1. Tell me about yourself and your business. My name is Justin Whitney, owner of All4One-Entertainment. Custom entertainment booking and digital content are my specialties. I know that leaves a lot to the imagination. That’s the way I like it. Another service I provide is a program for helping other entertainers build a sustainable business around their craft. I intend to make my way back on to the stage myself, but I have no desire to play to an empty room or a room full of uncaring strangers. When I show up to play, I want everyone to understand that I’m there to make some memories.
2. What inspired you to start your business? It wasn’t even my idea. I was working on my solo music career at the time. I was living in Wyoming, but I was getting involved with networking groups in Utah. Someone suggested I get into entertainment booking. So I went with it. The thing is, I have this ongoing fascination with digital content that goes back ten years. It still just amazes me that I can get on a computer and send words and images and sounds out to the world. Has anyone really grasped the magnitude of this? So I went through this period of back and forth between booking and content, trying to figure out how to piece them together. Then I figured, live shows can be a great source for digital content. So maybe booking is a good thing to get into. Plus, maybe I’d pick up a few connections when it comes time to push my own music. Here I am a few months later, I have this business framework that allows my imagination to really just run wild. As long as I can continue to avoid getting bogged down with heavy responsibilities, I think I’ll be doing good. 3. Talk about challenges in your business and how you overcame them. What most people need to understand about entertainment is you’re probably not going to grow a real following from those close to you. You have to go out and find your audience, from networking, marketing, performing, all those things. I imagine from the outside looking in, it might look like I haven’t been working all that hard. But I have been. There’s just an order I had to follow, and it involves a lot of thinking and creating. Things not widely regarded as “work,” especially where I come from. So one of the biggest challenges is to just be out there on your own, everyone in your circle watching via Facebook, as you sort of cut your way through a jungle of little challenges that really shouldn’t be that hard. But it’s about finding your way. And that actually is kind of hard. I’m responsible for the product, the presentation, the marketing, the distribution, all of it. And it all has to be in line with my heart, my mind, my intentions. That doesn’t happen overnight. I could go back six years, after I had just bought a house and then some recording equipment. I had a feeling back then I was going to be organizing some shows. But I was learning a lot from scratch. I had a background in guitar and piano, and that was it. Finally I pushed myself to write a few songs and sing, until I could get through a three hour set and remember most of the words. So these are some major plateaus that most people don’t see. And then you get into promotion. Promotion brought me right back to square one, because there’s a million wrong ways to do it. I just studied the artists who were putting their information out there. I don’t know what I’d have done without them. Then I sorted it out and came up with my own business model. And once I figured it out, it’s not that complicated. But I had to go through the entire process. And I’m still figuring out. I’m starting to meet a few advertising pros whom I think I can trust, and I should be able to pick up quite a bit on my own. Marketing knowledge is key. You always want to be hands-on with that, even if someone else is guiding the process. 4. What accomplishments have you experienced since starting your business? The truth is, I haven’t really accomplished anything yet. I haven’t made a single sale. I haven’t grown a following. I really don’t have anything to show, other than legal pads full of notes, some social media pages, and finally I just got a website. I am totally okay with that. Mainly because I’ve been working hard and making forward progress in my own particular way. I may not have made any sales yet. But I do have some things on the market. And from the things I have experienced in business, I can safely say that I am offering some things of substantial value at a great introductory price. On my website, the first thing you see are the words, “create your own SPECTACLE.” I really mean that. I’m looking for a supportive client, who is as invested in putting on a phenomenal event as I am. When it’s over, everyone involved is going to shine. I’d like us to come out with something we can call our own, something that has not been done before. The first time I step up to the plate, I want to hit a home run, and I want the cameras rolling. If I can get the pitcher to throw me an easy fast ball down the middle, even better. 5. What would you tell others who want to start a business and don't know where to start? First I would just look at them like, are you crazy? I could offer words of support, but how do you really know if that’s what they need at the time? So I’d just ask questions. What kind of business and why? Is this something you really want to do, that you’re really willing to work hard at, harder than you would your regular job? Are you doing it for yourself, or are you just trying to impress someone? Are you doing it because you like the idea of running a business day in, day out? Or because it looks like the quickest path to getting rich? If I knew they were serious, then I might talk about money. It all starts with money. Money is going to buy you all the tools you need, and money is going to buy you time. If you’re not sitting on some money, you’re going to want a decent job and save for a while. Just treat your business like a hobby while you’re stacking cash. If you can turn that hobby into profits, even small profits, that’s good. And if you can see that netting you a good income, great, keep growing it. Just get really good at saving and running on a tight budget, because money runs out fast. And this happens all the time. People do really well for a while, but they just spend that money that’s coming in, then there’s a downturn and they’re back where they started, broke and having to figure out a new plan. Be tight with that money in the good times, and put some money toward growing your business. 6. What are some of your 2020 goals? How do you plan to achieve your them? I’m pretty lax when it comes to goals. Every once in a while, I’ll write them out, but they just get piled up with all my other notes. Are you like that? I just feel my way through things, most of the time. That’s how I figure out where to put my energy. I can’t put myself in a box anymore. I’ve experienced freedom, and there’s no going back. So I have to make this work, that’s a goal. But I’m extremely patient. I’m proud of what I’ve built so far. The complete framework is finally there. I’ll just keep adding to it, give it a little push here and there. It’s just a machine and pretty soon it’s going to be chugging and shooting money back at me. But I’m not in a hurry. Things are starting to happen on their own. When it comes to events, I think it’s more valuable for me to have an opening home run than a bunch of singles or pop-outs. It doesn’t have to be huge; I would just like it to be a little unique. Meanwhile, I’m really excited about digital content. If I play my cards right, I’ve basically made a way for myself to be creative as much as I want. All I’ve really wanted is an audience eager to share that experience with me. If it takes a team to make content that good, so be it. At this point, I’m just messing around. Soon, I’d like to be messing around in a nicer space with some nicer toys, and a shared vision. That to me seems like a really good time, and why wouldn’t it take off? 7. Where can people find you? Everything is linked to my website, All4One-Entertainment.Com. I post to the blog regularly. It brings out a different side of me, more authentic. All my social links are on my website, and I post unique content to each of them fairly regularly. If you want to know my history over the last year, my Instagram page sort of tells the story of me going from construction worker to independent musician to business owner. No one knows about my Youtube. I’m just stockpiling videos there. I’m pretty sure it takes money to get anything going on a Facebook business page, so it’s kind of dead. Linked-In is great. I tried to get into Tik-Tok, but nah.