Leverage is a drug: Lessons from the Fyre Festival overdose.

Part of my growth and development as an entrepreneur includes me watching documentaries. I try to watch at least one a week that shifts my mindset, answers a question or teaches me a new skill. Recently, I checked out the two documentaries surrounding the Fyre Festival.

I won’t get into my personal views of the whole ordeal because that would be an unending rant. Yet, there is one thing that stood out to me from the entrepreneur perspective. Leverage is a drug! When it goes well there is a euphoric feeling like being on top of a cloud. When it goes bad there is this extreme low that people have to fight to get out of.

It’s a drug! One openly distributed by social media platforms, businesses and media in alarming doses. It was the leverage of celebrities, expensive items, the music industry, the modeling industry and yes influencers that lead to the Fyre Festival overdose. The leverage overdose leads to the same things that a drug overdose leads to. There was money stolen, disappointment, lies, deception, anger, and frustration.

They used leverage and it was a great marketing tool but they had bad money management. This along with a few other things created a disastrous experience for everyone.

Think of it like this…when is the most significant time that you hear someone say that they are going to Disney Land?

Who was it that told you about Krispy Kreme Donuts?

One company has leveraged one of the most-watched games on television and the other has leveraged word of mouth. Both are powerful tools that can be used by entrepreneurs in healthy doses.

You know when that “hot sign” bling…that can only mean one thing! (In my Drake voice) Lol Sidebar: I have been known to run across a parking lot for a fresh Krispy Kreme donut! Oh, and yes it has always been delicious.

So how does this marketing tool get out of hand?


1. No clear plan

In the documentary, we saw that money was just being poured out like water. There was an idea but no clear plan. That is a dangerous territory to play in. Whenever you use leverage there is the potential for explosive sales, a spike in customers and the need for more help. These were expected but not planned for.

It was almost like, “Oh shoot, more money! Hurry up and spend it.”

As an entrepreneur, you never know when or where that leverage will go into high gear. It’s a hit or miss on most occasions depending on your industry and the type of leverage you are using to market. Many have turned to influencers to share information about upcoming programs or even content that leads back to them. What will you do if you get 100,000 clients tomorrow?

2. No REAL friends

So, this may be a cultural thing, but the saying is that true friend won’t let you do dumb stuff. Now we all know that you will do what you want in the end but a true friend will speak up when you see you are about to fall. You must have some wise counsel on your team.

There were far too many “yes men” in this whole Fyre Festival ordeal. This is another danger that is seen in entrepreneurship. Wise counsel is someone that has successfully been where you are trying to go. If money is not your friend, have someone handle the money that is great with money.

So how do I use leverage and not overdose on the results?

Learning from what went wrong in someone else’s scenario will set you apart.

1. Doing a SWOT analysis before you reach out to leverage an opportunity so you know where you stand.

2. Get someone in a position to handle your blind spots

3. Acknowledge any problems when you see it beginning (No newspaper over spilled milk scenarios)

4. Document the process so you can critique it to see what worked and what didn’t

5. Don’t repeat what isn’t working! Be willing to try again only after adjustments have been made.

I would love to hear your feedback about using leverage when it comes to marketing. Have you watched either of the Frye Festival documentaries? Have you used social media influencers?

With over ten years of writing, Altovise uses her platforms to create opportunities for women to have their voices heard. Founder of the World Voice League, she educates and empowers through courses, a weekly accountability call, blogging, books, and the #SpeakEasy Podcast.

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