Two Wise Men: Advice for Entrepreneurs

adam_witty_circleA tale as old as democracy: The American Dream. Owning and operating your own successful business is the definition of the pursuit of happiness for many people. If that’s your dream, how can you successfully climb your way to the top and become a prosperous entrepreneur? Take advice and learn from Advantage’s own Two Wise Men: Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton. They may not come bearing gifts of frankincense and mirth, but they do have some great advice.


Advantage’s Founder & CEO Adam Witty started the company back in 2005 in the spare bedroom of his home. Now, Advantage Media Group is an international publishing company paired with a full fledged marketing agency, pumping out over 100 books a year for business professionals. Advantage authors span 40 states and 13 international countries.

Listen To Your Calling

For me, I knew at a very early point that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I also knew that I wanted to do something incredible with my life,” says Adam. “I wanted it to have lots of meaning. I wanted it to have lots of impact. Quite frankly, I wanted to do some of the really cool things that people in the world get to do.”

That entrepreneurial spirit has driven Advantage to be named to the prestigious Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies in four out of the past five years and the Best Places to Work in South Carolina list for 2013 and 2014. Adam alone has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Young Money Magazine, and on ABC and Fox. He was also named to the 2011 Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 list of “America’s coolest entrepreneurs.

Adam himself has published seven books in the past ten years. He’s the author of Lead the Field, 21 Ways to Build Your Business with a Book, Book The Business, and co-author of The Book Itch to name a few.  Adam also serves as the Publisher of Advantage Magazine™. He travels around the country speaking from experience on how a book is still the best way to hyper grow your business.

Just Do It…

“One of the main philosophies in my live is you only live life once, but if you work it right, once is enough,” he says. “The meaning that I take from that is this is not a dress rehearsal. We don’t have another shot. And so, if you have dreams, if you have ambitions, if there’s things you want to do, if there’s people you want to meet, if there’s places you want to go, this is the only chance that you have. Go for it!”

“If there’s something that you want in your life, to hell with whatever anybody else thinks, go for it, because the only person that prevents you from achieving what you want to accomplish is you, your own self-limiting beliefs, your own fear, etcetera,” he continues.

This entrepreneurial spirit has guided Adam from humble beginnings in 2005 to manning an incredibly successful business that only continues to grow, day by day.

“We have organically grown from zero to $10 million in revenue over the years,” Adam says. “A thorough entrepreneurial spirit has guided us to this day.”

…and do it with a smile!

Finally, leadership and attitude are always a big part of growing a business.

“You’ve got to be awfully resilient, and you’ve got to have an attitude where you can cruise over speed bumps, and that’s okay,” explains Adam. “You can just stay focused on moving ahead and you know what? At the same time you’ve got a really positive attitude about all of it, too. That is so important.”


Rusty Shelton first spoke at Harvard on the changing world of PR and marketing at the age of 23.

Today, as the Senior Marketing Strategist, he works alongside the company’s clients to start conversations that matter by providing on-target vision in an often-confusing new media environment. In 2010, Rusty founded Shelton Interactive is a full-service digital agency that integrates design, social media, website development and PR—services that are normally handled by multiple agencies—under one roof.

You’ve Gotta Have Faith

“From the time I was a little boy I always wanted to have my own business [it’s] hard to explain but I just always knew I would do it,” says Rusty. “I wanted to start my particular business (Shelton Interactive) because I saw an opportunity to create an innovative agency model that would better serve clients while also filling a huge hole in the marketplace.”

He began his career at a book publicity agency in 2003 and during his years there the media environment had changed dramatically. At that agency, they only handled publicity, which meant the client had to go elsewhere to hire a website firm, social media agency, graphic designers, SEO, etc. Rusty saw the opportunity to build a full-service agency that pulled each of those key services under one roof to deliver better results for clients, while also making their lives easier.

Fun First

One of the single most important decisions that contributed to Rusty’s success, was putting culture first from the very start.

“Not only did this make the journey a lot more fun, but it also allowed us to keep a core team together when we couldn’t pay the biggest benefits or salaries,” he says. “Drucker’s famous line—‘Culture eats strategy for lunch’—couldn’t be more true. We wouldn’t have become the success story we did without our team. They were the key to everything we did well.”

Perspire and Persevere

Finally, as an aspiring entrepreneur, Rusty believes that one of the key traits you need to succeed is perseverance.

“You often hear about hustle, commitment, and drive and all of those are really important but as an entrepreneur, you get kicked around a lot (some of it as a result of your own mistakes) and if you don’t have the ability to calmly and confidently persevere, the road to success is much harder,” he explains.

Gifts from Some Other Wise Men

As you read though Adam and Rusty’s journeys to becoming successful entrepreneurs, they both have common themes: perseverance, confidence, and believing in yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail and only strive to climb the top of the mountain in whatever field you’re trying to dominate. Finally, here are a few of our favorite quotes from some slightly more world-renowned wise men:

“With great success comes great sacrifice” -Napoleon Hill

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” -Walt Disney

“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.” -Dennis Waitley

“Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait, the grip of your hand, and the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” -Henry Ford

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