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All in all, every single day is busy and different. Which is why I love what I do.

Patrik Darabont


Tonbara Management Group

× The interview with Patrik Darabont was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

1Tell us about your role as the President/CEO for the Tonbara Management Group and what does a typical day look like for you?

My role as President/CEO is to ensure I continue to grow that business while at the same time ensuring my clients are being serviced to a high degree of satisfaction.

One a daily basis I can be doing anything along the lines of meeting with current and prospective clients, connecting and developing with contacts, building out strategies for clients, brokering deals, managing partnerships/sponsorships, working with the consulting team to ensure our clients in that division are continually getting projects done on time.

I am always looking at potential opportunities for new biz. I could be hopping on conferences calls/zoom meetings or catching a flight.

All in all - every single day is busy and different. Which is why I love what I do.

2You recently started up your own business, what made you choose to go on your own, rather than working for a company?

Well I started the business last year in August, so we are a ripe 1 year old business/start up, and we are continually growing.

I think you can’t start a business without having the basics of the industry and an understanding of the business side.

I was fortunate to work with a few great people and companies before I decided to go on my own, I also have worked for not so great people and companies.

You learn from other people/companies of how you would conduct yourself and where you want to distance yourself from.

Last year in March when everyone was likely thinking about their future, career goals etc, I decided I was going to put some thought into launching a business - which I have done a couple times.

I find myself being very entrepreneurial but that being said it’s never easy starting on your own and having no guaranteed pay.

The reason I started the agency is because agents/management agencies get bad reps based on bad agents/management companies out there that have taken advantage of their clients.

My goal and aspirations is to go back to the fundamentals. Clients are first and everything else is second. I believe that this has really been true at TMG as we continue to grow at a rapid pace.

3What was the process like starting your business, and what steps did you take to make it possible?

The process is quite simple to get started.

Come on up with a name - we’ve already rebranded from our original name, get your website and branding together, emails, google account and start reaching out to contacts you have to begin conversations.

The legal side of a business and starting that up is a bit more complex, especially when deciding what time of legal entity you want to be, lot’s of paperwork and fees.

4What are some setbacks or problems you have encountered starting your own business? Also, how has the pandemic affected the launch of your new business?

Setbacks/problems - recruiting talent up until this summer has almost exclusively been online/remotely, I am still only just meeting a bunch of my clients in person for the first time.

Typically before you sign talent, you typically meet with them once or twice. This has not been the case and it’s been really more a pitch of who you are and what you stand for that at the end of the day talent cares about, I think this has again, helped us grow.

The pandemic hasn’t allowed me to travel too much over the last year due to restrictions, which I thought would curb some of our growth and potential of who we can sign and work with. It’s been kind of good and kind of bad in certain circumstances.

I know of lot of people who thought it was crazy for me to launch a business last August, in the middle of the 3rd wave, but I decided to say screw it and do it anyways. I’d rather say oh well at least I tried over what if.

I’ve gotten a lot of No’s but my Yes’s are catching up, which fuels the grind every day more.

5What is some advice you would give someone trying to start their own business in the sport industry?

  • Don’t start a business until you understand the business side or you have someone you REALLY trust to advise you on the business side.
  • Don’t jump into something you know nothing about, you can dig yourself in deep before you even start.
  • Focus in one a niche area and expand that into other divisions as your business grows.
  • Expect long hours and missing out on things as your business grows. Your business is like your baby, you need to spend time with it and focus on it and feed it for it to grow.

Oliver Tolo Oliver's Final Thoughts

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