Escape the rat race

How this events entrepreneur went from mortgages to staffing The Oscars

Meet Daniel Meursing, the founder and CEO of Premier Staff, a staffing agency that has served clients such as Bentley, Ferrari, Louis Vuitton, YSL, and The Oscars. Welcome to “How I Escaped”. This Discovery Sessions interview series probes inspiring individuals who successfully ditched the rat race to inspire readers just like you. 

 

Rosie Bell: Where are you from or where do you feel local to?

Daniel Meursing: I’m originally from Los Angeles and feel most local to the LA area. I was born and raised here, and it’s where I started my company, Premier Staff. LA is a hub for luxury events and the entertainment industry, which has been key to the growth and success of Premier Staff as we provide high-end event staffing services.

 

RB: How did you escape the rat race? Tell us the backstory of your former profession.

DM: Before starting Premier Staff, I worked in the mortgage industry as a loan officer for a company called EZ Fundings Home Loans. While I learned valuable skills there related to financial analysis and working with clients, I felt confined by the 9-5 grind and limited in my earning potential and ability to be creative.

 

I had a passion for events and saw an opportunity to disrupt the event staffing industry by providing a higher caliber of talent and service. So in 2019, I left my loan officer job and took the leap to start Premier Staff. It was a risk, but I believed in my vision. Within the first year, we were already working with top brands and celebrity clients. Even though the pandemic hit just as we were gaining traction, we’ve been able to recover and continue growing rapidly on the other side of it.

 

RB: What advice would you give someone looking to become an events entrepreneur? 

DM: My advice would be to first really understand the market and clientele you want to serve. Specializing in a particular niche, like luxury events in our case, allows you to hone your expertise and brand. I’d also emphasize the importance of building a strong talent pool and treating your staff well. In the events industry, your people are your product. We’ve been able to attract and retain top talent by offering competitive pay, opportunities for growth, and a supportive, empowering company culture.

 

Finally, I’d say to be persistent and solutions-oriented. When you’re working with high-profile clients and large-scale events, there are always going to be last-minute challenges and high-pressure situations. But if you’re resourceful, think on your feet, and never lose sight of your commitment to excellence, you can succeed in this industry.

 

RB: What does a typical day in the life look like for you (if you have one)? 

DM: One thing I love about being an entrepreneur in the events industry is that no two days are quite the same. But a typical day for me usually involves a mix of high-level strategy and getting into the weeds to support my team and our clients. In the mornings, I usually review our upcoming event calendar, check in with my department heads, and deal with any pressing issues or opportunities. I might have a call with a celebrity client’s manager to discuss their staffing needs for an awards show or meet with my operations team to troubleshoot a logistical challenge.

 

In the afternoons, I often focus on business development and marketing tasks. This could be anything from speaking with a luxury brand about a potential partnership to reviewing our SEO performance with my marketing team. On event days, you’ll usually find me on-site, ensuring everything is running smoothly and stepping in to help wherever I’m needed, whether that’s pouring champagne, adjusting decor, or running interference with an unhappy guest. I’m very hands-on and never ask my team to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.

 

 

RB: What’s the biggest challenge of life as an events entrepreneur

DM: I’d say the biggest challenge is managing the many moving parts and stakeholders involved in every event. From the clients and their sometimes diva-like demands to the staff and making sure they show up on time and deliver great service, to the vendors, and ensuring they fulfill their obligations. It can be a lot to juggle, especially when you’re doing multiple major events a week.

 

Clear communication, strong processes, and a level head under pressure are absolutely essential. You have to be able to anticipate issues, make quick decisions, and always keep your eye on the bigger picture creating a fantastic event experience and making the client happy.

 

There’s also the challenge of seasonality in the events business. You have to be strategic about how you allocate resources and budget to weather the slow periods. Expanding our services to include more corporate and non-profit events that are less tied to specific seasons has helped with this.

 

RB: What’s the biggest reward of life as an events entrepreneur

DM: For me, the biggest reward is seeing an event come together flawlessly and knowing that my team made it happen. When you see the smiles on guests’ faces, get compliments from the client, and feel the buzz of a successful event – it’s incredibly fulfilling. I also find a lot of satisfaction in providing opportunities for my staff to grow and succeed. Many of our event captains and managers started out as entry-level servers or brand ambassadors. Seeing them develop their skills, take on more responsibility, and thrive in their roles is so rewarding.

 

We’ve had team members who worked with us part-time to pay their way through college, and then came on full-time and are now leading major events for clients like the Oscars or Emmys. Knowing that I’ve built a company that supports people’s professional development and opens doors for them is a huge motivation for me.

 

 

RB: What does freedom mean to you? When do you feel the most free?

DM: For me, freedom means having the autonomy to make decisions for my business and the financial security to support my family and pursue my passions outside of work. As an entrepreneur, I’m not beholden to a boss or a rigid corporate structure. I get to be creative, take risks, and steer my company in the direction I think is best. That’s incredibly liberating. My freedom is enhanced by the success and satisfaction of the people I work with and serve. So in a sense, I feel most free when I’m in the thick of executing a challenging event and supporting my team. There’s a sense of flow and shared purpose that’s energizing.

 

I also feel a profound sense of freedom when I’m able to “unplug” and spend quality time with my friends and family. Building a business is demanding, so being fully present with my family when I do get that time is crucial. Whether it’s traveling together, or just having a quiet friends and family dinner at home, those moments remind me of why I do what I do.

 

RB: What advice would you give to someone wanting to become location-independent, work online, and maximize their freedom?

DM: First, get really clear on what your skills, passions, and values are. What kind of work energizes you and allows you to deliver great results and feel good about what you’re doing? Lean into that. Second, be intentional about building a strong network, even (and especially) if you’re working online. Relationships are everything in business. Attend virtual conferences, join online communities, and don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire for advice or collaboration.

 

Third, be disciplined about managing your time and setting boundaries. When you’re working for yourself and have a lot of autonomy, it can be tempting to either slack off or overwork yourself. Find a schedule and system that works for you and stick to it. I like to batch similar tasks, use a project management tool to stay organized, and segment focus time versus collaborative time. Finally, embrace a growth mindset. Be willing to experiment, fail, and learn. Surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you. Regularly reassess your goals and strategies. Life and business are both unpredictable, so adaptive resilience is key to sustainable success and freedom.

 

RB: What do you wish you did differently (in work or life)? 

DM: This is a great question that prompts a lot of reflection. I don’t believe in living with regrets – every misstep has been a learning opportunity that’s made me who I am today. But if I could go back and give my younger self some advice, it would be to trust my vision and invest in people sooner. When I first started Premier Staff, I tried to do everything myself – from marketing to accounting to event execution. I quickly burned out and realized that I needed to build a team to scale sustainably. But I was hesitant to bring people on because of the cost and my own fears around delegation and leadership.

 

Looking back, I wish I had faced those fears head-on and started building out key roles like operations, talent acquisition, and client services earlier. We could have grown faster and saved me a lot of headaches. But I’ve definitely learned the value of hiring smart, empowering my team, and focusing my own time and energy on the highest-leverage activities that only I can do as the founder and CEO.

 

On a personal level, I wish I had prioritized my health and relationships as much as my business in those early years. Pulling all-nighters, skipping workouts, and missing family milestones took a toll. I’ve gotten much better about this over time, but it’s still a constant balancing act. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential. 

 

DIGITAL NOMAD RESOURCES

 

Want to become a digital nomad?

If you wish to start your own location-independent business, find a remote job, learn about special digital nomad visas, or dive head-first into the world of digital nomads, book a 1:1 session with me here and ask me anything.

 

Where can I take courses about location independence?

On Discovery Sessions Learning, you can find on-demand courses to help you escape the rat race, travel, freelance, build or grow an online business, and maximize your freedom. Visit our course library here

 

What is the best travel insurance for digital nomads?

Safety Wing is the ultimate made-for-nomads-by-nomads travel insurance provider. Protect yourself anywhere in the world with their flexible nomad insurance.

 

How can I find accommodation as a digital nomad?

There are great deals to be found for short and longer stays (of up to 30 days) anywhere in the world on Agoda, Trip.com, Expedia US, or Booking.com where you can search for accommodations and filter according to criteria like desks, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

 

How can I get an international SIM card when I’m traveling?

It’s quick and painless to get an eSIM (or digital SIM card) and data plan from Airalo that covers practically any country in the world before you get there so you never have to bother going into a phone shop. With the Airalo app, you can keep track of your data usage and top up easily.

 

Where can I find useful travel resources for digital nomads?

You can find all my nomad-friendly resources right here on this page. These will help you out whether you’re looking for the best flight search tools or digital sim cards. Also, sign up for Freedom Friday, our weekly newsletter that gives you five links with informational bites from the worlds of digital nomadism, remote work, travel, freedompreneurship, life design, and location independence. 

Hi, I'm Rosie Bell, a location-independent writer, editor and lifestyle entrepreneur. If you want inspiration and support to live, travel and work anywhere, look no further. Let's talk right here.