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Meet Mykhailo Dolgin of Focus Media Co in San Diego / Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mykhailo Dolgin.

Mykhailo, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Ukraine. When I was about 18 years old, my older brother enrolled in a “Work and Travel” program with an amusement park in Cincinnati. We come from a very poor family, and it was always his dream to study in the United States. Eventually my brother enrolled in Saint Louis University, and he insisted that I do the same. I was a professional wrestler and it was much easier for me to get a scholarship. There was only one problem—I didn’t speak any English. It was difficult at first, but by working at the school cafeteria and at local restaurants, I was able to learn the basics. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and a Master’s degree in Marketing. I was able to do it on my own without any loans or financial aid. I have always worked two to three jobs to cover my tuition.

After graduation, I moved to Chicago and tried to find a marketing position, but all of my attempts were unsuccessful. For some time, I tried selling cars but later decided to get a regular 9-to-5 job. I landed a job at a local trucking company as a dispatcher where I was making $700 per week. There was no growth and I decided to move on and became a freight broker. Eventually, I realized that I don’t want to be employed by someone else and chained to a desk for the rest of my life. I was fortunate enough to have good friends who loaned me $12,000, which I used as a down payment for semi truck. I started a trucking company and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Luckily, the market was good and my business was gaining momentum. From just one truck, I grew my business to 16 trucks, and my gross income for the first year was over 2.5 million dollars. Life was good. My wife and I celebrated our wedding in La Jolla, CA, where I met our videographer, Brandon. After seeing our wedding video, I was so impressed and intrigued that I asked him to start a video production company with me. In 2016, I launched Focus Media Co.

My role was to invest in the equipment and look for clients. He would film and edit. I invested over $80K into a Red camera, jibs and stabilizers, but there was no one to do the actual work, so I started learning things on my own by watching YouTube tutorials. The trucking industry was experiencing difficult times and I had to get rid of my assets. Thankfully, I started landing commercial projects and Focus Media Co. took off. This winding road has made me realize something. It’s very interesting how people have hidden talents that may never be discovered. I am pretty open to trying things and I am so happy that pursued writing and film projects. I think I really found myself. I found what I love to do with all of my heart.

Last May, I moved to California. If you’re an artist, I think Los Angeles is where you want to be. My production company is growing and we are getting more and more projects. I was able to invest in high-end equipment such as a Pursuit Camera Vehicle. I am growing as an artist and an individual. I recently caught myself thinking about the Oscars and it is now my goal now to receive one of those iconic gold statues. I won to win the category of Best Director. I know that I have the talent it takes to be worthy of that title. The rest is hard work and dedication.

I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my lovely wife. My love for her has no boundaries. She has helped me through every step. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She is the smartest and most beautiful woman I know. Our love is what makes our life beautiful and interesting. Last November, we had a baby girl and now I have even more motivation to get where I want to be.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges have you had to overcome?
It has never been a smooth road, but at the same time, I can’t complain about things being too ugly. Where I come from, we have never seen luxury. Let me just give you an example. In order to use a restroom back home, I had to walk outside because it was separate from our house. It was similar to the ones shown in “Slumdog Millionaire” movie. I always knew, all the difficulties in my life are stepping stones. I went through drug studies in order to pay for my tuition. I have worked in construction, and the automotive and restaurant industries. Working hard is exactly what’s needed to realize who you want to be. At one point in my life, I lived on the balcony that I rented from an old polish man in Chicago. I am grateful to every boss and every manager I’ve ever had. They helped me to see the world differently. I am really grateful for all the hard times because they made me a stronger person.

Please tell us about Focus Media Co.
Focus Media Co specializes in commercials, music videos and corporate event videography. I was a part of the 2016 film Business Unusual, and some of our works were featured on the BET network. What sets me apart from others is being real. If I don’t feel the project, I would rather pass on it. I always say what I think. It may not be the best strategy in terms of business, but it helps me to form my identity and stay true to myself.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My best memory from childhood is when my dad taught me what’s right and what’s wrong. I stole a tire for my bicycle from the local market and my dad whipped me so hard that I’ll remember to this day until the rest of my life. Overall, my best memories are just life with my parents. They way they educated us is absolutely amazing. I know how to enjoy simple things. I know that love is the only thing worth living for. There is nothing more important in this world than love.

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