By Miguel DeCoste
This morning I was going through some paperwork — the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Vietnam, The West Indies, these are just some of the places the Executive Protection Industry has taken me. Oh yeah, and this is a good time to mention, that I started off working as a nightclub “bouncer”.
When I talk to club security staff, they often ask me, “How did you transition to VIP Protection and can I do the same?” And I tell them that in my case, it was a matter of being mentored, getting trained and certified, and utilizing what I learned working in nightclubs to forge a path into the professional world of Close Protection work.
Those of you working in the field of nightclub security should know that a lack of a Law Enforcement or military background is not necessarily a hindrance when it comes to doing Executive Protection. As a matter of fact, there are skills specific to nightclub work that transfer very well:
- Observing people for questionable behavior, particularly in lowlight conditions
- Defusing potentially violent situations
- Dealing with “important people” who can be easily offended
- Long stretches of time standing in one place
- Working long or unusual hours, sometimes at a moments notice
For those of you considering a shift to VIP protection, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
WHY? – This is the really the most important question. Are you trying to be the cool guy in sunglasses and a suit or do you gain satisfaction at the idea of providing protection and acting as a facilitator for your Client? Can you handle putting yourself in harm’s way, sometimes far from home, often without recognition for a job well done?
WHAT and WHO? – Are you interested in high risk, high speed assignments in dangerous places? Are you interested in tactical medicine or logistics and advance work? Do you want to work in a corporate environment from 9 to 5? Or do you want to work with a high profile individual that does a lot of travelling? Each has its pros, cons, and challenges.
WHERE? – You can work in protection virtually ANYWHERE, but EVERYWHERE is not a good place to find or do protection work. Are you willing to move to find more work or are you going to try and carve a niche for yourself within your own location at the risk of failure?
HOW? –You need to figure out how to get in the door. Honestly, in my opinion, the only way to do it properly is with training, followed by certification in your field of interest (see What), a ton of networking, and yes, doing practically whatever job you are called upon to do in order to gain experience.
WHEN? – The answer to that comes from you. YOU have to take the initiative to get away from the computer screen, the xbox, the gym and begin your quest.
No one comes out of the box as James Bond or Creasy from Man of Fire. The only route to success is through dedication to the craft, continuous training, and hard work. Create a plan for yourself and find a mentor to help guide you. With some luck and perseverance your plan will pay off.
Miguel DeCoste, CPP is an Executive Protection Specialist and the owner of Coast Executive Services. With over 20 years of experience he has worked with numerous public figures around the globe. Miguel, a strategic partner and graduate of the ICON Executive Protection Academy, is also the author of Tao of the Velvet Rope, a blog focusing on the Nightclub Security Industry.