Rio Rocket is host of the Design Your Decade podcast. An audio platform based on the 5 Pillars of Success designed to market the specialized consulting services of Rio and his co-host Rosann Santos in the field of career-growth and professional development. He is also a multi-hyphenate film, television, and voice actor who has a recurring role on the ABC TV Series FOR LIFE and motivational spokesperson for Lowe’s Companies. He is active in the blockchain, DeFi and NFT sector as an activist and digital creator.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Rio Rocket: I was born with the talent to create art and an inner desire to choose my own path in life. I could draw before I could read or write. In my twenties, I began a career as a graphic artist and web designer in the early stages of the modern internet. Through a passion for my craft and delivering world-class service, my career evolved and grew into a full-service commercial graphic art, web development, and digital marketing service.
As with any entrepreneur who eventually reaches the summit and needing a “bigger mountain to climb”, I entered the acting arena as a voice-artist, evolving into a film and television actor, commercial model, motivational speaker and event host. I have been featured in advertising and marketing campaigns for Jack Black Skincare, Altice, 10% Happier, Cuties Diapers, Cabem Technologies, WOM Chile móvil, VH1, Bee Bald, and many others. Three years ago I began working with Lowe’s Companies as a motivational spokesperson. I also have a recurring role on the television legal-drama FOR LIFE, executive produced by Hank Steinberg and 50-Cent.
Little did I know that an opportunity would arise where I could pool these talents and experiences into helping others. In 2019 I embarked on an endeavor with my business partner Rosann Santos to create a specialized career consultancy called Design Your Decade.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Rio Rocket: I believe successful entrepreneurs are always born. There is an innate sense of leadership and willingness to blaze a trail through the road less traveled that I believe separates entrepreneurs from those who aren’t. The freedom to choose my career direction and trajectory, and knowing my potential as an entrepreneur is boundless embodies the spirit I was born with. Being an entrepreneur fulfills my purpose in the world of tapping my own infinite potential to provide service.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Rio Rocket: I’m an imagineer with a unique paradigm that gives me the ability to turn thoughts into reality.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Rio Rocket: Design Your Decade is an educational skill-development platform that focuses on the “The 5 Pillars of Success.” The company co-founders Rosann Santos and I provide consultancy and coaching for career-growth and professional development in the workplace.Our primary platform is our podcast. It was originally intended to be a streaming video portal and the “Netflix for Career Growth” but the Pandemic caused us to pivot into a more manageable audio format. The podcast puts humor and career advice in a blender to entertain while we educate.
Our first season aired from October 6th, 2020 through May 28th, 2021 and features career advice, development lessons, and career-based comedic skits from Rosann and I. The trailer for our second season aired June 11th, 2021 and we are currently recording interviews with some very successful entrepreneurs and C-level executives.
Through the podcast, we have booked many speaking engagements and consulting clients. Our passion is to create a more productive, high-skilled workforce for the future that enables college graduates, new employees, and middle management to remain employed and employable on their way up through the glass ceiling into the C-Suite.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Rio Rocket: There will be some rough times. The most common challenge entrepreneurs face is waking up every day with the fire, passion, creative energy, and drive it takes to run a business. You will be tested on all levels as an entrepreneur: mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and maybe even spiritually. How I deal with the challenge is that I wake up every day with a chip on my shoulder and a fire inside me. I’m up for the challenge because the challenge is what forges me into the best version of myself.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Rio Rocket: I have made mistakes in business just as any business owner has. An incorrect assumption I have made in the past is assuming that if your business is doing fantastic today that it will continue to do so the next day, week, month, and year(s) with the exact same effort. Nothing could be further from the truth as your effort must continuously increase. You must constantly improve your process, product, and the people you work with. So I have paid for my mistakes in the past and I chalk all this up to paying for an education in business.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Rio Rocket: One thing I’d tell my younger self is to hone your essential skills to perfection. Maintaining a successful, growing business is an uphill battle and your competitors are out to eat your lunch. This is a harsh reality that once you get over you can move forward and accept that essential skills, often called soft skills, make a huge difference in your reputation at work and authority, respect, and credibility in your industry. This is what makes leaders stand out from the pack.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Rio Rocket: That running a business always has to be serious, a constant grind with little to no room for having fun. It is ok to be all about business but the human side must come out sometime. It is those little moments of humor that define our humanity and keep us sane on our journey to achieve goals that others would say is impossible. Laugh, visualize and make the impossible possible.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Rio Rocket: Assume you will now have to learn how to pivot and be digitally agile. The pandemic has disrupted all of our lives but disruptions can be a time of opportunity. There have been more millionaires minted in times of economic recession and downturn than at any other time. One thing that hasn’t changed is that you have to be diligent and vigilant in your growing your brand, corporate culture, and community just as it always has been.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Rio Rocket: That a brand is just a logo. A brand is so much more than a logo. When I first studied logo design in college I believed that’s all there was to a brand. Over the course of time I learned that a brand is an experiential promise that every time the public interacts with the company or individual, that the experience will be unique and unforgettable. This was especially the case when I branded myself as an actor and branded Design Your Decade as a career-growth and professional development platform. Your work performance and brand voice is the extension of you as an individual that leaves an emotional aftertaste which determines what people will think of you and your business.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Rio Rocket: Be decisive and learn to take action. Action cures fear and motion creates emotion. Always feel important. You are important! Think and believe that you are an important person with important goals. Believe and visualize yourself achieving those goals. Do this every single day of your life.
Perseverance is key – never give up. In most industries 90% fail or give up right before they reach what they’re striving for. Attack your day, goal and purpose with enthusiasm. Be enthusiastic about your goals and never ever consider the thought of giving up. You owe it to your future self.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Rio Rocket: Work on your interpersonal skills or soft skills. These are the behaviors a person uses to interact with others effectively. The three abilities you need as a business owner and service provider are dependability, likeability, and your best ability which is availability. Be available and stay ready so you don’t have to take the time to get ready. I highly recommend taking improvisational classes which teach you how to act decisively based on instinct (it has nothing to do with comedy). Get a mentor in your industry and find industry websites specific to your business niche.
Read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Magic of Thinking by David J. Schwartz, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Get plenty of exercise, rest, and eat a balanced diet. Being in good health with high energy levels will prepare you for the rigors of entrepreneurship.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Rio Rocket: I’d be an astronaut because the mysterious nature and vastness of space and interstellar travel fascinates me.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Rio Rocket: It would be LeBron James for his ability to rise above his circumstances at every point in his career to continue to achieve greatness.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rio Rocket for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Rio Rocket or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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