Chris Colt is a digital entrepreneur, husband, father, & endurance cyclist with 25+ years of sales experience. Over his career, he contributed to launching two startups that exceeded $100M in sales in under 3 years. Also helped launch a movement that generated $1B in sales in under 5 years.
Then, in 2017, he was unfulfilled and tired of the corporate grind.
So, he set his sights on the iconic Leadville 100 mountain bike race. And successfully finished it in 2017. It was the hardest challenge he had ever put himself through, but also the most rewarding. As he crossed that finish line, he knew life going forward was going to be about making an impact versus just making a living.
He and his family decided to downsize their life and go right into a new race – digital entrepreneurship. Where he is now known as “your cornerman in social selling”. As The Challenge Champion, he guides clients on how to build a movement that creates enduring revenue by using the challenge model.
Chris is married to Sarah his wife of 18 years, and together they have three boys. There is always an adventure going on in the household with either cycling, skiing, fly fishing, or whatever else brings a thrill to the day.
Chris’s mission is to guide mission-driven entrepreneurs to launch & scale their movements via movement marketing so they can make a greater impact in this world!
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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?
Chris Colt: It all started when I worked in a Dairy Queen growing up. This shy boy turned into an outgoing servant. I learned quickly I loved to help others and put a smile on their face. Even knew that at some point I would create my own business that would help others smile. It was when I started to race mountain bikes in my early twenties that life starting really coming together.
After Dairy Queen and completing my Associate’s degree I went into sales. Early on did extremely well winning numerous rep of year awards, consistent president’s club awards, and top producer. All the foundation of success I give to cycling as it taught me discipline and to always be coachable. Eventually, I graduated with a Bachelors’s Degree and kept on a journey of 25 years in sales.
Cycling taught me a ton about business and endurance. I’ve come to realize that endurance reveals truth and it’s a critical skill needed to move forward in life. To me, endurance is a set of skills that reveals clues along the way and as you implement those clues you become less fearful in life. Let me share the highlight reel of what brought me to where I am today.
For years, was trying multiple ideas to build a side hustle that would free me from feeling unfulfilled in my career. Over my career have helped two startups break $100M in sales in sub-three years and helped another startup launch a movement that has lead to over $1B in sales in sub-five years and it still is going! However, even while delivering results I was just “over” being judged on quota performance. And that comes from an endurance cyclist who puts the highest standards on his performance in life.
Zig Ziglar said it best: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough others get what they want.”
So I worked on something he called ” The Wheel of Life”. Being a cyclist I quickly realized the spokes of my wheels were broken. As I began to address this and worked with mentors, things began to shift.
As the years progressed built a residual income stream with a simple side hustle. It was exciting to see and was really enjoying how we built this community and movement.
However, I was not free from my job, and in my mid-forties, one of my mentors challenged me to do a “rite of passage” event. This was something that would test me to the limit. Being an endurance cyclist, I went all-in on doing the iconic Leadville 100 mountain bike race. If you don’t know much about it, this race is on the highest peaks of Colorado and summits near 13,000 feet of elevation. And they lie to you it is actually 104 miles… you will never forget those final 4 miles…. trust me!!!
To me, endurance is the biggest key and gift in life. The more we grasp and learn from it, the more prepared we are for the challenges life brings us. It was the moment of crossing that finish line that took all I had due to the altitude of those Colorado mountains. When Sarah my wife, Seth, Justin, and Grady my boys ran across the finish line with me.
I knew right then life going forward was about making an impact versus just making a living. And I pedaled right into entrepreneurship!
However, it was right before this race that my Corporate life came to a screeching halt. There was a new boss working for my company and he waited three weeks to call me on a Friday afternoon. It was one of those meetings that he laid out his plans and told me that since I worked remotely. He needed more data on the deals I was working on. Even with the fact that I just signed the largest contract in company history. And if I did not have that information to him by the following Monday. There would be a price to pay. I explained to him that he had that data and just had to pull his reports a different way.
That is when he told me not to tell him what to do and expected me to write a custom explanation of my existence with the company. It was actually quite comical and I knew there was no way I was going to do that being our entire weekend was planned. And I had to get in my final training rides for the Leadville 100. He also told me that I had to modify my already approved 3-week vacation to go race Leadville 100. He was shocked I needed 3 weeks to drive back and forth to Colorado and could not understand why I did not just fly in and out. And it was right there I knew he was playing with a lifelong dream, a trip I promised my family we would do with no interruptions. So mentally I quit that Friday afternoon but talked to my wife over the weekend. And we agreed it was time to go after our dreams in life and that following Monday….. I QUIT!!
As I left the corporate world I started focusing more on building communities that were making a greater impact in this world. I knew it was the pathway to finding what was next on the journey.
It has been a wild ride that involved downsizing our life along the way. However, I would never do a thing differently as every part of the journey has opened my eyes to what I am made of. And now I go create Challenge Champions!
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?
Chris Colt: In the transition to entrepreneurship had to face the reality of losing all financially. It was the most humbling moment of my life. I did not grow up in a wealthy family and was the first one to actually break away from being in lack. Facing this situation was no doubt the most challenging test of life. Especially with a family to support!
However, I knew I was building something for my kids. And being an endurance athlete have learned any finish line has a journey. That journey often has flat tires, rocks, roots & mud. If we don’t quit and focus on where we are going then eventually we will get to our destination.
Even though many times I thought about going back to a job. I realized even losing it all, I felt fulfilled in life and knew to continue on the journey. My wife and kids were by my side and willing to deal with the challenges together. In the process have grown in more ways than I can share. The biggest was being present at the moment no matter what mess is being tossed at you. It allowed me to build deeper relationships in life and to never judge a person based on their circumstances.
Oh yeah and that is OK to start over and that anyone I looked up to had their own harsh financial lessons in life. We are never alone if we seek others for wisdom.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons you learned from that?
Chris Colt: This goes way back but the most PRICELESS mistake I have is very early on in my sales career. I was asked by United Parcel Services to send them a proposal for their business. The decision-maker loved our company story and saw the value and told me we were one of two companies he was considering. Worked on that proposal and asked our Administrative Assistant to overnight the package. Long story short it was sent by Fed-Ex!!
As you can imagine we never got a seat at the table.
My biggest lesson after that was to have attention to detail and I took full accountability for that learning experience. My boss was ready to fire me once I admitted it was my fault. He was glad he didn’t as two months later landing our largest client!
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Chris Colt: To me, it is quite simple as I have experienced it in business and cycling.
It is nothing more than being willing to continue forward with a positive mindset and to come back to life with the resources are your disposal.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Chris Colt: Found a micro-niche that I serve and have created my own space segment to stand out.
Rather play in the Blue Ocean than the Red Ocean!
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Chris Colt: Faith, Perseverance & Integrity
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Chris Colt: To focus on it more as it goes with you wherever you go. People do business with people, not brands. Once this clicked I truly allowed my brand to speak to who I am. The world is full of competition and it is your unique personality and brand that will often win business.
How would you define “leadership”?
Chris Colt: Leadership is the act of influencing/serving the willing to help them accomplish their purpose in life. We meet them where they currently are and guide them to where they want to go. To do this a leader must have good character (loyalty, honesty, courage, integrity, fortitude), be competent in what they do (mastery), know their calling, and build a community based on open authentic communication.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Chris Colt: To be an entrepreneur you must be driven. And my experience shows me that drive comes from life experiences. Some are born with it and get to work with it early. Others obtain it from life experiences. At the end of the day we all have it in us, it is just a matter of will we harness it to learn the skills necessary to build a business.
What I do believe is that there are a % of us who possess a genetic difference that is ignited by the right conditions. It creates that unstoppable drive and fire within and allows the driven to do what others can’t. To see things in a different way, and to push through the impossible.
Once a person is driven enough. I believe the skills of entrepreneurship can be obtained through life experiences. However, no one is born with all the traits necessary to be successful on their own. There is no one-man show in entrepreneurship. … So yes, there needs to be a bit of nurture involved with entrepreneurial success
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Chris Colt: Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough others get what they want”. That quote stuck with me the day I saw it. And I immediately refocused my life to live exactly how Zig Ziglar shared it. And still, do to this day!!
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Chris Colt 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 Chris Colt or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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