Small Business ShowsThe RoadmapHow entrepreneurs navigate their non-linear career paths — Stone Stafford | Icon...

How entrepreneurs navigate their non-linear career paths — Stone Stafford | Icon Studios

Stone Stafford is the co-founder of Icon Studios, a music publishing business based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to running one of the largest recording studios in the area, he is also a serial entrepreneur and business coach. To discuss his career path and offer his advice to others looking to launch their own companies, Stafford joins Lee Heisman on this episode of The Roadmap.

Key Takeaways

1. Stafford’s career path was unintentional. Originally arriving in Atlanta to pursue a career in sports, he began his tenure as a music and entertainment entrepreneur after he and his wife, Tashia, co-founded Icon Studios. Already equipped with clients from previous positions at separate recording labels, the two were able to kick off a successful publishing business. However, studios can be challenging to run and even more difficult to scale.

2. While the limited technology of the past made studios a necessity, music can now be made and even distributed on phones, leading some artists to record entirely from home. However, a professional studio still provides many benefits that other recording technologies and venues do not, such as proper acoustics, more customization, and more space for equipment and production staff.

3. Stafford would rather be unknown and wealthy than known and broke. With his mantra of “quietly taking over,” he runs his business out of the spotlight and focuses on the enjoyment he gets out of his career.

4. Entrepreneurs must wear many hats, a skill that necessitates a mindset of continuous learning and never-ending growth. Stafford urges small business owners to constantly educate themselves on new things and embrace a non-linear career path. 

5. Stafford has used his earnings to invest in new passion projects and increase his passive income. Currently, he runs several AirBnBs, coaches music industry professionals, owns a high-end brunch restaurant, and plans to launch a rental center for massage therapists to serve patients. Ensuring that his investments will pay for themselves is a crucial aspect of his financial strategy.

"As a music publisher, we're called the 'silent millionaires.' The thing is, I would rather be unknown and wealthy than well-known than broke." — Stone Stafford

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for ASBN. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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