10 years ago I was on a trajectory to enter the C-suite of a company that was operating in an industry that I’ve long since lost interest in.
In 2012, I was abruptly laid off of my job after the company I worked for acquired another company and let go of employees in duplicate/similar roles.
In that moment I was devastated. I loved the work that I did and enjoyed my co-workers.
I used the opportunity of becoming unemployed to attend graduate school at CSUN Music Industry Administration to earn a Masters Degree in Music Industry Administration. Simultaneously, I bet on myself by investing $1,000 into developing my first tech startup. Yes, I racked up over $50k in student loan debt, but partially due to my education, I was able to get my company acquired and paid off all of my debt, including the student loans.
Since then, I’ve earned industry-wide recognition for my work and research, I became an educator at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music teaching a class on a topic that I’m deeply passionate about (music industry entrepreneurship), I’ve built and sold 3 tech startups in the music industry, and I’ve championed initiatives for and advocated on behalf of music creators’ rights.
There were definitely some setbacks, but I bounced back and charged forward into my purpose.
When I was derailed from my journey in 2012, just a few weeks shy of being unable to pay my rent or my car lease, I leaned into my passion and bet that my ambition was greater than failure.
Whatever you’re going through in your professional life right now, know that it is not your end. It may very well be the exit or pivot you need to a better future.
Here’s an interview that I did in September 2012 about my transition from being laid off to becoming a music tech founder.
#Hollywood by Dae Bogan
Everyone out here is trying to be somebody,
Trying to accomplish something,
Trying to make it.
We accept hardship as part of the journey.
We reason with set backs.
We swallow failure.
The goal, the hope is that we will progress.
Against the odds, we will break through.
We hope to succeed beyond our wildest imaginations,
But we are prepared to settle for just enough to keep us solid.
We have doubt.
We have fear.
We have denial.
And then…and then we have moments of enlightenment.
We are surrounded by failures and success stories.
We are constantly battling our own growth trajectory.
Our own insecurities and our own limitations are shackles to our efforts.
We know life would be easier if we retreated back to our hometowns,
But we have too much pride,
We have too much ambition,
We have too much perseverance to do that.
Besides, we just aren’t cut out for that life.
We are entertainers.
We are creatives.
We are agents of fantasy.
All we want is for people to like us for who we are,
Like us for what we do,
Like us for what we represent.
And all we want is to entertain You.
#Entrepreneurs by Dae Bogan
One day we’ll look back at this era of hustle and say,
Wow! That was the easy part.
Entrepreneurs. American dreamers.
Startup junkies. Go-getters and visionaries.
Slaves to a cocktail of intuition, logic, and the freedom of expression.
We desire and fear growth.
With every day of growth,
The intensity of accountability,
The pressure to set and reach higher expectations,
But at last, this is what fuels the entrepreneurial spirit.
This is what entrepreneurs do.
This is who entrepreneurs are.
Game changers. Entrepreneurs.
BEFORE THE BIG MOVE, I had visited Los Angeles only twice. The first time was for orientation at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). I had applied in summer 2003 after receiving notice that I was not accepted to my dream school, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I had never heard of Cal State LA until one of my best friends told me they were still accepting applicants. Immediately, I went online, applied, and was accepted. It was a desperate and hopeful attempt to go to college anywhere in Los Angeles so that I could be closer to Hollywood–the land of dreams.
Today is a very special day for me. Ten years ago today–December 4th, 2003–with a one-way ticket, $500, some clothes and a mission, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Although homeless and unemployed when I arrived, I hit the ground running towards the first few steps that have become an incredible journey of peaks and valleys. I’ve met some of the most amazing and douchiest people in the world, experienced some of the most awesome opportunities and depressing hardships, and have accomplished a few cool things along the way. It is far from over, far from peak, but this 10 year milestone is nothing short of awesome sauce!
Your passion is not limited by your capacity to dream; it’s only limited by your work ethic. The most amazing people don’t only dream big, they work hard…they work big. Truth be told, no one has your best interest in mind; they have only their’s. And sometimes — ultimately in consequence — your best interest falls inline with their motives. I help artists by giving advice, providing guidance and sometimes opening doors. That is in your best interest only because my best interest is proving that in some way I am a relevant music industry insider. It is no secret — when best interests align — the most amazing shit happens. The lesson here is to put yourself in the circles of those who have THEIR best interest in support of YOUR best interest. Otherwise, you’re just another talented yet ill supported aspiring artist hoping you’re the exception to the rule of success.
#SortOfTipsyMomentOfTruth: This is the thing indie artists. You hungry music makers who send me music to “bless”, music for “feedback”, music to “shop” to my contacts: I get it! I was once an aspiring recording artist as well! I’ve never told this “story,” but I was signed…3 times actually. Read More…