Don’t let Shark Tank shows fool you into thinking you need to raise capital — you probably don’t AND shouldn’t. Many of the VC funding shows get start-up founders excited about an expedited path to success but in most cases they would be better served to grow the business organically with retained ownership. Don’t get me wrong, I watch these shows all the time now as an investor myself and I love them, I just think many early stage founders get caught up in the perceived ease or path of least resistance. It’s my opinion from going through it myself that choosing the bootstrapping path turns you into an exponentially more qualified founder / CEO in the process. I encourage all of my consulting clients to learn how to execute in every facet of their business before hiring employees to ensure proper oversight abilities. Along the way you naturally see gaps or leaks in the business that can be plugged early on while using cheap or free growth hacking tools to grow your business instead of expensive relationships.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bizzie Gold. Bizzie is one of the world’s top Personal Development + Wellness Experts. A testament to the millennial mindset, Gold grew 5 global brands by bootstrapping, staying to true to her vision and not allowing the fear of disrupting a 9 Billion dollar industry get in her head. This multifaceted-mama travels the world speaking, teaching and inspiring the masses to BUILD the world they want to live in — not just complain about it. Gold’s unique approach to sustainable transformation has garnered widespread Hollywood praise (past clients include Julia Roberts + Jennifer Love Hewitt, among others). Gold’s off-the-cuff humor and focus on diligent accountability, helps clients achieve striking breakthroughs in record time with her BREAK Method. An industry disruptor to the core, Gold is bulldozing the model of “coaching” that financially preys on countless people across the globe, replacing it with a sustainable model that puts the client’s swift breakthrough at the forefront of all sessions. When Gold isn’t speaking in front of a packed house or appearing on TV, she can be found in the kitchen cooking up paleo-friendly meals for her family or helping her 7 year old daughter Sarai achieve her goal to be the world’s first special needs supermodel.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was an accidental CEO and even more accidental celebrity trainer. I started off my professional career as a publicist in LA only to burn myself out entertaining clients and burning the candle at both ends to the point of a Lupus diagnosis by age 23. It was during my two year Hawaiian “health retreat” that a series of unfortunate events eventually turned out to become the biggest blessing of my life. In 2010, after the birth of my daughter resulted in a near death experience and a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, my business found me. I asked for healing and it came in the form of a movement practice, Buti Yoga®, that would continue to grow and evolve beyond my wildest dreams.
The idea that I made my big entrance into the business world wearing workout clothes would have made anyone that knew me in college laugh out loud. In many ways I think it’s why we were able to disrupt the yoga and fitness space in such a major way. I wasn’t focused on perfection (or at least the appearance of perfection) and what other people might think about our brand along the way. I knew the PR and marketing battle would be rough but that I had the skill, drive and integrity to see it through the global adoption.
I was guided by a force one can only describe as fate and I’ve paired that vision with tireless work and too much time spent away from my family to arrive at the beautiful place we are today.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
Early on in the development of my company we were approached with different funding options. Many of the men at the table encouraged me to make one of the first priorities to “get a suitable CEO” inferring that I was somehow NOT one. After getting to know me for a few months — digging deep in my process, strategy and overall vision for the brands — one of them called me with a serious tone to tell me that he found the perfect CEO. They set up a conference call and I nervously dialed in to see who they were about to pitch me and to my surprise he called to apologize for not believing in me and told me there would be no better CEO in the world to scale my company with the level of integrity that was so important to me. I got what I call ‘confidence pranked.’ Was it his plan all along as an advisor? Possibly. Whatever the case may be it was a moment that shifted my perception forever.
I’m not a crier but at that moment I was reminded to always hold my ground and claim my seat at the table despite any preconceived notions about a 30-something’s ability to grow a multi-million dollar brand.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Every employee in our company, Buti Inc., started as a fan or student of the method. From customer service to graphic design and everything in between we all live and breathe the brand from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. It is not uncommon to experience a staff meeting filled with hearts bursting with pride for how much we positively contribute to helping change the world — and EACH employee knows they personally contribute. We are always focused on integration of our core beliefs as a company in everything we do.
Everyone in our company feels like family and we encourage members of our community and customer base all across the globe to approach us with new ways to expand the business or integrate themselves into our full time staff. When a staff member believes in (and lives) what they do, the level of work output is unmatched. We have a lean team of 8 full-time employees — we work hard and play harder.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
In 2013 (year two of my business), a pivotal advisor and angel investor came into my life and completely transformed the way I approached running the day to day operations of the business. He helped me understand the ins and outs of scaling operations, employee management and overall compliance. I came into the business with a background in PR and marketing so there were many parts of the business I understood in a meaningful way — sadly operations was NOT one of them.
In our two years of working together, he helped me get my faux-MBA and turned me into the CEO I am today. I was able to avoid business financing and have grown my companies to 400% YOY growth while maintaining the integrity of my original vision. I genuinely believe I couldn’t have done it without his tireless hours of often thankless labor in teaching me what I know now. He did it with tough-love and always watched out for me like a daughter and I’m eternally grateful.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
When my businesses first started seeing success, I struggled with the aspect of financial exchange because I was so motivated by my genuine desire to free people from the confines of their self-imposed mental and physical prisons. I had to work hard to shift my perspective to “the more people I help, the more money I make.” There’s an inherent guilt that can be felt when you are motivated by pure intentions but you HAVE to overcome it in order to help more people!
I’ve made a conscious effort to build in scholarship programs throughout all of our offerings to make sure we are consistently able to help people from every income level as much as possible. Throughout 2018 and 2019 we will be launching a FREE tour for Break Method to low-income areas throughout the country to help transform the overarching socio-economic mindsets that permeate the community from generation to generation. I operate every day of my life with this core belief at heart — “build the world you want to live in — don’t just complain about it.” There are millions of people in the U.S. that don’t feel empowered to get out there and change the world themselves. I intend to dedicate my life to helping communities shift personal, cultural and socio-economic belief systems so they can start believing they have the power to build the world they want to live in.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1.Don’t waste large press opportunities by taking them too soon!
It’s tempting when one of the major magazines and national TV shows calls you to feature you but here’s what you don’t necessarily think about — do you have the solid backend foundation for your business to handle the growth that is milliseconds away from happening? Many companies think that by passing on an opportunity they are giving up or that it won’t ever come around again and you are WRONG. People say there’s no such thing as bad press but let me assure you, many of the immature business decisions I made in the early stages of my business resulted in press appearances we couldn’t properly monetize or follow-through on shipments.
The moving pieces of the business behind the scenes are the MOST important. With those operations properly structured you can efficiently monetize PR appearances to grow your business with integrity.
2.Some of the best advisors in the world might be the WORST advisors for YOU.
Even some of the best advisors in the world may not understand your brand vision, market or disruption tactics. In the early stages of my business I was approached by many top tier advisors, VC representatives and celebrities about how I “should” be doing it. Save a few, they were all wrong. Each time I let one of them chip away at my brand vision I’d see some small early growth then a major backslide. From branding decisions to what I “should” be wearing or where to put my investment first, they all turned out to be wrong. As soon as I made a commitment to myself to keep my head down and focus on what I knew to be right, my company started to grow rapidly, our product lines expanded in an organic way using social listening and we grew a loyal following, many of whom even don a branded tattoo. Even the smartest people in the room might not understand who YOU are as a founder, what makes you the best caretaker of your brand vision and how to successfully bring it to market. At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut. The moment I set it all aside and stopped convincing myself that advisors had all the answers, I watched my company skyrocket to where it is today.
3.Get a personal assistant WAY before you’re ready.
I didn’t get a REAL personal assistant until this year and that was about 5 years too late. When you’re a visionary type of leader it can seem more challenging to explain what you want someone to do then to just burn yourself out and do it yourself. I did this for years. It might seem like a time efficient decision in the moment but the amount of stress it can save and with it your creativity and passion for the business is worth it in the long run. I hated the idea of training someone to do what I felt I “should” be doing in terms of responsibility — I operated for too long with the mentality that if I COULD do it myself then I shouldn’t hire someone else to do the same job. This decision kept me away extra hours from my children, likely made me have occasional bouts of moodiness toward employees and made my overall passion for the business decline.
Don’t delay in hiring a personal assistant. It doesn’t mean you’re a pretentious jerk — it just means you’re being smart about the time needed for you to properly execute on your unique abilities without getting bogged down with the menial tasks that chip away at your drive and passion. I promise when you’re selling your company for big bucks you’ll thank me and BuzzFeed for this reminder.
4.Don’t let Shark Tank shows fool you into thinking you need to raise capital — you probably don’t AND shouldn’t.
Many of the VC funding shows get start-up founders excited about an expedited path to success but in most cases they would be better served to grow the business organically with retained ownership. Don’t get me wrong, I watch these shows all the time now as an investor myself and I love them, I just think many early stage founders get caught up in the perceived ease or path of least resistance. It’s my opinion from going through it myself that choosing the bootstrapping path turns you into an exponentially more qualified founder / CEO in the process. I encourage all of my consulting clients to learn how to execute in every facet of their business before hiring employees to ensure proper oversight abilities. Along the way you naturally see gaps or leaks in the business that can be plugged early on while using cheap or free growth hacking tools to grow your business instead of expensive relationships.
I took on early stage angel investment in year two only to burn through it all because I wasn’t really ready. I was the type of ready many founders are when watching Shark Tank — ready for the ease NOT ready with the rocksolid operations plan. I found myself in a rough place having just given birth to my second child, downsizing the office which once housed 4 employees and moving everything back into my house to bootstrap the business. I formulated a plan to cut our operating expenses monthly by 60% for one year to fund our expansion internally and pay off the angel investment. It worked. With two employees and no days off we paid off all investment and grew the company 400%. The moral of the story: bootstrap and learn as much as you possibly can about your business operations before you take outside money.
5.Just say no to friends and family.
While it may seem like the easiest hiring solution, it does the most harm and sets your business back exponentially. Taking the time to hire the “right” people that have the proper skill set or areas of leadership that you currently lack can be extremely beneficial to growing your business. This dynamic loses its impact when hiring family or friends who inevitably bring in more complex interpersonal communication patterns to the business. As much as you LOVE your friends and family, they will:
●Ask for the most money (even if they don’t do it right away)
●Ask for favors or to borrow money
●Use your personal life and their knowledge of it to change the power differential at work
●Cause you TONS of stress by making business pivots or changes nearly impossible because you’re afraid of ruining the relationship
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this.
Randi Zuckerberg is a role model I can get behind. She’s an amazing business woman and I look forward to catching her show on Sirius XM whenever I can. How many women can say they’ve built a business empire and starred in a Broadway show? I feel like that sums up creative and business goals.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!
Bizzie Gold Of Buti On The Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.