Ben Ivey is one of the world’s leading authorities in the entrepreneur lifestyle, a global speaker, and has spoken at over 200 events internationally. He is the founder of The Entrepreneur Lifestyle helping overwhelmed entrepreneurs to become more efficient and boost business success
Ben works with Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, HSBC, and Maersk inspiring their teams and helping increase business growth. He is a thought leader, business coach and has completed a TED talk in Mandarin Chinese.
Ben is the founder of The Entrepreneur Lifestyle Coach Academy giving coaches the coaching and speaking skills to transform people’s lives. These coaches help him run his signature program the Entrepreneur Lifestyle Accelerator that helps business owners create time freedom, live a great lifestyle, and create business success.
Ben is the podcast host of Entrepreneur Lifestyle with Ben Ivey, where he interviews successful entrepreneurs to uncover the synergy of lifestyle and business. Outside of his work, he is the lead facilitator for Zero Suicide Systems Nu-Rekall, a TEDx public speaking trainer, and a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ben Ivey: I ran a few businesses before starting on this journey. Yet it was when I was building an app out in Silicon Valley, that things started to go downhill. I became a workaholic, and when I saw people taking time off on weekends, I’d think to myself they are lazy! You should be working on your business non-stop in order to make it successful. I fell into this mindset of hustling as opposed to having a balanced lifestyle. This led me to burn out and self-sabotaging my own success. On top of this one month later I ended up losing my father to Suicide. I saw him the day before and had no idea that something like this could have happened. Can you imagine losing the person you care most about in the world?
This completely shook my world, I quit my business in Silicon Valley and I started to search for answers. Firstly, to understand what happened to my dad and secondly to figure out why we do what we do in life. Why is it that entrepreneurs live in these parallel worlds, one which people see vs the reality of what is going on underneath?
This journey took me firstly to China where I started to learn and teach about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (In essence learning about what makes successful people tick.) I attended hundreds of events around the world and began helping others who also felt lost on their journey.
I started out helping entrepreneurs to be happier in their lives and helping them remove the patterns holding them back. My first event in China was just for 5-10 people! Yet over the past 8 years, I’ve now gone on to speak to over 10,000 entrepreneurs from all walks of life. I’ve done Ted talks in Chinese, spoken to FTSE 500 companies helping their employees avoid burnout and increase productivity, and even certified my own trainers to increase the impact that I can have.
It’s been an amazing journey to see how entrepreneurs can move from complete overwhelm to thriving as consistent entrepreneurs, in both their business and in life. Yes, there have been challenges, but it’s been incredible.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Ben Ivey: There are many times indeed! I’ve done events where half the people didn’t even speak English! There was even one time where I had to ask friends to come along to an event in order to fill the room, I certainly felt like giving up then! A recent challenging time though was actually at the start of COVID 19 where I had to transition my business online.
I was flying around the world every month and I thought to myself, can I really make all this work online? I knew I could inspire people in the masses but how could I have the same impact sitting at home in London? The only thing that kept me going was knowing there were people out there who needed my help. I just needed to figure out how to speak with them, so that I could help them level up in their business and life.
It took 6 months and I had to have a lot of help from different coaches and mentors, but being able to make this transition has been game-changing. The most important sentence I kept saying to myself was: I trust in myself and I know what I’m doing. It’s easy to doubt ourselves when we are entering into uncertain territory, but this was a great anchor to keep me on track.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Ben Ivey: The worst advice I received was to follow my passion. Now bear with me on this one. The reason why this was such bad advice is that I was passionate about helping people who were really struggling in their lives. When I first started I even worked with entrepreneurs who were seriously depressed, financially in debt, and even suicidal.
I have to say it was challenging to try and make a business out of this. I realized that this advice is like saying: Eat whatever you want and you’ll be thin! It isn’t just a passion that can help with the business. You must look for the intersection of having a passion, having great ability, AND making sure there is a market!
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Ben Ivey: As I mentioned, one of the biggest challenges I face was transitioning everything online. To begin with, my business was impacted dramatically as my biggest source of leads was through speaking. I would fly to China, the US, and the UK very regularly. Once that disappeared, I had to completely shift what I was doing.
When we look at a crisis vs an opportunity is all a matter of perspective. Very often when we face a challenge, even if we go back to the recession in 2008. Many people believe it to be a terrible crisis. Yet there were others who made millions in the crisis. Everyone is in the same scenario yet we must ask the question: how can I change my business and turn this into an opportunity?
This is where I looked into moving everything online. I digitalized the courses that I used to teach in person. I started to expand with more trainers and now that we are moving out the other side. I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I have had to reflect and change my business model to have a bigger impact in a more sustainable way.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Ben Ivey: There are 2 main things that come to mind that help us stand out from our competitors:
1. Real results
We have a big focus on generating outstanding results for our clients. Not just “fluff” or one-time testimonials. We take the average of all our clients so we can guarantee results such as:
- 77% increase in productivity in 3 months
- Revenue increases 24% in 6 months
- 90% living balanced entrepreneur lifestyle in 6 months
Most coaching organizations focus on intangible things. For us, we know that we can generate these results for our entrepreneurs and overdeliver to them. This means that when someone works with us we can measure very easily the ROI that they receive. On average in 2021 it’s been a 400% ROI which has been awesome!
2. The WOW factor
One of the most important elements in business is to create raving fans. What I love about our organization is that we focus on creating WOW experiences for our clients. I’ll give a small example: As we take on each client and they start to achieve results, we reward them by spinning the “Wheel of Fun”. This is a wheel where they get to win a variety of different prizes. This is a boost to help them on their journey and shows that we are there to support them and celebrate them in everything that they do. This is one example of going the extra mile to create fans who love what we do. Every organization must focus on raving fans because it’s through this that your organization can grow rapidly.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Ben Ivey: Discipline – I am very disciplined with what I do. I have routines, I set myself challenges and I make sure that I can do anything I set my mind to. This has helped me to take on challenges such as doing a Ted talk in Chinese, doing the Wim Hoff Iceman challenge, or even recently a 90-day Muscle-up challenge. I do both business and personal challenges because it helps me grow, learn and be a better role model for my team
Courage – It takes courage to start a business, but more importantly it takes courage to do what others aren’t willing to do. Going to China, learning Chinese, setting up my business without knowing anyone there was scary. Yet it was in the face of fear, that when we can act; we can take steps into being courageous. I think all entrepreneurs need courage and need to use it consistently to have a bigger impact on their business.
Humility – Humility is a trait that is so important for entrepreneurs to master. If you can laugh at your own mistakes and choose not to take yourself so seriously, you will thrive. This has helped me be creative. I can make mistakes and I don’t have to be perfect. Humility has served me through challenges, epic failures as well as to keep me grounded on my journey.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Ben Ivey: I wish I had connected with everyone I met when I first started my business, be it on Linkedin or any social media channel. Too often we miss the opportunity to connect with people. This is so important for your personal brand because your network is your net worth. Who you spend time with and who knows about what you do, is very important for your personal brand. Make sure to connect!
The other mistake I made was not sharing my journey more often. Everyone likes to celebrate your achievement, but what people enjoy even more is being with you on the journey. If I had to do it again, I would have built a brand around the journey of entrepreneurship so people could see the ups and downs. I think this would have allowed me to build an even deeper relationship with my audience.
How would you define “leadership”?
Ben Ivey: Leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how to do it.
If you can live by this quote you will become a better leader. Remember that you cannot define yourself as a leader, you must be followed as a leader. If you can be the model example you want to see in your organization, embody the traits you want them to show, and show empathy for those around you. You will be in a great place
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Ben Ivey: Stop reading this and go do it!
Take action, too many young entrepreneurs are stuck with an information overload but are starving of wisdom. Find 3 entrepreneurs you admire, follow everything they do and ignore the rest
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Ben Ivey: Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.
Too often in business, we can get so caught in building everything up, that we forget to enjoy the journey. Remember that we work hard to enjoy life so we might as well enjoy it!
This quote is one that I turn to when I feel like I’m not progressing as fast as I’d like. It helps me to slow down, “smell the roses” and actually be present. Don’t let life flash before your eyes and realize that you’ve sacrificed everything you care most about along the journey. Choose to enjoy your journey and live a great lifestyle whilst you build your business.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Ben Ivey for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Ben Ivey or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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