I had the honor of moderating Steve Madden’s Self-Made panel of entrepreneurs to discuss success, failure, motivation, work life balance and many other factors that contribute to becoming a successful entrepreneur. While some asked for advice or guidance, others bonded over similar beginnings despite their diverse industries. When trying to figure out how to be an entrepreneur, discussions like these will help pave the way to your own success.

Everyone dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur and the hardest part is figuring out how to get there. Steve Madden’s “Self-Made” highlights some of New York’s most intriguing entrepreneurs. Perhaps more importantly, it is a unique expression of Steve’s passion to give back to entrepreneurs as we all overcome the struggle of starting a business.

Steve Madden, a true entrepreneur that started his business with a bold $1,100 investment in 1990 has now developed into one of the most iconic brands in footwear. His successes are a testament to his unparalleled drive, one that has transformed a business he started with the help of his doorman, into a multi-billion dollar company. Authentic, innovative, and truly inspirational, Steve is the definition of self made in the face of the entrepreneurial struggle.

Success in the Face of the Entrepreneurial Struggle

No one knows more about success in the face of this struggle than Steve Madden. He spent two years in jail when his company was taken public by Stratton Oakmont, the investment firm run by his childhood friend, Jordan Belfor (the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street).  After overcoming these obstacles, he now gives back and helps other entrepreneurs on their path to success while teaching them what it means to be self-made.

Meet The Self Made Entrepreneurs:

Steve Madden highlights eight successful self made entrepreneurs in his campaign who were a part of the panel. Each one comes from different industries, different backgrounds and different locations but all have one thing in common: making their entrepreneurial ideas happen.

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Steve Madden and NYC Entrepreneurs

Garnett, Professional Trainer and Martial Artist, 31

Garnett is an elite personal trainer in New York City. He, like many of us, knows all too well about the struggle and the road to success. From adversity and constant obstacles to realization that his determination for success, drive for passion and a better life for his young daughter is what being self made is all about. Garnett notes that the only way to be better is to constantly practice your craft. New York City is what Garnett calls home and has helped him become who he is today. For more on Garnett, check out his website.  

Garnett Strother - Self Made Entrepreneur
Ant - Self Made Entrepreneur

Ant, Choreographer, Founder of Urban Dance League, 34

We had the pleasure of watching Ant in action at his studio in NYC. It was amazing how alive you feel when the music starts to play and he just goes! Ant is an accomplished professional dancer who just happened to share the stage with Madonna during her last world tour (yes, it’s because he’s that good!). Ant says consistency is his key to success. A true New Yorker, Ant says the city really shaped who he is today and pushed him to be and do better. Ant embodies the creativity, determination, toughness and the constant hustle to get where he is now. For more on Ant, check out his website.

Max & Dan, Personal Trainers and Co-Founders, STLR Aesthetics, 29

Max and Dan are the successful duo (they are also close friends and trainers) behind the athletic wear line STLR Aesthetics that launched in June of 2016. For Max and Dan, self-made means defining success, the vision, and what you do to get there. They emphasize that you need drive and self-discipline to push yourself. Aside from being trainers, they are very focused on staying healthy, continuing to grow STLR, and achieving success. And they’re not shy about asking for help and guidance from people who’ve been there. We’re looking forward to watching these guys get to the top of their game. For more on Max & Dan, check out their website.

Max and Dan - Self Made Entrepreneurs
Brian Mazza - Self Made Entrepreneur

Brian, President, Paige Hospitality Group, 32

Brian Mazza is the president of Paige Hospitality Group, a company that owns and operates a number of venues across the tri-state area, including the tremendously popular Ainsworth bar and lounge. Brian’s journey began with just $400 in his pockets, and now includes a successful hospitality group, menswear company, and upcoming athleisure line. For Brian, success comes as a result of being obsessed with improvement. It’s not about what you start with, but about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. For more on Brian, check out his website.

John, CEO and Creative Director, Sweet Chick Life, 39

Born and raised in Manhattan, John Seymour drew inspiration from the city he calls home when founding his restaurant, Sweet Chick. John grew up in the restaurant industry, and eventually worked his way up from busser to server to bartender, before beginning his journey as an entrepreneur. For John, being self-made is about working hard and putting in your own efforts, although he attributes much of his success to his wife, Fallon. Being a part of the Steve Madden #SelfMade campaign is just another stop on his road to success. For more on John, check out his website.  

John Seymour - Self Made Entrepreneur
Lyon Porter - Self Made Entrepreneur

Lyon, Real Estate Broker, Creator/ Designer of Urban Cowboy B&B, 34

Real estate agent by day, bed and breakfast owner by night, Lyon Porter is the creative mind behind Urban Cowboy B&B. Being an entrepreneur is about overcoming challenges, something Lyon has proven that he does well. Balancing a real estate career and managing a growing business can prove to be tricky, but Lyon makes it look easy.

Expanding to two locations (Brooklyn and Nashville), the Urban Cowboy B&B continues to gain popularity, both on Instagram and in real life. Lyon’s entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic makes him the ultimate self-made man. For more on Lyon, check out his website.

Evan, Owner of Atwood Kitchen and Bar Room and Shay & Ivy, 30

A native New Yorker, Evan Rosenberg has achieved success as the owner of Atwood Kitchen and Bar Room and Shay & Ivy. When asked about what self-made means to him, Evan said, “I’ve personally achieved success through hard work but I no longer believe success is solely a matter of “self.” I would be misguided not to recognize the contributions others have made to help me get where I am today.” Evan embodies a self made man, as he continues to climb his way to the top. For more on Evan, check out his website.  

Check out Steve Madden’s exclusive interview with The Lonely Entrepreneur about his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur. 

Evan Rosenberg - Self Made Entrepreneur

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