Blake, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Back to 2008, when I first started using technology autonomously. I was 11 when I got my first iPod touch (2nd Generation), and it changed my life. It didn’t have a camera, but it had WIFI. Being able to use google in my pocket was a game-changer, and I asked my friend Dante to help me jailbreak it for the extra capabilities. There were no limits to what I could learn, who I could connect with, or what I could create. With this, I was able to teach myself the essentials of media production, digital marketing, e-commerce, real estate, stock trading, and business startup. My first love has always been videography, photography, and graphic design. I would find myself getting inspired by watching YouTube videos for hours of directors, editors, and artists releasing new cutting edge media techniques. The animations rendered by Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney. The art designed on Deviant Art, Tumblr, and YouTube. The stories created by directors like Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino. It would blow me away. This was really when I realized that I had to start telling my own stories, creating my own content, and building my own career. My parents had an old Sony Handycam that I used to start making videos with my friends. I secretly used my brother’s laptop to download software like Sony Vegas Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, and Cinema 4D. I was making 3d renders and selling graphic designs on websites like Fivvr by the time I was 12. I was making trades in the stock market with my iPod touch and doing wholesale real estate flips by the time I was 16. I eventually bought my first car with the money I made from this, and by the time I was 18 I was making epic adventure videos with a GoPro. This is 2015 now, and the social media scene was booming with insane content. If you knew how to create stunning visual media then you had opportunities flowing in from all directions because the demand for social-first content was off the charts. By the time I graduated high school I already had my sights set on the west coast. I applied to university in Santa Barbara, packed my bags, and bounced out there. There was really no hesitation. I had a dream to live on the coast of California, travel the world doing creative work, and build a career helping others while doing what I love.
In Santa Barbara, I studied business, marketing, sociology, communications, philosophy, and film & media. My objective in college was never to take mindless courses, or end up working 9-5 at some hotshot agency. I really just wanted to expand my knowledge by learning new useful information and connect the dots by finding out how to use my talents in a professional career. To be honest with your college taught me some cool stuff, but it was on my own in my Isla Vista college house that I figured out how to level up professionally. The school was just a stepping stone for me to break into the scene in California, make some life long friends, and figure out who I really was. During this time in Santa Barbara, I was still doing creative work, and I was actually learning more than ever in my own time. I had been landing media jobs with tourism agencies in places like Mexico, Bahamas, and Hawaii. I was simultaneously building my personal brand on social media, and I became an expert in creating social-first content. Behind the scenes, I was communicating with brands constantly, and building relationships with like-minded individuals around the world. Directors, videographers, photographers, editors, artists, models, actors, influencers, marketers, traders, managers, etc. You name it; if they were an ambitious entrepreneur then I was talking to them about something. I was helping people from around the world start successful businesses, land brand deals, and create personal brands. Nearing the beginning of 2017 now I was knowledgeable with personal branding, media production, digital marketing, creative direction, business communications, brand development, project management, event coordination, talent consulting, travel coordination, e-commerce, and real estate. I made a new best friend when I got a husky puppy that year, and my best friend Chris moved out to CA to live with me. I shared a room with him, and we lived in a house with eight other people. I was so motivated that spring and was on an absolute hot streak. I’ll never forget drawing up ideas on my whiteboard at midnight while 50 college kids were getting obliterated in my backyard having beer die tournaments. I woke up in a cold sweat one night, and it hit me full force. I had a revolutionary idea flowing through my veins, and I got to work instantly. The rest of that entire semester I had fully activated my laser focus on my work, and the whole summer I spent in my parents’ house bringing this idea to life. I made 100,000 new connections that summer with my digital marketing efforts built an unstoppable business plan, and solidified a foundation for my company. I did test trials that whole summer with “beta” clients by offering free services and made sure the concept I had was going to work. Finally, in August of 2017, AXO Talent was born; which actually stands for Alpha X Official. Meaning anyone can become a leader by doing what they love as a professional career.
I put my heart & soul into the inception of this company to make sure that anyone with talent can become successful without sacrificing what they love to do in the process. A multidisciplinary media production, digital marketing, and talent consulting agency. This company has allowed me to continue doing what I love with media production, digital marketing, and international travel. Additionally, I also get to consult other visionaries on how to level up professionally with personal branding, digital marketing/ network development, philosophy/ mindset/ mastery, brand startup/ business development, media production/ content strategy/ storytelling, and brand communications/ creating proposals/ closing clients. We have become a movement that provides a sense of hope & inspiration for misfits out there who want to turn their dreams into a reality. Since I launched in 2017, we have made been on an incredible run helping over 1000 alphas globally, and we continue to strive forward chasing constant improvement. One year after launching I moved to Hollywood Hills and lived in an 11,000 sq. ft. 4 story mansion which I branded as the Alpha House. The house was rumored to have celebrities such as Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and 21 Savage live there before me. I turned it into a headquarters for the alphas since it had epic features such as a huge movie theatre, an entire home gym, pool table/ pong table/ wine cellar, an outdoor yoga area with a sauna attached, a massive great room with a giant open kitchen, and a backyard pool/ jacuzzi area with HOLLYWOOD written on the wall. Every single floor had an immaculate view of LA, and the sunsets never got old. I celebrated my 22nd birthday here and invited everyone I knew. It was a perfect way to brand AXO Talent in the beginning and get the name out there. My housemate Ari set up a Halloween party for Bella Thorne there, and we hosted a massive influencer event with nearly 300 people. The LAPD had to call helicopters on us to disperse the madness. We had some great times in that place but also got some serious work done. I have been able to travel to places such as Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Miami, Las Vegas, The Bahamas, Italy, Spain, France, and Bali doing projects for AXO Talent. I have become friends with some amazing people, collaborated with some of the most talented people in the industry, and gotten the chance to work on exclusive celebrity campaigns as well. In June of 2019, I began to work in collaboration with a company known as Curated Businesses that hosts monthly celebrity marketing campaigns. I have been a part of their digital marketing team for nearly one year now.
My role is to find clients that are looking to expand their audience through celebrity growth campaigns. With them, I have worked on marketing campaigns hosted on social media by Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, and Scott Disick. AXO Talent continues to serve as a global agency that offers media production, digital marketing, and talent consulting services. Additionally, this past year we have evolved by introducing three new sections of AXO Talent as well. AXO Global provides international travel experiences alongside our talent but is being put on hold indefinitely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Alpha University is an educational video platform that teaches aspiring young visionaries the essentials of becoming a business leader. It teaches the supplemental skills necessary to pursue a career path in the media, marketing, and talent industry. Students that graduate get the chance of becoming an alpha in the AXO Talent pack once they show they are ready to level up professionally by passing an exam. Lastly, we have introduced the “alphas” podcast this month and will be continuing our blog in an audio interview format. In April 2019 we began a blog called “Alpha of The Month” where we award the title to an alpha who is killing it in their career and give them the chance to provide insight into their lives during an interview. The transition to the podcast will include the “Alpha of The Month” as an episode along with other episodes where we invite guests on to talk about business, society, and lifestyle. This is where I am at right now with AXO Talent, and I am proud of how far I have come. I was just a kid from the Philly suburbs with a dream, and now I feel like I am finally living it. Always looking to become a better version of myself though, and I am looking forward to what the future holds.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely has been many obstacles I faced along the way. At some points, it seemed like everything was going spectacular, but then I would get hit with an obstacle that stopped me in my tracks. For me to say it has been a cakewalk would be a lie. I have always pushed through adversity and found a way to persevere though. I’ll go through some specific things that have been difficult for me in the beginning years. Number one was smoothing out the structure of AXO Talent. I was all over the place when I first started, and it was hard to keep track of every project, client, and conversation. I had a phenomenal vision, a surefire business plan, but only two hands. Since then I have adopted a CRM software to manage the agency operations, created a login platform for all alphas, and started using productivity tools. Another huge issue was dealing with copycats. When I launched AXO Talent there was nothing else like it, and as soon as I launched there were multiple other agencies popping up trying to replicate my company. Envy Talent, Wolves Talent, LTD Talent… I can’t even list them all there were close to 50. I used to get mad at first, and that was an immature mistake of me. I was disappointed, scared, and anxious that other people were taking my ideas, but then I realized that it was a good thing. It proved that AXO Talent was a great idea, and it inspired others to build something similar. I created the company to inspire people, and start a movement. Realizing that I had achieved that threw me off guard, but it eventually made me happy.
I actually became friends with some of the competing agency owners, and still, have a relationship with them to this day. They are great people, and they just got inspired by a similar vision. With that being said, all those other companies disappeared over time. They could never actually replicate what I was doing with AXO Talent because they didn’t understand my business model or the fact that I run this company out of pure passion. It wasn’t created to make money, and accept anybody who applies. It was created to make an impact, and polish hidden gems. The next obstacle I faced was managing client relationships. I have taken on way too many clients at once in the past, and the faulty of my work has suffered. I’ve learned that it’s better to work with one client at a time with my undivided attention as opposed to working with multiple distractedly. Another obstacle I faced was finding a proper work/ life balance. In my early days, I was not taking care of my mental health, or my physical health for that matter. I was staying up all night working relentlessly, and eating foods that didn’t provide the nutrition I needed to think straight. Since then I have converted to a way better diet that is mostly plant-based inspired by my good friend Martez. I also take care of my sleep schedule way better now and have reminders when to sleep & wake up. I exercise daily as well to stay in shape, and more importantly, stay healthy.
Getting oxygen to the brain & body is essential to think clearly. Now let’s talk about snakes. I think there needs to be a fine line between work affairs, and personal affairs. I have had countless relationships with friends that tried to use me for what my business could do for them, and I have misread their intentions entirely. It is important to let your friends know that when it comes to business that you aren’t treating them unfairly as a friend, but instead treating them as a proper client. I have lost many relationships from friends that betray me by sharing private business information, and clients that have become too friendly with me. Establishing that line is critical to running a business smoothly, and I had to learn this the hard way in the past. Giving too much information to people you trust as a friend can backfire, and that is something that happened to me big time. When I was living at the Alpha House, I had some sneaky people try to go behind my back. At the moment it was difficult and put a strain on my personal life. However, I was able to cut out the toxic people and overcome the situation. Being careful who I trust is something I have had to put a big emphasis on, and since I have become way more private with my business moves it has been much easier for my career to flourish.
The last thing I will mention that was a challenge for me was managing my personal relationships aside from my business life. I become dedicated to whatever I am working on, and find myself working for hours at a time. I used to neglect my friends & my family to get business done. I even had romantic relationships fail because my business life was way too overwhelming. While this was the hardest thing for me to overcome, I have definitely found a great balance that allows me to focus on both my business life and my personal life with equal care. I was obsessed with success for so long that it took me a while to step back to realize true success is being happy, healthy, and wealthy. I give myself way more ME time these days, and consequently, my life has improved drastically.
Please tell us about your work.
I’m a Director, Editor, Writer, Cinematographer, Artist, Actor, Model, Designer, Talent Consultant, Brand Architect, Marketing Expert, Project Manager, Networking Liaison, Web Developer, Sales Expert, Travel Connoisseur, Life Coach, Massage Therapist, Philosopher, Sociologist, Philanthropist, Chef. Founder of AXO TalentTM, a versatile media production, digital marketing, and lifestyle design agency that focuses on producing engaging content, establishing marketing solutions, and guiding ambitious visionaries. We hold a background in personal branding, media production, digital marketing, creative direction, business communications, e-commerce, lifestyle consulting, brand development, project management, event coordination, and travel counseling. With top of the line equipment & over 10+ years of experience producing professional media, we are confident in delivering high-quality content for almost any project. We believe that delivering engaging social-first content is one of the most impactful forms of media when executing a digital marketing campaign. The mission at AXO Talent is to spread global awareness that there is a new way to live.
A new way to design your lifestyle around a career path you can be passionate about. Unfortunately, no one tells you that following your passion is much easier said than done. The problem that we discovered is the majority of people who choose to pursue this untraditional route tend to lack the skills, knowledge, or preparation necessary to be successful in their industry. Having an idea is useless without implementing a system to bring it to life. We push our alphas to become leaders in their industry by giving the structure of their ideas and providing them with guidance on how to execute them. Our goal is to act as an incubator for lost talent to hatch into wise alphas and empower them to make an impact by leading their own movement. To maintain our reputation, we only accept ambitious individuals with tangible goals to join the pack. Ideally, we are looking for visionaries aspiring to utilize their skills properly, develop media + marketing strategies, & unlock their full potential. AXO Talent actually stands for Alpha X Official. Meaning anyone can become a leader by doing what they love as a professional career. I put my heart & soul into the inception of this company to make sure that anyone with talent can become successful without sacrificing what they love to do in the process. A multidisciplinary media production, digital marketing, and talent consulting agency. This company has allowed me to continue doing what I love with media production, digital marketing, and international travel. Additionally, I also get to consult other visionaries on how to level up professionally with personal branding, digital marketing/ network development, philosophy/mindset/mastery, brand startup/business development, media production/content strategy/storytelling, and brand communications/creating proposals/closing clients. We have become a global movement that provides a sense of hope & inspiration for misfits out there who want to turn their dreams into a reality.
Since I launched in 2017, we have made been on an incredible run helping over 1000 alphas globally, and we continue to strive forward chasing constant improvement. I have been able to travel to places such as Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Miami, Las Vegas, The Bahamas, Italy, Spain, France, and Bali doing projects for AXO Talent. I have become friends with some amazing people, collaborated with some of the most talented people in the industry, and gotten the chance to work on exclusive celebrity campaigns as well. In June of 2019, I began to work in collaboration with a company known as Curated Businesses that hosts monthly celebrity marketing campaigns. I have been a part of their digital marketing team for nearly one year now, and just surpassed $1,000,000.00 in sales since starting. My role is to find clients that are looking to expand their audience through celebrity growth campaigns. With them, I have worked on marketing campaigns hosted on social media by Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, and Scott Disick. AXO Talent continues to serve as a global agency that offers media production, digital marketing, and talent consulting services.
Additionally, this past year we have evolved by introducing three new sections of AXO Talent as well. AXO Global provides international travel experiences alongside our talent but is being put on hold indefinitely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Alpha University is an educational video platform that teaches aspiring young visionaries the essentials of becoming a business leader. It teaches the supplemental skills necessary to pursue a career path in the media, marketing, and talent industry. Students that graduate get the chance of becoming an alpha in the AXO Talent pack once they show they are ready to level up professionally by passing an exam. Lastly, we have introduced the “alphas” podcast this month and will be continuing our blog in an audio interview format. In April 2019 we began a blog called “Alpha of The Month” where we award the title to an alpha who is killing it in their career and give them the chance to provide insight into their lives during an interview. The transition to the podcast will include the “Alpha of The Month” as an episode along with other episodes where we invite guests on to talk about business, society, and lifestyle.
AXO Talent is different from other companies because of one simple reason. We show the world that there is a new way to live, and we provide hope for those who don’t have any. Our media will make your jaw drop, and the stories we tell will give you goosebumps. We make it attainable for others to build a career doing what they love. What sets us apart is the fact that we will never sell out for the money & fame, and we will always stay true to our core value. There is a new way to live by pursuing a career doing what you love professionally. We bring dreams to reality, actually.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
AXO Talent has only one employee, which is me, but there have been many people that made this possible. First, my parents. My dad showed me the hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. He has always had my back and believes in me no matter what. My mom showed me that you can do anything you set your mind to and that I could be the best if I believed in myself. She has never restricted me from dreaming, and always encouraged me to shine unapologetically. Both of them gave me the mindset to push my limits, the emotional support to never give up, and ultimately the wings to fly on my own. When I started AXO Talent, they may not have understood any of the new concepts I was explaining, but they believed in me which was paramount. The people that were there for me who did understand my concepts made it easier to grow. The first person I give credit to is Chris Heiler. My best friend that I grew up, and the first person to hear about AXO Talent. When I was building AXO Talent it was him, my puppy, and I crammed into a tiny room in my college house. He had to listen to all my insane rants, review all my content, and give me feedback always. We both had dreams to get out of our hometown and build a business doing something we love. I convinced him to move to California during my second year of college, and he just did it no question.
No matter how crazy my ideas seemed he would always be there to help guide me through my scrambled thoughts, and whenever I went too overboard, he would bring me back to reality. He wasn’t knowledgeable about the media, marketing, or talent industry, but he knew how to motivate me like no other. We motivated each other which was great, and ultimately, we both ended up starting our own businesses. That’s my brother for life, and only he knows how hard I worked on that whiteboard in 2017. The next person I need to give credit to is Chase Asuncion. The first kid I ever brought on as a client for AXO Talent. Chase was this little Hawaiian extreme sports influencer, and I reached out to him one day through Instagram. His content was epic, and I wanted to help him. He really helped me smooth out the kinks with what I should be doing to manage my clients more efficiently, and we became really close friends in the process. I brought him with us to Hawaii when we had our first company trip where we stayed in a mansion in Oahu, and adventured around the island doing really fun stuff. He guided us everywhere and made that trip turn out way better. He always represented AXO Talent in a positive light, and he supported the movement no matter what. He helped me recruit clients to join the movement, and helped execute countless projects. Chase was the ideal first client and turned out to be an even better friend. Even though he gave up on his extreme sports & modeling career that’s still my brother for life. Another person that I have to give credit to is Michael Marom. Michael was the first real kid from California that I became good friends with who had the same interests as me. We both lived in the same complex our freshman year of college, and by our second year, we got close. He always told me that he needs to learn how to edit like me and that he wishes he could direct video like me. The funny thing is I used to look up to Michael as a photographer before I even started AXO Talent. I couldn’t afford my first DSLR until I launched AXO Talent, and had to shoot on a GoPro to make content. I was always jealous of his Canon, his artistic outlook on life, and I am still jealous of how he shoots to this day.
He had my back when I launched AXO Talent and was there for basically every shoot or project I had set up. He would always go out of his way to drive me places, let me use his equipment, and give me creative feedback. He has supported AXO Talent more than anyone and has always stayed true to the movement since day one. His family treats me like family when I need them, and he has even gone out of his way to set me up with his lawyer to create documents for my business. He has always been honest with me which is an unmatchable quality and has been one of my best friends since the beginning of all of this. I can’t repay him for the things he has done for me, and I am excited to do include him in more work with AXO Talent now that he is done his studies. The next person I have to give credit to is my guy Dylan Cunniffe. Dylan went to the same college as me, and we met through AXO Talent. I remember he applied in the early days and was probably one of the first 50 to apply. His application said he wanted to be a travel videographer and musician. I was strict on doing my interviews over the phone, but he insisted we meet in person. at my place in Santa Barbara. He was a little freshman fella at the time, and we connected instantly when I met him. He couldn’t afford the cost to join AXO Talent, and I was strict about not letting people in for free. Over time we kept hanging out, and we became good friends. He was one of the hardest-working kids I knew, but more than anything he was so damn talented.
An incredible artist with a killer voice and he just had a creative eye that I related with. He did anything to help me with AXO Talent and even helped me recruit countless alphas. We became best friends that year, and he had my back whenever I needed him. He’s one of the only people I let into AXO Talent without paying, and it was well deserved. I would never do that these days, but right when I started off, I needed help. Chase, Michael, and Dylan were those three amigos I needed to help me push the movement forward. They believed in my vision, and they helped as I created the company from scratch. Once I moved to the house in Hollywood Hills Dylan was always hanging out because I invited him over to hang out & help out. Eventually, he connected with my housemate who moved to Martez House, and they started working together on when he was building Wealth. Martez was a great influence on my health, and that’s my big brother right there. He was a big help in getting my physical health right and helped me get in the right shape to manage my fast-paced hectic lifestyle. He gave me nutrition & exercise advice when I was starting to upgrade my health, and I helped him with business & media advice when he was starting Wealth. A great compromise. The last individual I’d like to give credit to is Lonnie Schwirtlich for helping me push through a difficult time when I did the AXO Talent revamp. He supported me when he didn’t have to, and his altruism was crucial to the success of AXO Talent. Lastly, it is the alphas who believe in AXO Talent that made this entire thing possible, and without you guys giving me the chance to help then I would never have gotten this far. So many of you have come to me with inspiring stories, and nowhere to turn with your talents. It is you guys that make this business worthwhile for me, and the reason I wake up every day loving my job. Ultimately, these are the people that deserve credit, and without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today. Thank you!
Blake Dalessio is the founder of AXO Talent™, a versatile media production, digital marketing, and talent consulting agency that focuses on producing engaging content, establishing marketing solutions, and guiding ambitious visionaries.