Today we’d like to introduce you to Leo Despot.
Hi Leo, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
For 15 years, I dedicated the majority of my time + some to my career in hospitality. I completely submerged myself into managing a team of people in front office operations at a local luxury resort where I worked crazy hours and holidays and dealt with a fast-paced work environment with never a dull moment. I had some amazing leaders who wanted to see me succeed and opened many doors for me, one of which was changing the rhythm and moving into leisure sales. My new position involved travel, client entertainment, managing partnerships and accounts, and ensuring met annual revenue goals. My passion for that lifestyle was changing, I needed to do more, and all I knew was that I wanted to make a difference while doing something I enjoyed. After a few years of juggling my corporate job and getting involved in the non-profit world as an independent contractor, I decided to leave and take my company full time.
I now run a small business that has two components. I help non-profits strategize, plan events, fundraise and grow across several states and markets. I exclusively work with non-profits that are very near and dear to my heart. There are some tough days when you see the statistics being against you, seeing how far off we still are from a cure, or my heart hurting by seeing a little one going through some very tough circumstances that are hard to handle for even an adult. I find peace in knowing that I am doing what I can on my part.
The second component of my business is helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get organized and scale by creating strategies and streamlined systems, everything from website optimization to social media and strategy. I find that these are some of the things I have had growth in while spearheading my own business, my experience in the sales and marketing space, and what I apply with my non-profits.
Lastly, I dedicate my time to running a local networking group Level Phoenix that strives to connect today’s entrepreneurs. By bringing like-minded empowering individuals to connect, cultivate relationships leading to collaborations, partnerships, + continued knowledge & support by talking about topics that benefit you personally & professionally.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting your own business has so many highs and lows, challenges, and long days and nights. While I may have a million ideas about what the business should look like, feel like, optimize revenue streams, etc., we naturally want things to come together and be perfect quickly. Still, the reality is that I have built the company that I currently have from scratch and have done it by myself. I was used to having operational help, marketing assistance, and assistance that handled appointments, coordination, and the everyday normal office tasks.
When you start as a team of one, you are:
– The web developer.
– The marketing manager.
– Social media expert.
– Sales and strategy.
– Executing the client’s needs at hand.
It’s satisfying, in the end, to be knowledgeable in all aspects of your business but not always a smooth road to get there.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I help non-profits strategize, plan events, fundraise and grow across several states and markets. I also help entrepreneurs and small businesses organize and scale by creating strategies and streamlined systems, everything from website optimization to social media and strategy. The non-profit world of events and fundraisers is often known as galas, black ties, sit-down dinners, etc. We, however, like to think outside the box and not just plan your typical fundraiser – we continuously think of ways to get creative depending on the market we are in. If there is an ocean – we may be on a yacht, it might be a midsummer night garden party, in an NFL arena, overlooking a baseball stadium, or perhaps a historic venue where we are playfully “roasting” a Baller.
Alright, before we go, can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I love a good collaboration; I often look for venues all across the country, photographers, videographers, florists, entertainment rental companies, delicious food, & more! I love to support small businesses like mine and collab with like-minded people. Referrals are always wonderful and very much appreciated. I encourage you to check out my website despot.design, get on my newsletter & stay in the know of everything I am up to, or connect with me on social @despot.design