Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interview With Dr. Farrah Gray

Dr. Farrah Gray, a long-time client and colleague of mine, is a 24-year old celebrity entrepreneur and philanthropist who has a huge success story. Raised in the south side of Chicago, he's been recognized and highlighted in Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine, "O" Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Post, and countless other publications. He's been a featured guest on CNN, The Tom Joyner Show, The Michael Baisden Show, The Oprah & Friends show, and more.

At age 14, he became a self-made millionaire when he founded a company called Farr-Out Foods that produced a strawberry-vanilla syrup product that generated orders exceeding $1.5 million. At the age of 21, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Allen University.

Today, he's known as the best-selling author of "Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out" - a self-help publication that was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton. His latest releases “Get Real, Get Rich” and “The Truth Shall Make You Rich” are also best-selling books.

Just recently, he has launched his own imprint as a book publisher - Farrah Gray Publishing

I recently caught up with him for a quick interview:

Dante: Thanks Dr. Gray for your time! Tell me about your new business venture as a book publisher. How did you get into this industry?

Dr. Gray: Farrah Gray Publishing was launched last year and is distributed worldwide by HCI Books, the company that is famous for publishing the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. We have several different authors – Ky-Mani Marley, Bob Marley’s second youngest son, and several others who we have recently signed.

I’ve been an author for a little over 6 years now. By God's grace, I've written three best-selling books. When I received about 5 offers for my next book, I said "Wait a minute - what if I package all these authors and go and shop my own imprint deal?" So that's how that came about.

Dante: How does it feel to be labeled as one of the youngest (if not THE youngest) African American to reach millionaire status? Is it your goal to help others reach this milestone? I know you do a lot of motivational speaking.

Dr. Gray: Actually by God's grace, I've been blessed with the title of being the youngest. Specifically the youngest not in the entertainment field to become a millionaire at 14, and to set up an office on Wall Street. I didn't really realize what was going on when it was taking place because I think history doesn't feel great in the moment - you're just kind of living and doing. I'm very thankful, but I would say I've reached a small level of success. There's way more to do and to accomplish.

It's my goal to help others reach whatever milestone that they've set for their life. I think success is very personal, it's kind of like a GPS system - you hop in your car and you put the exact destination that you want to get to. It has nothing to do with anyone else on the road necessarily. So I just pray that people find inspiration through what I've accomplished.

Dante: Tell me about your book "Get Real, Get Rich". What advice will a person find if they read this?

Dr. Gray: The thing I love about that book is that it really debunks the greatest myths as it relates to things that I believe block people from success - such as "it takes money to make money", which is not really true. People seem to forget that the Starbucks that we see today, at one time was just a local coffee shop. Oprah Winfrey was a local talk show host. So you have to start off small and then grow all of your ideas. But I think that sometimes we want to start off with mega-success on the first day, when we have to crawl before we can walk.

Another myth I talk about in the book is the entertainment myth. A lot of people believe that they can't be successful unless they're in the entertainment field - saying "I'm going to make it in sports" or "I'll be the next American Idol". Well what do you do if you don't have that kind of talent? I think that it's important to find what God put you here to do. One of the greats of our time once said, "The two most important times of anyone's life is when we were born and when we find out why we were born." So I think it's about finding your area of excellence.

Dante: What other successful business ventures do you have, and what are you planning in the future?

Dr. Gray: The publishing company is very demanding; We've brought on about 100 celebrity contributing authors to the publishing company. So far we've been blessed to only sign celebrities, so that's been really exciting to help them get their untold stories out. I am also, which a lot of people don't know, the largest platinum African American dealer in the country - and probably in the top 3 as far as gold, for African Americans. I buy actual gold wholesale and I sell it retail to different coin stores. That's something I've always enjoyed. It protects your wealth, and I've made a lot of money doing it. But again, my main focus is the publishing company, or the publishing house.

Dante: One final question. This is a trick question. How does one fail in business? I know you've been extremely successful in business, but one of the factors that contribute to being a successful entrepreneur is learning what NOT to do.

Dr. Gray: I think, as you said, learning. Knowledge is power. I think education is important, whether formal or informal. The old saying is that "people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan" - which is true. A lot of people jump into a particular business because of the money that they can possibly make. But if you don't have a passion, you'll abandon it when times get hard. If you don't have a comprehensive knowledge of the business that you want or the industry you want to go into, you will fail.

It's really about knowing your market, developing a niche market, starting off small and taking it one step at a time. Also, you must define who you are in business for, or what you're in business for - for that matter.

Also, it's about relationships. I've been working with you now for many, many years, and I'm a repeat client of your company. It's all about relationships. I mean, I'm sure you've noticed that.

As it relates to failing, as it says in the Scripture, people parish for lack of knowledge. They say "knowledge is power," but I would say no, knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power.

Dante: Excellent advice. Thanks for the interview, and congrats on everything!

Dr. Gray: Your welcome. It's a pleasure to be featured on your blog.

For more info on Dr. Farrah Gray, visit:


  1. Great interview Dante. Dr. Gray gave some good nuggets to hold on to.

  2. I hope you don't mind but I had to share this story with others. This was a great interview and a positive message to all African Americans that are trying to make a difference. Once again thanks for sharing.


  4. Great job Dante!!

  5. I’m from Chicago as well. 37. Degreed. Community activist since ’92. Trained in business AND experienced infield. Started a business 9 years ago. Realized some extraordinary success relative to the resources I have (time, money, people) and the obstacles I’ve overcome only to come to this watershed moment. There’s no formula for realizing your success beyond realizing your purpose. If your purpose calls for billionaire status then you’ll be that at the right time. If that were not the case we’d all be coming up with the same ideas at the same age (14 or 40) and breaking our necks to be the first to get it to market.

    My annual balance sheet likely pays Farrah’s daily salary! Do I want to be a millionaire? Absolutely! At this stage in life and business, I’d welcome making six figures and not to consume it upon my own lusts either, but to be a blessing to others like he shared.

    Looking at Farrah, I do wish I was farther along in my journey to that place called “there.” So while slightly disappointed that my trek seems long and arduous, wholly motivated to get on with it and get "there" soon. Less inclined now though to compare my success with someone else’s or allow the media and others to label me as successful by balance sheet alone. I am God's child. He is no respecter of person. What he did for one, He'll do for others. Also, as long as I fulfill my purpose, I win!

  6. I have been following this young man success and story for a while. I have used his story to inspire the youth that I mentor. Great story of how your gifts can make room for you if you put God first!

    Great Article!