7 Business Lessons I Learned From Ari Gold

Posted on July 24, 2016

Ryan Stewman



I’m not one to view much TV, but Entourage is one of my all-time favorite shows. I watch the entire series once every couple years. By far, the choicest character is Ari Gold. The show is based on the life of Mark Wahlberg, the Ari Gold character is based on Ari Emanuel, which means there is a real live Ari Gold in person somewhere in Hollywood. Pretty cool! 
In case you’ve never seen the show (watch it now), Ari is the agent who represents the star. He is relentless as f*ck when it comes to getting shit done, and that is one of the reasons I love it so much…because of the lessons I learn each episode from Ari alone. 

Observing Ari Gold is like getting a crash course in how to dominate a crowded market by force.

The shit he pulls mimics the type of moves only a powerful salesman can get away with. Every time I see him in action, I want to pick up my phone and start calling my network to execute power-plays. The show motivates the f*ck out of me.
Allow me to share my biggest business takeaways:
Your Spouse Doesn’t Have To Believe In Your Dream: Most of the time, Ari’s wife is on his ass about something. Complaining he works too much. Complaining he doesn’t spend time with the kids. Yelling at him for investing their money. Being the salesman he is, he does what he wants anyway and then asks for forgiveness. He doesn’t care if she’s on-board or not; he knows he can sell her into supporting him eventually.
I’m the same damn way. It’s cost me plenty of relationships, but I’ve been working for a dream no one can see. Ari is identical in mindset. He set out to build the biggest agency in Hollywood. No one, not even his family members, are gonna come between him and the dream he is turning into a reality.
Put Business First Until You Can’t: Piggybacking on the above point, Ari is almost always selling and apologizing to his wife for work, until she gives him the ultimatum. He’ll straighten up for a few weeks, then he’s right back to putting in the work. He will push things until the very end, but he never adds the straw that would break the camel’s back. He’s always one straw short of a sunken hump.
When you are on your way to being the best at something, you put 100 percent of your focus into it. That often means you are not giving the focus and attention you need to those around you. This can seriously tick off our families, but WE know it’s the sacrifice we have to make. Push it to the limit, yet never go over. There’s no turning back once the line is crossed.
Ari crossed the line once, lost his wife, and had to work his ass off to keep her from blowing Bobby Flay.
Do EXACTLY What You Say You Are Going To Do: Even when he was making a promise of vengeance, Ari always kept his word. He has a politician’s way with language, but he never goes back on what he’s pledged. If he tells  you he will get you something, he’ll come through. If he needs to make shit happen for Vinny, he’ll always make it happen.
If you watch any episode, you’ll see Ari making bold claims. He backs all of them up all the way, every time. When he’s made outrageous promises to Vinny, he’s always found a way to pull them off. This is what fuels his rise to power. Doing exactly what you say you are going to do is a rare and highly respected trait. Even in Hollywood.
Be Relentless For What You Want: Nothing, and I mean nothing comes in-between what Ari wants and him getting it. He hungers to be the top agent rep’ing the cream-of-the-crop talent and he’s worked his ass off every step of the way to get there. He doesn’t let competition, big Hollywood CEOs, producers or even actors stop him from becoming “the man.” Take a lesson from Mr. Gold. If you want something, do whatever it takes until you get it. If you’re not willing to do that, you don’t really want it.

Quit kidding yourself.

Treat Your Clients Like GOLD: Ari bends over backwards for Vinny Chase every episode. From buying front row Laker tickets, to sending him limos to pick him up. Ari treats every client he’s had like gold. Even if they have no money. He’s pulled favors from everywhere in order to make sure his A-List clients are well taken care of.

The lesson I learned from Ari is this: it takes a lot of work to land a badass client. Once you get them in your book, don’t stop treating them right. Many businesses get clients then neglect them. Don’t lose what you work your ass of for. Treat your clients how they deserve to be treated TIMES TEN.

Leverage Your Network For All It’s Worth: One thing you see Ari doing every episode is utilizing his network. He makes calls to get roles for his clients, land jobs for his constituents and secures funding for start up producers. Ari is the master at pulling favors. He’s worked his ass off to earn the right to do so.

When you provide value to your network, even if they hate you, they will get you what you need. The characters in Entourage worked with Ari, because they didn’t want to go up against him or end up on his bad side.

Tell It Like It Is Whether They Like It Or Not: If you keep your mouth shut and refuse to speak up, you’ll never get what you want. Ari isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. He’s offended damn near everyone in Hollywood, but they know exactly what’s on his mind. He doesn’t have to sugarcoat anything because he knows he has to put in the time and the work. When he knows something, he knows it with conviction. He isn’t afraid to be blunt because he feels in his very gut he is right.

People may not want to hear the truth, but they respect those who tell it.

In the days of brown nosing and sugarcoating for the PC police, people like Ari are respected because they don’t bullshit. Be like Ari. Whether they like you or not, people will respect you when you are honest.

That’s all you ever need.

If you’ve never watched Entourage, today is the day you put that habit to an end. I don’t endorse TV or even have cable, but it’s a show worth my time investment. Every episode is packed with lessons. Get the re-runs on Amazon and Netflix. Def worth a weekend binge watch.

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