Opinion

The one secret ingredient that all successful entrepreneurs share

6 min read

09 November 2015

What does it take to build one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world? Perseverance, says Jason Davis.

As president and CEO of One One 7, I run one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. Yet I know that without one key factor, I would not be where I am today. That key factor is perseverance. 

Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.” 

I could not agree more with those words. Perseverance is not merely a good business principle – it is imperative for a successful and lasting career. 

Perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” This means that even when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel or the dollars in the bank account, we need to keep going. 

I learned this early on in my career. As a teen growing up in New Jersey, I fell in love with music. In high school, a few friends and I recorded our own music, then packaged and sold the product to our peers. This music proved a success, and we sold hundreds of copies a year. 

I continued to pursue music, writing and recording songs on my own. One of my songs soared on the charts to become an award-winning hit. At the time, I was at a rock bottom place in my life, broke and uncertain about my future. But I knew one thing for sure – I wanted to pursue my dreams.

I began brainstorming, determined to break into the music industry. I secured the names of some of the top executives in the biz and began calling around. 

After a few attempts, I landed the coveted invitation I’d been waiting for – a meeting with the vice president of Sony Records. I grabbed my recorded music and headed to New York, ready to make an impression. 

The meeting at Sony was brief, but it was all I needed to get my foot in the door. I kept persevering, meeting with other top music executives, and soon, I gained a name for myself. I was able to spot some of the best talent in the industry and soon became a liaison between record companies and music producers. 

I eventually moved my business from New York to Los Angeles, where I continued my success, working with some of the hottest stars in the industry. 

Today, I include award-winning songwriter, award-winning author, A&R executive, TV producer, entertainment consultant and former senior vice president of Dolly Partner’s Management Company in my titles. I’ve faced many challenges in my career, but I’ve never given up. And my perseverance has paid off.

Never give up

Not giving up is key. I believe many people could succeed in life, but they simply don’t continue to try. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” 

The big break, the million dollar deal, the next major company or idea, could be just around the corner, but none of those things will take flight if one throws in the towel.

Perseverance requires hard work. It requires a keep-going attitude in the face of adversity. After a major life change years ago, I left Los Angeles and returned to New Jersey, where I started over. Life felt uncertain for a bit, the way it had before I’d broken into the biz. But I kept going, and today, I run a successful company with offices around the globe.

In order to persevere, one must be fuelled by their calling. Leonardo De Vinci said, “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.” If a CEO or business owner does not believe their work is their calling, they will not keep persevering. Once they embrace that calling and become passionate about it, the sky is the limit. I discuss these ideas in my upcoming book, Business Backwards, due out soon.

Perseverance requires effort, hard work and determination. Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison all faced criticism and adversity, but they did not give up. 

Today, they are remembered as some of the greats of their time. As a leader of my company, I hope to follow in their footsteps, embracing the never-give-up mentality that’s brought me to success.

Jason Davis is CEO of One One 7.