It’s my sophomore/junior year of high school when I first came across Ben Foley, now known as just Foley. Raised in a town next door to mine, we both come from the roots of Western Massachusetts. At this point in time he operated under a completely different name that you either know or will have to listen to the podcast to find out. It’s interesting how life works and you truly never know how you might bump heads with the people you once knew. However with time people change and Foley has only changed for the better.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t keep my eye on him as time went on. I remember going into my freshmen year of college and seeing this guy partying with artists and people that I thought were doing amazing work. I didn’t know how he was making it happen but it was unreal that at one point I had briefly known ‘that guy’ that was in pictures with all of these celebrities. He continued to work and work and work and is now eating the fruit of his labor. Don’t get me wrong though, for 21 years of age he’s only just getting started.
At just 11 years old, half way through 6th grade his parents pulled him out of school because he was unhappy and was only getting into trouble. They had told the school and the government they were going to try a different approach and teach him at home but instead bought him Macintosh where he was able to start messing around with a variety of creative programs. With nothing but time he got to work and used YouTube to teach himself how to do different things while learning from his mistakes.
At one point he moved to NYC where he spent four years and really established himself. He was starting to get into circles with the people he wanted to work with and made sure to give as much value as he possibly could. Foley might not have been the best photographer or video guy at the time but his personality is what kept him in the room. Now living in Los Angeles he run his own creative brand, works alongside Mike Stud and pushes himself forward each and everyday.
One of the main takeaways from this episode is to do something today that will make tomorrow better. You don’t have to change the world or do anything over the top it just needs to be something that helps you make a step forward. Going to the gym, making a couple phone calls and anything that helps put you in a better spot than the previous day.
Podcast Outline (Time Markers Are For Audio Version)
Who is Foley today and how young is he?
Lives in California, lived in New York after leaving MA for a bit and continues to grow everyday
Dropped out of school at the age of 11, half way through sixth grade (1:45)
Parents told the school he was getting “home schooled” but they didn’t push him
School wasn’t his thing, parents could tell he didn’t enjoy it
Only way he could focus was getting things done on his own time, in his own means in comfortable environments
Foley cannot be forced to create something he’s not passionate about, passion is his motivation (3:15)
Has turned down money and good connections because he knows he won't be able to deliver
Parents bought him a Macbook and Foley dove into all creative programs (Photoshop, iMovie, Garageband) not wanting to be great just wanting to try them
Didn’t have an end goal, had free time to learn anything from YouTube and put in the ground work
No loses just lessons that were learned along the way
First started working under as ‘Swaggernaut Ben’ with Mac Miller, J. Cole, Chris Webby, Mike Stud, Huey Mack, Laced Boston Events in 2011 (8:10)
Was paying out of pocket to travel to shows doing photography and video just to get in the rooms with these people knowing that neither was the end goal for him
Was using his camera to build relationships and still has great ones with some of the people he started with (Ex: Mod Sun)
All stems from friendships and being in the right room at the right time
In any situation you have to pay it forward (10:55)
You have to show people you’re willing to do more for them than you are for yourself
Started going down to NYC at 15/16 to find opportunities and network because his Grandparents offered him a place to crash (17:35)
Ended up spending 4 years down in the city and really established himself and his brand. Was only 2 degrees away from anyone that he was trying to work with
Your work is either really good and people put up with you as a person or people put up with your work and people really rock with you (22:20) *Knowing your strengths*
Focus on things that you want to be good at and things you’re passionate about and find ways to get your foot in the door
Foley goes to a Waka Flocka show in NYC to shoot video after connecting with one of Chris Webby’s merch guys (27:50)
Forced to take live concert photos, captures him during his meet and greet and gets offered to go on tour
Was inspired to grow his beard out because he didn’t have razor’s on this tour and hasn’t shaved it since
One of the biggest things he’s learned from Mike Stud is work ethic (30:35)
Does not stop and is always working through the night
Foley doesn’t set daily goals for his projects. It comes down to him being happy with the final product and getting it in by the deadline
Every creative person goes through a phase where the work they’re creating isn’t as good as they want it to be (37:35)
The most important thing you can do is keep doing the work
Set goals for yourself, repetition and putting 10,000 hours. You will only get better
Treating people the way you want to be treated
Humble, no ego, thrive and is always being happy
Shop By Foley was when he was doing video and photo, decided he wasn’t going to do that and transitioned to ‘By Foley’ (41:45)
The logo is a perfect square but not connected because you’re breaking out of the box. Initials of his name ‘‘B & F’
New project called ‘Chacha The Wave’ collaboration with OVO Ryan (Ryan Silverstein) (43:40)
Ryan wanted to start his own venture, had Foley come up with the concept and the brand identity behind each logo
Everything is cut & sew, luxury and something you want to travel in on vacation
Has a station on Dash Radio, ‘Island of Chacha’, that plays good vibe music that makes people feel good and no one talks
Designing, dealing with the manufactures and releasing a Nike shoe is one of Foley’s top business moments (50:30)
Tattooed ‘Do Something Today To Make Tomorrow Better’ on his forearm when he was at a point in his life where he needed to get his life together (53:20)
Going to the gym, making calls or anything that will put you one step forward for the next day
Failure scares Foley the most (56:10)
Scared to let other people down like his family
At some point in time would like to retire. Will continue to work as long as he enjoys it and might change what he does along the way
Doesn’t ever set goals for himself (58:30)
It always has to be a progression and he needs to continue being happy
Get a boat for parents and an island for himself
Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 Question
If there is no podcast, what’s the goal?
Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?
Arm around Shep Gordon and Richard Branson on Foley’s island
@ByFoley on everything
What 2-3 pieces of advice would you give to someone trying to find their passion/purpose
Take constructive criticism heavily
Listen to the people who take the time out of their day to teach you something because they care
Show if you really want to be part of something, you’ll change how your acting or your behavior if you need to
Do something today to make tomorrow better