We caught up with Samson Daramola of Stay Focus Management to hear all all about how he went from a start up music events company to sell out venue events and on to launching his own talent management company, and he’s still only 24!
Samson started out in 2011 with his first venture PSEVENTSZ as an events company catering to young individuals from the ages of 18-32 with a focus on Urban Music. Having done 5 major events which sold out major venues with over 5000 capacity the focus was then to grow a secondary business focused on new artist management. Seeing the potential to diversify through organising sell out events galvanising all the right people in industry to come together to create not just a brilliant event but also hub of activity of connections and networks Samson decided to create STAY FOCUS MANAGEMENT to help upcoming artists get the exposure and support they need to gain the right industry contacts and support. Stay Focus management helps up and coming artists with everything from studio sessions, music videos, interviews, to eventually landing them with a record label working with some of the biggest label in industry such as Sony and Universal. The aim is to “to make the artist feel as comfortable as possible by always encouraging them to make music, supplying them with song writers if they are struggling and constantly giving them the advice they need to flourish.” @PSEVENTSZ
What was your inspiration for setting up for the business and how long did it take?
Music has always been a big part of my life, growing up I was learnt to play the drums, piano and guitar… this fostered my on going interest in emerging artists on the Urban music scene and wanting to curate experiences for others to enjoy. My older sister Maria Daramola introduced me to the event life which opened up a whole new insight into the industry – I just thought, if others can do it why not take the plunge and do it myself! I had studied Business Management at Middlesex University so from a theoretical point of view I felt pretty equipped, it became a case of then learning through the process like many entrepreneurs. It took me 2 years to officially set up my business as there were a variety of legal requirements to get in place from obtaining licenses and permits to applying for trademark protection…having a business that is centred around my passion was definitely the central driver in getting through this long process!
What do you think are the secrets to success for being a successful entrepreneur and who is your inspiration?
One of the main keys to being a successful entrepreneur is to discover what you’re actually good at and stick to it even when there is nothing left because most entrepreneurs tend to go bankrupt during their careers but only the most successful business owners break through their barriers and rise from that situation. Two successful entrepreneurs who inspire me are Richard Branson and Simon Cowell as they both either went broke or almost became bankrupt at some point in their life and both of these men found solutions to their situation which has now made them two of the richest men in the world.
So why the Startup Kitchen and how did it help?
I first heard about the SUK in 2014 through a charity in Hackney Skyway who thought it would be a good time to hear advice from entrepreneurs and get tips from on how I can evolve my business and I’ve been back every year since. For me it was about gaining some specific advice around my strategy with venues but also about my plans to grow the business more broadly. The Startup kitchen was crucial for me at this point as it helped me focus on my main goal at this time and be relentless about achieving it before I move on to another one…where I had been weighing up some decisions it helped give me clarity and not divert my attentions in the wrong direction, ultimately it de-risked my business at that point. Whenever I attend a session I feel confident from the advice in taking the right route forward and its great that you can return back at the right time for you year on year.
What have been your challenges setting up your business and how have you overcome them?
My most challenging moment in my career was when I first started my business, it was very tricky as I didn’t have the funds I needed in the early days meaning I had to take a risk with my early events. The success of my first event however gave me the fuel I needed to push forward and gave me formula by which to work by – 3000 people attended my event and I made a made a big return on my investment. It gave me the confidence to move forward. There have definitely been times especially in the early days where I’ve thought can I pull this off but realised the trick is ensuring the right planning, scheduling and having the right team of people to pull in at the events…when it all comes together and I can see the events not just packed but know everyone is getting great value for money that fuels me to keep on going to the next bigger event!