Steve Sims: How to Embrace Your Imperfections and Make Things Happen (#266)
Our Guest Today: Steve Sims
Steve Sims is the founder and CEO of the luxury concierge service Bluefish. In 2017, Sims published a book, Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen. Sims grew up in East London and met his wife, Clare, when he was 16 years old.
Do you know anyone that’s worked with Sir Elton John or Elon Musk, sent people down to see the wreck of the Titanic on the sea bed or closed museums in Florence for a private dinner party and then had Andre Bocelli serenade them while they eat their pasta – you do now
Quoted as “The Real Life Wizard of Oz” by Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine,SteveSimsis a best selling Author with “BLUEFISHING – the art of making things happen”, sought-after coach and a speaker at a variety of networks, groups and associations as well as the Pentagon and Harvard – twice!
Watch Our Interview
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Feisworld podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics, nuggets you can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have none interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help Deep dove into topics such as freelancing, marketing, even indie filmmaking that would benefit creators like you.
Show notes, lengths and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now onto the show. Hi there, this is your girl, Fei Wu from Feisworld Media. Welcome to this podcast. A lot of our listeners are brand new, so I always want to just take a moment and thank you for being here. So I don’t know how much time you’ve got today. Five minutes, 15 or an hour. So this is a longer form interview with a very special guest I have today.
His name is Steve Sims. Steve is from England, London, to be specific. And as you guys probably noticed, if this is not your first episode, we have a very big variety of guests here on Feisworld. And I want to say something about that for a second, because I truly believe because I am an immigrant, you know, I come from Beijing, China originally, and as a female person, I want there to be as much diversity as possible here on this podcast is just something I take a lot of pride in.
You know, I’m talking about ethnicity, gender, background, interests, you know, religious beliefs. So I welcome you guys to kind of step in and kind of join me right here at Feisworld. Things are not going to be perfect. I got to warn you, I’m still figuring things out. I’ve been hosting the show since 2014, and I’m learning so much every single time, like before, during and after the conversation. You know what it feels like to be a podcast or a show host after so many years.
It doesn’t matter. We’re always learning and sometimes we blame ourselves. And I just need to remember to rescue myself in that moment and remember that every opportunity really is a learning process. So why did I invite Steve Sims? First of all, a shout out and a thank you note out to Jeff Madoff, who introduced us together. Now, I had a quick Zoom call with Steve to make sure we get to know each other. And surely he did not disappoint.
You know, I’m not sure if you do, but, you know, Steve has worked with Sir Elton John, Elon Musk, and he sent people down to see the wreck of the Titanic on the seabed or close museums in Florence. And he’s got a ton of these stories and he’s so willing to talk about that. But it’s not the reason why I invited Steve because he’s connected to so many famous people. He’s very popular himself. He runs incredibly successful companies.
I invited him because he’s a teacher. He loves connecting with people. And in the show notes, you will see that he has this Facebook group that invites other people to join in, and it’s under his name, Steve The Sims. And he just all about really connecting people so that we can all grow together. We can, you know, cheering for each other. At the end of the day, that’s kind of what we need is not another piece of advice.
It’s not a, you know, something material necessarily. But we’re living you know, we have lived in this pandemic for quite some time now. We’ve learned a lot. But yet we are still kind of learning and figuring out how we better serve each other and love one another and think Steve is servicing us in a very special way, in a sense. So I want to invite him. And again, thank you guys so much for allowing me to speak in front of the microphone.
It’s literally one of the most, I don’t know, like the favorite things I love doing. And if you haven’t found me yet on YouTube, please do. There I talk about these guests. I go live there at the very beginning of these conversations. So that’s when you first hear about these conversations before they’re compiled into these podcasts. Now you’re listening to on Apple, on on Google or Spotify, thanks to my amazing producer, German, for making everything seamlessly happen.
So definitely. Yeah, me on YouTube, there’s a lot of new content there where I specifically create for creative creative entrepreneurs, actually, and invite you to to join in. I talk a lot about Zoom virtual meetings, live streaming and how to get your ideas out there. I also work as a filmmaker. I have a documentary series on Amazon, so occasionally I will talk about that as well. So I’m really trying to share as much as possible, be very open minded.
So anyway, without further ado, enough about me. Please welcome Steve Sims to The Feisworld podcast.
All right, looks like we are live. Hi, everybody, this is Fei Wu from Feisworld Media, and this is the first time for me to go live right here in my new home. And my first guest is Steve, who is right here with me. Hi, Steve.
Hi. How are you doing?
Doing great. I got to say, I start stocking you on everywhere and I realize I wanted to stop because I wanted to have a conversation like your friend. So, Steve, you your brand is amazing. Your brand with your own name, Steve Sims. But also you created Bluefish, which crazy’s extraordinary, actually often unimaginable experiences for people who are super high profile, famous. And, you know, you’re in all these pictures with them. So it’s just such an incredible experience.
But you have such a I was even more interesting origin story in my opinion. So could you please talk to us about that, introduce yourself and then talk to us about your origin story of all of this?
Yeah, I didn’t think of many, many more different to any other entrepreneur out there you can name drop celebrities and countries. But we’re all the exact same. We’ve all got that DNA of aggravation. What we wanted to do something different. We want to find out where we can fit. Well, it started for me when I was 15 years old and living in East London. My my dad owned a very, very small construction firm. So basically, every every holiday, every school holiday, I was on the building site.
So it was no surprise that once I finished school at the age of 15, we have a slightly different schooling system in England that they would do 16. I was very young for a year. We finished 16 and then you go to college. I didn’t even know what college was, so I finished at 15. He gave me one day lay in bed and then the following day, kicked by four thirty in the morning, said Light on a building site.
And that was it. That was my life. And I was just I had this kind of sense of is this it? You know, is this what my life is? And it was typical teenager. You know, I want to do this. So, you know, bearing in mind I was in a world before Instagram could tell me how inadequate my life was. So I never had any of these social feeds telling me that that I was a waste of space and until I had a yellow Ferrari I could lean against.
So I just carried on through life ignorant, but I was aggravated. And I think that’s the stem of all entrepreneurs. We came to something and we look at a system, we look at structure, we look at a platform, we look a job. We look at everything we go. Is is that the best we can do with that? You know, how can we how can we make it better or how can we move that step completely?
And that’s what happened to me. And it was funny because I knew that I wanted to be more, but everyone that I was with was very skilled and happy where they were. And I couldn’t understand why. I remember going into a pub with all my mates would know how much money they had at once. But I had two two beers with 12, all of our change on the table, counting it all up by two more beers and then spread them between the rest of the glasses.
And I thought, you happy with this? You know, you’re you’re actually happy. No one is pissed off about that apart from me. So I went out to try and communicate with rich people because I thought to myself, they must know something. I down some very stupid step, but I’ve always said go to stupid. And I thought, if I know rich people, I can ask them what makes you rich and keeps me poor? And that was it.
And funnily enough, I ended up working on the door of a nightclub. And so when rich people came in, I started to chat with them and try to befriend them. Before you know it, I was actually on a misstep. I was actually in Hong Kong by now. I’d moved from London to Hong Kong because like all entrepreneurs, we quite often jump out of foreign pan directly into the fire. I wanted to break old connection I had, so I went for the furthest place I could.
There was the chance of a job for me in Hong Kong. It failed. But once you allow for this, I actually went to be a trainee stockbroker. I always I can never understand this would settle it. Never kind of I can’t spell it, understand it or tolerate it. But I thought to myself, what if I want to be rich? And this was in the eighties. Who all the rich people in the eighties and nineties. They will stop because we were watching Wall Street and everything.
And I was like, that’s what I want to be. So I applied for a stockbroker job in Hong Kong, actually got it and turned up in Hong Kong Zoom Discovery Bay and went there for orientation on the Monday. And I was fired on the Tuesday because I realized I had no idea what I was doing. So I ended up working on the dole and just talking to rich people. You know, some of them, I would find out, were not rich, but pretended to be.
So I got really good at identifying those and then I started trying to find out what rich people wanted so I could provide because people will always stick with the solution. They won’t always stick with a salesman, but they will always stick with the solution. So if you’re solving someone’s problem, that’s where you breed up loyalty without needing to point program. So I started looking after that night life and then I started throwing my own parties and exploded to the point that I’ll be working with Kentucky Derby, the Grammies to New York Fashion Week.
So Elton John’s Oscar party. So I’ve Formula One Monaco. I’ve worked with the largest event in the planet. And along the way they would say to me, hey, you know, there’s a Hermes bag that’s just come out. I need three of them. Or do you know anyone that could get me to play drums with Guns Roses or get me into the Vatican with the pope? I’ll close down a museum. And I ended up just doing it because, again, I never understood why people settled.
I don’t know. And that was it. And that’s where I am now.
There’s so many things to break down here. And thanks for sharing your story because it’s so memorable and it’s unlike it’s not an ordinary story. So first, I must ask you, when you said there are rich people or pretend to be rich people in Hong Kong, I grew up from Asia. I see. Still see that a lot. And also in the US, doesn’t matter where you are. San Francisco, New York. How do you tell very quickly where how could you educate us on engaging with people who are rich versus actually rich?
Funny enough, it became a game. I love to game everything. Now, bearing in mind you’ve got to understand it, it doesn’t take people. You’ve already sussed it. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’m a blunt object that just gets the job done. And so I don’t overthink. I quite often overdo. And when you’re doing things like I have a friend of mine said, I have a great if I can, then I can.
But I fight a lot. But that’s where I learn things. When I lost my job in Hong Kong, I ended up working in an area called Blindsight when Chinese, like all the clubs and seedy bars, were in Hong Kong. And so I was working on the door and you’d have a guy pull up in a nice car and then get out and you could play the game from now. I was stunned how the door the doorman job gave me one of the best pedestals or soapboxes to watch the planet was kind of weird.
You would see the car pull up and then the guy would get out of the car. Woody just kind of like talk to the valet guy, give him a tip, give him the keys, and then just walk in the door, face up and go into the club. Or would he take a really long time putting his jacket on and staring around the audience just to make sure that they had seen him with that car? And I noticed I noticed then that there’s a difference between you driving the car and the car driving you.
And so it went further. You know, are you wearing that expensive suit or is the expensive suit wearing you? Are you wearing that? What choose to watch wearing you? How many times you see someone? They bought a new watch for some reason on that left wrist. That sleeve is always pulled up just so you can see it. Now, they’re doing that for you, not for them. So that was usually the key indicator, you know, how insecure you were within your monetary bit and you’d get a lot of people that would sink a lot of money into a watch and then spend most of the night just making sure you noticed it.
And those were the wannabes. Those were the ones for pennies. Know those? Those were the people that weren’t settled in themselves. And then you’ll get other people. I remember there was a tipping point, not a tip in a pivotal point. So I if I could tell the story, please.
Absolutely. Get rid of people.
Oh, it’s not that exciting, but we’ve got some other side ones. So stick with the show. I’ll tell you my my float story in a minute. I’ll get them back. But I was on the door of this club and something had gone down inside. So someone yelled for me and my buddy to go inside to calm me down. Now, I always like to talk my way out of a fight because no one likes fighting. Being prepared to fight or wanting to fight are two different things.
So, you know, I was in there and I was bad, but everything calmed down. They took some conversation and they took some encouragement to leave without there being violent. So it was good. That was a win for me. So I’m leaning up against the bar. My fellow had gone out for a while and I’m just looking at the club, just making sure the club is OK. And they’ve been these four guys who I’d always played the game with and I’d always chatted with.
OK, I hadn’t yet started doing this. OK, and but I always noticed him and those were the guys that went, oh, God, I wish I was that, I wish I was one of that clue. There was always for them good looking lads, always in suit jackets. And I would imagine, are they attorneys? Are they mergers and acquisitions? Are they stop us always play that game. Trust me, I would fantasize about these guys, you know, what are they and how can I be one of them?
And there was one of the girls, one of the hostesses. And let’s done this with the 80s and 90s. And she’s all dolled up and she’s all looking very sexy. And she walks over to the four guys who have now got these girls all over them. So that’s got the attention. And she puts down on the side of the table. And I saw this. She put down on the side of the table the tab wallet, you know, the little plastic soda that looks like leather, the slip, you cut it, count it, you type.
So she goes out and she’s like, Thanks, guys. Thanks for a wonderful evening. She puts it down and they ignore the girls at the table and basically taken that focus. OK, fair enough. It’s like three o’clock in the morning at a club. They expect that she starts to walk back towards the bar. Now, I was at the bar as she’s coming back, he suddenly laptop and made a very fast pace to come towards her.
Now, of course, as the doorman, this alerted me because I my my peripheral I saw someone come in and you can you lock and load what’s going on, what’s happening here? So I was aware. What was he doing? Was he going to to be overcharged or something like that? So I just was up. I was prepared. And he Tabata didn’t grab Tapsell on the arm as though he was kind of like, embarrassed today. Excuse me.
Excuse me. And she turned around and he said, I am so sorry I didn’t see you put this down. Thank you so much against this wall to oppose the call out, shoves the card and gave it to her when. I’m so sorry. Thank you for a wonderful night. She took terrible, tough and a few things occurred to me, one, he didn’t manhandle her, OK, you know, he didn’t grab her or can I grab it by the waist to get a quick feel any of that kind of thing?
That was the norm. But he tapped me on the top of a shoulder lexical. I like this. So he didn’t want to break up. And he was so genuinely apologetic and he was the big thing that hit me. He put his credit card in to pay for his college drinks, all full of them. And whatever the girls were sponging out of the drinks, which I know were bottles. Honest that I could have been champagne, but he didn’t check the tab.
And I thought to myself in a point of my life where I knew exactly to the Senate how much money I had in my bank, this guy knew that his card would not make the noise that I was used to all of that. And so sell your car’s been declined. You know, it was that period of my life. Yeah. But this guy was so calm, so polite, so respectful and didn’t worry about it because he knew he had to, but he didn’t have to worry about the bottom.
And I thought to myself, I want to be that guy. And that was what I thought. Make sure I got to know these guys so that I could talk to them a bit more and get to know what they wanted. And I started from the different clubs and get tips and then charge them to come to my party. So that was one of those pivotal moments that I thought people with money, they do behave differently, people without money to pretend as though they have money, they act like assholes.
Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s hit. It is true because I find myself in and out, us and China. And even here, you know, there were a lot of very wealthy Asian people now living in North America. It’s such a different experience. Just watch people, people’s behaviors. And I think things are also changing very rapidly in Asia as well. That’s something that I like you said, I always pay attention to that you can’t just be rich and wealthy, but you actually have to be kind as well because you never know who’s going to save you.
Right? You never know who’s got your back and when you’re not going to be rich. And let’s be blunt. You could with the world moving so fast, you know, your your job, your economy could suddenly be no longer required. You could be you could be out of business. And it’s those people that helped you get out there and those people you were decent with that you could pivot. Let’s be serious. This is the key word at the moment, being able to pivot some of your intellectual assets into a new industry and a new business.
You need help with that. That I look at it like you’re moving house. You need people to help you meet it. So there you go. Always, Verlie. I always work hard to be able to rely on those people. And we are in a relationship economy, we’re in a relationship economy and we’re in a credibility economy.
It couldn’t that that couldn’t be said better because I literally moved. I became a first time homeowner as of a week ago. And Korvettes. Thank you, Steve. And I haven’t published. I tried to be very sensitive to all of this. And it’s a home I always wanted to build for me. My mom and I haven’t really shared on social media. I find it a little bit tacky by exactly like you said, all the skills that I do not have are required to build into touch up every piece of the house, the basement.
And, you know, I’m so lucky to have friends so close to me that I can trust to help me with through every step somebody is in the basement right now. I’m just I’m curious because I think about there’s so many there’s some parallels to what you are doing, what I’m doing and what content creators are doing. In general, everybody thinks that they have to go after the big names in the world of podcasting, for example, would be the no to ten fairies.
I know who is your friend and sort of Abraham and Seth Godin, all of these people. It’s kind of a two part question. I’m really bad and I always combine so many questions. But OK, the first the first part is how do you approach the ultra famous successful people? How do you kick off a conversation? Where do you think it’s the case? The myth is that once you get to know the one person like Elton John and Elton John’s going to introduce you to eight hundred other people, like, what does that process look like in in the real world?
So. Let me play a little game with you tonight, which would probably help if I do this when I when I’m on stage and stuff literally as I walk on. So I walk into a bar and you’re at the bar with your best mate and I walk up to you and I say, hey, how you doing? My name’s Steve Sims. I’ve worked with Elon Musk so well. And John on the Pope, I’m a big deal how you do it.
And I put my hand down to shake your hand, and I don’t believe you. Right.
OK, all right. So I’ve got the response I wanted. OK, so you don’t believe me? You are. I think we can safely say repelled by that instead of invited into a conversation. You look at me yourself, a full of himself. I’ve got all the negatives in that introduction. Correct? Right. OK, so let’s let’s play scenario number two. I walk into the bar and I ignore you. Why shouldn’t I? We don’t know each other.
And I walk to the end of the bar and I ordered my old fashioned and I’m now on my own and your best, my elbows, you in the back and you say you see that guy over there? That’s Steve Sims. He’s worked with Elon Musk, Sir Elton John and the Pope. That guy’s a big deal. Now, what do you think?
Oh, I totally trust my friend. I, you know, like I like a referral almost. It’s a trusted source.
It’s a credibility KRUX. Absolutely. So the bottom line is, I realized very early on, never introduce yourself. So I’ve always found people that I know that I trust that have been able to introduce me and they this really nicely into my smartphone, totally. But I’ve always found ways for people to introduce me from one angle to another. And I’ll tell you, the one story that I had for Florence, which is a little bit sexy, isn’t the story about the guys in Hong Kong.
But I had a client of mine contact me because he wanted to have a dining experience to impress his mother in law and father in law in Florence. And the key word that he had used was experience. He didn’t say he wanted a meal, he didn’t say he wanted a great table. He said he wanted a dining experience that changes the whole thing. So on this was something I was in Rome at the time and I’d had a couple that actually retained me to get them married by the pope.
So I was in Rome at the time and the client knew I was there. So I had some downtime. And so I said, yes, sure, I’ll do that. It’s for Wednesday night. So I went down to Florence and come Wednesday night, he got picked up in a horse drawn carriage. Have you any influence?
Did you say Florence? I was in Florence, Italy. Yes. OK, yes. Yes, I have. And I love it.
And, you know, it’s small. It’s a small place, isn’t it? So my client gets picked up outside the Savoy Hotel in the main public square and he’s in a horse drawn carriage. It’s him, his fiancee, her mother and father. And she’s bought a they start off around the cobbled streets of Florence. They go past Palazzo Vecchio, the go past at the Alamo. They go up the street where it’s the side street for the academy, the gallery of the museum, the houses, Michelangelo’s David.
As the horse drawn carriage pulls up outside the door, my car jumps out, starts banging on the front door at nine o’clock at night. So he’s banging on the door, the fiance saying, you know, calm down, calm down is a no, no, no in here is Michelangelo’s David. I’m just wondering if there’s a cleaner inside. I’ll give a couple of thousand or something, too, and we can get to see it fly back tomorrow.
She’s like, it’s nine o’clock at night. That’s not going to happen. He carries on banging the parents or the future mother and father and all are looking at this guy like he’s a psychopath. And this is what’s coming into the family. But as he’s doing that, the door is open and there was a red carpet that leads down to the feet of Michelangelo’s David and a table of six, a table for six set up and a string quartet to the left, sweeping red carpet, all of these rose petals.
And so they invite them in and they get to walk down, walk around. We closed down the entire museum. And at the feet of David was the table, they had champagne that small does, they sit down, they start having that meal halfway through that region, that pasta. I informed them that I’ve got hold of a local entertainer to sing with them during that dinner. Is that OK? And of course, they went, yes, that’s fine.
So I go, I’ll come back on. And I bought Andrea Bocelli out to serenade them while they were in that pasta. That’s the kind of thing that I do. OK, now, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere because I had none of those connections. So what I did was I had to contact people that I knew influence very, very powerful people. I know. And, hey, I’ve got this dream of what I want to do and I want to do a an experience is ridiculous.
Now, the first thing I do in anything in my coaching, in my in my speech and in my anything I do in life. I go for stupid. I told you about how I hate the word settle, go for stupid, what’s the most ridiculous, not what’s impossible. That’s like saying, hey, I’m going to drive through this dead end. You already acknowledging it’s impossible, it’s a negative. Why am I going to run out of negatives?
So I’ve never understood that statement. I go for what’s ridiculous, what’s absurd. Go for that. The most absurd idea I could have for an Italian male influence was to shut down the academia and eat at the feet of Michelangelo’s David. So I contacted these powerful people to introduce me to someone else who introduced me to someone else and eventually introduced me to the board and some of the serious investors of a donated, should I say, all of the Academi, the Galilea who allowed me to come in on that credibility.
Now, I told you that I was working with the Vatican at the time. I wanted to get hold of Andre, but I don’t know what to do about it. But I know Elton John. Maybe I could go and join the column. But what I did was I was on a call with the Vatican and I asked them, do you know Andrea Bocelli? And they said, yes. I said, well, can you do me a favor?
Can you phone them and let them know that I would like to work with them? And they were like, sure, no problem. So you had the Vatican phoning Andrea Bocelli to introduce them to Steve Simmons. How could you have said no to any of those introductions?
I say so always. Always. I’ve never. Let’s be blunt. You were introduced to me by someone else. Yeah. So I came in on that credibility. But if you saw me walking down the street at ten o’clock at night, you came out of a bar and you saw me walk in the other direction. You and your first instinct would not be to run up and hug me and say, how are you? You look interesting.
Yeah, I know, I know. But, you know, it’s interesting. I think you’re you portrayed, I think, a certain image, but the same at the same time. You’re such a gentle person, you know, like it’s so sometime it’s so easy to, I don’t know, misread people. And that introduction can really go a long way. But I got a creative there’s a lot of creative design, creative thinking involved in everything you do.
So I wonder, do you personally design a lot of the experiences or perhaps you have a team of people I don’t know, friends who contribute like on a whiteboard to say this is how we’re going to do it. And in the part two of what if it doesn’t happen, what this beautiful experience at some point that that you couldn’t get the singer or something faster, like what do you what do you do in that scenario?
So to two great questions. For start, any client has worked with me, comes to me with very, very small detail because they know I’m going to overthink it. OK, so you get the client that comes to you and say, hey, I want to do this and this and this and this and this. And they never worked with you before and they give you all of this stuff and you go, great. So I’ve always came up with the idea and the concept.
Never give a client what they ask for, given what they lust for and desire for. OK, you’ve got to get beyond what it is they’re asking for, because even when even when you ask if you said to someone, hey, you want a million dollars this weekend, what would you do? They would turn around and go, oh, you know what, I’ll get a plane and I’ll go to Vegas and wear body all night and I’ll buy a Lamborghini for all my friends.
And they would say things like, this is a knee jerk reaction. But if you said to them, OK, three months down the line and you’ve still got all your money, what would you do? You’ll notice that I suddenly start thinking that going well. My mom’s always wanted to go and visit so-and-so or the school that I grew up could never afford a science lab. I want to donate. All of a sudden it changes. You’ve got to get beyond the initial.
Now, again, if you think of today’s society, we’re in a transactional sense. Society say we do this, Alexa, do this Amazon deliver me hours. If you don’t think we’re in a transactional community tone phone of Amazon and tell them you’re thinking of changing the brand of toilet bowl. And where did you get. You can’t do that. OK, so what you’ve got to do today is not only accept the request, but then you’ve got to create and disrupt to get to what they really want.
So never give anyone what they want. Always give them what is just insane. Now, here’s the beautiful thing. I have failed millions and millions and millions of times. I’ve always gone for stupid and quite often failed. I would say I probably failed 80 percent of the time, maybe even 90 percent of the time when I tried to get the White House to close down party or something like that. But I’ve always then fallen short by getting the next best thing or maybe the next best.
The bottom line of it is I’ve always gone well beyond what the client wanted to climb. One of the dominant experience I gave in the academia, I had a client that wanted to meet the rock band Journey. I actually got him caught up on stage and he sang full tunes live on stage with the band, and he’s now down to the short term lead singer of the rock band. I always take it further than what I’m requested and because I fail so often, but because I was never going for that initial request, as far as they’re concerned, I’ve never Fei Wu I have never, ever filed on a client’s request, quite simply because I have never gone for what they first asked me.
Do you think that comes with a lot of trust because now you have a reputation, you are one of very few of these organizations who do this and you do exceptionally well. I mean, what was it at the beginning? I would love to hear, like, the young Steve trying to put together this impossible Mission Impossible journey and then, let’s say a kind yell at you for it. That’s maybe that’s not what I want. Maybe your this is a moon shot.
Like, I don’t want to engage in this creative conversation. Like, what do you do then to convince them that what you’re doing is ultimately what they want?
Well, there’s a lot of questions in there to unpack. So I train entrepreneurs on this now we have a free community, so there’s no pain, but we have an entrepreneurs advantage on Facebook with me, Steve Sims, and we try to teach people to get out of the way of their ambition and dreams. And you’re paying a lot of respect to me by making out is I’ve got a lot of creative intelligence, and I would love to thank you for that.
But it’s it’s it’s it’s Tacuba, my wife, who I’ve been with for thirty five years, says I have the super power of ignorance, OK? I’ve never been frightened of going for something so many people are scared to say to someone, if you could do anything, what would you do? And I’d go out to play piano with Elton John or something else. If you’d shop for a few seconds, they will then naturally just start to go into all the reasons why that could never happen.
They will naturally talk themselves. They’ll say, Oh, I’d love to play piano with that one, John, but he never talk to me. I don’t know how to get out of it. I can’t even play. And they will give them all the reasons people spend time and energy on telling themselves why it can’t happen. Now, you said earlier about branding, and I’m a great believer the branding is quite a myth. OK, as I openly say to my students, it’s a unicorn with three testicles.
It doesn’t exist, OK, because branding is what people say about you when you’ve left. But now you can create the message, you can create the tone. You can try and install the logo. But if you haven’t done it properly or if you’ve confused the clientele, then there’s a problem. The branding is all what other people say about, you know, what you say about you. Now, the funny thing was, as I was growing up, I didn’t want to have a company.
I didn’t want to launch the world’s largest experiential concierge firm. I didn’t want to launch a book. I didn’t want to launch a coach who I didn’t want to launch any of these things. I just wanted to get into the minds of people that thought different. And these things I launched with vehicle was in order for me to do so. But along the way, because I never cared about branding, I would always turn up on a motorcycle, always wear black t shirt, tattoos, eyebrow piercing and all that kind of stuff.
I got a brand out of it, I got an image out of it. But my focus was, I’m not here because you found me on Tinder, I’m here because you want me to solve a problem. You have whether it be a cocktail story, whether it be a business development, whether it be trying to make a fantastical holiday for your family because you haven’t been together for like two years, whatever. I’m here to solve a problem. And in the classic style of marketing, if you’re going to buy a diamond ring, if someone’s going to buy you a diamond ring, let’s say Fei Wu said, they turn up with two things.
One of them is a brown brown paper bag, say Fonseca’s a McDonald’s bag. And inside of it is a little white tissue. And you unload that tissue and there’s a beautiful diamond ring that you may be happy. OK, but let’s say from the site, the person who delivers the ring to you now provides you with a Cartier box. Mm hmm. OK. Which one do you prefer?
Probably it’s probably the first one, even I’m not a diamond person, but still you’d prefer the brown paper bag.
Yeah, why I, I like that kind of surprises. I like to kind of unfold and see something that I didn’t quite expect. All right.
Sadly, you’re one of the very states that most people most people look at the county a box as a sign of credibility and the diamond ring in there has to be better. Now, the blunt fact is you could go to the jewelry district in New York and get a far superior diamond. That is not stamped with Cartier and stick in that brown paper bag. But most people look at the packaging. But if you look at the reverse of this, if you’ve got a headache, if you’ve got a headache at two a.m. in the morning, do you have any care about the packaging on the headache tablets?
Now, that is the problem. When you’re solving a problem, you aren’t you don’t have to worry about the marketing and branding anymore. When you’re trying to sell a Hermès, a a Tiffany Achakzai, that’s what you’ve got to start working on your aspirational market and you’ve got to focus on the brand. So for me, I never did. I never cared when I was turned down and I got turned down a lot. But it always gets me closer to a now.
I would do it. I came up with these little things along the way, and if someone said no to me, the first thing I would do was look at them and say, Are you actually capable of. Yes. Are you in a position of power where you can say yes to me? Quite often I realized I was either asking the wrong question or quite often, more often than not, I was asking the wrong person. You know, if you go up to the Met gala and you go to the valet boy and go, hey, can I go in?
He can’t say yes to you asking the wrong person, so I always knew there were two things that I lived by. One of them was the mosque and the whole question of the one person and the other one is there’s always two doors into a house. So if you can’t get through one, go knock on the other. When that one, you can’t get in, there’s always windows. So there’s always multiple ways to get into where you want to go.
You’ve more than likely just ask the wrong person. So as I grew, it was the ignorance of not caring about Brandon that allowed this kind of gruff, weird look to actually work for me because I was walking into it. You imagine if you met someone and they started talking to you about business and they were naked. But totally naked. OK. But they solved your problem. Yeah. Would you recommend them to someone else who had the same problem?
If they solve the problem, yes, I would. It’s a little awkward, but here’s the thing. That awkwardness now becomes that branding, doesn’t it? He’s going to solve your problem, but keep the kids out of it because he always turns up like it. OK, now that becomes the trademark and becomes the brand. Now that person is doing everything he can not to brand himself by even removing his clothing, but because of the awkward trigger these created in you, he’s now established himself a fantastic brand and unicorn hasni.
I love this marketing and branding, personal branding kind of demystifies that because I think we can break it down even further because you are solving problems that people with money can’t always buy, can really sell for themselves or simply it’s not just a problem that can be solved with money, but also in your case, with creativity and connection. So I think a lot of creative entrepreneurs who are watching this right now, sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that this problem is really big in our head.
They’re finace creative entrepreneurs like our fitness, of course, get off your butt during the pandemic. You should be healthy and your family can love you and all that. But oftentimes, like when you’re trying to sell to a client’s other clients prospects, they don’t realize the significance as the problem appears in your own head, like how do you teach people to solve the right problems or go after the right problems to solve?
So you’re the part about the money. If you want Elton John to hang up on you, just phone you up or go, hey, how much will it cost me to get you to come to my barbecue party? And you’ll just hear click the second you try to buy something, you prostitute it and no one wants to be a commodity. So you’ve got to say, hey, I want to create this experience and I want you to be a pinnacle part of that experience.
You’ve got to get them into your story, OK? And the money will come out. But that will be an afterthought. That’ll be all, by the way, send you’re going to be that kind of thing. But when you’re working with the client and you’re going, most of our problems are actually our problems because we’ve developed them and grown them in our heads. So we’ve got to do and this is I talk about a lot of it is you’ve got to poke the bruise.
You’ve got to expose what someone’s problem is. If someone’s listening to this and that fact or that shrubby or they put the pounds on covid, you know, are you comfortable about that? You know, you put these extra pounds on, that’s going to be a bit aggravating as that, because you’ve had all this time where you could have been doing more exercise. In fact, if you’d have been doing exercise with your family, not only would you have been getting rid of those pounds, you’d have been connecting with the family because the byproduct would have been that you would have been spending dedicate your time and, you know, be growing your health time.
OK, and also, he’s one of the biggest dangers we got is Koby, this has gone past two weeks, OK? It’s gone heavily into the habit forming period. So the habits that you’ve built during covid are now going to be tough to to get rid of. OK, thank you. All of the people that are never going to send their kids back to school because I used to homeschooling, never going to want to go into the office because they’ve now set up a perfectly adequate studio at home.
OK, they don’t want TV anymore because it’s always bad news. That’s just going to stick to the the shows that they can buy, like Peacock and Netflix and Amazon Prime. I got rid of my satellites purely and simply because we’ve created habits. So you’ve got to poke the blues and expose it. And most people don’t realize, is that so it’s you’ve got to ask the questions that they have an awesome selves. Are you happy with the way this is?
How is your finances? You know, are you happy with the way the as covid has come along? It’s it’s exposed how fragile you are with your money. Just imagine if COGAT carries on for another two years and you want to play in yours. Are you comfortable with that? So you’ve got to poke the bruises and answer the questions to people haven’t verbalized yet. I love that you’ve become the solution because when you when you can expose the Bruce.
Then you can actually come up with a solution to the problem is going to get that bruise. And again, people won’t mind if I offer you two things. And I did this on a stage once and it was kind of a bit weird. But if I was to walk on stage and say, hey, run out the back door, I’ve got six beautiful women out there, each holding a suitcase. And in each one of those suitcases is one hundred thousand dollars.
I’ll stop talking. Go and get it. How many people in the auditorium do you think run out to look to see if there was a girl out there?
I depends on where you’re giving the speech, but in general, I would think people would be questioning that deeply.
It was in San Diego and I saw a couple of the doors open up at the back, but only by the people that were actually leaning on them, all the people out front. What’s all this about? I look at each other and quizzical. Yeah. Now you imagine another scenario. I come running on the stage, I grab the microphone. I don’t say anything other than the word fire. How many people do you think that run out that back door?
Everybody, we move on now. We’re slow to respond to inspiration, motivational. Anything is going to improve us. If I had had those six girls out there, I doubt anybody would have known about it. OK, but the second I give you something that’s going to hurt you, go for it. So the best way to Mark is to find out what your problem is, you know, what’s in you and how can I remove that pain?
Once you start focusing on that, it goes back to the Brandon. You don’t have to care what I look like.
I love when you address the pain because a lot of people are living in pain at various levels. And you pinpointed something even at the very beginning, which is we’re still living in the pandemic. The vaccine may be coming out soon. But I mean, people like you, myself, and probably people who are watching this are not going to be getting it right away. It comes down to the essential workers and people, elderly people, maybe children. And you talked about the idea of pivoting, and that is something a lot of my clients are struggling with because it’s a situation that even though we saw coming from afar, but then it kind of came and appeared and became very severe in the states very, very quickly.
And so people don’t know how to react and respond. And like you said, you could be like actually, you know, very wealthy in this event business. And now you can’t just deliver send your clients to go to Vatican City, have a wedding overnight. Like how I guess how have you pivoted will be part one of the question. And what can people listening to this to say? I am how how am I supposed to do that? Is it a mindset shift?
Is it something that they can practice and exercise on today?
All right. So, again, a lot of good questions there. So let’s unpack them. So I have I did a book, Bluefish in the Art of Making Things Happen, that came out about two and a half years ago. Prior to that, nobody knew who I was unless you were building it. That that’s the that’s the bottom truth. Because the never marketed, the never branded, never bothered in any of that. I just focused on those clients.
And then when the book came out, that’s when I started doing students distillery and started doing speakeasy events and things. So I already had these two things going on. One, the experiential concierge and one, the online presence to basically go, hey, if a great guy from London could be doing this with Elton John, you’re already out of excuses. So I already had that when my income fell. And I have a lot of Asian clients when my income started to go south last December, when we started to feel something was happening and was happening was a tidal wave.
It was happening over there first. And I suddenly saw in the finances in December, we started pivoting more into the how can we help people on a digital world? So we were very lucky, but it was a mindset. Now, here’s the big thing. When the pandemic, forget the word pandemic, OK? We’re in a moment of distortion and destruction and we have the zero thing that we need all the oxygen. And that’s clarity. Most people don’t like change.
We all get flustered. When is and when we’re coming up to the challenge of a new president. We always get flustered when we’re moving into a new house. You know? You know, the house is a beautiful thing for you to be excited about. But how many times you get stressed about it?
Oh, my God.
Yeah. So we don’t like change and now we’ve been forced on it. Now the recession does the same. 9/11 did the same as any of the wars and the political upheavals did the exact same. As an entrepreneur. We first off need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable because entrepreneurs are always trying to do things in the space that they’re not built to do it. And we always want to disrupt. I talk I talk to to my people and call them creative disruptions, OK, we’ve got to be able to disrupt and we’ve got to be able to create two things that I can’t do.
OK, and this is the mindshift, the richest person on a rainy day is the guy selling umbrellas. So the second we found me fell into that distortion, destruction, and this one just happens to be called pandemic. What if we fall into a recession next year? You know what? If something we get the plague two years after that, maybe, God forbid there’s a war. You know, these all moments where we lose clarity because we fall into an area of I don’t know.
But you have the decision. And the person I call these entrepreneurs, the person that decided on day way of day one of the clamp down of a pandemic to just binge watch everything they could on Netflix. That person is not an entrepreneur, but how many entrepreneurs on the day one of clothes turned around and went, OK, I don’t know how long this is going to last, so how can I make this work for me? How can I start doing more podcasts?
How can I start doing more live streams? How can I start sending out better content on my emails? How can I start building up a community? How could I the. How to how can I. It’s those people that are activated that actually make movement. And as a good friend of mine, Joe Polish says is aggravated oyster’s to make Pells, we as entrepreneurs focused on doing something better during this time of distraction, not the entrepreneurs, the entrepreneur.
So if you’re saying that your finances have been impacted, everyone’s has, but not your dreams and your goals, how can you look at what you do? Reevaluate your assets. And then all of them out there to solve someone else’s problem.
Love it, because the moment I felt like I was already not very interested in TV since I became an entrepreneur before before that, working full time, it was such an escape, something I really look forward to. The moment I became an entrepreneur in early twenty sixteen, I lost interest like doesn’t matter. Could be my favorite shows like 10, 15. I could just now watch it. I could just pause in the middle of an episode, be distracted.
I have to write an idea down on a notepad or whatever it may be. And exactly like you said, the moment you’ve pinpointed so accurately, the moment we hear that pandemic in March, I said, I’m going live with every single episode, reducing production costs and reaching more people. And by the way, while I’m at it, I’m going to teach all the other content creators to do the same. So my community started to grow and other people started experimenting that months later after I’ve told them with the tutorials and now they’re seeing an uptick in all their engagement, whether it’s being an author or a podcast or whatever it may be.
So that hunger has served us a lot of us really well.
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And that’s the difference. And I’ll I’ll I’ll call a little bit of bullshit here. I don’t think you became an entrepreneur. I think he just revealed the entrepreneur you were. I don’t think I don’t think you can become an entrepreneur. I think you just suddenly give in to the fact that, hey, you’re different, you know, time to be me. So I think you just let it out.
Yeah, I you’re right, because I couldn’t I feel so unsettling if I don’t start doing some things such as, you know, I was in a meeting and there are many breakdowns. I know you facilitate a lot of these sessions. And the timer as a feature was I feel like should be built into Zoom, but it’s not. So you end up having these breakouts with four people, each person supposed to talk to two minutes, talk about two minutes each.
Ten minutes later, it’s the same person. So everyone’s struggling like, am I the timekeeper? I don’t want to be rude. So I developed as a little timer thing. It’s it’s like this super silly video. And after I launched, I have so I’ve sold close to like one hundred copies and I did it in like five minutes. So I but like you said, the moment I saw that opportunity, I had to do it. It was 1:00 in the morning.
So I don’t I almost feel I almost feel a little rude for like, I’m not celebrating the pandemic. I know it’s been super painful, but it somehow forced me into a new territory, a new way of thinking and be able to connect with people like yourself who probably wouldn’t be otherwise too busy to even get on the show. So thank you for. Well, I’m going to I’m going there’s been there’s been a lot of unfortunates within covid, but there’s been a lot more positives.
And this may sound funny, but my wife pointed out to me in March that in March, when we didn’t travel because of the first month of covid, she said that’s the first time I haven’t traveled in a month for nine years. Wow. So I’ve been with that beautiful woman for thirty five years. I’ve spent all this time just with her. My garden’s good, my business is good, my wardrobe’s clean, my garage is clean. I actually think that stuffing covid that you could be very, very grateful for.
I also think it’s an amplifier. You see, if you’re in a good mood on a Friday night and you drink a couple of wine or a couple of whiskeys, how is your happiness? Doesn’t it? If you’re miserable and depressed and you have a couple of drinks, what is it?
That’s the same with covid. How many businesses already fragile before covid came along. Now there’s been a lot of innocent local sandwich shop. But if your business was already teetering on trouble or if your relationship was teetering on trouble, it is just amplified and exposed it. That needs to clean up. So it’s been very good. It’s how you accept it and I’ve accepted it. We did something that we’re doing on the night. It’s actually one more week and I’d love you to come.
It’s the virtual happy hour. OK, now, when Kobe came along, I realized that every Friday night I would have five o’clock in the evening, pull myself an old fashioned and just look at the wait. Didn’t go to plan, did it go as I wanted. What did I learn? I was just analyze the way so we would all do it in my family. So when I said, look, this Flyte covid is not going to stop me pull an old fashioned.
Do you want to join me via Zoom? I want to just chat about the week and tell bad dad jokes. No promotion, no selling, none of that. And it took off and we ended up doing 19 virtual happy hours. And then we did the Breakfast Club in the Entrepreneurs Advantage. And this is with no alcohol because it’s like at seven o’clock in the morning. But it suddenly started growing. And I realized, as you say, quite accurately, people still want to connect.
More than ever, so give them a way to do it, and we did it by literally telling and trust me, if you do show up. These are really bad jokes. We pick the worst jokes known to mankind and we just sit there talking about nothing of impact, just thinking whisky’s cup of coffee. We got people all over the planet waking up in the morning, drinking that morning coffee, watching US law and chatting with us and telling bad jokes.
So give people what they what they want. Maybe they weren’t aware of.
Wow, that’s amazing. Is anybody welcome to join with a more expansive group?
No, it’s not exclusive. We live sound. I’m doing it again. But an entrepreneur’s advantage with Steve Sims is the Facebook page charge jump in there and the Zoom links in there. And you want to shout out Zoom link. We call people. Fine. If we find that they suddenly start talking about an online course, I can sell for 20. So we’re just going to delete them and probably laugh at them as well. But we just want everyone to get together.
There is no promotion. No, it’s literally just poetry. OK, he’s got the first ridiculous joke or who’s got something that’s topping in their neighborhood and a lot of people going, oh, well, the bars have opened up here and all this and we just chat. So anybody it just wants to get together and hang. No. And that’s the next one we’ve got is on the 9th of October, um, five o’clock till six o’clock Pacific, jump in the Facebook group, get the Zoom link.
We’ll see you there.
Well, that’s amazing. Wow. That’s in a week. So I can’t wait to go check it out. So it’s great. I mean, this is has been amazing. I knew when we had the quote unquote prep call, could have easily talk to you for a long time and you know your description. So if you want to connect with Steve Sims, including the Facebook group he just mentioned. So all the links are in the description below. Doesn’t matter where you are on YouTube or on Facebook.
So, Steve, before I let you go, I highly respect your time. Is there anything else that you would like to share? But I haven’t asked.
The questions have been great, but I’m hopefully going to give you a slight mind set mantra. My dad is a big well, he was a big Irish lump of a bloke. Very powerful. Not exactly an articulate man, we were walking down the street once and I was about 13, 14 years old, and without looking at me, he said, son, no one ever drowned by falling in the water. They drowned by saying that. And I didn’t know where this had come from, we weren’t in the middle of a conversation in my no sense to me.
In fact, I stopped because it didn’t make any sense to me. But I realized that over my career and over my life, I fought in the water a ton of times and it’s my decision, mine, mine alone, as to whether or not I stay there. So for anyone out there to thinking this is a tough time. Yeah, it is. You can actually stand up and get out of it and shake it off.
Wow. Thank you so much for your time, Steve. And it’s just so fun chatting with you. Thank you for all the stories. I really look forward to doing this again as well in the future. And I love to engage in the Facebook community more. And for those of you, you know, Steve really believes to believes in sharing about his knowledge and connecting with more people and having creating these networks of people. And I think it’s just lovely because then you have to start your own so he can just hop right in and be part of that community.
So thank you again, Steve. I’m going to take us offline right now.
So everyone, my.
This episode of the First World podcast is brought to you by Fey’s World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up and create a profitable brand. These were a podcast team. Our chief editor and producer, Herman Silvio’s associate producer, Adam Lefort, social media and content manager Rose de Leon, transcript editor Allena Almodovar. And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Face World.
Thank you so much for listening.
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