A few days ago I met a 26 year-old entrepreneur with an attitude that exemplifies what I believe it takes to succeed in this new economy and new world. After doing well as a teen in the jewelry business, he made his first big jump as an entrepreneur by buying a failing store to begin his entrepreneurial career, but quickly found that the road can be a rocky one.
Marty: Welcome to Startup Professionals interviews. Tell us what you do.
Brad: My name is Brad Bergersen, and I am the President and founder of 24K Brokers, Inc. We are a national full-service jewelry wholesale corporation. Our mission is to revolutionize the jewelry industry and fundraising as a whole, by helping non-profits run money-raising events.
We have been able to raise thousands of dollars very quickly with this program, by paying wholesale prices and giving a large % of the profit back to the sponsoring organization. 24K Brokers has been featured on ABC-2 and Fox45 news channel in Maryland, as well as on Radio One and the Huffington Post.
Most recently, I was selected to be one of seven entrepreneurs for the upcoming reality TV show "Good Fellas Of Baltimore" which centers around businessmen giving back. We are committed to helping fund any legit fundraiser nationwide as “The Company With The Heart Of Gold.”
Marty: When did you know that you were destined to be an entrepreneur?
Brad: This may sound cliché, but I was born to be an entrepreneur. Since a young man, I had a knack for making things happen. So from selling candy on the black market in elementary school to closing deals worth over a million, my attitude has never changed.
I choose to live by “Positive Closing Mental Attitude (PMCA)!” Whether you are trying to close a sale, open a business, or overcome an obstacle in your life, PCMA will get you through anything! I found the concept of closing escapes many, so I’ve written a book (scheduled out this year) “Close The Damn Sale.”
Marty: Was your first business venture a positive and learning experience?
Brad: Probably my first 100 ideas were not successful. Why? Because I did not do what it took to succeed. I can’t really even say they were ventures, as I did not put in the financial capital needed, nor the effort to see any of them through to success.
Now I understand that the reason I never succeeded in my previous entrepreneurial concepts is because I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to make a lot of money and tried to hop on the bandwagon with whatever the “in” thing was to get rich. Finally I realized that the only way I would become truly successful was to find something I was truly passionate about.
Why go away from your niche? Once I stopped making excuses for myself and took ownership of my actions, my life changed. I went from an idea to action quickly; because of my commitment to excellence, I now have a hot commodity for investors to feast on.
Marty: Are you willing to share any personal challenges you were able to overcome to get to this point?
Brad: At 22, I was making great money and had the respect and admiration of many as the top performer of the #1 family owned national jewelry store. There was only one problem, I was an idiot. I made $150K a year and lived like I made $500K.
I was immature, irresponsible, and thought it was a good idea to buy 2 homes and 4 cars and live off plastic. I hit rock bottom when I used my piggy bank to pay my electric bill in July, 2008. I decided that night I would take control and change my life for good. I was over-indulging in food as well as materialistic possessions, and I was overweight.
I made some big decisions, and in a year lost 100 pounds, stopped spending like a fool and started creating my dream business. I don't know exactly how, but I still believe I am destined for greatness. I am dedicated to doing exactly what it takes to get there. "In the pursuit of perfection, excellence will be tolerated" became a way of life.
I have had many people doubt me, and thought I was crazy last year in a rough economy to leave a job and small side business making 200K a year with a pregnant wife at home and 3-year-old son to take a 125K pay cut and pursue my purpose in November, 2009. Yet I now have a million dollar business which has grown over 1000% in the last 6 months.
Marty: What’s the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur these days from your perspective?
Brad: I’m learning to give up the concept of perfection. I will always strive for excellence and continue to raise the bar for myself. I know that overcoming yourself in the biggest challenge you will face.
That means that you must block out all negativity and doubt you experience. You must always operate with PCMA and do what it takes to succeed. You must always look to find a solution, to never give up on your dreams no matter how gloomy your situation is.
Marty: Any advice you would like to give to someone contemplating a startup?
Brad: "Without imagination, there are no dreams. Without dreams, there is no reality. Without reality, there is nothing worth living for!" Follow your dreams, and make sure you are passionate about the business you aspire to build. Excuses are monuments of nothingness; if you commit to not making them, you will succeed! Good Luck!
Marty: Brad, thank you very much for some great insights and your role-model leadership for all of us! You can find out more about Brad’s entrepreneurial activities or contact him directly through his business site 24KBrokers.