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Updated: May 21, 2020
The opportunity to work with artists and athletes is a dream for most people, but for Ryan Chavez, it’s daily life. Chavez is a managing partner and owner of The MGMT Partners, a full-service talent management company with clients all over the country.
“We manage everyone from songwriters, musicians, and producers to athletes, celebrities, and influencers,” he said. “Essentially, anyone who has a following.”
Chavez got his start in the talent industry by producing major music festivals. “Over time, I developed a strong network of folks across the music industry, and realized I could leverage that network to develop talent,” he said. “I wanted to work with clients directly, so I made the transition from producing festivals to working with artists and talent on an individual level.”
Chavez started The MGMT Partners in 2014 with the goal of making an impact on someone’s career. “That’s what drew me to the idea of the business,” he said. “I felt like I was in the position to help these talented individuals realize their dreams, and that was exciting to me.”
The MGMT Partners grew steadily over the years, but Chavez ran into problems when the coronavirus hit the U.S. in the first couple of months into 2020. With large gatherings prohibited and stay-at-home orders in place, Chavez’s clients had to cancel their live events and tours.
“For the majority of our clients,” he said, “80% of their income comes from touring and live appearances, so with those opportunities on hold, they’re out of luck.” Since Chavez takes a commission based on how much his clients earn from events, his business’s revenue has also suffered.
Grappling with the uncertainty surrounding business has been difficult. “Even when businesses open back up and we’re allowed to tour again,” Chavez said, “the industry has been affected on a more macro level. Many of my clients no longer have agents, and many of the venues they would perform at are shutting their doors, likely for good.”
In an attempt to figure out the new landscape for touring and events, Chavez is considering other options. “We’ve had to restrategize what a post-COVID career looks like for our clients, and how we can stay afloat in the meantime.”
Part of that effort involves financing.
When Chavez realized stay-at-home orders would be in place for a while, he started researching loans for the first time since starting his business. After hearing about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, he applied through several large banks but had no success.
“I waited two weeks before I even got a response, and all they said was that my application was in, and they couldn’t guarantee help,” Chavez said. “I felt like our business was overlooked in the conversations we had, maybe because our financial needs were smaller compared to those of larger companies.”
Several weeks after he first applied for the PPP loan, Chavez learned about Funding Circle through a friend and decided to give it a shot.
“It was a really wonderful process. The application was user-friendly and took no time at all. Funding Circle told me everything I needed to have before the application process so I didn’t waste time, and they did a great job of anticipating my needs along the way and ruling out all the unknowns,” he said. “I was able to get answers to the questions I had before they even became questions.”
Chavez was approved for funding within a day of submitting his application and received the funds just a few days later. “It was really quick. I applied on May 4 and was funded by May 8.”
Getting the PPP loan took some pressure off of Chavez for the immediate future. “This gives me some breathing room as we try to navigate these unclear waters,” he said.
Until businesses begin to reopen, Chavez is working directly with his clients to find solutions and pivot their offerings. “Everyone on my roster has been buckling down and focusing on creating good content,” he said. “Some of my clients are doing live stream concerts, and others are spending all their time in their studio writing their next album.”
Though the future may look different for Chavez and his clients, he’s hopeful they can adapt. “I’m grateful to be in a position to still be running my business when so many people can’t,” he said. “I still get to wake up every day, and even though I might be doing different tasks, I’m still working for myself, I’m still managing my clients, and we’re getting through it together.”
Trying to run a business amid coronavirus closures is no easy feat, but we’re here to help. If your business could use a financial boost right now, check out Funding Circle’s PPP loan options and COVID-19 resources for small business owners.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.