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'I Own You.' How These Words Changed Everything for 21-Year-Old Stratton Sales Agency Founder Ambro Di Pilato

The moment he decided he would never work for someone else again.

August 23, 2019 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Ambro Di Pilato, founder and CEO of The Stratton Sales Agency, which helps entrepreneurs and influencers outsource sales. It was condensed by The Oracles.

Who are you? Ambro Di Pilato: I went to school to become an architect, but when I was 18 years old, I realized I was never going to work for someone else. I was working part-time at a pub in Montreal, Canada, while I was studying, and that was where I heard the words that I’ll never forget: “I own you.” When my manager said that to me at the end of my shift, it entirely changed my view of the workplace.

I quit the next day and dropped out of school to begin my journey as an entrepreneur. I started several failed businesses before my art gallery franchise, AMBRO|GALLERIES. When I realized how hard it is to sell art, I began honing my sales skills further and opened The Stratton Sales Agency as a result. Now I help entrepreneurs and influencers outsource their high-ticket sales. I do what I do because I love the rush you get when you help someone solve a problem.

Share an interesting fact about yourself that not many people would know.Ambro Di Pilato: I struggled in school, and my elementary school teachers recommended that I be checked by a doctor because they thought I was “slow.” The results found quite the opposite. I was dyslexic, but I scored in the highest percentile for everything but reading and writing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t perform — I just wasn't interested in learning what the school system had to offer.

Now I educate myself extensively on all my investments, my business, and my health. The degrading comments I received as a child only propelled me forward.

What are the core values that guide your business, and why did you pick them?Ambro Di Pilato: Morality, discipline, and consistency. I worked for a sales agency for a few years and encountered several unsavory transactions there, so my vision was to create an agency that values authenticity. After learning about what not to do, following through on promises to my team is also important to me.

Now before taking on a new contract or student, I always ask whether their intentions are good and if they have others’ best interests in mind. I demand nothing less than 100% discipline and consistency from myself, my team, and my students. As the saying goes, “Without commitment, you’ll never get started. Without consistency, you’ll never finish.” With these principles, we’ve grown our sales team 10x and have more than 80 students.

What’s your favorite quote?Ambro Di Pilato: My favorite quote is from Neil deGrasse Tyson: “It is the knowledge that I'm going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive; the urgency of accomplishment; the need to express love; now, not later. If we live forever, why ever even get out of bed in the morning? ‘Cause you always have tomorrow. That's not the kind of life I want to lead.”

Whenever I’m struggling to act, I ask myself: “If I were to die today, would I be happy with what I left on the table?” This question has driven me to never stop reaching toward my goals. I don’t want to lead a life of “what ifs.” I want to become the absolute best version of myself possible in the time I have.

What was your biggest, most painful failure? Ambro Di Pilato: My most painful failure was starting a mobile app with one of my best friends when I was 18. The idea was to provide outdoor services like lawn care and window cleaning at the touch of a button. We invested $20,000 of our hard-earned money developing the app and failed miserably.

However, you can’t put a price on what I learned. I realized that nothing comes easy; there are no shortcuts, and there is no such thing as getting rich quick. I also learned about taxes, business expenses, managing a team, and outsourcing, which serve me today.

How do you define great leadership?Ambro Di Pilato: Great leadership is about getting in the trenches with your team and leading by example. Rather than telling others what to do, show them how. If you want your team to get behind your vision, you must demonstrate that if you can do it, so can they.

No one is better than anyone else at our agency. We are just at different stages of development. Create a compassionate, helpful environment that values discipline and hard, intelligent work. All these principles start with you. If you aren’t the person you want your team members to be, then you’re a boss, not a leader.

How do you hire top talent?Ambro Di Pilato: Everyone in my agency has been a student of my sales training program. Before I’ll admit them into the program, they have to close me on a sale by convincing me to sign up for my coaching.

Then when they graduate, I match them with my clients. This way, I get to watch them grow and hone their skills so I can be confident before putting them on $500,000 contracts.

What’s your daily routine for success? Ambro Di Pilato: I start my day at 5 a.m. with a 10-kilometer jog or 45-minute boxing session. Then I read before hitting the gym for about an hour. At the end of my day, around 8 p.m., I take a 45-minute walk to think about how I can improve my business or I listen to an audiobook or podcast.

What are three things you would like to be doing in three years?Ambro Di Pilato: In three years, I’d like to bring The Stratton Sales Agency to nine figures and continue to work with bigger companies. I aim to create something long term and lasting.

I’d also like to help over 100 of my students exceed six figures in their businesses. Finally, I want to take AMBRO|GALLERIES global.

What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?Ambro Di Pilato: I want to be remembered for offering tremendous value to everyone I came in contact with. I want to be known as the kid with the learning disability who taught high-income skills and generated over nine figures along the way. As my wealth grows, so will the size of the problems I’ll tackle. This is only the beginning!

Connect with Ambro on Instagram and LinkedIn, or visit his website.

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