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Meet Nate Shapiro of Ballyhoo Media in Miami & New York City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nate Shapiro.

Nate, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Ballyhoo Media is a mobile advertising and events company centered around our custom-designed LED sign boats. Our boats operate 365 days a year, splitting time between traditional outdoor advertising, experiential marketing, personal messaging and special events. Miamians can see us advertising throughout Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach as well as hosting corporate events, watch parties, philanthropic events, and wedding proposals all over the city.

My brother Adam and I grew up in Ocean City, Maryland where we spent our summers working as umbrella boys. We always dreamed about owning a business together, especially something revolving around beaches and water. Adam moved to Miami in 2011, when the original concept of Ballyhoo was born. After years of trying to get it started, we finally turned our dream into reality when our first boat was built in 2016! A couple of years later, we launched our second boat in New York City in 2018. Ballyhoo is a true family business founded by myself, my brother Adam (CEO & President), my uncle Jeff Goldberg (Chairman), and my good friend Tyler Zlatin (Director of Marketing).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It took us 5 years to turn our idea into a real business, so we struggled before we even got started. As young recent college graduates, we had very little experience and even less money, which made it incredibly difficult to get to the starting line. However, we finally got there and have been weaving our way through constant challenges ever since. We learned our way through boat manufacturing, acquiring clients, managing staff and we continue to learn and grow every single day! It used to feel like there was always an issue or problem to solve but we have grown to understand that it’s just life as a business owner and it will always feel that way. Pursuing your passion doesn’t come easy but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Ballyhoo Media story. Tell us more about it.
I am humbled by how far we have come and the product we have built in just a short few years. When we started this company less than three years ago, we knew very little about what we were getting into. And now, a couple years later, our team are experts in our market and Ballyhoo is the leader in our industry. I am grateful for our rapidly growing client base and the impact we have been able to have on the community.

There is nothing more inspiring than the immense community support we have from both Miami and NYC. In just over 2 years we have become a staple of Miami, working with a variety of local businesses, nonprofits, events, and individuals. Not only do we work closely with local businesses but we have also been able to help the people that live and visit the city. We have done hundreds of wedding proposals, anniversaries, and birthdays as well as private personal parties. I love seeing our impact in only two years and excited to see what the future holds!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I hear this question get asked on my favorite podcast and have given it a lot of thought. I am absolutely lucky in many aspects of life and business and I think most people in my position would feel the same.

I am so lucky to be born into the amazing family I have, lucky to grow up in the town I was raised in, lucky to have the support system I have, lucky to have the freedom to move where I want to live, and lucky to work everyday with my brother, uncle, and best friend. I am lucky every day I wake up in the morning and every day I go to sleep. Ballyhoo has caught our fair share of good luck and we wouldn’t be here today without a bit of it!

But more important than luck, we also wouldn’t be here without an unstoppable work ethic and drive to build our company. We have had countless struggles in our short business life but nothing has stopped us from continuing to problem solve and improve. Our team has worked tirelessly to get where we are today and hard work is something that luck will never make up for.

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