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Executive Voice

Making Sacrifices To Turn His Passion Into A Business: Jesse Paul Smith’s Story

Jesse is an established dancer, recording artist, and entrepreneur. He got his start in the entertainment industry when he moved to Los Angeles in 2005, working as a dancer with McDonald Selznick Associates. There he had the opportunity to work with artists like Justin Timberlake. Rihanna, Mario, and more. He has used his talents to perform and speak around the world in front of over 100,000 people. Now Jesse helps creatives turn their passion into a thriving business that makes a positive impact on the world through his company, My Creative District. He is also the cofounder of the WorldWide Dance Challenge.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I’ve always done things differently than other people, and that wasn’t exactly smiled upon. But I had big dreams. It didn’t take me long to realize that wouldn’t happen if I worked for someone else. Any time I talked to someone who lived the life I wanted to live, they owned a business. They worked for themselves. It seemed like the only path to what I wanted.

What are some sacrifices you’ve made to get to where you are?

I’ve given up vacations, toys, and cars so that I had the money to go to conferences, buy coaching programs, and invest in mentors to turn my passion into a business. I’ve also given up a lot of time. In my 20’s, while all my friends were partying and going on trips, I was home practicing my craft. It’s a trade-off — you sacrifice small things now to enjoy finer things later on. One time that stands out to me is when I went to an audition in Florida, which got me signed as a dancer with McDonald Selznick Associates. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family with 3 siblings. We didn’t have much money. When we went on vacation, we never stayed in fancy resorts or high-class destinations. It was always a low-budget motel or hotel.This audition was held at the World Marriot Center in Orlando, Florida. It was the nicest hotel I’d ever seen. I remember seeing the waterfalls flow into the pool and staring at them forever. I couldn’t wait to explore and take advantage of all the amenities. We had a scheduled time we’d learn the choreography for the next day’s audition. My time was literally an hour after I arrived, so I didn’t get much time to relax before getting into it. I walked in and saw 250 dancers gearing up to learn the choreography. The choreographer had worked with Michael Jackson. After I saw the first 8 count, I knew I was way in over my head.After working the choreography for 45 minutes, they let us go. The choreographer saw me lingering around outside trying to practice because I was struggling with the piece. He could tell I was getting frustrated, so he handed me a CD of the music with a small boombox and said, “Take this and go to work. You can do this.” With the CD and boombox, I found a corner of the hotel big enough to practice in and plugged in the boombox. I was there for the rest of the day and into the evening just practicing. While everyone else got to enjoy the resort and the beautiful pool, I was working away. I don’t regret it. Ultimately, MSA signed me on and I got to do some awesome work with them. It wasn’t an easy sacrifice, but it was worth it in the end.

What motto do you live by?

If you help enough people get what they want, you will eventually get what you want.

Be sure to follow Jesse on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Angelo Raguso, alias FAW9 : For almost ten years, he has dealt with electronic music, first as a Music Producer, releasing his music on top Labels in the sector, such as Spinnin 'Records, Elrow, Trax Records, Freakin909, Hotfingers and many others, to name a few, and then as a Label Owner for various record labels that launched and then sold or entrusted in permanent management to various collaborators. Today he is a Social Media Strategist, has worked and offered his services to top names in the American and European entrepreneurship sector, and writes as a freelancer, for sites like Disrupt etc

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