Breaking News – All-Star Panel Interviews World Class Connector Bruce Brown – March 31, 2020.
Talk about electricity! Today a panel of iconic creators talked with Team Beachbody’s Bruce Brown about his core focus, his passions and purpose, and the process he used to create an international network of Team Beachbody Coaches to empower people on their paths to personal health and lifestyle success.
Albert Einstein, Jerry Garcia, and Sir Richard Branson lined up for this interview. The four men gathered on the front porch of Bruce’s Leland home overlooking the aptly named Hammock Lake on a warm North Carolina Spring afternoon, with clear blue skies and a refreshing breeze augmented by three slowly spinning ceiling fans. . With the Brown’s double doodle Happy contentedly settled between them they got ready for a thoughtful, enjoyable discussion.
Albert Einstein was on the scene to discern the role of creative spark and intellect in Bruce’s rise. Jerry Garcia, the soul of The Grateful Dead, found resonance with Bruce’s community-building and faithful following. Jerry also was on the lookout for fun times and living contrary to expectations. Virgin’s Richard Branson, the epitomal entrepreneur and risk taker, was there to talk about new business models, twisting existing practices for greater customer satisfaction and profitability, and to comment on finding and delivering fun, excitement, and a sense of expectation to customers.
After a light lunch of quinoa salad and chocolate Shakeology blended with distilled water and coconut milk, the four decided to walk a couple laps around Hammock Lake accompanied by Happy, just to shake out the lassitude of the day and get down to the task for which they were assembled and so eagerly awaited. On their return, each chose a comfortable chair on the porch as they gathered in a rough circle to talk. Happy lay next to Bruce napping with a bemused air.
As the senior member of the gathering, Einstein started off.
Albert Einstein: So, when do we start, in the beginning, the end or somewhere in the middle? They are the same, so I care not. My only request, in the interest of forward time, is that we keep it simple, for “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Jerry Garcia: Anywhere you want, man, just keep the flow. “There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go, no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone.” So let’s make it easy.
Richard Branson: Let’s have fun and stay involved, we all can use our creativity. “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
Albert Einstein: So Bruce, you start, ya? Make us familiar with your start.
Bruce: Cool, and let me say I am STOKED you three honored this process by showing up. So here’s my deal:
In August 2007 my world started falling apart. My wife Marge and I had moved to North Carolina in late 2003 after the youngest of our three children left for college. We had originally intended to continue our careers as freelance technology writers for PC Magazine and a few other A-list computer magazines, but we got word during the process between contract and closing on our North Carolina home that PC Mag was going to stop using freelancers the following Spring (ed. – that would be March, 2004), so we knew we needed to find new businesses.
In January 2004 we launched my real estate career and by June of that year we started building a team. I’ve always been a team builder and wanted to profitably leverage my time, starting with our leather company in the early 70s called Brown Leather.
Jerry Garcia: “Bitchin!”
Bruce: Thanks, Jerry. Anyway, over the years I’d build teams of counselors, computer consultants, and technology writers, so I knew how to build a team. It was apparent to me that there was fabulous opportunity in real estate, especially in coastal North Carolina, so I wanted to jump all in and leverage both the opportunity and other people who might want to join with me.
Richard Branson: Brilliant! You combined a market reality and opportunity with a way to leverage your profitability. Smart move.
Bruce: Thanks, Richard. And it did seem to be working. In just a couple of years we had a team of six agents and four staff people. We brought my wife Marge into the business for oversight of procedures and processes and for her marketing expertise. We were winning local and state awards and it was going great.
We were also investing our personal funds in rental properties and developing expertise in that field – we actually were building a loyal following among our former technology contacts in California, many of whom had money to invest in real estate.
Jerry Garcia: Way to go! Way to build community and maintain a loyal following.
Albert Einstein: Und zen?
Bruce: Then I had a cancer scare. We were still really just getting our business started, not yet making any money at all ourselves . . .
Richard Branson: Bollocks!
Bruce:Yeah, and suddenly time did not seem on our side. Even though after a few months the medical folks decided that I didn’t have Zollinger-Ellison disease (which is a type of cancer that if it can be detected it’s pretty much too late) and ‘only’ had pernicious anemia. So healthwise that was good news, but also a wakeup call.
At that point all our funds were invested in real estate and we determined with the help of our business coach that the best course was grow our team a bit larger to enjoy better economies of scale and for greater market penetration so we could eventually sell the team at a great profit. With our easy access funds gone, we refinanced everything we could and sold some assets (like my Jeep Wrangler, which went to pay for a phone system for the office) to make the whole thing really boom. That was in mid 2006.
Richard Branson: Oh-oh, mate, timing.
Albert Einstein: Time doesn’t matter.
Bruce: Well, in this case, Albert, with due respect, time mattered to us, because just as we were throwing everything we had and could borrow into our business, the real estate market crashed and we started on a path to financial faceplant.
Jerry Garcia: Ouch!
Bruce: Without getting into the gory details, in a period of less than two years we had a complete financial reversal. Shortly after I got out of real estate entirely and Marge and I started Quantum Results Coaching, a life and business coaching business drawing on our skills and experiences in both.
Albert Einstein: I like the company name. Quantum in this sense means both tiny and tremendous.
Bruce: Thank you. I’m going to skip over the life and business coaching time, because basically it didn’t work – right product, wrong time. People in tough times needed it and knew it, but not many would justify the expense for our services, preferring to stay planted in the status quo, even though they were often quite miserable.
However, the best thing that came from our coaching business was being approached by and invited to become Team Beachbody Coaches! That was great for our health, it allowed us to work in alignment with our passions toward our purpose and it helped us financially to the point that we were able first to pull back from the edge of full financial disaster and then to regain our footing, pay our bills, work out deals with creditors, and then begin to rebuild our lives and to dream again.
Jerry Garcia and Richard Branson (simultaneously): “Right on!” “Good show, mate!”
Bruce: So fast forward to 2014. Our team of Team Beachbody Coaches had grown to 150, most in the U.S. and a few in Canada, and we had about 1,400 customers given us by Beachbody to support. We were helping people, using our skills and gifts, having fun, and making money!
Richard Branson: Perfect! Brilliant!
Albert Einstein: OK then. So you made this model work. We know that’s not the end. How did you make the ‘quantum’ leap to where you are now in 2019 compared to where you were in 2014?
Bruce: OK, so today we’re still growing, still learning, still changing, and still having fun. The money comes fast enough that we’ve been able to fund the Brown Family Fund for extended family members in need and the Brown Community Fund for major charities with $1,000,000 each and we also have put aside $1,000,000 to give to YMCA Camp Jewell in Connecticut in August this year (ed. – 2020) on the occasion of Marge’s and my 50th wedding anniversary.
We have three great homes, this one in Leland, another in Portland, Maine near the waterfront, and a third residence, a small condo in Farmington, Connecticut. Each is fully paid for and we for the first time in our lives were actually able to have the time and money to focus and update, upgrade, and decorate each of the three homes to our exact preferences.
We own a fleet of cars and SUVs for different purposes, spread among the three locations. We both enjoy driving and like luxurious, powerful, sporty, and utilitarian vehicles. In all we currently have nine vehicles, which seems just about right, for now, LOL.
We love to travel and do so often as part of our business, to visit family and friends, and for pure vacations. We’ve now established a routine of a half dozen short cruises each year primarily for business prospecting, and we also travel in the U.S. frequently and internationally at least twice a year. So life is very good on that end. Our business currently generates a profit of $2,000,000+ a year but our lifestyle requires only 1/4 of that amount, so we are able to invest 1/4, and share the rest with family and with our charitable foundations.
Jerry Garcia: OK man, we get it. You got a lot of money and you get to travel a lot and give away a lot of money. So your need for Liberty, for the financial means to do what you want is fulfilled. Good on ya. But, how did you make this transition, cuz before, back in 2014, you were kinda just coasting along?
Bruce: Thanks, Jerry. Yeah, well, really there were a few parts we put into play in 2014 while we were involved with Mark J.’s Master Key Mastermind Alliance. And those not only enabled us to get back on track and surpass our financial goals, but also supercharged my need to help people.
Richard Branson: How’d you do that, mate?
Bruce: When I learned, practiced, and fully incorporated conscious control over my subconscious, that’s when my full brain power, so to speak, was able to keep me open to people who wanted to change their lives. Because I made a personal shift in focus and sticking to what I started, our work just seemed to get easier, more effective, more lucrative of course, and absolutely a lot more fun!
Albert Einstein: You made fuller use of your brain. Gutt.
Jerry Garcia: Yeah man, shift your focus to other people, keep on truckin’, and you’ll have fun AND get it done!
Richard Branson: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” Sounds like you got on the right bus!
Bruce: It really all came down to doing what I love to do, connecting with people wherever I was. I already mentioned going on cruises to meet new people, but I also walk Happy wherever we are, which she and I totally enjoy. I go to networking events, meet people and sometimes just hang out in coffee shops, and I also join special interest groups such as walking, hiking, dog lovers, car nuts, writing, reading, and cooking groups. I love to find people doing what they like to do and start relationships that way, with people who like to do what I like to do. This is all basically just so cool.
Richard Branson: But in your changes, what did you give up?
Bruce: Well, the biggest change for me was sticking with things. Before I’d get bored and move on, often times before I really gave the right activities a chance to work. Of course this was balanced by learning how to walk away from the wrong activities for me and not sticking too long with unprofitable ventures or methods. Discovering the difference is tricky, but I’m finding even that part is fun, it’s kind of like a game or solving a mystery, knowing when to stick and when to walk away.
Probably the ultimate benefit, however, was being able to inspire, model, and teach the same skills and practices to our team members and to help those same people pass along their learning. That’s where the growth really happened for our team and therefore, for us.