In this episode, Adam (@AdamVazquez) and Carlton (@CarltonRiffel) are joined by Whitney Holtzman (@WHoltzman) who is the Founder and CEO of Social Victories, an NFL agent, and a best-selling author. Whitney discusses how she’s built her content career through ESPN, VaynerMedia, and now how she helps athletes craft impactful content around their personal stories and brands.
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Show notes* (*all in Drake Lyrics):
* (9:23) Whitney’s really big team, they need some really big rings
* (14:06) Started at the bottom (as an ESPN intern), now she’s here
* (25:32) Is anything I’m doing (building a) brand? Brand new, brand new
* (35:02) She manages the friends that she grew up with (here’s how)
* (46:02) Have You Heard
Links & Resources:
Transcription generated by Otter.ai
Adam Vazquez 00:06
Whitney Holtzman is the founder and CEO of social victories which is a full-service social media and marketing consulting company with a pretty special clientele. If you’re a fan of football, I think you’ll really enjoy hearing about that. She’s also the best-selling author of you are the first you and as of last week officially an NFL agent after years of representing athletes on and off the field interests. So we talked about that during the episode as well. During our episode, we discuss how Whitney advises athletes to approach their branding and content strategies for journeying to becoming an NFL agent and her new book. You are the first few which is available for purchase now. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and hope you will too. Let’s dive into this episode with Whitney Holtzman from social victories.
Adam Vazquez 01:10
Content is for closers. All right. Welcome back into content is for closers. I’m your host Adam Vasquez alongside Carlton riffle each week, we talk to entrepreneurs, business owners and marketers about how they use content to drive revenue for their business, Carlton, how you doing this week?
Carlton Riffel 01:27
Good, man. I were just enjoying the fall coming in strong. We’ve got some leaves changing on trees
Adam Vazquez 01:34
like that by the time it gets out. We’ll probably be
Carlton Riffel 01:38
have a first now. Wow, I
Adam Vazquez 01:40
don’t know. But we’ll be at least midway through the football season, which is relevant for for today’s guest right now. Things are not looking good for the Eagles. But I digress. That’s a sort of a wrap.
Carlton Riffel 01:51
So what’s happening with the bears? I fall on just a little bit. So they won yesterday and that makes me feel a little better.
Adam Vazquez 01:58
Yeah, do we should have had Derek on for this segment. They are kind of a mess. They’re having a controversy a quarterback their coach. It’s unclear that he his brain functions on arrival. So yeah, that’s a whole different thing. But Whitney, who we had on today is a massive Tampa Bay Bucs fan and actually represents some Bucs player since since we recorded this episode, Whitney became one of the only female agents in the NFL like like Jerry Maguire type agents, so she can now represent NFL players which is awesome. And and really, I think is probably her life is like at the pinnacle right now. Her business is doing well. Her team is winning all the time. I just can’t fathom how that would feel. But I’m still feeling salty. Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s well I’m salty. It pretty much the world for instance, you so I think let’s dive into this week’s icebreaker. You grew up in Chicago, you guys had championship parades, like what every other week or something up there during?
Carlton Riffel 03:01
Oh, yeah, there was a time where they were they were quite frequent. But yeah, they became less frequent over time as I got older. But yeah, my siblings actually would go see you. Every time that the bulls won in their heyday, in 1998. They went to that last one and getting pictures looking for them on TV, but apparently, I was too young to attract to Grant Park. I was I was plenty old enough. I just think they didn’t want that little bit of tech. guy. I was made to stay at home.
Adam Vazquez 03:33
While at that stage in 98. I’m sure Chicagoans were like, oh, we’ll have another one of these soon. It was Yeah, yeah.
Carlton Riffel 03:40
You just take it for granted. And then I got to the point where that that was no longer the case. Yep, yep. How about you, Adam, do you have any memories of championship parades?
Adam Vazquez 03:50
Yeah, well, thankfully for me, I don’t have to think back to long down the Rolodex of all the championship parades. There have been two that have happened since I’ve been alive. And so 2008 was the first that was in college. The Phillies won the World Series. It was it was unbelievable. But I was in college. I didn’t get to go back to Philly for that one. And then just now just in 20 1810 years after the Phillies, the Eagles won the Super Bowl and I did fly back for that Super Bowl parade. And it was awesome. I mean, it was a top 10 moment I’ll probably ever experienced just it’s one of those things where you’re with an entire city who couldn’t care about anything else happening in the world other than what what they’re there for right there. Right then the heroes coming in the speeches that are given just everything we got to the to the speech side around 5:15am after getting up at 330 and we’re there until that evening, so it’s any ridiculous experience but what I wouldn’t really trade for anything.
Carlton Riffel 04:53
That’s awesome. So Whitney, our guest today she’s got her own story of, of a Super Bowl celebration. Yes. And viral moments that she captured so that’s a great start to her episode and then she she goes in and talks a little bit about how she made that happen and kind of the habits that she’s developed to help things that she creates go viral. And then she talks about her career path super cool she’s just been ambitious from day one and reaching out and constantly pushing forward and never giving up and it’s a really neat lesson that we can take for ourselves for how to use content and and really just connections right to to leverage our brands. And then she talks a little bit about how she helps these NFL players build their personal brands and then kind of ends with some some good lessons about being relentless being fearless and in going for it so and do you have any other things you wanted to add to to that overview?
Adam Vazquez 05:50
No, I love it. Let’s get into the episode with Whitney Holtzman. All right, we’ve got Whitney Holtzman, who is the CEO of social victories as well as social victory. That’s right when he right. Yep. Social victories. Yes. As well as the author of you are the first few. And much to my chagrin a Yeah, we’re gonna get more into the book. And if you’re not watching the video, she just showed it to us. But much to my chagrin, a massive Tampa Bay sports fan. I don’t I shouldn’t have an issue with Tampa Bay. Philly and Tampa don’t really go head to head that often, but when they have, you all have definitely come out on top as you have already brought up a couple of times to Jojo are vicious game. How are you feeling as you guys go into your title defense here.
Whitney Holtzman 06:35
So let me just say this, I went to the University of Florida and between the time I was accepted and graduated, we won two football titles and two basketball titles. And I was in the same class as Tim Tebow so Heisman as well. And then I graduated and things went downhill. So then I graduate college, moved to New York. And finally in 2017, I moved back to Tampa, and ever since we become Tampa Bay. So at some point, I feel like you cannot ignore my impact in terms of what I do to the sports community wherever I go. And I mean, first of all, I joke that last year I was in an Atlanta Morissette song about like ironic because it was a global pandemic, clearly. So Tom Brady and Rob gronkowski moved to Tampa they’re on the team I grew up loving and then I’m passionate fan and I couldn’t watch them. So I just want to remind people of like, how much can change in a year we started out in a pandemic not being able to see football games a year earlier with jameis Winston is our quarterback and we ended the year as Super Bowl champions with me in the stands and Tom Brady is our quarterback so just a reminder of how much you can change in the year and I mean, we’re I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lightning in their two Stanley Cups. I mean, the razor razor a little bit like the black sheep though, because they only made it to the championship. So you know, that was like a lot of weakness. Don’t Don’t they want their bowl parade already. This is so funny to me because Okay, so I’m 34 I’ve been alive for every Tampa sports championship. So like someone hating Tampa makes makes me laugh like, because we’ve just been the like, ugly stepsister or like the shame like people people just felt bad for us yeah, we’re like the sad sad little puppy over there like people people I felt like took pity on us they they never saw us as a threat so like when people say that now are you talking about I hate Tampa Bay sports like it just makes me laugh.
Adam Vazquez 08:35
I for clarity I don’t hate Tampa I because I really don’t I’m I have no reason to I’m just bitter because to your point, Tampa Bay, you’ve been alive for all the championships all this Philadelphia has literally existed as long or longer than this country. And we have just so few championships in comparison to what we should for that length of time, but not it’s not about me or Philadelphia. Thankfully,
Whitney Holtzman 08:58
I interned for the race in 2007 and I do believe the following year Philly beat the race in the world screw we’ve been hogging all the championships. It’s literally just been ever since then.
Adam Vazquez 09:12
Ever since then, ever since you you you left your mark. So speaking of you interacting with Tampa Bay championships there’s a piece of content that went incredibly viral after last year’s Super Bowl with Tom that I believe you made or you captured or something tell us what what happened there and then we will get into content people I just, this is such a crazy story. You have to share it with everyone.
Whitney Holtzman 09:36
Sure. So let me just say that this is my new claim to fame. anywhere I go with friends. They’re like they introduced me as like did you know she’s the girl that took the Tom Brady video and as one of my clients said it was the video seen around the world. So I did not know this when I moved into my current apartment and I joked that they should put it in the real estate listing. But turns out I live on the championship, boat parade route, something I didn’t even know could be possible when I moved in here in 2017 so when the Bucs won the Super Bowl which like I might start crying again it was the happiest day of my life. I had my first ever client win the Super Bowl I got to take my dad to the game we have Tom Brady we just all survived a pandemic there was so much emotion and I was like the the joy was infectious I had one client broadcast the game and one quiet client win the Superbowl so there was just a lot of excitement from the day itself and then obviously a personal gratification of seeing my team win and getting to share it with my dad so at by the time the boat parade came around which was very fast like I think it was on maybe Wednesday we want on obviously Super Bowl Sunday and they were afraid the players were going to leave so the boat parade was scheduled really fast. So I was still like trying to catch up on sleep and I thought you know what, I have a client who’s in the in the boat parade, how cool would it be if I could just get some pictures of him in the parade descend to him. So that was my whole intention. I’m like I’m just gonna go downstairs and just kind of hang along the route. I was at the end of the parade route, and just kind of found a little spot thought like, Okay, I’m gonna take like a little personal half day and just kind of enjoy this as a fan. And then I turned on my camera on my phone, literally on my iPhone 12 as Tom Brady was going by, and he particularly didn’t wind up with the Lombardi Trophy probably like eight times, so I thought he was kidding. And then all of a sudden he let it fly. And I posted on Twitter and in seconds I mean ESPN the today’s show Sports Illustrated People Magazine you name it, we’re reaching out asking if they could share the video I had friends watching the parade online in different cities and they were like they keep seeing your name on this online broadcast. I did an interview in Australia that night and probably the coolest part was Tom Brady has a production company called shadow lion and they make most of his content and they reached out to me and said hey can we use your video for Tom social which then led to an hour phone call with his personal manager who I’ve now become friendly with because of this video and Tom actually licensed the video from me to then use on his social media so so probably the coolest moment of my life
Adam Vazquez 12:17
that is a true claim to fame because everyone sports fan or not saw that video and and you had an opinion on it and it was such a great he was just such in his element so happy
Whitney Holtzman 12:27
I was literally an hour into the parade like I was at the end of it so you would think if anything were gonna happen it would be in the beginning I guess I just had the time for maybe the alcohol to sink in and someone had just given him the trophy It was one of those right place right time. But even the interview with us to show that they were like tell us what kind of body of water it was like I mean everyone was so and I wish I had some like magical tale of how it happened. But truly Tom Brady was going by in his boat, I turned on my camera and he threw the trophy. And I just think I was the first one to share. There were more close up videos later on. But I just put it on social media first so it’s spread like wildfire. And I think people saw my video before they saw anyone else’s. So that’s how it became my claim to fame and still now every time there’s a boat parade here the local newspaper interviewed me about the Lightning’s bowl parade because like now my brand is both parades because of that video.
Adam Vazquez 13:21
There could be worse brands that’s that’s such a great story. And I do think it speaks a little bit I know it’s just a fun thing that you happen to do. But it does speak a little bit to just how you think about content and the fact that you’re a capturing it in such a quick and and timely fashion. Like, I’m sure a lot of people probably were taking pictures or whatever but you were you were looking you knew where to look and knew where to put your camera so that it can it have the opportunity to catch that video. And the posting part of it right, like a lot of people probably, again, would post it later that night or something. But you know how content works because of your career and the way that you’ve, you’ve built your career. And I kinda want to ask you a little bit about that. I know, we’ll get a little bit more to social victories and what you do for your clients who are athletes in a little bit, but maybe tell us the 92nd story of how you went from where you were at Florida through kind of some of the ups and downst and to where you are now leading leading this organization.
Whitney Holtzman 14:16
Sure. And I will definitely jump in and tell the story of my career path. But I think what you just said really struck a chord. And I think for me, the difference maker has been like when I see something that really sort of shocks me or I haven’t really seen before or takes my breath away. I quickly throw it up on social media. I mean, I was at the Gator game they played I guess it was in New Orleans It must have been sugar bowl. In it they lost to I think Louisville that year was a big upset but there was one Gator player who came back on the field and still saying the school’s national anthem alone. And it was this amazing moment of school spirit and that just touched me in spite I mean I nearly had tears in my eyes. So again, that was something else that went viral when I worked at MLB. I mean, there was a beautiful picture of rainbow and some stuff of Vin Scully. And I just think, like, I see things and I think other people do too. But they’re just afraid that there’s like imposter syndrome, they’re afraid to share it, they think there must be other people’s. And I just think it’s so important to go with your gut, because those have been the difference making moments for me.
Adam Vazquez 15:24
Well, I’m here also, just to touch on that I think something you’re you’re speaking to is not over complicating, not overthinking how it’s going to be received, or how it needs to be like you’re just documenting and sharing these very authentic moments. And I know, these are all just your personal examples, but I’m sure that also bleeds into how you you talk to your clients about their social strategies. And that’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with, whether it be because of imposter syndrome, or just like perfectionism, being overly worried about how that’s going to come out when it actually is produced. So yeah, sorry to interrupt you there.
Whitney Holtzman 15:58
No, no, that’s okay. And I think that is an incredibly important point to make. And, and I’m so glad that you jumped in and added that because, again, it’s we are sports fans, we are our audience. So we know our craft really well. And we know what fans want to see. And I think sometimes we second guessed that, or we question that. But for me, I know I’m a big sports fan. So if something really takes my breath away, or captures my attention, why wouldn’t other fans like that too? And I think that’s the litmus test that people should be using, of what field you’re in, chances are you got that job because you have a passion for that area of business. So if something really strikes a chord with you, chances are it will with the audience as well, like that is the best test of how you react to it. So I think a lot of times we see things and but then again, we overthink it, like you were saying, and we’re like oh, I don’t know if they’ll but just go with that feeling. I think that’s an important lesson. And then quickly, just to tell everyone my story. So I grew up in Tampa, my I feel like this is an important part. But my mom used to have meetings on Monday nights when I was little. And she told my dad, like make sure that you put the kids to bed and she’d come home and every single Monday night he’d have me under one arm and my brother under the other arm and we’d be watching Monday Night Football. And that’s definitely where my love of football began. I’m pretty sure he refers to it as like quality parenting or something along those lines. So you know, when I was going through school I like didn’t really feel like I fit in anywhere. Just I couldn’t find what resonated with me. So I realized the only things that I really enjoyed were sports and talking to people. So I’m like, great. Oh, go be the sideline reporter on Monday Night Football. And my parents said, Do you think you could pick a job with more than one opening? I was like, no problem. Also do Sunday Night Football, which just doubled my options. I’m sure they were super panic. And I always say like, one time when someone asked me Have you always been entrepreneurial, I’m like, Oh, they only call it that one. It works. Like when you’re going left and everyone else is going right? Like you’re considered screw up. But I think it’s important to have that Northstar as your dream and go after it with all of your being. And that’s kind of what I did. Once the University of Florida intern during my summers with the Tampa Bay Rays, Turner sports and ESPN. When Luckily, when I was at ESPN, I had that meeting with john Skipper that I’m sure we’ll talk about soon. And he told me they were watching ESPN w their women’s initiative. So it was sort of a startup within a large corporation. They were willing to take a chance on me someone kind of knew. So I got the job writing, reporting, editing. And then social media started coming about and Major League Baseball was one of the first companies do social media as a marketing tool. And so I joined MLB and helped run all the team accounts and run the league accounts all at once. Luckily, a few years later, I was eating pizza at LaGuardia serve reading New York Times VaynerMedia was the first story I emailed Gary who I’d never heard of before. It was like hey, I just read about you at gate D for whatever it was, I need to come work for you. Somehow that worked out. And luckily talk I think timing is a important part of my story. And like I mean, if there had been no social media who knows where I would be at this point, but my third day at Vayner Steve Ross, who wants the dolphins invested in Vayner, Gary and Steve started a fund called Vayner rse. Gary created a position for me where once those companies were either invested in or incubated, he would hand them over to me to do the marketing. I eventually grew to take over most of the sports clients then went to work for Steve Ross, who started rise, which is a racial equality nonprofit, and that was a life changing job. Then went to work for Brandon Marshall. Again, both of those were Gary rec, like Gary recommended me for the rise job and for working for Brandon Marshall. And from what my friends at the NFL said I became the first Chief Marketing Officer for one NFL player when I went to work for Brandon Marshall. So I helped him with his endorsement deals, his mental health nonprofit, we run our went around the country doing suicide prevention trainings, and then I helped him with the marketing for his gyms as well that were all over The country and there’s a client that I have now named Brian Brandon Copeland, who he worked out at Brandon Marshall’s gym and he like, sent me a message on Instagram, and was like, Hey, I see what you’re doing for Brandon, do you think you could help me as well? Long story short, I learned he lived on 15% of his salary. And like Brandon said, like, I’m a nobody Are you sure you want to take me up, but I just knew he was a special guy. Long story short. Now he’s known as the financial literacy guru in the NFL. He’s a professor in the offseason, at Penn, he teaches a class called Life 101. And he’s, you know, gotten so much notoriety and a zillion offers from teams sort of after he started building his brand. So Brandon Copeland was my first client, my own business, which is called social victories. And now I help pro athletes build their brands. And honestly, it started out I thought I was gonna be doing marketing and endorsement deals. And it did start out that way. But very quickly, I was like, Wait a second, their careers could end at any point, no one is helping them maximize this time in the spotlight to figure out life after sports. So like, I don’t know that the teams have marketing people, the players have agents, there’s all this money and resources, Why is no one doing that. And I just like, felt like it was my purpose to help them I cared about these guys, and I just saw this tremendous need. And I figured, okay, I’m one person I trying to, like, make it in my business and, and grow my business and add clients. But I it’s not like I have so many resources or anything, like I’m just a very average person, but I wanted to do whatever I could. So I just tried to connect them with people found them in search of some jobs. And I have another client this weekend graduating with his MBA, so it’s very fulfilling.
Adam Vazquez 21:37
It’s so awesome. It’s such a such a I know you shorten that down. This is why if you’re listening and you haven’t picked up Whitney’s book, I honestly, I didn’t realize I had seen it somewhere probably on Twitter, I didn’t realize it was yours until we connected and last Yeah. And and so picked it up read it. And the way she just told those stories, there’s like a million of those throughout the book. It’s very entertaining, read, very enjoyable read, but I think it also gives a very practical playbook on how if you’re looking to whether you’re looking to build a career in content, creation of business, or how to leverage content for your existing company, some of the lessons and you even break out like the the takeaways from each chapter, the lessons I can’t really call them, but they’re very, very practical and helpful. So I appreciated that just thinking about our audience in our business. Well,
Whitney Holtzman 22:27
even when I was an intern at ESPN, I talked about in the book how there was one time I had like a pretty boring baseball game on there were no implications in terms of the the outcome of the game for either team. And I think the score was like one zero, but the ball girl had the game of her life, like the most epic catches, and I think the run in the game was scored on a double, it was like nothing. If you watched it was nothing that would catch people’s attention or excite them. But the ball girl catches, like, that’s what I was talking about from the day. And so I made the entire highlight the ball girl catches and again, that it’s very memorable. For me, it did really well that day. And it was just a reminder again, like when it comes to content, anyone could have watched that game, like talk about equal playing field. And most people would have just said it was a one zero game like they think, okay, people only care about the sport. But when you’re watching, you’re talking about the ball girl The next day, so why not showcase that and lead with that in the highlight. So that’s an example sort of taking content and utilizing it to showcase it just in a different light.
Adam Vazquez 23:31
Yeah, yeah. So let’s get into that, too. Now you run social victories, where you work with these players. And I know from from just our conversation a little bit ago, you said a lot of them have a lot of the players that you’re working with are obviously athletes, and that’s their main job. They might have a secondary, whatever career interests that they’re kind of pursuing and content creation kind of flows through all of that, but it’s not their focus. So how do you talk to them? How do you advise them on how they should be thinking about content? And then, like, just practically, how are they supposed to have any time or energy or excitement or creativity to actually execute when they’ve got all these other priorities? And by the way, being a pro athlete is not like, something you kind of just have to do, right? It’s like a very intense career. So how do you think about that for them?
Whitney Holtzman 24:20
Sure. And just to give some context, right now, the players are in training camp, and they get there around seven in the morning, and they leave around 830 at night. So talk about a really long day where there’s not a whole lot of time for other things. It just shows you when they’re doing stuff off the field, how hard they’re really working. I think the average person would be home on the couch asleep a half hour later and definitely not doing anything else. So I think a few things. building a brand is like the foundation of a house. So before we do anything else, we have to build that foundation because any sort of content creation or marketing is an amplification of someone’s heart or Have a brand. So if you, I always say you, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So I want to make sure with them that before we come out of the gate that we’re totally buttoned up. So I sit down, and I really get to know them. And I understand their heart. And it’s key for me, I say to them, instead of looking at football, as your purpose, look at it as your platform to your purpose. And also, I mean, their whole lives, people have defined them by calling them an athlete, but you can’t define yourself by something that’s temporary. So I tried to help understand, okay, at the core of who are you, what sets you apart from everyone else, and what is going to be long lasting, that we can build your brand based off of. So like, I always talk about LeBron, he plays basketball, he has his I promise school, and he loves Cleveland. And we know that because it’s a few simple categories, and he repeats them. So my goal is to build those with my clients, and then be as repetitive as possible, and to find sort of what sets them apart off the field. And we both know this from working for Gary and for VaynerMedia. But access is always going to be the best form of content. If you go on Tick Tock now, I mean, I think a lot of people are drawn to it, because you get to see people in a light and see their lives that you wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. I mean, as social media has evolved, it’s gotten, I don’t want to say intrusive, because that has a negative connotation, but it’s gotten deeper into people’s lives. And that’s why people are drawn to it. So I always say to the athletes, look, you guys have access to a world that the rest of us are never going to get to see. But like even a little bit of something that’s different we’re really drawn to. And I also try and help them blend their football opportunities with their branding. So for example, I remember one time, Brandon Copeland and I were at the Superbowl, and he was doing an appearance and the ad on a shirt that said something about Nashville. And I was like, forget that shirt. From now on, like, everything that you wear should reflect your brand, like this is an opportunity to get the word out. And I mean, I obviously tell them what’s in my book, which is 0% toxicity in your life, and focusing on your strengths, and all of the things that in general, help you build a brand brings value to people. So I think you have to have those core principles that’s 1.0. And then 2.0 is just to make sure that we stay on the tracks. And so we’re building a story, we’re telling a story. So don’t just take every opportunity that goes your way it kind of has to fit in with your narrative. And also, when you’re sharing content, not only is access great, but like talk about things in a way that brings people value or that’s going to excite them. I mean, if you get up there, and you just pointed to a TV, I mean, no one’s gonna care. So you have to do it in a way that’s engaging, but I think what they talk about is almost more important, making sure they stay on track with who they are the content pillars that we’ve created, and what their brand is. So that people you build a relationship with someone by understanding them. So if these athletes are all over the place, no one’s gonna know what they stand for or not. I mean, each of my athletes have a very clear niche outside of sports. And that’s because we continue to focus on those areas and everything we do, it’s just the marketing and amplification is different at various times.
Adam Vazquez 28:12
Okay, so I want to get into some of the more tactical parts of part 2.0, or what you just talked about there in terms of execution. But before I do I want to touch on something you said at the beginning. So you talked a lot about being or being treated to who the athletes are. One thing I didn’t hear you say I guess is what I want to point out is like you never talked about like I want if you want to sell cars, then make sure you’re you’re being seen in a new car online, or if you want to be partnered with such and such organization, then try to like everything you talked about was very much about being authentic to who the athlete is, is that? Is that going so personal? Is that how you build their brand exclusively? Or do you bring other, whether it be, like current businesses that they own, or products that they want to sell? Or do you know what I mean? Like how do you balance that tension between building the brand because to your point, the audience really only cares about the athlete, they care about their training, they care about their their nutrition, they care about their just what they do for fun on the weekend, where the athlete at some point wants to make revenue or be able to monetize to some extent. So how do you how do you manage that balance or help them manage that balance?
Whitney Holtzman 29:25
Sure. So I think you can combine the two. So for example, Brandon Copeland, known as the financial literacy professor or the guru in the NFL, I mean, there’s so much he can talk about he’s obviously a professor, he can talk about credit cards, he can speak at JPMorgan I mean, these are just examples but think of how wide reaching the financial industry grows and all the things I mean, we did a partnership with so far. I mean, there’s there’s so many things that and it’s also about their hearts. I mean, we had another partnership with Lowe’s where he spoke to a group of veterans so like the the community stuff is there for sure. But I just feel like I, I have to believe in what I do, right? This is this business I created in the world. This is my baby. And I have to be able to sleep at night and feel like I’m doing things the right way. And, for example, when the pandemic hit, it didn’t matter how many touchdowns or yards you have, I mean, sports was wiped off the face of the planet. But my clients were still on TV because they had built these other verticals. And Brandon Copeland’s on CNBC talking about financial literacy, Cameron Lynch’s broadcasting games for ESPN, because there there were still opportunities for them. Because so for me, I cam always calls me corporate mom. And for me, my purpose is to help them in whatever way they needed. I mean, Steve McLendon that my client who won the Super Bowl this year, my his jerseys behind me, has been in the league, this is his 13th year, and he has this, you know, amazing ability to impact youth. And he’s so and he makes everyone around him better. And that is the story I wanted to tell. So, again, I have I, I’m not confused about my why I know what my purpose is. And it’s to help them and for the audience, to be able to see their hearts and to fulfill their purpose, but also build something that’s long lasting, that’s a legacy. So don’t get me wrong, I mean, making money is awesome. But I’m not the type of person who can just do one off shoe deal. and call it a day and say, Kay, nice working with you. It’s not that those things can’t be integrated, but we want them to fit into our stories. And my first goal is trying to find opportunities for them to be paid, that fit into their brand, or their story or what they what they’re passionate about, because that is what’s going to help them for the rest of their lives. And you think of it as kind of building a resume, I mean, the more experience you have in your field, the more valuable you’re going to be. So my whole goal is to set them up for the greatest success after football is over whatever sport they’re playing. And so the best way to do that is to help them find relevant experience and opportunities. But don’t get me wrong. I mean, we’re the main goal is to find those relevant opportunities that are paid.
Adam Vazquez 32:07
No, totally, I absolutely get that I think what I was alluding to maybe poorly was, obviously the passion that you have for these players. And for the their futures, whether inside or outside of sports is clear. I mean, it’s evident in the way that you talk about them and talk about your business. And I think what makes it so successful is that the the way that you process how those stories are told is not, how do we get the quickest dollar? It’s how do we serve the audience in a way that they want to be served. And I think that’s a mistake that a lot of business owners, especially if they haven’t spent a ton of time on content on the internet sometimes can make, they can sometimes assume Well, the best way I can serve them is by telling them exactly how to use my product. But like they did, nobody really cares about that they want to have a relationship with you as a brand or as a personality, or whatever. And
Whitney Holtzman 32:58
I don’t tell you, I think that we all go into situations, especially that seem out of reach for us. I mean, I am the opposite of what a typical NFL representative looks like. I mean, I was just starting out my business, it’s now basically three and a half years old full time. And a large percentage of the NFL is represented by a few people who do their deals. And those people tend to be middle aged white men. So I looked at it like okay, I’m new. I’m a woman. I’m younger, like I felt like the deck was stacked against me. But I think it’s just a matter of finding your right fit. There’s probably a lot of athletes out there that would be worried to take a chance on me but I found the few that believed in me and think I hung the moon and vice versa. And as I got to know them more, they said to me a couple things. Number one, a lot of us were raised by single moms so in our minds women get the job done. Secondly, the problem with this world is that no one is bringing a nurturing approach I mean the agents do their contracts and disappear and then there’s me I met every game I get to know their because that’s just who I who I am and what I believe is right but i think that so many people which is kind of what you were mentioning earlier, go with the approach that sort of the quickest gain and you kind of have to play the long game and truly build relationships but also I think you it’s beneficial to look at things differently and see what you bring to the table that maybe your competitor is not and sort of being able to fill a void because I think we instantly kind of say these are the reasons why we’re not going to succeed or we don’t fit instead of looking at Wow, like I didn’t realize that I brought these capabilities to the table that no one else was really giving them
Adam Vazquez 34:48
Yeah, that’s great. So let’s get let’s get into some of the maybe practical nitty gritty part of it like if you are talking to right guard or a linebacker whoever tomorrow Sure, they’re like Woody, I want to build that I believe in everything. You’re saying, I want to build this brand, I want to talk about the things that are important to me outside of sports. But I’m at the facility from seven to 830. I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to content or marketing. I’m not trained on this. Like, what is your advice to them? How do they get started past establishing who they are, what their brand pillars are? How did it like what was the first thing you’re telling them to create or record?
Whitney Holtzman 35:28
So I would say it’s less about what I’m telling them to do. And I sit there and listen, so they tell me their story. They told me who they are. And I can kind of pick out what really sets them apart, and what’s going to make them super successful. So they give me the story. And I kind of spit back out, okay, these are the things that I think we should focus on. I try to take as much as possible off their plate, a lot of them are playing and still fielding their own marketing emails, send those to me, let me be your bouncer. And then for example, I mean, they have a limited amount of time that they’re playing in the league. And once one thing I make clear to them is you have to build your following while you’re playing because as a retired player, there’s just going to be so much less interest. But even now, if you’re the fourth string punter on a team, you’re still famous, you would get excited if you met a punter on the Eagles because they’re part of the Eagles so they’re famous too. So you just have so much more upside while you’re playing. So it’s really important for them to build their channels while they’re playing. And then for me, I just want to the next step is kind of making sure that they have a presence everywhere. So like Steve McLendon when he came to play with the bucks, he did not have a Twitter account. And I was like, Where’s your Twitter said, No, I don’t have one. I’m just kind of like getting on Instagram. For the first time. I was like, I made him a Twitter account. I sent it to him. I’m like, here’s your password, start using it. And he did. And for me, I think that’s super important is to start building a presence on all the platforms while you’re playing. And then do your best obviously mentioned, they’re busy, so just do your best to put content and I have one client, Hakeem Velez who’s just a tick tock superstar music verified on there. He does awesome videos like that his his platform and what he’s known for. So I think once you start playing around with the different platforms, you figure out where you’re fit and where you’re going to succeed but it’s most important to have a presence on all of them and to grab your accounts and to start building up each one as much as you can before you retire.
Adam Vazquez 37:25
Yeah, that’s so great. I love that what you talked about at the beginning about listening I’ve mentioned to you offline that we produced the show trending thoughts for Torrey Smith and this is something that he’s talked a lot about is the I think players who are in their prime or even retired they’re being hit up constantly with Hey you should use me for this you should I can get you access to this as a marketing vendor like I think that’s pretty common and for someone who’s never played professional sports, if it’s completely foreign, but for them it’s like constant so to have someone who comes to them and says hey you tell me about you and then we’ll figure out what the best solution is or what the best opportunities are I’m sure it’s a breath of fresh air for them
Whitney Holtzman 38:10
well and we get that all the time I get it in my personal life they get it I get it in terms of working with them everyone writes me and says these are the reasons I want to work with them I’m a financial advisor blah blah blah and to be completely honest, I mean the companies that we give a chance are the ones that provide value first so the ones that pay paid my different clients or for endorsement deal speaking opportunity even if it’s come speak at your company do a virtual appearance, hey let’s do this partnership I mean far and away those companies went out in terms of the ones that we give attention to or we give a shout out but the problem is 99.9% of people or companies who reach out do so saying hey, let me tell you about myself and like we’re we’re so used to that and kind of immune to that we basically completely ignore it because it’s people want to use them instead of bring value to the partnership.
Adam Vazquez 38:59
So sort of shifting gears here just a little bit at the end I wanted to ask and I wasn’t sure where where all of our conversation would go but obviously you have your book you are the first you which is great. I’ve alluded to it recommended it already. But I think the one thing that came out to me as a guy reading the book, who loves sports is the story of you as a female going through I mean first of all, just obviously the the the passion and the the addiction that you have that I have to sport. But I mean when you’ve got just constantly Your life is surrounded by by the performance of your team. And for those who are just listening, I have my Super Bowl, my fake Super Bowl sign ticket here from when the Eagles won a couple years ago. I would just like
Whitney Holtzman 39:42
to say I have the exact same photo hanging in my hallway from this past year.
Adam Vazquez 39:47
Yeah, yours is newer and more more glossy. But that is you always hear that right the boy who grew up that loves sports and became a broadcaster or became whatever but you we don’t tell the stories, I think partially because there’s not as many opportunities of the girl who loves sports and who decided to dedicate herself to that career and then made it. So just and you talk about it a lot in the book and being true to yourself and all of those things, but just talk a little bit about some of how you taking those bets. And just deciding this is my passion leaning into it. You talked earlier about just cold emailing john Skipper, as an intern at ESPN. I just what lessons would you take away? or What advice would you give to the younger female who’s listening to this, that whether she is into sports or not, is just looking for some of that advice to building building out a career for yourself?
Whitney Holtzman 40:41
I just think it’s really important to be completely relentless, I can think of so many opportunities that have come about because I just refuse to give up. And I think people throw in the towel pretty easily. And I think it sets you apart when you don’t, because I’m the type of person I mean, I talked in the book about how I was sold a fake ticket to the Superbowl. And I went, although most people would have left, which I almost did, but I went all the way around the stadium. I was messaging people. And long story short, I ended up with a ticket in the second quarter, it was when the Patriots were playing the Falcons, I walked in the Patriots were down 28 three, we all know what happened after that. So I really didn’t miss much. There was another time where when I was a freelancer, for ESPN, W when I when I first started, I was paid per article and they asked me to write a story on the amount of food consumed at the Superbowl every year. And it was two days before the game like how was I going to get in any information again, think I’m one person sitting here alone. And I’m trying to get in touch with the people putting on the Superbowl in two days,
Adam Vazquez 41:48
during this week of their lives. Exactly. So
Whitney Holtzman 41:51
and for a lot of them who work at the stadium, it’s kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity. They may not be there when the game comes back. So we’re talking about the biggest night of their lives. And so I just kept going calling people emailing. And again, hours in probably most people would have said forget it. This is crazy. And I just kept going like until I couldn’t think of anything left. And I finally somehow tracked down the email address of the head chef at Cowboys Stadium, he sent me this whole one pager about literally how many pounds of food and how many hot dogs were consumed. And I was able to write the story. And that story earned me a full time contract. And so I think that I know it’s cliche, but a lot of people see the success or it’s kind of like an iceberg. You see the little tip, but they don’t see the 90% underwater where I’m pounding the pavement, or I’m doing things where everyone told me I shouldn’t like even when I started my business, I knew that clients, I was someone else who charged a retainer and didn’t know what I could promise they probably keep on walking. I mean, Brandon Copeland says I started working with you because it was low hanging fruit. And basically I charged them just on endorsement deals. So whatever I brought in, I would keep 20% they would get 80%. So I didn’t make any money until they made money. A lot of people said, when you start a marketing firm, you have to have a retainer you have to, but I always just kind of trusted my gut. And it’s my whole career path. I’ve had to have tunnel vision. And I’ve had to tune out all the other voices around me. And I think I wrote the book because I wanted to remind people to have that tunnel vision. So it’s a mix of being relentless. And trusting your gut, I mean, all the time. Now people tell me ways I should run my company what I should do, but I and it’s the way I do things is different from a lot of other people. I don’t have a big office with a million people in a co working space and all those things. But like I started my company because I wanted my own flexibility. So I’ve done things I’ve kind of March the beat of my own drum and done what I think is right so like I said, like not giving up like in college, friends were going out and going and I’d be home looking at internships like that wasn’t that was in the beginning. Like that didn’t look like a win right there. But I knew in my heart like what I was determined to do, and I don’t get FOMO. So I think that determination and mental strength I think a lot of mistakes that people make or failures can be attributed to weakness. I think like quote, discipline is the difference between what you want now and what you want more. And I think you can’t just dip a toe in a lot of waters, you have to go all in on what you believe. And then I think whatever it is, you believe you have to be able to tune out everyone else and have that self confidence and trust in your gut that you’re doing what you’re meant to do. And literally that’s why I called the book you are the first us because we compare ourselves to other people. We doubt what we do because other people aren’t doing it but like no one has been asked before so we know what is best for ourselves and we have to trust that instead of trying to be everyone else.
Adam Vazquez 44:49
All of us great advice for really anyone who’s who’s looking to to build a career or build a business and especially the part about navigating to your North Star. I mean finding that is a very complex thing but when you’re when you’re committed to it as you have been and and then just relentless like you said, your your career speaks for the results. So thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for sharing all these awesome stories and and tactics for people. If people want to keep up with you, obviously they can check out your book, but maybe let us know where’s the best place for them to buy? And where and where can they just keep up with what you’re doing?
Whitney Holtzman 45:24
Awesome, I appreciate that. You can find it on Amazon. And I also have the E book on there. And the audio book, I spent the pandemic recording the audio book. So now it’s out there in every form of how people would want to consume a book. So amazon.com is the best place. And then I’m obviously on social media. I’m w Holtzman on Twitter and everywhere else. I’m Whitney Holtzman and social victories.
Carlton Riffel 45:46
Thank you so much Whitney for that interview. Somebody who works every day, day in day out with NFL players. And I feel like that would be a cool job and herself. But I love how much humanity she puts into it. And she really talks about not just like leveraging the fact that these guys are famous. But she digs deeper. And she’s trying to help them figure out what their cause what their mission, what their goal and purpose is in life. And not just, you know, taking the fact that they’re an athlete and building on that. But really helping them find a bigger purpose and a bigger picture for what they’re doing all that for so and then really kind of connected with that. I think a neat takeaway was that she’s found a way to provide value past for these NFL players past what maybe a normal agent would do, right? So you have a lot of people that are just trying to connect the sponsorships or get them a new good, high paying contract. But really, she’s kind of seeing it as what’s going to happen after she’s playing the long game. And I think that’s a lesson that we can all take away. For the business that we do. We’ve got things that we provide every day for our customer, but probably there’s a version of that that is long tail that can go on for some time after we maybe see the current thing that we’re working on ending.
Adam Vazquez 47:08
Yeah, I think for me, it was just the the power of long term content creation. I mean, when you look at Whitney’s career, this isn’t take anything away from her because no one else does this, like she’s a very unique individual. And her drive and her motivation is is something that I don’t think you see very often. But everything that she’s created has been a result to some degree of the content. She’s invested in the the the continual consistent habits she talked about when it comes to creation. And even now, I think I mentioned in the intro, she’s now actually a sports agent, a licensed sports agent with the NFL. Almost everyone else who’s an agent, either went through MBA program, or most often are attorneys. And she’s done neither of those things. She’s really just built her own brand and built her own business through, like you said, very authentic services, obviously, and caring for the human wild coupling that with consistent content creation over time. Like I love it when people are like, well, how can content benefit my business? I mean, you just look at scenarios like this. And her business does not exist without that. So it just it just continues to drive that point home for me.
Carlton Riffel 48:15
That’s awesome. So Adam, do you have something that you’ve heard in the last week or so that you can let us know about? Yeah,
Adam Vazquez 48:21
yeah, we talked, I think we touched on this slightly in the interview, but I actually did read Whitney’s book. And I was gonna, I was keen on whether I should give another plug now. But I actually think if you haven’t read it yet, and you’re one of our listeners who listens to every one of these episodes, you should go get it, you should go buy it off of Amazon, download it to your Kindle, whatever. And read that book, because it’s a fun story. You can tell Whitney is a great storyteller. So it’s a fun story, you’ll enjoy reading it. But also there’s all of these embedded lessons in the sense of how how she goes about the content creation, how that can be leveraged. And just like that mentality that I think you really can’t learn except if you’re doing it or this would be the second version, which is the BIOS Moses downloading what she’s done.
Carlton Riffel 49:07
And I think she’s done the audio book too. So if you’re like me, and you hate reading words, then you can just put your headphones and listen. There you go. So my my Have you heard segment for this week is another product II thing part of product related thing. So we use Google, Google workspace things called now in our organization. And I know probably a lot of you listening do too. But something that I’ve enjoyed for a while with Google is their add ons. So every, like Docs and Sheets all have the ability to have these add on apps in the background. And then in the early days, like sound like an old personnel, but you can actually go in and script things in the back end of a Google Doc. So that’s one of my like, early tricks that I learned with Google Docs is using other scripts and using that kind of like that script sweet App Script. It is what they call it to leverage things well, now you don’t have to do that as much anymore because you have some of these awesome add ons. So one that we use internally is called form director. And so if if someone fills out a form, it can be turned into a slideshow a doc and email, or there’s a ton of automated uses for it. So that’s kind of a cool tip. Yeah, those of you who use the Google workspace
Adam Vazquez 50:21
Yeah, that’s I wouldn’t know anything about that, because I’m not a nerd. But But I think that’ll help. A lot of our audience. who’s listening? No, that’s a good one. Well, yeah, I appreciate Whitney coming on so much. Thank you. listener, if you’re listening to this right now, we appreciate you. Thank you for listening. And hopefully you’ll you’ll you know, do all the things that we tell you to do every episode and we’ll see you next week.