Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Chris Gravagna on the show. Chris has been a guest on the show before and I just want to say he’s awesome! He co-started EliteMate with a bunch of other guys. I’ve interviewed all of them. He has a new project called Wines by Wives and I’m really excited about having him on the show today to talk about it. Thank you so much for coming on, Chris.
CHRIS GRAVAGNA: Thank you, I am always happy to be here with you, Jaime.
JT: So tell me first about Wines by Wives because I think it’s a really, really cool concept and I want to definitely get deep into it but first we need to find out what it is.
CG: So I am glad you asked that because it’s a question that people ask me often. Wines by Wives is a celebrity wine of the month club. So it’s where a consumer actually has the ability to choose their favorite personality or celebrity and that celebrity is actually going and choosing wines that they enjoy on a regular basis and not only the wines that they enjoy on a regular basis but the sommeliers and wine experts that work with Wines by Wives will bring wines to the celebrities and personalities for them to pick. They’ll choose from those picks and then the fan actually will be able to choose their celebrity and get those wines that the celebrity has chosen.
So very unique then. A typical wine club where you’re going to sign up for a wine club and they send you what they want, you’re actually drinking what your celebrity drinks. So it’s really this affection between a fan and their celebrity or personality which is different than the way other people do it. So I think that we found a great niche here. We’ve been getting unbelievable response just from the fans and them engaging with their celebrity and fan and we’ve decided to launch it with the Real Housewives franchise. So Vicki and Tamra Barney are our cofounders in this and they’re actually choosing the wines for month one and then we’re going to be bringing on new celebrities every month for fans to choose from.
So by the end of the year we should probably have about 12 to 15 different celebrities and these fans will get to choose what their celebrities are drinking with. What better than the Housewives franchise because if you watch these shows, all the housewives are doing are drinking wine. When they’re not drinking water they are drinking wine, which is we felt it would be great to start with the reality segment of it because they’re really engaged with their fans and we really wanted to launch a product where the fans could really engage with their celebrity personalities.
JT: See that’s awesome. So you found a niche in it because it seems like the wines of the month club are sort of a crowded niche already, right? I mean there’s tons of them out there.
CG: There are tons of them but again when we did our due diligence in finding the right marketplace to really drive our expertise into, we found that even though it was a saturated market with wine clubs, it’s also a growing market and if we were able to find this niche and this uniqueness in that marketplace, we felt that we could grab market share.
JT: And you did. I mean it seems like a great idea so far. So the question though is how do you educate your consumers because most people are used to regular wine of the months. How do we know we get to pick somebody and we get to pick what they’re drinking?
CG: So it’s through education. We have a pretty dynamic FAQ on the site. What we’ve learned is as building the splash page, because the official website launches May 8 to the world. But what you’re seeing now is a splash page or preorder page and this preorder page, what we’ve learned as we’ve been building it and going through the process, we’ve been adding more informational pages. So the about us, the preorder pages, the just FAQ, the frequently asked questions, have now become a bigger part so people can be educated on how the club works very differently than other clubs.
Now what we do is we even have our personalities articulating it and just trying to engage more with the consumer on telling them how it works; we’re also going to be instituting a video segment part of our website when it launches so you’ll actually get to see and hear and listen to your celebrity tell you what it is that the club is about. Instead of just being written down, we actually have the people that are good on TV pairing with their fans how it works.
JT: That’s awesome. So how long ago did this idea start? Like how long have you been doing this because I know the launch isn’t for a little but there’s a lot of backend stuff.
CG: Right. So the launch is within a month. We’ll probably be shipping our first orders before the initial launch. We had so much success in our prelaunch that we’ve actually garnered over 250 pre-registrants just because. We’ve also had over 6,000 people sign up for our site and luckily we’ve also had over a 1,000 Facebook likes, 1,000 on the website likes so we’ve gotten huge momentum and success.
You asked a question about where did it start and it’s kind of a unique situation. A wine company came to me in July and asked me if I could help them launch their product online and it was just a one brand, one wine and I said it’s a little small. Usually we like to drive stuff to the masses and we felt that it wasn’t expandable enough. So I’m sitting in my backyard, in my summer home, with my wife, and literally she’s sitting there reading the different Star magazine and OK magazine and all these different magazines. So I’m looking at it and I see the Kardashians are endorsing all these products and I see all these different celebrities endorsing these different products and the light bulb went off and the light bulb was wine club.
Instead of one wine why don’t we open it up to a variety of wines and I’m good friends with Tamra Barney from the Housewives of Orange County and Vicki Gunvalson and I literally texted them and said this is my idea, what can you add to the idea, are you in and both of them within 5 minutes said they were in on launching this product.
JT: The start of a business, just a couple text messages! That’s awesome!
CG: The start of this business was two text messages and on a sunny day in the backyard reading these magazines where celebrities are endorsing all these different products and that was the start of the idea and that happened in August about two and a half weeks after I met with this wine company and I actually went to that wine company’s distribution and importer because I felt they were a part of the idea I felt so I at least wanted them to be involved or their importer to be involved. So it so happens that that wine is going to be the first wine of the month that we launch. So they’ll be the first brand and we’ve teamed up with their importing company called Vindegras to be our source for wines from around the world. So it’s an idea literally that came out of a backyard.
JT: See that’s what we love to hear. So tell me a little bit about how it came about because you have resources. You have the experience, you have tons of stuff. So we want to know exactly how you start a business and what your first couple months look like.
CG: So a lot of my first couple of months was a lot of due diligence. So I knew that I had the reality star power behind it. What I didn’t know was the wine business and I didn’t know the wine club business. So a lot of it was understanding and doing a lot of due diligence on the whole wine industry and man it has been and still is a learning experience.
JT: That’s huge! That’s like hey I’m going to plunk myself down in something that’s a huge industry that I don’t know much about. You might like wine but that’s totally different than the wine industry.
CG: As you know, I come from an internet marketing background so I was like okay I can drive by balls and I can drive all this traffic and we’ll get customers in a couple of weeks. We’ll just do this great online marketing campaign. But really what we found is there’s so many restrictions on distributing wine online and throughout the states that every state has a different law in how they actually allow you to distribute wine online. So really assembling a Super Bowl team and I think I mentioned that before on your show, but the only way that you win Super Bowls and you’re a successful company is by assembling the right team.
So what my first part, as we were doing our due diligence, was really looking at assembling the right team whether it was an outsource team or an internal team, it was really about how are we going to drive the experience and the level of understanding we need to launch this company properly. The first thing we did was start working with a compliancy company and that compliancy company really was the key to understanding how we could deliver to not 50 states because you can never deliver to 50 states but now we have the ability to easily distribute to 33 states and that’s expandable to 42 states. So we have the ability to deliver to 42 states, 33 easily, 9 more with a little bit of additional working with additional wineries and a little extra stuff that has to happen.
But it was really about doing our proper due diligence and working with the right people in these different segments to be able to make this a reality. I think that was the key. It’s due diligence. It’s assembling the right team. It’s understanding your marketplace and what you don’t know you need to know so either find the right place to go look for it, find the right people to go look for it and I have to say today from our compliancy to our shipping methods has all been developed through assembling the right team. So now I know the wine business a lot more than I knew in August and I’m tasting a lot more wines than I’ve ever tasted in my life. So I’m drinking a lot of wine. So that’s one of the perks is always wine in our office!
JT: It’s allowed. That’s really cool. Did you ever go through, because a lot of people, especially new entrepreneurs, sort of go into something and go oh my gosh there’s compliance issues. I don’t want to deal with that and then back off. Did you feel like I shouldn’t do this?
CG: It was a moment where is this going to be too overly complicated to what we’re used to and it was almost like things were meant to happen but as we found one company, when they didn’t have the answer, they somehow just said a word of a company or like leaked out information I guess, because some companies always want to be the one that’s doing it for you, and they leaked out just enough information that put us in another direction and we’ve been blessed with being able to really get through the process of finding the right, but there were moments where I was like are we going to be able to do this and at every one of those walls, we found ways to either go over or around them and we have been successful in finding the right outsource partners and finding the right internal team and we’re extremely excited about it because we are at a point today where it’s easier to say no and say you know what I don’t need to do this, but when you’re really persistent and you go through that wall, it works.
We’re very excited about the launch. We’ve put everything in place so we’re in compliance, we’re going to be in compliance as we ship and that’s where we’re good. That was the most important part for us because again, for us driving the consumers we felt was the easier side. So it was all the legal side and this compliancy side that really worried us but we found the right partners. So yeah we’re excited but we did have moments where I was like, especially as we’re investing money where should I keep going and I’m glad that we did. I’m glad that we did. As an entrepreneur, always keep going.
JT: Well what do you give for ideas, especially people that are new and just starting or in a couple years of business that don’t have a ton of capital behind them to start? Like how do we find the best team members on like a low budget?
CG: I use LinkedIn a lot which is a great social media source. A lot more entrepreneurs and leaders in this world like to help more than you think and I think, when you go through, I went through LinkedIn and I started looking up wine groups. I started looking up just different segments of distribution of wines. So I tried to use LinkedIn as a research tool. I did use your LinkedIn as a resource tool. Also just googling and using that to find the right information, the right companies, finding out what sources made the most sense. I do a lot of Twitter. Not as much, Twitter became more of a promotional tool in this business but you’d be surprised how many direct messages I got from Twitter when I mentioned Wines by Wives or the wine club saying, “Hey we’d like to be a winery that helps” or “Have you chosen this company yet?”
So we actually had a lot of outreach from our social media of companies that wanted to get involved with us but as they wanted to get involved they also proved to be educational sources. So I think put it out to the universe and you’ll find that a lot more people are interested in helping you and being a part of it more than you think. So as an entrepreneur, use the social media tools. Use those online tools to do your research and development and you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of information there without necessarily having to pay for it right away.
JT: And I just want to sort of put a caveat up. I love Chris because Chris has helped me so much since I’ve interviewed him. I love Chris! So listen to his information definitely but just so you know, he’s an awesome guy and he’s one of the people that has helped me too and I think that’s huge. Huge to know that somebody so successful is willing to take the time and help you out too is amazing and it will be inspiring for everybody that’s listening too. I like to say go ahead and email people. You never know, they could become your mentors, they could help you in ways you never know. So just a quick email is amazing. But, of course, thank you.
CG: Email me after May 8, anyone is welcome to email me.
JT: But not before because you must be crazy.
CG: Just not before the launch but besides that, after May 8, I’ll take as many emails as possible.
JT: That’s the thing. So how do you balance that, right, because you already have a bunch of other companies. It’s a little ridiculous. Why don’t you actually tell everybody how many different projects you’re working on and then we’ll talk about balance.
CG: So what’s great, I’ll talk about EliteMate real quick because EliteMate was one of the first reasons that you interviewed me, and EliteMate is an online matchmaking site and I’m lucky to have a team and a partner there that runs the day to day. So that has allowed me, I’ve stepped away from some of the marketing responsibilities on a day to day level and Victor and my partner Gary have really stepped up on the day to day of EliteMate so I’ve always been very conscious of, and I know I said this in your last interview, but you can juggle five balls, you can’t juggle six and you need to be able to focus your attention on what you know is going to drive the highest level of success or what is going also drive your highest level of passion because it’s usually what you love what you’re going to make the most successful.
So the dating website is definitely one of the projects that I have on my plate. Spring Base Media is our online marketing company where we help launch companies and products online. So one of the new products that we launched a couple months ago was a company called Go Perfect Credit, which is credit repair. It’s a do it yourself credit repair system. Doing very well. We’re doing a lot in call centers and in credit agencies as a tool to help people that don’t want to go through the whole consultancy process so this is a do it yourself product, which has been great.
I do have a restaurant in New York but I do have a great team behind that. It’s a place called Nuella but we’re talking about me. I’ve had that for two years now. Don’t mention it a lot but I might actually be selling, I might be selling my share in that which is exciting as well. So I do have a couple of projects that I am working on. But what I do try to do is I try to incorporate those products in the industry that I’m in and even with Wines by Wives, it’s able to use the assets of Spring Base Media. So it’s able to use the online marketing engine that we have that allows me launching these individual products with a little bit more infrastructure and efficiency than a person just starting an online company.
We have a foundation that allows us to build and launch a little bit more companies than the average person because we’ve built the infrastructure, the online marketing infrastructure, and I think that’s the key that allows me to be successful in running multiple companies but I’ll keep you posted on some of the new ones that we’ll be thinking about after the 8th.
JT: We’ll be thinking about more after this launch, yeah. I think that’s what’s really cool; to really know that, I mean you are where a lot of the people that I talk to want to be, right? A lot of the people I talk to are sort of in the first stage of their first business or the second stage of their first business but they want to be you, just so you know, they want to be able to go I have an idea, team go do this please. That’s sort of what we want. So what we want to get from you then is sort of your expertise and knowledge in online marketing. It’s amazing how many people are coming to me asking me online marketing stuff and I’m figuring it out too but give us sort of a rundown of your online marketing plan for Wines by Wives or something that is sort of a newer launch.
CG: And it’s a little different than I have done and used to in the past. Before I get into that, I just want to say, you say idea and entrepreneur idea, turning an idea into a reality and into a real company is the best feeling in the world. It’s like nurturing your child and growing it up into this beautiful person. It’s just one of the most amazing feelings in the world. So entrepreneurs that have ideas really take the time to turn them into reality because it is the most amazing feeling in the world. That being said, our internet marketing strategy is a little different than I’ve done in previous launches because a lot of the previous launches, you know what, okay we’re going to do an email campaign, we’re going to find the right publishing partners to be able to drive up our banner ads.
We’re going to do search on Google and Bing and all these different search engine tools and these online marketing tools but with this one it’s a combination of heavy social media with some traditional PR with then a more of a segmented performance base or affiliate marketing campaign. So what we found in our launch strategy was the interaction between the fan and that personality through the social media side of it has been a huge success where we’ve actually increased our social media team by two or three individuals over the last couple of weeks because we felt that it needed to be a bigger part of our strategy.
So social media, so we’ve been using Twitter, we’ve been using Facebook and now Pinterest. I’m not sure how familiar your fans are or you are with Pinterest but Pinterest is becoming a huge part of how we drive social media and this is all online marketing. Social media is really just part of the strategy but it is an online marketing strategy. So what we’ve done is we’ve used our relationships with the celebrities and the personalities that are a part of this project to now be capitalists and to driving this social media campaign.
So when Tamra Barney is actually tweeting about it or posting it to her Facebook, we’re getting a huge interaction with it. We’ll then use that to capture data on our website, we’ll forward that so we’ll put a link on a Tamra Barney or Vicki’s Facebook or Twitter link, we’ll take that now and drive that to our website. That website will now have a data capture and then we’ll get into more of our traditional online marketing which is email broadcasting, remarketing to that individual this product, so now we’ll capture their data and then we’ll do email campaigns. So we’ve now built where we’re social media heavy, driving into data capture into an online marketing campaign. So that’s been the first part of our strategy.
Second part of our strategy is we’re going to be actually doing very specific banner ads and search on Bravo TV so bravotv.com. So the whole month of May you’ll be seeing Wines by Wives take over the whole Bravo pages. It’s working and being smart with understanding your audience. So any company you have you have to know who your audience is so you can advertise to that audience. That’s one thing that Facebook does well. If you do have a small company and you have a very niche audience, Facebook allows you to go through very specific demographics and geography so it will allow you to actually pick and choose the type of consumer you’re looking to advertise to, which is another social media but it’s online advertising.
So we’re doing social media heavy, driving into more traditional online marketing as well as doing online advertising within Bravo TV and other different celebrity oriented websites because that’s where we feel the person that’s visiting those sites are going to be the one that have the affection and want to hear the gossip. They want to be a part of that celebrity’s life. So we’ve chosen that medium to go after. We’ll let you know how the second part of our online marketing strategy works. We’re pretty confident in it but the first side of our strategy which is heavy social media has worked out very well.
JT: It seems amazing, right? You see all these celebrities online and they have huge Twitter followings and they don’t try and sell anything to anyone. So you go, hey we’re going to get the celebrities who have all the fans that absolutely love them and talk to them. I mean it seems like the perfect way to use social media in general because the people already know, like and trust. They love them most of the time and, of course, they want to do anyway so they want to be involved with whatever they’re doing. So that just is perfect.
CG: It is perfect and we looked at this as an opportunity to capitalize on our relationships and to really be able to influence change in how products are sold online through celebrity endorsements and this is just the beginning for us. Today it’s wine, tomorrow it might be chocolate or some other product.
JT: Good idea, chocolate!
CG: As long we can ship it without it melting. Maybe it’s coffee but we’re building, for us, we’re building a fan base, a company fan base of individuals that want to purchase through celebrities and purchase online. So it gives us the ability to start with probably America’s or becoming America’s most favorite pastime – drinking and drinking wine – to the other one which is eating – eating or drinking coffee – so we’ll definitely be able to use this as a catalyst into other products.
JT: See. Why don’t you give us some ideas because it sounds like your stuff is very high level and it’s really cool to hear sort of the high level thoughts and how things go. But how would you suggest and I think I asked you a little bit about this last time, but for somebody who has got an online presence, social media, that sort of thing is sort of part of what they do and they’re not seeing either a ton of traction like you were able to get in such a short period of time, what do you suggest they work on? I know email lists is huge but what are like the top two things or tips that you’ve got to really work on improving?
CG: I think it’s content and that’s what we’ve been finding. It’s great to have Twitter followers and it’s great to have these Facebook fans but they’re only going to be engaged when you put out good content and I think as an individual and I’ve learned this as well because it’s easy to scream out a brand and scream out something but it’s different when you’re actually engaging your followers or your fans or even through an email broadcast that you may do through your core relationship.
So I think that really understand and research content that’s relevant to you but also what you feel is relevant to your audience because content is such a huge driver in bringing that engagement. Also another big thing that you can do once you got that engagement, do referral programs, loyalty programs. Do things that are going to want to influence people and your fans to talk about your product or talk about the event that you have coming up or talk about this special sale and you have to do that by incentivizing your fans, your followers in doing something special whether it’s a referral program, whether it’s a loyalty program but do something that is unique and hopefully sometimes fun that you can engage them in that, could actually want them to share your information because the largest, most successful way of building your company is through word of mouth and through other people talking about your company.
So by being able to grab referrals, by being able to create that engagement, that’s going to be a key to your initial success and viral success. That will actually help you when you are looking for investment, when you are looking for capital, when you’re looking for partners. The fact that you can say we did this and we built this baseline of fans, we put out this content, we got this much engagement, that actually helps you with the metrics moving into the situation. Say, “Hey we were able to do this without any money. Now with capital we feel that we can do this.” So be very conscious of content and be very conscious of how you’re continuing to engage your fans and help them in becoming your biggest supporter and your biggest referral source.
JT: See I think that’s huge. Number one, when you were talking about content, with the whole new Google changes and everybody is scared with SEO of going and now it’s only about content because you can’t gain the system as much anymore. So they’re scaring everybody that you can’t do that. So that’s huge. I mean if we were focusing on content way back then, we wouldn’t have such a problem now. Not that I do, I moved up when it went up, which is good, but most people didn’t.
But the referral program is huge. I have people who are like can you send me business cards? I would love to hand them out for you. I’m going why am I not doing any referral programs? If people are already asking me now, I could just try a little bit more for a referral program which would be huge.
CG: Which I absolutely agree and just from a content side, something that’s getting a lot on the search is video. So doing video content is going to help your search rankings. That will help you get posted higher on the pages. It’s also something that you can put on to the You Tube channels. It’s something that you can put on other video channels. So using video is a huge source of driving more fans. I know that you, Jaime, you started using it through these webcasts but people like to see, feel and touch. They like photos. They like being able to see video. They like being able to interact. That’s definitely going to help what you’re doing. It’s another source of just smart content.
JT: Well and I’m laughing because you’re the guy that told me to do more video. So the reason why I am doing video is because of you, which is great! I’ve gotten so much great feedback of people emailing me going I love the new videos, because then you can have both sides of the content. You can still have the audio. I am still on the podcast for iTunes but now we can have video too. I love seeing the guest. I love seeing what your office looks like. He turned the camera around before and he has got like four crazy video monitors and crazy tons of stuff that you can’t see in his office and of course Wines by Wives is all over that, right? But I think that’s huge to really get to know the people because that’s what we want. We want engagement with who are you? Who is this guy? I think he’s cool because his office looks like this or whatever it is. I think that’s a huge thing that you can’t get in general.
CG: And I am cool!
JT: I know that but…awesome.
CG: I think another smart thing that we’re able to do is because of our relationship, we were very smart about getting the brand on a television show too. So Wines by Wives, we’re on May 8, not only are we launching but we were successful in getting the whole brand and a wine tasting actually on the Real Housewives of Orange County. Tune in May 8! But you’re going to be able to see the brand. It’s product placement. We’ve really, in this very specific company, we’ve been able to adapt online media, social media, traditional television and really morph it all together to build this, what we think is the beginning of a great company.
JT: So tell me more about the other celebrities because I didn’t realize that you were going to add new people. I thought it was just them for the company but you’re going to be adding more people.
CG: I’m trying to think what I’m allowed to tell you. So because I probably can’t tell you any of the other celebrities but I can only tell you that we will be launching one in the middle of June and every month thereafter we’ll be launching a new celebrity from different genres. So it won’t be Housewives specific. You may see other reality stars, musicians, comedians, people from other shows. So you will be seeing a whole different genre of celebrities come through. You will be seeing some other housewives probably later in the year but to start we wanted to make sure that people got a variety and it wasn’t just Housewives specific but it was just really individuals and women that were engaged with their fans, which is why we chose reality to begin with because we felt reality has the most high level engagement with their fans.
JT: So it is mostly women?
CG: It’s all women, either married or recent divorced, single moms or about to be married. It’s an interesting mix of women. We’re being very specific in what we’re looking for and choosing them. But in fourth quarter, you may be hearing about a celeb wine club or celebrity wine club which will be a next generation wine club that will include men and women from other parts of film. So we’re already expanding the idea pretty quickly in what we’re doing.
JT: It hasn’t even launched yet. It hasn’t even launched yet and you’re expanding the idea. So what gives you so much, what makes you think that this is going to be awesome? Just from the immediate engagement to begin with because you sold some stuff but it hasn’t launched yet, so you don’t actually know how well it’s going to do.
CG: I don’t know but when you build companies in the past you can tend to feel momentum and the direction that a company is going in and the hyper growth that it has the ability to have and this is probably one of the first companies where we’ve seen the type of attention that we’ve gotten ever before launching any other product. We’re excited about it and I think that it is the expandability that we’re already looking at is based on not only the foundation of information we’ve been able to collect of the interaction that we had but also understanding where the market needs to go.
So really being able to identify with one group of individuals and consumers and being able to identify with another group that’s looking for a different type of genre and different type of audience. So yes, we’re moving quickly but we’re confident that we’re moving in the right way. Our next segment or the next product isn’t for another six months so if this one happens not to work, which it’s going to work, we’ll just go and launch the other one. But we’re pretty confident that this one is going to be successful. Again, the feedback we’ve been getting and we already have orders. So we’re excited. A lot of times when you launch companies you don’t have orders ahead of time.
JT: Tell me a little bit about launching companies. You’ve launched a lot, you’ve done a lot. You’ve helped other people do a lot. So how can we really know whether or not our idea is a good one? I get that question a lot of going well I don’t really want to take too many steps because I don’t know when the numbers will be back. So that way I won’t know if the numbers are good or bad or if I should move forward.
CG: I’ve always used a group, and not even a group, they are friends and family and trusted advisors – my network. I verbalize my ideas a lot. I talk to people and people are opinionated. People like to give their opinions – good or bad. I try to find people that usually give me their bad opinions and say oh no that’s not going to work. In this very specific case, I went to probably about 100 and some odd people and talked about the idea with them and part of my due diligence and maybe one or two out of that group of trusted advisors, which again are mostly friends and family, gave me nothing negative but poking holes in it which helped me in filling in those holes to make the idea better.
So usually I’ll go with an idea to someone and I’ll get a lot more negativity on an idea and this is what you shouldn’t do or why that’s not going to work. With this very specific idea, we had so much positive feedback and wow that’s a great idea. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that one.
JT: That’s what I thought of too!
CG: The other side which is always good for us is how do I get in? How do I invest? So I think verbalizing your ideas and going to trusted individuals, mentors, people that you want to be mentors, you have to verbalize and talk about what you want to do. That will help you in getting a little bit more confident or help you in changing or manipulating your idea to make it better and then coming back and say you know what, this is what we changed with the idea. This is how we think that we can make this idea better and now make it work. I think if you follow that tool, you’ll get some really good feedback and also be very, I don’t want yes people. I want people that aren’t going to tell me yes. I want people that are going to tell me that it is a bad idea if they think it is and again, we’ve been blessed in this very specific idea of getting some amazing feedback.
JT: So tell me about sometimes where you’ve done that and you haven’t gotten feedback or you haven’t moved forward on an idea because this one seems so, I mean success stories are easy, right? This was perfect. We just put it out there. It was wonderful. That was great for you but what about me, right? So with the people that are listening, have you gone through anything where it didn’t really work out so well or where people were really negative on an idea and you pushed through anyway? Give us some other stories that you’ve had.
CG: Yes, the answer is yes and usually I try to put those out of my mind because I thought they were a brilliant idea when it started and then it didn’t work. I’m trying to think of one that I just had little over a year ago. So I’ll talk about the credit repair product because that was something that we almost didn’t do because I had some, it’s a very saturated market, it’s credit consultancy and what I found when we were doing that, people were like I could just go to a credit consultancy, why am I going to want to buy this video? How do I know it’s not a scam?
So when we were building that product, it wasn’t just oh yeah let’s do this, this is a great idea. I was very confident that I felt it built a niche but not necessarily everyone else felt that. I think what it allowed me to do was go back to the drawing board and how we built the content to make it easier for the consumer because a lot of people that were going to be buying our product, if they were extremely educated, if they were that good of credit, they didn’t need us. So it actually made us to make a more comprehensive video that spoke in easier terms to understand.
It actually made me develop a document system so that we gave the consumer a document system that they had at their fingertips. They didn’t have to go and do the research for these documents. Most people that get caught up in their credit or sometimes don’t understand the whole credit process and why are they are getting marks on their credit? Why is it not working? So we actually went back to the process of how we built the content for the consumer to make it more engaging and to make it better. That we got from feedback. That we got from people saying, “I didn’t like the way that was playing. I felt it was too high level. I felt that it’s speaking to an audience that isn’t the one that is going to be buying this product.” So very specific to that product was where we used a lot of feedback from our mentors, a lot of feedback from our trusted advisors because it wasn’t good day one. We put out a better product today because of that. I’m trying to think of other and now you have me thinking, Jaime.
JT: I’m a good interview now!
CG: There are products that people come to me on a regular basis and I turn down because it doesn’t necessarily make sense. Recently we had a health and beauty product to come to us and it didn’t make sense for us to do because very saturated market, 95 percent of the products don’t work even though they say that the do work and we didn’t feel that we wanted to be part of a highly saturated market and products that don’t work. People do come to us regularly with products that are out there or looking for us to get involved in different types of products and we do say no.
You got to do that by doing your due diligence and verbalizing it and talking to people about it. But there’s many that haven’t worked and the next interview that we have we’ll make it all about all my products, all my failures because it has been my failures that have made me successful and I recognize that. That has been my education. My education has been paid for by my mistakes.
JT: Do you have a degree or anything like that? I never asked you that.
CG: I went to college for a little while. I went to an amazing high school, Fordham Prep in the Bronx, which is on the Fordham University campus. Went to Pace University for a little under a year and decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But I can probably teach business management or an online marketing class or a marketing class better than any professor in the world. So I have my Ph.D. that probably cost me a couple of million dollars to get through my failures and my mistakes in building companies. So I paid my tuition.
JT: That’s why we think it’s awesome that you’re here being able to tell us and that’s why I want to interview people like you because you’ve actually done it. It’s not an MBA teacher or professor that’s going this is the way that it should go because you’ve done it. You failed before. A lot of professors haven’t.
CG: I’ve gone to classes. I’ve gone to a lot of continuing education classes and 70 percent of them I usually come out with something that has been a great learning experience. I have to say there are classes and seminars and stuff that I go to that I’m like he’s not teaching it right. Like this is not thinking of the things that can be, the things that do happen along the road of trying to drive success. It’s through experience. Experience is so important driving a successful company and don’t be afraid when you’re making mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes.
JT: Well tell me about, for the last sort of part that I want to talk about is fear. I’m doing a webinar on fear on Thursday. Tell me what you think about fear.
CG: I’m fearless. Fear is good in this sense. I’ve had a lot less fear when I was younger and when you have a family and children and a lot of entrepreneurs that are starting a little bit later in life that possibly have a family and are married and are getting ready to start a new company, fear is good. Fear hopefully allows you to do your due diligence properly. Fear makes you get the right information before making a decision. Fear makes you hire a lawyer or an accountant so you don’t try to figure out the things that you’re never going to be able to figure out on your own.
I think fear is important but it is important to also have a good ratio of risk to fear and I feel that having a little bit of a higher tolerance of risk combined with fear makes for a good entrepreneur and you have to have a little bit more of a risk factor than a fear factor because that’s what’s going to make you take that leap of faith of a good idea. That’s going to make you take that leap of faith and trying something that maybe you wouldn’t have because of fear. But due diligence, hopefully fear allows you to do the due diligence which allows you to make an educated risk.
I was blessed. I was younger and I had very little fear but I had no children, I had no wife, I had no family, I had family but nothing that would have been affected as greatly of my failures as I do today. So I was able to start a large print media company at a very young age. I was able to start an online matchmaking company at a very young age because I wasn’t afraid to because if I lost or I lost it all, all right, I’ll start all over again. I was living with my parents at the time or had a small little one bedroom apartment of my own. So if that happens I could start all over again.
I was blessed in being able to start a very successful company and grow it to where it grew today. But fear, having no fear can sometimes make things a little crazy unless you get lucky. A little luck also helps. But I think fear is good. I think fear is good especially for the people that are looking to drive being an entrepreneur at a little bit of a later stage in life or having a family in life, fear is definitely good because it allows you to do a little bit more due diligence. So that’s my take on fear. Hopefully I answered that properly.
JT: Fear is good. Well I think that’s really important because a lot of people are like oh you need to be fearless. You can’t have fear; you can’t let it come up and it’s not about that at all. If it’s important enough, you get past it.
CG: I think you need to channel your fear. Don’t make it to where you’re constantly second guessing yourself. Make it so that it allows you to take the protocol steps in driving to make sure that it’s a great idea. Fear should allow you to do due diligence. It should allow you to do the proper research. It should allow you to let me think twice before a decision but let me not second guess that decision 10/15 times because that can consume a lot of time too where I’m doing it, I’m not doing it; I’m doing it, I’m not doing it; I’m doing it, I’m not doing it.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in that. If you’re doing that, don’t do it. If you are second guessing yourself, don’t do it because you will be second guessing yourself through the whole process and that’s going to cost you time and that’s going to cost you money. But personally, I have a lot more risk in my life than fear because I’ve been blessed to be able to do it and see past the fear and see that you can drive success with just an idea.
JT: See, that’s what’s really cool because you can see the other side. You can see where you are. You can see that things work. I know a lot of people that are newer don’t see that yet. They haven’t had that success so therefore the fear is even greater than what they think. But don’t let that stop you unless it’s a bad idea and then let it stop you.
CG: Unless it’s a bad idea but if you have a good idea, call me. I’ll do the shark tank for you.
JT: I love that. So for the last question that I always ask – I asked you this last time – you may or may not remember what you said last time so make something new up but my question that I always ask is what’s one action that listeners can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
CG: What’s an action that someone can take this week? Execute. Take that idea that you’ve been thinking about, the one that you think is a great idea, start verbalizing it and execute. Really start doing due diligence on it. Don’t wait. What I found is when I think of ideas there’s probably another 100 people thinking about it and then it’s the one that you see two or three years from now that it was your idea that came out and that person just was the one that decided to execute it.
Sometimes we have to look at these ideas as gifts. Sometimes they pop in and out of our brains usually at 12:00/1:00/2:00 in the morning but when they come, keep that pad next to your desk or your nightstand or wherever it is that you jot down these ideas, because I do; keep it next to you and put that idea down and execute. Do the due diligence and do it because if you don’t do it, someone else is going to. I think that can be the best advice that I’m giving to entrepreneurs or for people that are watching this webcast is really when you have an idea, if you love it and you feel strong about it, execute it.
JT: Beautiful. Thank you. Action is so important because ideas are wonderful until nothing happens with them.
CG: Ideas without execution are just ideas.
JT: Exactly. You can have million dollar ideas all the time but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t turn into cash unless you actually do something. So tell me where we can find out more about Wines by Wives and where we can do stuff to buy all your stuff because we love you.
CG: I appreciate that. So you can log on to, today is still the splash page and if you preorder before May 8, you get a 50 percent discount on your first order. So the first orders are $29.95 so you get half off of that so it’s $14.95 plus your shipping and handling according to where you live. If you go on the site before May 8 so you can go and pre-register, but it’s WinesbyWives.com.
JT: And I’ll link up everything.
CG: Link up everybody. It’s WinesbyWives.com. We had a contest running where, and it’s still on Facebook, where you could actually sign up and get a chance to win a night out with one of either Vicki or Tamra and you can still do that on Facebook until April 15, which is only a week away so you got to put that link somewhere or tweet about. But WinesbyWives.com, May 8 we launch to the world. We’ll be on the television show Real Housewives of Orange County and you can always email me at [email protected]
Hopefully I won’t regret that but it’s [email protected] and if you have a great idea, you want to learn more about the club or you just want to figure out a way that maybe we can get your product onto this website, we’d love to do that too. We love working with great people and great entrepreneurs and of course we always love getting interviewed by Jaime. Anything we can do to give back to her listeners, her webcast followers, her viewers, is something that we love to do and something that I love to do.
JT: The fact that you gave your email address, I thought I was special Chris! Now everybody that is listening is special too, awesome! Thank you so much for coming on today. I’m definitely going to have you back because you’re awesome. So thank you so much.
CG: Thank you for having me and definitely have me back on after we launch so I can give you some good metrics and hopefully some either good success stories or if not success stories, I’ll tell you what I did wrong. I’ll tell you what I did wrong if it didn’t work the other way!
JT: See we really appreciate it. Thank you so much. I hope you have a great day, Chris.
CG: You as well, Jaime, thank you so much.
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