If you ever think you’re having a professional setback from which you’ll never recover, consider the story of Troy Carter. After nearly seven years building the phenomenon that is Lady Gaga, he was unceremoniously fired as her manager in 2013. And that was the second time he was dumped by a successful, high-profile client.
At stake was every professional relationship he had. “When you manage somebody as big as Gaga is, you have a lot of high-level relationships,” Carter said on stage at the 2014 Techmanity conference. “How many of those relationships were real, and how many were built around that specific client? How much rebuilding will have to be there?”
Luckily for Carter, his relationships were built on “years of nurturing” and saw him through his biggest career setback. “I got a lot of phone calls that gave me confidence that things were going to be all right. People took my phone calls.”
Carter says his early years of financial struggle in Philadelphia taught him perseverance that saw him through all the twists and turns.
“I learned to fight through things at a very early age,” he said. “The best lesson I’ve learned was the higher you rise, the lower you bow. You’re not defined by your lows, you’re not defined by your highs. For me, it was about finding that place in the middle. I’ve been able to at least create as much of a balanced life for myself as possible.”
Watch the video for more lessons learned from decades in the notoriously fickle music business, advice on investing in startups, and overcoming unfair stereotypes.