Influencing the influencers with Travis weekes
"Success isn't just about what you accomplish in your life; it's about what you inspire others to do."
Travis Weekes’ propensity for being a self-motivated and entrepreneurial has been guiding him for quite some time now. He developed early client relations, marketing and business development skills through his first roles at companies including Wells Fargo and Bleu Magazine, among others. He’s become adept at analyzing situations where improvements were needed and implementing strategies to solve them. During this time, Travis also found himself most successful negotiating the financial nuances of real estate deals, so he moved out of real estate and into the finance industry. He did well in both industries but was never inspired by the work he was doing.
Travis is devoted to his passion for business development, marketing and events. He also has a deep need to inspire others to follow their passions, which led to me founding Driven Society in 2015. Since it's inception, Driven Society is steadily growing as we connect with brands and develop our own projects.
While Driven Society develops, he is currently seeking opportunities that will allow him to utilize his passions, lead engaged teams and grow businesses/brands that inspire him and others.
Listen: Without access to role models and professional development, the youth in our community risk not going to college, remaining underemployed, and completely unaware of empowering entrepreneurial opportunities. Our programs provide platforms for today's leaders to educate and inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in Washington D.C. and beyond.
Written by: (Brandon Alexander)
tell us about your childhood and how it was growing up?
Travis: I'm from Brooklyn and lived there until I was seven or eight. Then I moved to Barbados and was raised at that point with my grandparents. My grandfather to this day has the most influence in my life. He was a carpenter, a preacher, a musician, a plumber – my grandfather was ill man. Complete renaissance man. He drove my grandma crazy but I couldn't deny how great of a man he was. A man of the people with a generous heart. Watching and being around him instilled the same characteristics in me.
Was church a big part of your life when you were growing up?
Travis: When I was in Barbados my grandfather made sure we were in church every Sunday and Wednesday. You had to wake up every morning and pray so it shaped my moral compass. When I moved back to New York and then New Jersey, which I spent the latter teenage years of my life, I started getting more into business. wanted to make money. I really wanted to be a businessman, I wanted to be in real estate. I aspired to be in the entertainment space. I thought that was cool but I wanted to come at it from another direction. I wanted to create wealth through real estate but shortly after that, that changed as well.
Did you figure out which path you wanted to take while in school?
Travis: Yes! After high school I figured I'd go back to New York and be a real estate agent. That's where all the money was. I was doing real estate in New York around 2007-2008 and that's when the bubble burst, it was bad.
It wasn’t cool when I found out through that process. I wasn't enjoying myself. I just wasn’t having fun making money was good but I bought the car and wanted this apartment in Jersey that was super fly with a golf course in the back. Then I realized I'm going be working just to maintain these things. I figured if this was the life I was going to live and if work is such a major part of my life then I have to settle myself and find a space where I could enjoy my life.
What was your next move to get to where you are now?
Travis: The website game was poppin’, the blog game.
I wanted to create my own. I saw how people were monetizing and I always had a deep passionate love for music.
I knew that my element was bringing people together. The epicenter of it had to be bringing minds together to exchange positive energy and to build each other. I started doing music showcases. I started highlighting these up-and-coming artists giving them features. Then we did a Christmas show at Drone Lower East Side where we brought the artists that we featured on the website to come out and perform. I loved it because I didn't really like writing too much. We figured, let's try this out the year after. We produced like 10 showcases in a year and had emerging artist money at that point. Tangina stone who’s doing her thing right now and Elite, who produced J. Coles last album.
Driven Society was born in music and at that time there was so many creators around us.
How did driven society get started?
Travis: I remember it was all about bringing driven, focused, and dope people together. Driven was the word and I figured I was driven too. Then I found the domain name and we bought it. The domain name was already purchased and so I hit up the person to buy it. He wanted 500 dollars but I didn’t have 500 dollars to spend on that at that moment.
Then I remember I was in the car with my man, Jeff. He told I just had to come up with it. Then the words “Driven Society” just came to me. The website was started and the showcases started also. We now we had a community for music artists and creatives who wanted to come support each other. We built that platform for emerging artists to get to the next level.
As I evolved as a person the brand evolved. You know we pivoted right now general society has an agency that provides content, events and campaigns that deeply inspires and influences multicultural millennials. We also have an educational organization division that provides panels, information and tools for our community to develop themselves.
What’s one thing that you wish you knew when you started?
Travis: I wish I knew how important it would be to learn all the little details that came with the business. The little details that came with event production and designing campaigns. I was always the visionary so I always had the big ideas but I’d miss some of the little details. I also learned to put as much care into those little steps. People can feel that. They can feel the care and the love you put into your events and content.
Do you have any mentors that helped you along the way.
Travis: Yes. Throughout the time I've definitely had different mentors. Anastasia Right, Founder of IMG records and Miles behind the music nonprofit. I remember I ran up to her at a conference. She was the VP over a Roc Nation. She took a liking to me and we just kept building. She’s given me a lot of great information similar to what she would do with artists.
She would work with brands. She would show me how things should look aesthetically and how you build a community.
What would you say is your passion and when did you know?
Travis: My passion is in the art of building and designing communities. I knew that at an early age because when I went to events or put event together it was like a high that I've never gotten before. It was a feeling I got where I knew I was in my element.
What are some books that have influenced you?
Travis: I think we are in a space where everybody does want to shine. I read a book called, “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Jonathan Jackson recommended it for me a couple years back and it changed my life. I realized that you got to study your sweets spots in life. God gives you the different spaces that you shine in and provide the most value in. I've always been able to be most effective when I'm providing a platform. Yes, there’s going be opportunities where I take that platform for myself to deliver my message but when I'm empowering the people that I deem as special or community leaders, that’s my space. When I'm empowering them and I'm giving them the platform to shine, that collaboration gives the best product. I'm amplifying their strength. I can look at someone and see that this person does something greater than I can ever do it. I can look at artists, speakers, writers and think, “Yo, you are dope. There's something about you that resonates with the people. You need the platform.” Similar to how Quincy Jones saw it in Will Smith or Michael Jackson before anybody did.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you in building a brand?
Travis: The biggest challenge is definitely looking for the most effective ways to monetize. You want to make money and be able to feed yourself and feed your team. But at the same time, you want to provide opportunities for the community to absorb and be part of this experience without killing their pockets.
It’s been tricky and it took a little while to figure out. I think every brand knows they can take a lot of money to do something that may dilute the brand. It may take away some authenticity of the brand because you’re doing it for a check now.
Have you ever been faced with that challenge of someone offering you money?
Travis: Absolutely. I remember doing showcases and there were some artists who weren't that dedicated to their craft. I don't want to take their money. They may have all the money to give me to put them on this platform. I don't want to take certain brands or sponsors that aren’t aligned with our mission. They’re not aligned with our goal and don’t resonate with our community. I'd say no to that because I don't want to dilute this brand. I don't want to dilute what we stand for.
Have you taken the time with your team to like set the values of your organization?
Travis: Absolutely, I think we kind of just know. It's like an unspoken understanding that we know the quality that we have to put out. We know the value we’re trying to offer to our community and they understand. We move a certain way, we have to present in a certain way, and they know that's our first priority.
What advice do you have for the next generation of creators?
Travis: Tap in to the culture and take the things in culture that apply directly to what your mission. If you're trying to start a movement and your movement is based in organic product, for example. Find someone in the culture who is making moves that has a love for or a connection to organic products. You're going to find it somewhere in their content they put out, where they're going to speak about it, and where they're going to touch on it. Either engage with them or find a way to make that content. Find a way to aesthetically display that to your social channels. Say for instance, if Khelani was vegan, you're going to think that's dope. Maybe you actually get some organic products. Find a reference point in culture that represents your brand so you can relay that message through.
There are ways to do that and start conversations whether it be a podcast or whether it be content your building. Your goal is to design a community around your business. The community would then follow you.
Let everyone know how they can find you online.
Interested in learning more or connecting with Travis?