Nightlife is both a blessing and a curse for the Las Vegans who choose to work in the industry. While it proves to be a glamorous lifestyle, with the potential to make thousands of dollars every night, it can also be unstable. Age and physical appearance are a precursor to longevity. And those in the trenches may fail to recognize the transience of these jobs. Eric White, a former nightlife executive, serves as a prime example of how to exit the industry and find a lucrative career elsewhere—in his case, real estate.
White, 38, initially moved to the Valley from Southern California and began his career as a security guard at House of Blues in 1999. “This was back before there was bottle service. There was no VIP host or cocktail servers—it was just nightclubs where you could buy drinks at the bar in disposable cups,” he says.
After about a year, White became the head of the security team at HOB, which eventually evolved into a position as a nightclub manager for the entire resort, Mandalay Bay. This was followed by stints at Drai’s, Studio 54 and Tryst, where White worked in various positions, including promotions manager, VIP host and marketing manager. He finally landed at XS, where he served as the assistant general manager for about eight years.
“I definitely looked at [nightlife] as temporary when I first got into it,” White says. “I didn’t think it was going to last long at all. I thought it was going to be an extended-vacation type of thing. I thought I was doing it just to have fun, but it ended up turning into a great career move.”
The nightclub grind eventually wore out its welcome, and White felt satisfied with what he’d accomplished over 16 years. That’s when he left to become a real estate agent. He says several different friends tapped him to join their business ventures, including app and tech developments pertaining to the service industry. After careful consideration, he made his choice.
“You try to think of what you’re going to do next,
but it’s nearly impossible to figure out a plan to make equal the amount of money.
You get spoiled.”
“I’d been keeping my eyes and ears open, doing some research, and I always considered real estate as a possibility I could transition into,” he says. “When I met Kamran Zand, the broker and owner of Luxury Estates International, I hit it off with him and decided to go to real estate school.”
White’s strong work ethic transferred well to real estate. Less than half a year in, he became a top producer for the company, earning the No. 1 position for all sales categories for the month of August.
“A lot of the knowledge that I gained operating the nightclubs, dealing with high-end clientele, getting things done, definitely translates into responsible, basic business sense in real estate.” He specifically notes building a vast database, managing a team and presenting the value of high-cost products and experiences as well as knowing how to best present himself.
When it comes to the lure of the nightlife industry on its employees, White points to the pay and perks as the primary reasons people stay in the business as long as possible.
“You try to think of what you’re going to do next, but it’s nearly impossible to figure out a plan to make equal the amount of money. You get spoiled. People come from everywhere to spend thousands of dollars to get a table, do bottle service and have this fun experience. You’re getting that same experience for free, on a constant basis, whether you’re at work or you’re doing group outings on your night off enjoying the other nightclubs and restaurants that Las Vegas has to offer.”
For those trying to leave the industry, White has one piece of advice: “Don’t wait too long, because the sooner you get a jump on your next thing, your next project, the more time and energy you’re going to have to put into your next chapter.”