Scott has been an actor and stuntperson for a decade with credits including HBO’s The Deuce, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, commercials for CBS News, MSG Networks and several others as well as one stint on America’s Got Talent 5 years ago. For the past year he’s been the US Liaison for Spanglish Sports World; a multicultural sports and entertained network out of Toronto. Additionally, he’s the creator of Uplifting Stories in A Minute; a growing online news network that consists of short one-minute videos about average people doing great things in our society. In his spare time, he enjoys kayaking, gardening, and spending time with his wife and their three-legged asthmatic cat Scully.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
My start with Spanglish Sports World was unquestionably odd (laughs). I had gone back to school for broadcasting and radio after 9 years working as an actor. While looking for work I had submitted to a company called Barnburner Sports Network and they offered me a show online. After a few months we ended up spinning off from Barnburner to create our own company which became Spanglish Sports World.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Well in fairness I don’t get credit for it. But the company was formed by a man named Eduardo Harari who saw the potential globally of having a multicultural network that can be watched by anyone, anywhere on the planet no matter what walk of life you hail from. Something for everyone appealed to me.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
I think I always had the entrepreneurial mindset but lacked the personal confidence for a long period of time to strike out on my own. I was always trained not to take chances, do things the way they were always done, and never deviate from the norm. That was always a struggle for me, because I’ve never taken well to having a boss. Just wanting to be your own isn’t enough; and I feel far too many get stuck there. Study, learn, train with people more successful than you are, success leaves clues.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
I think I need to give a proper shout out here to the creator of Spanglish World Network, Eduardo Harari and his wife Rebecca. It’s been their vision and their focus on building this company into the unique network it’s becoming as a multicultural network with hosts, producers and the like from every walk of life; men, women, fluid, BIPOC, everyone is welcome as long as you’ve got passion, drive and a great story to tell.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What I think is unique about us, from a broadcasting standpoint, is we have a system that allows anyone to create, develop & host their own show. Baseball, football, psychology, if you want to discuss quilting, we can help you make a show about it.
You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
First, you must accept that success isn’t always convenient. You can’t always build a business when you get around to it which is where I think some folks struggle. I’ll build it after I’m done with Fortnite or finished this series on Netflix. Conversely, should you be attached to the phone or work 24–7? Absolutely not, but there have been times I made the decision to start work at 6am if a person I needed to talk to was only available at that time.
Second, you have to obviously put the work in, and success won’t come overnight. People like to hear about the “overnight sensation” and how someone was just discovered. 1 out of a million success stories come from that. The over 999,999 were from working hard, working smart and making your own luck. One of my favorite quotes ever is “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” The opportunities are there, but are you ready for them when they show?
Lastly, if you have a significant other, they must be on board. I’ve seen both sides of this, both now and when I was a financial adviser 15 years ago. My first spouse was extremely controlling, when she would allow me see clients, when I could work with my agents, things got ugly, my business suffered & I lost a lot of both clients and agents. Building a business can be like trying to get a rock up a hill; an un-supportive partner is like pushing it uphill in mud, a supportive one is like being on an escalator. I’m fortunate enough to have a wife now who is a true partner both in life and business.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Huh, that’s a first (laughs). I think the biggest one is a common acronym in the sales world: ABC: Always Being Closing. The issue with ABC is that people see you as a salesperson first, not a person first, and that instantly raises people’s defenses when they’re around you, even in a social setting. You must have your eye on opportunities when they appear, but the ABC mindset will have people say no even before you open your mouth. I’d rather the acronym be ABL: Always Be Looking.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
First, you must understand that your people’s personalities are all different. Some are more emotional than others, some less, some are great at handling criticism, some aren’t and so on. You as a leader must work within your people’s strengths. I remember back as an adviser there was an agent who was an absolute alpha jock, former high school/college wrestler, ripped his agents with that hard core, deriding, tough love approaches every time. Because it’s what he wanted for himself. As a result, most of the agents he hired would quit and the ones that stayed mostly hated him.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Negatives up, positives down and to the side. I’ve seen a ton of people in sales and business verbally vomit all their life’s issues at the business table. Does this invoke trust in the people you’re trying to do business with? Obviously not! The people you do business with aren’t your therapists, friend might even be a stretch (although you can get along well)
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Trust me, the people you do business with have their own baggage, your job is simply to remove some of the work stress from their lives and set them up to succeed. Your service or product is a PSR, Professional Stress Reliever! They are not there for you, they’re there for them. What are you doing for them with the time they’re offering you?
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Keep your elevator pitch short! Way too often, I hear folks take what feels like a week and a half to tell me EVERY nuance and backstory about their product because their excitement has them verbal vomiting over me. Your excitement, while good, isn’t mine? THAT needs to be earned. The elevator pitch’s job in those 5–10 seconds in essence is to earn another 30 seconds of their time. With Spanglish Sports World my elevator pitch is simply, “We’re a multicultural sports and entertainment network broadcasting on a network minority owned by Fox & Disney.” With Uplifting Stories In A Minute, “It’s a positive news only network, short, one minute news stories about average people doing great things for humanity.” Short, sweet, to the point. If they want to know more, they’ll ask. THAT’S the job of the elevator pitch, to earn further interest, not explain everything.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride the Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur; you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Oh boy, is it ever valleys and mountains emotionally! (laughs) Some days you get a shock message out of nowhere from someone wanting to do business and you’ll eat well that night, other days when you absolutely need to close a deal that’s 99.999% done to stay afloat it falls through and you’re wondering whether it’s the phone bill, electric bill or can you skip paying internet access that month. Every entrepreneur knows that feeling. What’s ironic is over time, as success grows, the anxiety and thrill don’t leave you so much as change form as you raise the bar. What was great numbers a year ago could piss you off this year as the bar is raised. But that’s a good thing, that means things are obviously improving. Now if you work your entire life as a W2, same paycheck, same work hours for years. After a while you don’t even open the envelope with your pay stub anymore because you know the number never changes.
Additionally, being an entrepreneur, you set your own destiny, as W2 you’re at the mercy of people above you. I’ve been let go because of nepotism, corporate hiring too many too fast and once at a bank because I had 2 grand stolen from me and their cheap security footage consisted of one still image every 15 seconds, they had no proof that it was a fellow teller that stole it (they did acknowledge I did NOT in fact steal it at least).
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
I think with Spanglish Sports World it was arguably one of the first wins, when we got press approval to cover NYCFC soccer at Yankee Stadium. That’s when I realized we were moving in the right direction. I’ve done press coverage from the press box before; Division III football, the XFL (pre-Covid) at MetLife Stadium, but there’s just something about being in the press box at Yankee Stadium that takes things to a whole new level. It was an awesome moment as a sports fan.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
I have a story that happened before this business, bur ironically lead to it. After going back to school for broadcasting I landed a sweet gig covering the XFL like I mentioned. On TV, covering a new league that was pulling in impressive numbers pretty much across the country and greatly improved over the last version 20 years ago. On the field, on TV, loving every minute of it. We have a new football league!!!! Except…. Covid. And just like that the league folded up again. The league that in it’s first year was outperforming going head-to-head with other major sports and DOA and it sucked. All my ducks were in a proverbial row, I was building connections within the league and just like that I had to pretty much start building again. I felt lost.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
So, after a couple months of blindly submitting for broadcasting jobs across the country proved fruitless until I ended up submitting for a sports broadcasting job with Barnburner and the rest kind of lead to what we’re building now. They knew my work on the network I was on which was huge and I felt like I finally had direction again.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
First thing is simple: You need a mentor. Learning from someone who’s been there before will help guide you and cut your timeframe to success immensely.
Secondly: You need to achieve work/life balance. I remember one entrepreneur logged 59 hours a week while building his business. 5 ½ days a week as I recall. That MIGHT sound like a lot, but it isn’t if you manage your time well. 168 hours in a week. You sleep 8 hours a night, now you’re at 112 hours remaining. Let’s argue 11 hours of travel for work, as high as that sounds, that plus the 59 hours at work: 112–11–59 is STILL 42 hours a week left over. That’s a full 6 hours a day outside of work & sleep to do housework, enjoy your life & family and so on while still building your business. Time management.
Third: Some will, some won’t. Not every person will buy, listen or care. You must accept that. If you get hung up on that person who said no that can affect your mentals with the next person. Happened to me a hundred times and you get desperate trying to close. And people can smell desperation a mile away; just ask any single person in a bar (laughs)
Fourth: Take the time to pay attention to your customers. You worked hard to get them, treat them well and treat them as you’d WANT to be treated. To add something to the NYCFC story, we got wind that the folks at NYCFC called the MLS headquarters to talk about us and compliment us on what we were bringing to the table. It was a huge, third party compliment, and all because we did the right thing and treated their folks with appreciation and respect.
Lastly: Take the time to pay attention to your employees. A loyal employee can be your best salesperson, even if they aren’t in sales. They do have a social life, parties, social media, etc. What’s one of the biggest things people talk about? Work. What are they saying about their jobs? And what does that say about you?
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is a funny thing. To develop resilience, you have been put in a position to have the opportunity to develop it. Resilience to me is the ability to take the lows of not just business but life as well and not let it knock you down. The confidence to know you can overcome the challenges thrown at you and still treat life like a typical day at the office.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Growing up I was the token bullied kid and frankly taught myself to just let people walk all over me. Spent YEARS like that (laughs). So, I think my resiliency came from when I developed a sense of respect for myself and opted to not let people walk all over me as they used to. I still carry that and other challenges I always overcome with me, but more from the perspective of how it taught me resiliency and the knowledge that if I overcame what I have in my life, I can overcome anything.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
I do now, but boy was it a struggle. I think the more times you deal with stress, the more opportunities you must help develop toughness. I say opportunity because you must decide if that difficulty will toughen you or beat you into the ground. I’ve had both. But personally, I learned that the more challenges I could overcome, the prouder of myself I could be. Look at your own challenges you overcame; be proud of them.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Starting with your people, big question, based on your personality, would you follow you? A leader needs to instill confidence and belief in their people; not fake confidence but a genuine attitude of success and belief that as a team all of you will succeed. Your people have fears, doubts, and worries and whether you like it or not, they’ll be looking to you for support, often without asking for it. What are you giving them? As for your clients, same thing. They’re giving you their money and time. What are you giving them? Recently, I shot a pilot that will be pitched, and we had a pair of unexpected setbacks on the second day. I made sure I had fallback plans in case anything went south. Sure enough, they did, but prior to the shoot day I made sure to have contingency plans in place as everyone that was down there was looking to me for all the answers. Knowing I was prepped gave me the confidence to have that genuine positive attitude I talked about. And we got everything shot and done in time.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
That one is easy, “Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you deal with it!”
How can our readers further follow you online?
Easiest way is through:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!