Brian Cristiano is a self-made entrepreneur, business strategist to Fortune 500’s and Celebrities, CEO coach, keynote speaker, and the founder and CEO of BOLD Worldwide. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, Brian has helped transform many prominent brands including; PepsiCo, UFC Gym, Orangetheory Fitness, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, DirecTV, Gillette, and the New York Mets.
Brian is a thought leader and media personality featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, Fortune, Digiday, and AdWeek among many others. Drawing upon his entrepreneurial background, business successes, and unique ability to create impact in a short period of time, Brian is a highly sought-after coach and advisor for business decision-makers looking to reach their full potential. Brian began his career without any connections or money – just a passion for storytelling and business.
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Table of Contents
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Brian Cristiano: Want a sure-fire way to make business people run away from you? Try telling them you know exactly what it takes for them to scale their business! And, I can’t blame people for wanting to head for the hills. On one hand, you have the old-age growth training that’s turning out the same information you can find in a sales book for literally $10. On the other hand, you have the new-age training, in which the instructor advertises themself as a ‘relatable’ person who found a way to achieve the heights of growth from their beach chair.
There’s an obvious problem here: We’ve got a cesspool of options for people to achieve growth, yet they’re nothing but empty promises of business success (and horrible messaging). Somewhere along the way, we forgot that business growth takes more than just knowing information on how to achieve growth. Knowledge means nothing. True success is about knowing how to apply knowledge about business growth. Knowing how to apply knowledge is empowerment!
With that said, what if there was a tool for business leaders that enabled them to put all of their knowledge to use? More than that, what if there was a one-stop hub for people who want to take their business success to the next level?
- Enter BOLD CEO!
We’re at a clear turning point in life: 2020 and 2021 have taught us that it’s one thing to think you know how to react calmly to a crazy situation, but actually doing it is a whole other story! It’s only a matter of time before business leaders start to realize that the same can be said for business growth. And, BOLD CEO is waiting there to catch them when they do come to their senses.
BOLD CEO is the hub for people who are tired of spinning their wheels and getting nowhere. Business growth starts with and ends with empowerment, and that’s what we do.
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?
Brian Cristiano: Did I ever consider giving up?
There were times that I used to spend days on end working a minimum of 12 hours and have to sacrifice family time to do frivolous things like answer emails or take calls. And, during those times, the thought of giving up was a daily occurrence. Sometimes more than once a day! I’m no different than anyone else. When things get hard, the first place my mind goes is giving up, because it’s an easy out.
But then I remember, I can either keep going which is hard. Or, I can throw my hands in the air and let my ambitions go, which is also hard. It’s all a matter of choosing your hard! Some people may have heard bits of my story before… Long story short, I was about $250,000 in debt and sleeping on a couch for months. I thought I was making moves, but in reality, I wasn’t doing anything. I was spinning my wheels thinking they would take me somewhere, but I wasn’t going anywhere.
The moment I came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything because I was afraid to do what I knew I had to do is the moment everything changed. It’s the moment I got myself out of debt, moved off the couch, and took my business to 8 figures. Even to this day I still have moments where my mind tells me to give up. But then I just remember that I have to choose my hard in life!
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Brian Cristiano: The single most common mistake I see entrepreneurs make is complicating the heck out of their business and sales strategies. I can’t say it loud enough… Just because something looks complicated doesn’t mean that it’s effective. For some reason, we’ve gotten to a place in business where, if something looks more complex, we assume that it’s good. But, the opposite is true.
The simple fix entrepreneurs can make today is to scale back their strategies. Big results start with a simple, straightforward approach. If your team has a look at your strategy and can’t easily repeat it back to you, odds are that things are too complicated.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Brian Cristiano: Resilience is a state of mind. It’s being able to hit a series of waves, and then immediately get back to smooth sailing the second the storm ends. It’s about not letting the difficulty of the situation cause you to completely flip the boat over, even after the storm has ended. To have resilience, you need to have a short memory! You can’t let challenges of the past occupy your mind or throw you off in the present moment.
But, while having resilience is crucial, it’s not enough! Especially during times like the ones we are going through now. Maybe you are resilient enough to make it through challenges, but will you learn from them? Even more, will you use the situation to your advantage?
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Brian Cristiano: Empowerment is at the heart of who we are. Our competition might say that’s what they’re about, but if they were, they would spend less time telling people exactly what to do and more time enabling them with practical tools that get them where they want to be. It’s like the saying goes, “Give someone a fish and they won’t be hungry. Teach someone how to fish and they won’t ever go hungry again.”
Our focus is on empowering business leaders to apply knowledge, not just give them some knowledge to sit on and thinking it will take them anywhere. Our Deal Flow Accelerator program doesn’t make any bold claims about a ‘secret’ to business success. Instead, our focus is on teaching people how to use the tools they need to grow their businesses. And, those tools are good for all types of situations.
We believe that every business leader is capable of achieving the heights of business growth and that many of them probably already know what they need to do to get there! The problem is they just don’t know how to put their knowledge to work That’s where we come in. We’re not just here to spout out some theories on business growth, we’re here to show leaders how to make their knowledge work for them.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Brian Cristiano: First off, the most important character trait for success is simply showing up and doing the work. There is no exchange for hard work. These days, we’re always trying to find a single quick-fix or something to make our problems go away immediately, but that isn’t realistic. The bottom line is that you have to put in the amount of work that reflects the kind of results you want to achieve. There’s no way around it.
Second, I’ve always thought big about business. By big, I don’t mean in size of the business or revenue, but impact! I believe that, in the end, the greater the impact you are able to make, the greater everything else becomes. That starts with going beyond the scope of your current business expectations and then going again beyond that.
Third, being able to put fear aside, even when it’s yelling in your face, is extremely important. Had I let fear get the best of me, there’s a good chance that I would still be $250,000 in debt and sleeping on a couch. There isn’t a single successful business leader out there who doesn’t feel fear! The difference between them and business leaders who don’t get the results they want is that they don’t let fear stand in their way.
A better way of putting it is… having courage.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Brian Cristiano: On an importance scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11! Whatever the CEO puts out there is ultimately reflected in their business. For example, the team looks to the CEO for guidance… Depending on how the CEO projects themself will ultimately show up in their team members, which then trickles down to business results.
Therefore, all leaders at any level who want not only the best for themselves but for their business should be mindful of their own brand!
How would you define “leadership”?
Brian Cristiano: Leadership is saying that you are going to do something and actually doing it. What defines a leader is how truthful they are to themselves and others. When a leader says they’re going to do something, you best believe it’s going to happen!
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Brian Cristiano: If you want to become an entrepreneur, you just need to start! We spend so much time thinking about what we want to do and so little time actually doing it. The reason most people never get moving is that they think they aren’t ready. They say things to themselves like, “once I do this I’ll be ready” or “once I do that I can start”. But, those are just excuses!
The truth is, nobody is ever perfectly ready to take on the role of being an entrepreneur. Because, the truth is, we can always be better! There is always going to be something else we can learn before we get started, so that shouldn’t stop us from making the first move. No matter how old you are or how much experience you have, you just need to begin. Take small steps over time, and they will eventually compound into big results.
Believe it or not, making the choice to start is often the hardest part of the process. So, if you can overcome that, then just know you’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Brian Cristiano: “Staying where you are is hard. Success is hard. Choose your hard.”
Truthfully, this quote impacts all the biggest parts of my world – life, business, and leadership. Like many people, I knew early on that I wanted to make something big out of my life. However, I didn’t know then the depths I would have to go to in order to achieve those heights. When I did reach the depths, I had two options: To stay there and live a life I didn’t want to, or make bold moves and try to crawl my way out. Both are difficult decisions, so I chose to make the bold move and try to see whether or not I could make it out on the other side.
While success has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, had I not made the choice to be bold, I would certainly still be sitting at the bottom. Every day, you are faced with a choice: Are you going to make the hard decision to live a life that you don’t want to live, or are you going to make the hard decision to live boldly in hopes of living the life you’ve always wanted? It’s a daily choice we all have to make, and either option is hard! Be sure to pick your hard wisely.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Brian Cristiano 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 Brian Cristiano or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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