’t involve anything special. It didn’t involve spending a lot of money or we weren’t on vacation at some beach. There were no rainbows and unicorns or anything, but it was just a nice day. We exercised, I got the car washed, we walked the dogs, and had breakfast. She went out and did some of her stuff. I went out and did some of my stuff. We regrouped and had a nice wine. We’re like, “This is a nice day. How many of these can I string together?”

Success is being able to live your message every day and having those normal days that feel good to you. Click To Tweet

I love your take on balance. If you want to accomplish something in your life, does balance exist?

It’s a double-edged sword. It’s a fantastic subject and a fantastic question. I love this area. It’s like consistency. What does it look like? Are we talking about balance in a day? Are we talking about a balance over a year? Are we talking about balance in our overall life? It’s the same thing with consistency. What does it look like? I can say I want to be consistent and work out seven days a week. To me, that’s perfection, not consistency. I’m never going to be perfect. Does consistency look like seven days a week or I’m failing, or does it look like I look at my schedule, Monday off, Tuesday with my trainer, Wednesday yoga, Thursday off, and Friday? I can literally look at it and go, “That’s what consistency and that’s what success looks like.”

It’s the same with balance. Overall balance is BS. Harmony is a better word overall. I think that balance needs to be looked at contextually. If I say, “I’m going to sleep 7 to 8 hours at night. I’m going to spend 30 minutes in my sauna, do three minutes in my cold plunge, eat perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner, exercise for an hour, do a podcast with Gary, rehearse my keynote, be the ultimate father and husband, and do all these,” there is no way that could be perfectly balanced. I can hit everything, but I’m going to burn out from that. That’s not balance in a day.

If I say, “In a week, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to exercise five times a week. I’m going to take two days a week off. I am going to sign in for the cold plunge. I’m going to do it four times a week. I got three days that I can miss throughout. I am going to attend 90% of my son’s games. I am going to record a podcast on Monday. I’m going to do my newsletter on Friday and coach my clients in between.” When you start to stretch it out, back to making it simple, achievable, measurable, and quantifiable, now you can have harmony. We underestimate what we can do in a year, and we significantly overestimate what we can do in a day.

That’s what trips a lot of people up, especially in the hustle and grind 24/7, sleep when I’m dead, and social media pressures of seeing everybody doing so much. I look at some of these guys’ morning routines and I’m like, “I’m exhausted.” Seriously, I couldn’t do that. I look at them going to bed routine or the evening routine. How is this sustainable? Some guys might have bigger engines. Everybody’s got a different bandwidth or capacity, but that’s what the system is set up to do. It is to figure that out. What success looks like for you is different than it does for me, and so on and so forth. The rules still apply. The framework in the system still works. You get to develop your own personal operating system by following these rules.

It gets back to that saying, “What’s the best exercise you could possibly do or the one you will do?”

That’s exactly right. There is no perfect way to eat. There’s no one way to do anything. There’s no one way to be successful. There’s one way to fail when you stop trying and learning. There’s an easy way to fail, but the beauty of this is that there are so many ways to succeed. How do we know that? Look around. At this point, I’ve interviewed 200-plus of the most successful men on the planet. Every one of them does something different.

Fundamentally, they operate very similarly whether that’s morals, ethics, structure, preparation, consistency, and accountability. What they do for a living, their backgrounds, family situation, and financial situation, all of these things are different. I can promise you this. If you put them all in a room, they’re going to get along. What makes them part of the same tribe or like-minded men are these other character attributes that have made them successful. They’re also going to be in there talking about their shortcomings and their failures and not their successes, and sharing and helping the other guy.

Those are almost universally consistent with everybody that comes on. Is there anything I can’t ask you about? I always ask that question too. Is there anything you don’t want me to ask about? Is there anything you don’t want to talk about? I have never got one, “Do me a favor. Don’t talk to me about this.” They’re like, “I’m an open book. Bring it. I’ll talk about anything.”

Greg, last question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

That’s good. I need to use that too. That’s a good question. This might be the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. It’s to use this question if you want to learn something. I don’t think it’s a singular piece of advice. I’m going to try to answer your question as directly as I can. My dad wrote me a letter shortly before he passed away. In that letter, it said, “There may be men out there with more money than I have, but there is nobody richer than I am when I look at you and your two brothers.” I’ve held onto that as far as what’s important. I thought that was good advice.

The metric for success is not purely monetary. My dad was a successful guy for the majority of his life, but it put things in perspective for me. That letter sits on the side of my bed where I sleep and on the wall, right next to where I am. It has helped me with my two boys and focusing on what’s important. Live your legacy, not wait until you’re gone. That was the best advice. As far as maybe the best advice I’ve ever given, it’s the same. I would take that statement and pay it forward.

I see and work with a lot of men who unfortunately I feel are squandering their time. They’re missing those big moments, the small ones, and the ones that add up with their kids and their wives. They’re choosing to stay in the office a little bit later versus making it to that game. They’re choosing to let the other dad coach because they’re too busy. They think that sponsoring the team is the same as being around the team. They think that it’s a one-week vacation in Mexico when it’s the other 51 weeks that matter. To your point about balance or harmony, we go back to rule number one, “Knowing what’s important is the most important.”

It sounds a lot like it’s being the man in the arena.

It absolutely is. It is about living your message. First, you got to understand who you are and what your message is. My book goes into this a lot. You got to get real, raw, naked, and vulnerable. Take that real hard one look in the mirror and decide what kind of guy you want looking back at you. None of us start with perfect and it’s never going to be, but what are you willing to do each day to get better, have your actions match your words, or get that reflection to feel differently? I love that phrase, “You got to be in the arena.”

None of us start with perfect, and it's never going to be, but what are you willing to do each day to get better, have your actions match your words, or get that reflection to feel differently? Click To Tweet

The man in the arena versus the critique on the side talking about the activity, you’re the man in the arena doing it.

It’s also like the Jim Rohn quote, “The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” I get that you want to change. I don’t even think it’s the chronic inconsistency. I think you are consistent. You’re just consistently making the wrong choice. How can we take the willingness to change and what you’re consistently doing or not doing and put them in the right order and the right prioritization? You got all the skills to do it.

Are you finding that people are not willing to explore authenticity until they’ve experienced enough pain? Is it related to the amount of pain they’ve experienced or the loss they’ve endured? I don’t know if I’m asking this correctly, but is it an avoidance of pain or wanting to seek pleasure that allows people to explore authenticity?

One of the answers I give most frequently is maybe or it depends. Who’s to say what somebody’s degree of pain or trauma is and what’s real to them? The other saying is, “If you take all your problems and throw them out on the table and we all put them out there, what are you going to want? You’re going to want your own back.” I’ve got death in mind. My brother went to prison. I struggled with alcoholism and body image. Throw it all out there. I don’t know what everyone else is throwing out there, but I do know how to at least handle mine to an extent and work on that.

I do think of a few things on there. I feel like the younger guys that reach out to me, and when I say younger guys, I’m seeing a lot more guys in their 30s that are successful but are looking at 40 and they want to see what’s around them. They do not want to go in down that midlife crisis path. They’ve seen it either in their father figures, their fathers, their fathers-in-law, or their bosses. They’re much more proactive in addressing vulnerability, authenticity, and emotion, asking for help, and looking around, “Can you save me $500,000?” I have a lot of respect for that.

In a lot of those cases, they’re not unpacking a lot of baggage. They’re not saying, “I’m coming to the table with all these problems, trauma, and everything.” It’s like, “This is important stuff to pay attention to. I want to avoid trauma, pain, and loss. What can I do to learn and get ahead?” It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength to talk about these things and to get ahead of them.

The guys right smack in their 40s in a lot of ways are very set in their ways and not as comfortable with admitting, “We don’t have all the answers. We’re not who we thought we were going to be. This is not where I thought how I was going to be living. This is not what I thought I was going to look like.” They struggle with opening up on that. They’re trying to continue to do the same things and expect a different result.

The guys in their 50s are coming out the other side. They’re like, “I’ve weathered the storm in a way. Now what? I do have some money. My kids are out of the house. I’ve been married for many years. What do I do for fun?” On that authenticity side, “What do I want to do now?” That takes work to figure out. “I used to think I like to paint.” “Why don’t you try painting again?” We give up hobbies, passion, and things because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do when time and life get in the way. How do we bring some of those things back authentically? Take some work. Go back and figure out who you are.

Is there such a thing as avoiding a midlife crisis? Is it even healthy to avoid it?

We feel like we have to put a name or a title on everything. I know some very old 30-year-olds and I know some very young 60-year-olds out there. I don’t think that it’s just about a number. I get asked all the time where middle age is. Men’s Health put out an article and they say it’s 37 based on a life expectancy of 75. It’s not as simple. Is it a real thing? Yes. Does it affect guys at different ages and stages of their lives? Absolutely. Can you avoid it? 100%. Can you get out of it and course correct if you’re right smack in the middle of it? Absolutely. Is it a death sentence? No.

Can you start seeing aging as not something to fear but something aspirational? Absolutely. I believe all of these things are true. We just have to embrace possibility and probability. It’s not going to happen by default. It’s going to happen by design, and you have to be willing to do the work. I genuinely believe my best days are in front of me, not behind me. I believe I have more energy at 50 than I had at 30. I feel I know where I’m going now more clearly than at any other point.

All of those take a lot of time. It still takes constant work, constant reinforcement, conversations with men like you, going back and revisiting the why, adopting and working on the how, testing and retesting over and over again, and believing that that’s also where the magic happens. It’s not, “This is where I have to be at 55.” As Jesse Itzler says, “Be where your feet are.” It’s like, “This is where I am right now on Monday at 3:00 in the afternoon. The phone is on Do-Not-Disturb.” Spend some more time being present and engaged. When we get off this, this energizes me versus drains me.

We don’t spend enough time taking our own temperature on things. Don’t you like the way you feel around certain people? Maybe you shouldn’t be spending so much time around them. Don’t you like that activity? Maybe you should cut back on that activity. A lot of those things are scary if we think we got to change our peer group. Maybe, but you can. That’s the other thing. You truly can. My friends, my peers, my lifestyle, and my actions now are very different than they were 10 years ago. It’s very different than they were 5 years ago, and they’ll be different 5 years from now.

Greg, if there are people that say, “I love what you’re talking about and the whole idea of having someone to coach me through this process,” what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you, follow you, and see what you’re up to?

I appreciate it. I am not hard to find. You can go to MidlifeMale.com. All the information is there. A lot of free stuff is out there. My newsletter is free every week, and the podcast is also. I have the No BS Guide to Maximizing Midlife and Getting Back What Matters Most, which is a free eBook that you can download. You can email me at Greg@MidlifeMale.com. You can DM me on Instagram @GregScheinman or LinkedIn to talk about coaching, workshops, speaking, or any of those things. I try to get back to everybody through social or other ways that they reach out.

You can buy the book on Amazon. That’s where everybody is getting their books these days. You can buy your copy of the Midlife Male at Amazon. There’s an Audiobook version. I try to be accessible to everybody out there and understand that we are all in this together. I’m no different than the guys that I am coaching, speaking to, writing to, and working with. We’re just sharing experiences.

BYW 45 | Midlife
The Midlife Male: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Living Better, Longer, Happier, Healthier, and Wealthier and Having More Fun in Your 40s and 50s (Which Includes More Sex … and What Guy Doesn’t Want That?)

Greg, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you taking the time to be on the show. I look forward to following you because I am that midlife male. I’m probably a little past midlife male, but it’ll be fun to follow you.

Not by the way you act. As I say, we’re all in this. We’re right there. What are guys like me looking for? We’re always looking ahead too. That’s the awesome part. Thank you so much, Gary. I appreciate it.

It is time for our new segment, which is Guess Their Why. My wife and I have been watching the series, The Crown. If you haven’t seen The Crown, it’s about Queen Elizabeth. At least so far, it’s all about Queen Elizabeth. She took over the reins of England when she was in her early 20s. She recently passed away. I wonder if you know anything about her, what do you think her why is? I can tell you what I think based on what I’ve seen so far. She thinks differently, pushes the limits, and changed things to the way that she wanted and were different than what was typical or traditional.

They didn’t have a woman leading these older men at that time. Here she comes along in her early 20s, has to figure things out, and make some big changes. I believe that her why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. My wife has the same why, challenging. She’s very much similar to her and connects with her, at least on what we’re seeing on TV. What do you think? Does that jive with what you are seeing?

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code Podcast50 and get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using and I will see you in the next episode.

 

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About Greg Scheinman

BYW 45 | MidlifeGreg Scheinman has experienced the highest highs— two seven-figure exits from companies he founded or helped build, success as a high-level executive— and the lowest lows— the loss of his father, panic attacks, depression, and alcoholism.

Through it all, he’s developed a method for maximizing your life to fulfill your potential and start living during a time when too many believe they’re “past their prime.”