Why This Entrepreneur Ghosted His Contacts and Waited a Year to Announce His Business

Photo courtesy of Jared Shapiro

After working in the media for 15 years, Jared Shapiro, former editor-in-chief of Ocean Drive Magazine, left his thriving career to start his own business. In doing so, however, he ghosted his 5,000 contacts.

Shapiro never sent out his change of email address, nor did he announce his business plans on social media. So when he launched his branding/communications agency, The Tag Experience, in November of 2017, his contacts were shocked.

However, his time away, free from distraction, is what helped him create such a successful brand. He steered clear of outside noise, and he was able to hyper-focus on his clients rather than his own image.

Every budding entrepreneur can learn from Shapiro’s journey. Here’s how was able to cultivate success while waiting an entire year to announce his business.

Career Before The Tag Experience

Shapiro started his career in New York City as the executive assistant to Us Weekly editor Bonnie Fuller, doubling as a reporter scouring nightclubs for celebrity gossip. He endured 60-hour weeks his first few years in publishing, working for Star Magazine, Life & Style Weekly and In Touch Weekly.

This was New York City in the publishing industry—long days, low pay; unique opportunities, compromised work-life balance. After about 12 years of this, Shapiro decided to leave New York for Miami and became editor-in-chief of Ocean Drive Magazine, landing what felt like his dream job.

“Imagine being part of one of the sexiest, most glamorous, high-end, high-octane, culture-filled magazines in one of the most interesting and international cities in the world,” Shapiro said. “I don’t think there will ever be an opportunity like that again.”

Shapiro was able to work with talented creatives across the board, from photographers to models, dedicating his energy and passion to the print magazine. He also made thousands of connections with celebrities, agents, publicists, writers, athletes and more. However, a common trend he found among many of these professionals was that most knew very little about how publicity and branding work.

“So, I thought—what if I helped them?” he told ONE37pm. And so began the creation of The Tag Experience.

Ghosting His Contacts

Shapiro knew exactly what his next steps were. He understood what he needed to do, and what he needed to sacrifice, to get there.

Often, when leaving a company or position, we feel responsible for telling every single person we’ve ever worked with, sharing our new career plans and contact information. But what if we didn't?

“Most people don’t call or reach out with an offer or amazing option for you. They call when they want something or need something,” said Shapiro. “So, imagine if you cut out that avenue, meaning, no one could reach out to you and ask you for anything and you just got to focus on you and your new job?”

That’s exactly what Shapiro did. To this day, he never sent out a change-of-email message to his old contacts, unless they reached out to him personally. And when he launched his new business, it came as a surprise to most of his professional network.

“I didn’t want 5,000 people who had my contact info to now have it again,” he said. “Why do they need it? Do I need to be on 5,000 invites to events? Do I need 5,000 meetings? Do I need to end up on automatic lists where I’m getting 500 emails a day? I didn’t want the noise or attention or even the accolades [at] the moment.”

Shapiro figured that someone who wanted to work with him enough would find a way to reach out to him. For instance, one of his closest friends and professional contacts recently texted him asking for his new email address. This proved that Shapiro is more to him than just another person on his mailing list and that their relationship is mutually beneficial.

Smart Networking

While many opportunities arise from networking, it’s easy to get caught up in the storm of professionals only looking out for themselves. Often, you’re wasting time grabbing lunch with someone who has no concrete offer for you while you should be focusing on your current clientele.

“I think we have to throw ego out the window here and remember what’s important,” said Shapiro. “I haven’t gotten a lot ‘congrats’ or hand-clapping emojis from the outside world, and that’s okay. Emojis don’t equal paychecks.”

Shapiro’s mission for The Tag Experience is to prioritize his clients, not spend his limited time searching for more or advertising his success; because “At Tag, YOU’RE it.”

“Right now, every one of my clients has come from referrals or word of mouth,” he said. “They’ve got my undivided attention…I’m now headed in one direction— forward.”

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