1. What was it like to invest into something for the city of Cleveland?
Cleveland is always home for me. Investing here makes a lot of sense not just for my portfolio, but the midwest in general is an amazing area to be a part of. Small cities are on the come up on many different fronts - from health, to startups, to music. When you are investing in something in Cleveland, its an amazing feeling knowing that its something my friends and family can be a part of and can have a real impact on the place I was born. That’s definitely a cherry on top.2. How confident are / were you about the success of the show? The truth is when I was approached with the concept revolving around Cleveland, I really wasn't sure. I just wasn’t sure we’d get the support, the viewership, and the notoriety as say other programming like The Profit or Shark Tank. But as time went on and I got more involved, I knew this is going to be something special. I mean what’s not to love? Its a feel-good story about the issues and things that happen in every neighborhood across the country.
3. What did it take to get where you are now? What ventures have you had in the past that gave you experience going into Cleveland Hustles?
I'd like to say that every experience I've had leading up to this opportunity has played a part in how I made it onto the show; after all it's not every day that people want to follow you on the cameras and watch your life, haha.
One specific venture, which is pretty well known within Cleveland, is a brand known as iLTHY. Our first location was ironically in the same neighborhood as where the show ended up being, which gave me a ton of insight, understanding, and ideas on how to bring this area to life. It’s not an easy thing to deal with when watching a business close - so I wanted to make sure a situation like iLTHY’s first shop wouldn’t be a repeat for not just my investment on the show, but my fellow investors as well. There are alot of unforeseen factors when doing location research and unfortunately we just came into the neighborhood a little too early with not enough support. That experience has been invaluable and an even better reason for me to return to the same place to come out swinging.
4. How were you approached to be one of the investors on the show?I was casted while in Los Angeles last summer, and at the same time Lebron had moved his company SpringHill Entertainment to Burbank, right on the WB Lot. I’d like to think it was fate that I ended up in the right place at the right time. That and they were aware of my different projects and I was served as a good fit as I’m young, involved in media and entertainment, and wear Cleveland on my sleeve, lol. I’m was pretty confident that I was in the running to be one of the sharks from the get-go.
5. What words of advice or wisdom do you try to leave with the people you work with?Always keep evolving. Just because your job title or passion lies somewhere, doesn’t mean you can’t be mastering a new skill or learning a new part of your own business. Often times, entrepreneurs have to wear alot of different hats but I think that can still apply to your own personal life or even the corporate world. If you plan on making it in this world, absorb as much as you can and the rewards will pay off later.
6. What is your definition of success?
I think we’re all chasing for some sort of freedom. That could be mentally, financially, or spiritually. For me, its a combination of all of those things. I can’t say that sucess is strictly based on your career; I think there has to be a balance with everything you do. For those of you who are stable and have found your own freedoms, then I think you are on the right track.
7. What's one thing / the most important thing you took away from the first season of the show?
I’ve always been a big believer and have often talked about working off of your own building blocks. Are you a graphic designer? Then chances are you can pick up how to be a web developer. But this show has really forced me to think beyond my own building blocks and test my limits. You’ll find that the investments I’ve made are left-field and that’s okay. It’s made me less risk averse which is always a good thing.
8. Are you a fan of LeBron on the basketball court? What’s it like contributing to a show alongside him that is helping revive the city?
How can I not be?! He’s a hero to our city. From sports, to entertainment, to the economy - the guy has done so much for us. Being a part of the program, and being hand picked by Lebron is an absolute honor and I hope I can live up to it!