I AM CEO PODCASTPodCEO

IAM453- Entrepreneur Coach Nurtures Businesses of Online Thought Leaders

Podcast Interview with Ali Brown

Ali Brown is one of the world's most recognized entrepreneur coaches. Over the last 15 years, Ali Brown has advised and helped nurture the businesses of many of the 7 and 8-figure online thought leaders you see thriving today. Ali has been dubbed the ‘Entrepreneurial Guru for Women' by Business News Daily and has taken her company to the Inc. 500 list rankings. Ali is an angel investor, a top podcast host of Glambition Radio, and mom of twins!

  • CEO Hack: Book – Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • CEO Nugget: Decide where you're going and stop following everyone
  • CEO Defined: Being a leader

Website: http://alibrown.com/

Instagram: @alibrownofficial
Facebook: @alibrownfan
Twitter: @alibrown
LinkedIn: @alibrown


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Transcription

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today, Ali Brown of Alibrown.com. Ali, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Ali Brown 0:37

Great to be here. Can I call you Gresh?

Gresham Harkless 0:40

Yeah, absolutely. You can call me anything. I always say I've been called a lot worse.

Ali Brown 0:44

Your name is so cool Gresham. Great efficient, you sound very rich.

Gresham Harkless 0:49

It's trying to be what your name is right? So you always have high goals. So that's always what I try to do so. But I appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about it so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Ali Brown is one of the world's most recognized entrepreneurial coaches. Over the last 15 years, Ali Brown has advised and helped nurture the businesses of many of the seven and eight-figure online thought leaders you see thriving today. Ali has been dubbed the entrepreneurial guru for women by Business News Daily. It has taken her company to the Inc 500 List rankings. Ali is an angel investor, a top podcast host of Glambition Radio, and the mom of twins Ali, are you ready to Speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Ali Brown 1:26

I am

Gresham Harkless 1:27

Awesome, Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I just want to hear a little bit more about your background or your CEO story. What led you to get started in your business?

Ali Brown 1:33

I think like many of your listeners, I maybe wasn't well, yeah, I wasn't setting out to be an entrepreneur, I got out of college thinking alright, I'm gonna get a great job and do kind of what you know, I think you're supposed to do and I found it very quickly. You know, within six years out of school, I had been through about six different jobs and, I just kept thinking, wow, this, this can't be it. And so I'd take another job. So maybe this is going to be the job. I take that job. I just I was just feeling very disheartened. I thought, gosh, you know, this isn't quite what I thought it would be. And I knew I had something to offer I had some talents, I had some skills, and couldn't find the right place to plug in.

So my awakening was at my last job, I worked at a little ad agency in New York City, it was in Midtown for these two, like pushy old ad guys, these big beards. They didn't know what to make of me was the office at 10 People with one bathroom had a cat walking around, it was a weird little ad agency, but I loved it. I loved it because I got to do everything and they would be gone a lot. So I would figure out like how to work with the clients. I'd be you know, calling FedEx to see where the package was I'd be if the designer was out, I would jump on. Then it was cork, you know, today it's Photoshop and InDesign all stuff. So you know, I would just figure it all out. I realized I really liked that I liked a variety. I like having fun. I like trying new things.

So I don't advise this. But really, when I got to the point that I kind of knew that I could get some small projects and do some, you know, ad work on my own and writing and design stuff. I just left. I was so excited. And at that point, you had nothing to lose. You know, that's if you're in your 20s right now, man, now's the time, you probably have no kids, no pets, Nope, just do it. Just go. And what happened, I'll give you the short version. Because I know this is a short show. If you want the long version, you can listen to some of my podcasts, glambition radio. But the short version is you know, it took several years, but I went from working with clients doing some marketing work for them to then turning it into more of a teacher when the online marketing was really just starting to come out. So I created course programs I did teleclasses.

At that time, I was before webinars, and I turned into a teacher and then that transitioned into coaching. Because the biggest problem I see right now in all this mess we have online, is there's way too much information. There's not enough wisdom, to help entrepreneurs and CEOs learn how to become a leader learn how to make the decisions that can make or break their company.

Gresham Harkless 4:01

Nice, I definitely appreciate that. I appreciate you for you know, it sounds like you tap into your self-awareness because you understood at that ad agency that you were kind of you have these certain skills. It's crazy because those skills are kind of some of the skills you need to really build a business and grow the business to be able to thrive when sometimes things aren't predictable. I guess you can say days don't go there aren't always the same.

Ali Brown 4:23

Exactly. Like it actually it's funny because looking back, I kept thinking, Oh, I you know, I won't be doing any of this probably, you know, when I start a business and I'm using it all, you know when I still occasionally have to fix the printer and get coffee and you know it all? Not much has changed like people have more money.

Gresham Harkless 4:37

Yeah. You're not using cork anymore, right?

Ali Brown 4:40

No, I do have a designer. Thank goodness.

Gresham Harkless 4:42

There you go. There you go. So I know you've touched on it a little bit. I love the fact that you kind of touched on that because you saw kind of like a need and I love when you know entrepreneurs kind of see that there's an opportunity to start to build their expertise or their business around that and you kind of touched on you know, from the coaching standpoint of understanding that a lot of times I guess as business owners, we don't necessarily have those sometimes all skill, sometimes we know or can find the book or take a webinar on how to, you know, balance our checkbook or balance our and do our taxes and all of that. But sometimes making those decisions and things a lot of times that we struggle with,

Ali Brown 5:10

yeah, when you think about it, I know the show's called, you know, I am CEO, and when you think about really, most of my journey, and when I'm working with clients, it's very interesting, we shift from conversations on what they know to conversations about who they have become and who they are becoming in this process. So, you know, yes, you need the practicals. But really, it's these decisions when you are coming up against, you know, against, like, where do we take this company? Do I hire more team members? Even? I'm not sure where revenues coming from next quarter. Do we make a bold leap with a new product or program or choose a different audience, these are very weighty decisions that you don't often have, like a cut-and-dry formula, you know, for making them.

Gresham Harkless 5:54

Right, that makes perfect sense. It kind of sounds like, you know, you become that sounding board and you help direct people towards, I guess, whatever they might know, that they should do.

Ali Brown 6:04

It's something that as you get, you know, the saying it's lonely at the top. Well, you know, as people ascend their own success, and you know, or they're leading a team, there's going to be things that they're going to need to kind of talk through. That's where it's really helpful to have a coach, a consultant, some type of advisor, or even just a good friend who, you know, you can call and say, Listen, I'm dealing with some really big stuff right now big decisions, can I talk something through with you?

Gresham Harkless 6:31

Right, exactly that makes perfect sense. So I know you touched on it a little bit. Was there anything more about like, kind of what you do to support the clients that you work with, that you wanted to kind of touch on that our audience can take advantage of?

Ali Brown 6:41

Yeah, well, you know, my, my market is the women I typically work with. By the way, I do work with men, on a one-on-one basis, but the women come to me because there are not many of the women doing over a million. So my sweet spot is working with women leaders doing between one and 20 million. What they need are probably about three things. The first is that personal advisory that person that they know, has been through it, or has connections and verses to help them figure out how to navigate through some big decisions about their growth. So I do feel at that level, you know, you need some individual attention, you can't just go take a course or join a program use that to support you, but you need to talk to somebody one one-on-one.

The second is putting a group together. You know, the word mastermind has been really overused and bastardized over the last 10 years, but truly, to have a really good solid group of other leaders where you know, you're not the smartest person in the room, you know, you want to be in there, getting advice and hearing from people who have different skill sets and perspectives, but they've all accomplished something.

So having that, that group perspective, and then that creates kind of a third dynamic, which is this magical experience, you have just like, by being around people who hold you to that high, high level of not only who you've become, but who you are going to be that those that's really the three magic pieces of what I feel is, you know, when I started off, I was one of the few coaches in the space. Now everyone's a coach, if you haven't noticed, like, everyone becomes a coach, and, you know, even people you're looking, you're like, you shouldn't be a coach, you know, you're like, Wow, you were like the most unqualified person.

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It means a lot of different things to different people. But you need to look for someone who can, you know, it's not just about training, it's truly about bringing out that leadership in you. I think that's what separates the amazing entrepreneurs and CEOs from the ones just, you know, creating a business.

Gresham Harkless 8:30

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it also takes in definitely correct me if I'm wrong, it takes a lot to make that decision to put yourself in that environment as you touched on, to be around those like-minded people, but also to to have a coach that has that expertise and has worked with people that in there that are in that one to $20 million range that you talked about that you also have to make the decision to do that as well, too. Nice. So you might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. This can be for you or your organization. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart to make sure you meet?

Ali Brown 8:59

I think that I'm always I'm always swimming against what I was gonna use mix that number metaphor swimming against the grain, no swimming upstream. Whatever my industry is doing, I typically look at doing the opposite. So that served me in many ways too, by the way, but it also makes me a better coach. So when I was building initially, you know, all these big programs, and we had membership programs with 1000s of people and events in Vegas with 500 people, we hired acrobats. It was insane. Like we were doing all this big, big stuff.

When I saw everyone coming along behind me doing the same thing membership programs, big things, you know, and there's a lot of space online to do that. Now. I did a sharp right turn what I call it is I said okay, what are the pieces of this I love and where I'm untouchable, like no one can do what I'm doing? That is when I decided to I don't want to say go back to but really change over to high touch and working with clients very personally because a lot of people don't want that now they want to just the scalable online business. I'm sure you've heard some people say this before, there really is no such thing as true passive income, you know, those businesses are very seductive, but a lot of people get into it and go, Wow, this isn't what I thought, like, I'm dealing with Team stuff all day. like, we're trying to keep people in the programs, and it's gonna be work no matter how you slice it.

So when I had my twin six years ago, I thought that I saw it as a great opportunity to make some changes that really served me and served my clients and said, How can I do this in a way that I love it, that it's exactly what my clients need. It really redesigned. So I would say that it's its high touch, and high concept, and which is pretty much, you know, just let's just say it's unique compared to what I see a lot of on the landscape right now.

Gresham Harkless 10:36

Nice and so I wanted to switch gears a little bit. I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book a habit that you have, or what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Ali Brown 10:46

There's a book that I read, I reread it I read about 10 years ago, initially, and I reread it every year. It's a very simple book, it's called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I use this in several of my workshops as well as with clients. He makes the distinction. It's a distinction that changed how I work, he makes a distinction between working on your excellence, and then working on your genius. A lot of us and I've observed, you know, many of us to get into our you know, late 20s 30s is where like you prove yourself and excellence is what you know, you're good at, you know, you can make money doing it. That all goes fine. And well.

Gresham Harkless 11:22

And so now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you could happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self

Ali Brown 11:32

To stop trying to be all things to all people, there was a point in my business that we were trying to create products and programs for everyone who was following me. I think this is the deception of social media as well. Like having this, the following is great. But you don't want to stop being a leader. We started by doing the things we're supposed to do in the business, like survey your customers, right? Ask them what their experience was, and what would they like. What will they look for, we know what they're all looking for, they want free stuff.

Here's the tip, I'm gonna save you years of surveys, they want free stuff, and they want to do no work. They want to somehow make money from that. Only half joking, but literally, so we're creating all these programs and products. Then I was on a TV show called Secret Millionaire on ABC, which you could still see me if you think it's on Hulu, and it's on Amazon. The gist of the show was the way that they take a successful person from her environment, and put her out in a different environment with no money, I had to work with some people in some emotional situations, and I ended up giving away $100,000.

So then everyone started following me thinking I was just giving away money. Then I felt bad for these people who were creating things for them a lot of free things, and you know, $10 a month club things. Finally, this is when I'm like, we have to stop the madness. This is not like we're following them. I need to lead and stand for something, I need to move forward and turn back to the helm of the ship and look where we're going and decide where we're going and stop following everyone.

Gresham Harkless 13:05

And so now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on this show. So Ali, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ali Brown 13:15

That's such a loaded question. There are two levels of it. I do you know, I think there are different roles we assigned to it. But to me personally, it's being a leader. You know, as I'm growing a new company moving into next year, I do though, feel I'm going to actually hire a CEO. Because I enjoy the entrepreneurial creative vision part of this more than the practicalities of being a CEO. I'm proud to admit that so I'm looking for a good CEO, if anyone was like, next year, see for me, because the juicy part of that is the leadership of it. That's where I best serve people.

Gresham Harkless 13:52

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I've heard and I think like, I'm glad you made that distinguish because I think that if the founder of Twitter, one of the things that he did is that he realized that that isn't where his I guess his own genius was and he wanted to be on the more creative design aspect. They found a CEO, but that's, you know, it takes an incredible amount of self-awareness to kind of understand that and distinguish that and be able to be a leader and understanding that this is where I'd rather, you know, put my gifts and my skills and then bring somebody else on deck and also that as well, too.

Ali Brown 14:21

Yeah, and it takes a lot of courage for that too. Because you feel like Wow, am I am I still really being a leader if I don't want to handle this stuff? Am I still like the boss but I think you know, we all need to realize it's a big gift and all this there's not one best way to do this. We are inventing this as we go and we're the first generation in recorded history to have these opportunities right now. So it's gonna look a lot of different ways for different people.

Gresham Harkless 14:42

Exactly And that makes perfect sense. I'm glad you kind of you know, broke that down because I think a lot of times we'll go and we'll find the book The How to book on how to do XYZ but just like you said, you know, this is a this is a time that actually is only and unique in and of itself. So to find a book that is exactly like this time, it's probably near impossible.

Ali Brown 14:58

Right

Gresham Harkless 14:59

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Ali, I truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things that you're doing that you shared with us. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. Then of course, how best they could get a whole view. Subscribe to your podcast and find out about awesome things you're working on.

Ali Brown 15:15

Yeah, I think I think my best advice is, you know, learn what you can but don't get addicted to all the How and learning right now. It's really, I see people getting sucked into all that just, you know, tap back into why you want to do this tap back into who you want to serve, and just figure out the best way to go from there. I have a great podcast, where we interview amazing leaders. We have a lot of male listeners as well. It's called Glambition. It's a fun name. But we have incredible interviews coming up this fall and I'm not sure when this will air but we've had people lately like Ellen Latham, who founded Orange Theory, and Rebecca Minkoff, the fashion designer. We have Sally Krawczyk, the Wall Street legend who just founded Elvis like really interesting, rich conversations and I think just keep listening to inspiring stuff and stay true to your vision. You can learn more about me at Alibrown.com

Gresham Harkless 16:02

Awesome, awesome, awesome. So we will have those links and that information in the show notes. Thank you so much again for your time and all the leadership that you provided to us as well. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 16:12

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today, Ali Brown of Ali brown.com. Ali, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Ali Brown 0:37

Great to be here. Can I call you Gresh?

Gresham Harkless 0:40

Yeah, absolutely. You can call me anything. I always say I've been called a lot worse.

Ali Brown 0:44

Your name is so cool Gresham. Great efficient, you sound very rich .

Gresham Harkless 0:49

It's try to be what your name is right. So you always have high goals. So that's always what I try to do so. But I appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about it so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Ali Brown is one of the world's most recognized entrepreneurial coaches. Over the last 15 years Ali Brown has advised and helped nurture the businesses of many of the seven and eight figure online thought leaders you see thriving today. Ali has been dubbed the entrepreneurial guru for women by Business News Daily. It has taken her company to the Inc 500 List rankings. Ali is an angel investor, a top podcast host of Glambition Radio and the mom of twins Ali, are you ready to Speak to the I AM CEO community?

Ali Brown 1:26

I am

Gresham Harkless 1:27

Awesome, Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I just want to hear a little bit more about your background or your CEO story. What led you to get started in your business.

Ali Brown 1:33

I think like many of your listeners, I maybe wasn't well, yeah, I wasn't setting out to be an entrepreneur, I got out of college thinking alright, I'm gonna get a great job and do kind of what you know, I think you're supposed to do and I found it very quickly. You know, within six years out of school, I had been through about six different jobs and, I just kept thinking, wow, this, this can't be it. And so I'd take another job. So maybe this is going to be the job. I take that job. I just I was feeling very disheartened. Thinking, gosh, you know, this isn't quite what I thought it would be. And I knew I had something to offer I had some talents, I had some skills, and couldn't find the right place to plug in. So my awakening was at my last job, I worked at a little ad agency in New York City, it was in Midtown for these two, like pushy old ad guys, these big beards. They didn't know what to make of me was the office at 10 People with one bathroom had a cat walking around, it was a weird little ad agency, but I loved it. I loved it because I got to do everything and they would be gone a lot. So I would figure out like how to work with the clients. I'd be you know, calling FedEx to see where the package was I'd be if the designer was out, I would jump on. Then it was cork, you know, today it's Photoshop and InDesign all stuff. So you know, I would just figure it all out. I realized I really liked that I liked a variety. I like having fun. I like trying new things. So I don't advise this. But really, when I got to the point that I kind of knew that I could get some small projects and do some, you know, ad work on my own and writing and design stuff. I just left. I was so excited. And at that point, you had nothing to lose. You know, that's if you're in your 20s right now, man, now's the time, you probably have no kids, no pets, Nope, just do it. Just go. And what happened, I'll give you the short version. Because I know this is a short show. If you want the long version, you can listen to some of my podcast, glambition radio. But the short version is you know, it took several years, but I went from working with clients doing some marketing work for them to then turning it into more of a teacher when the online marketing was really just starting to come out. So I created courses programs I did teleclasses. At that time, I was before webinars, and I turned into a teacher and then that transitioned into coaching. Because the biggest problem I see right now in all this mess we have online, is there's way too much information. There's not enough wisdom, helping entrepreneurs and CEOs learn how to become a leader learn how to make the decisions that can make or break their company.

Gresham Harkless 4:01

Nice, I definitely appreciate that. I appreciate you for you know, it sounds like you tap into your self awareness because you understood at that ad agency that you were kind of you have these certain skills. It's crazy because those skills are kind of some of the skills you need to really build a business and grow the business to be able to be in thrive when sometimes things aren't predictable. I guess you can say days don't go there aren't always the same.

Ali Brown 4:23

Exactly. Like it actually it's funny because looking back, I kept thinking, Oh, I you know, I won't be doing any of this probably, you know, when I start a business and I'm using it all, you know, when I still occasionally I still occasionally have to fix the printer and get coffee and you know it all? Not much has changed like people have more money.

Gresham Harkless 4:37

Yeah. You're not using cork anymore, right?

Ali Brown 4:40

No, I do have a designer. Thank goodness.

Gresham Harkless 4:42

There you go. There you go. So I know you've touched on it a little bit. I love the fact that you kind of touched on that because you saw kind of like a need and I love when you know entrepreneurs kind of see that there's an opportunity to start to build their expertise or their business around that and you kind of touched on you know, from the coaching standpoint of understanding that a lot of times I guess as business owners, we don't necessarily have those sometimes all skill, sometimes we know or can find the book or take a webinar on how to, you know, balance our chequebook or balance our and do our taxes and all of that. But sometimes making those decisions and things a lot of times what we struggle with,

Ali Brown 5:10

yeah, when you when you think about it, I know the show's called, you know, I am CEO, and when you think about really, most of my journey, and when I'm working with clients, it's very interesting, we shift from conversations on what they know, to conversations about who they have become and who they are becoming in this process. So, you know, yes, you need the practicals. But really, it's these decisions when you are coming up against, you know, against, like, where do we take this company? Do I hire more team members? Even? I'm not sure where revenues coming from next quarter? Do we make a bold leap with a new product or program or choose a different audience, these are very weighty decisions that you don't often have, like a cut and dry formula, you know, for making them.

Gresham Harkless 5:54

Right, that makes perfect sense. Kind of sounds like, you know, you become that sounding board and you help direct people towards, I guess, whatever they might know, that they should do.

Ali Brown 6:04

It's something that as you get, you know, the saying it's lonely at the top. Well, you know, as people ascend their own success, and you know, or they're leading a team, there's going to be things that they're going to need to kind of talk through. That's where it's really helpful to have a coach, a consultant, some type of advisor, or even just a good friend who, you know, you can call and say, Listen, I'm dealing with some really big stuff right now big decisions, can I talk something through with you?

Gresham Harkless 6:31

Right, exactly that makes perfect sense. So I know you touched on it a little bit. Was there anything more about like, kind of what you do to support the clients that you work with, that you wanted to kind of touch on that our audience can take advantage of?

Ali Brown 6:41

Yeah, well, you know, my, my market is the women I typically work with. By the way, I do work with men, like on a one on one basis, but the women come to me because there's not many of the women doing over a million. So my sweet spot is working with women leaders doing between one and 20 million. What they need are probably about three things. The first is that personal advisory that person that they know, has been through it, or has connections and verses to help them figure out how to navigate through some big decisions about their growth. So I do feel at that level, you know, you need some individual attention, you can't just go take a course or join a program use that to support you, but you need to talk to somebody one on one. Second is putting a group together. You know, the word mastermind has been really overused and bastardized over the last 10 years, but truly, to have a really good solid group of other leaders where you know, you're not the smartest person in the room, you know, you want to be in there, getting advice and hearing from people who have different skill sets and perspectives, but they've all accomplished something. So having that, that group perspective, and then that creates kind of a third dynamic, which is this magical experience, you have just like, by being around people who hold you to that high, high level of not only who you've become, but who you are going to be that those that's really the three magic pieces of what I feel is, you know, when I started off, I was one of the few coaches in the space. Now everyone's a coach, if you haven't noticed, like, everyone becomes a coach, and, you know, even people you're looking, you're like, you shouldn't be a coach, you know, you're like, Wow, you were like the most unqualified person. It means a lot of different things to different people. But you need to look for someone who can, you know, it's not just about training, it's truly about bringing out that leadership in you. I think that's what separates the amazing entrepreneurs and CEOs from the ones just, you know, creating a business.

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Gresham Harkless 8:30

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it also takes in definitely correct me if I'm wrong, it takes a lot to make that decision to put yourself in that environment as you touched on to, to be around the those like minded people, but also to to have a coach that has that expertise and has worked with people that in there that are in that one to $20 million range that you talked about that you also have to make the decision to do that as well, too. Nice. So you might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. This can be for you or your organization. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart to make sure you meet?

Ali Brown 8:59

I think that I'm always I'm always swimming against what I was gonna use mix that number metaphors swimming against the grain, no swimming upstream. Whatever my industry is doing, I typically look at doing the opposite. So that served me in many ways too, by the way, it but it but it also makes me a better coach. So when I was building initially, you know, all these big programs, and we had membership programs with 1000s of people and events in Vegas with 500 people, we hired acrobats. It was insane. Like we were doing all this big, big stuff. When I saw everyone coming along behind me doing the same thing membership programs, big things, you know, and there's a lot of space online to do that. Now. I did a sharp right turn what I call it is I said okay, what are the pieces of this I love and where I'm untouchable, like no one can do what I'm doing. That is when I decided to I don't want to say go back to but really change over to high touch and working with clients very personally because a lot of people don't want that now they want to just the scalable online business. I'm sure you've heard some people say this before, there really is no such thing as true passive income, you know, those businesses are very seductive, but a lot of people get into it and go, Wow, this isn't what I thought, like, I'm dealing with Team stuff all day. like, we're trying to keep people in the programs, and it's gonna be work no matter how you slice it. So when I had my twin six years ago, I thought that I saw it as a great opportunity to make some changes that really served me and served my clients and said, How can I do this in a way that I love it, that it's exactly what my clients need. It really redesigned. So I would say that it's it's high touch, and high concept, and which is pretty much, you know, just let's just say it's unique compared to what I see a lot of on the landscape right now.

Gresham Harkless 10:36

Nice and so I wanted to switch gears a little bit. I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, or what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Ali Brown 10:46

There's a book that I read, I reread it I read about 10 years ago, initially, and I reread it every year. It's a very simple book, it's called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I use this in several of my workshops as well and with clients. He makes the distinction. It's a distinction that changed how I work, he makes a distinction between working in your excellence, and then working on your genius. A lot of us and I've observed, you know, many of us to getting into our you know, late 20s 30s is where like you prove yourself and excellence is what you know, you're good at, you know, you can make money doing it. That all goes fine. And well.

Gresham Harkless 11:22

And so now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self

Ali Brown 11:32

To stop trying to be all things to all people, there was a point in my business that we were trying to create products and programs for everyone who was following me. I think this is the deception of social media as well. Like having this, this following is great. But you don't want to stop being a leader. We started though doing the things we're supposed to do in the business, like survey your customers, right? Ask them what their experience was, and what would they like? What will they look for, we know what they're all looking for, they want free stuff. Here's the tip, I'm gonna save you years of surveys, they want free stuff, and they want to do no work. They want to somehow make money from that. Only half joking, but literally, so we're creating all these programs and products. Then I was on a TV show called Secret Millionaire on ABC, which you could still see me if you think it's on Hulu, and it's on Amazon. The gist of the show was by the way that they take a successful person from her environment, put her out in a different environment with like no money, I had to work with some people in some emotional situations, and I ended up giving away $100,000. So then everyone started following me thinking I'm just giving away money. Then I felt bad for these people were creating things for them a lot of free things, and you know, $10 a month club things. Finally, this is when I'm like, we have to stop the madness. This is not like we're following them. I need to lead and stand for something, I need to move forward and turn back to the helm of the ship and look where we're going and decide where we're going and stop following everyone.

Gresham Harkless 13:05

And so now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So Ali, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ali Brown 13:15

That's such a loaded question. There's two levels of it. I do you know, I think there's different roles we assigned to it. But to me personally, it's being a leader. You know, as I'm growing a new company moving into next year, I do though, feel I'm going to actually hire a CEO. Because I enjoy the entrepreneurial creative vision part of this more than the practicalities of being a CEO. I'm proud to admit that so I'm looking for a good CEO, if anyone was like, next year, see for me, because me the juicy part of that is the leadership of it. That's where I best serve people.

Gresham Harkless 13:52

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I've heard and I think like, I'm glad you made that distinguish, because I think that if the founder of Twitter, one of the things that he did is that he realized that that isn't where his I guess his own genius was and he wanted to be on the more creative design aspect. They found a CEO, but that's, you know, it takes incredible amount of self awareness to kind of understand that and distinguish that and be able to be a leader and understanding that this is where I'd rather, you know, put my gifts and my skills and then bring somebody else on deck and also that as well, too.

Ali Brown 14:21

Yeah, and it takes a lot of courage for that too. Because you feel like Wow, am I am I still really being a leader if I don't want to handle this stuff? Am I still like the boss and but I think you know, we all need to realize it's a big gift and all this there's not one best way to do this. We are inventing this as we go and we're the first generation recorded history to have these opportunities right now. So it's gonna look a lot of different ways for different people.

Gresham Harkless 14:42

Exactly And that makes perfect sense. I'm glad you kind of you know, broke that down because I think a lot of times we'll go and we'll find the book The how to book on how to do XYZ but just like you said, you know, this is a this is a time that actually is only and unique in and of itself. So to find a book that is exactly like this time, it's probably near impossible.

Ali Brown 14:58

Right

Gresham Harkless 14:59

Awesome. Well, thank you so much Ali, I truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things that you're doing that you shared with us. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. Then of course, how best they could get a whole view. Subscribe to your podcast and find out about awesome things you're working on.

Ali Brown 15:15

Yeah, I think I think my best advice is, you know, learn what you can but don't get addicted to all the How to and learning right now. It's really, I see people getting sucked into all that just, you know, tap back into why you want to do this tap back into who you want to serve, and just figure out the best way to go from there. I have a great podcast, we interview amazing leaders. We have a lot of male listeners as well. It's called glambition. It's a fun name. But we have incredible interviews coming up this fall and I'm not sure when this will air but we've had people lately like Ellen Latham, who founded orange theory, Rebecca Minkoff, the fashion designer. We have Sally Krawczyk, the Wall Street legend who just founded Elvis like really interesting, rich conversations and I think just keep keep listening to inspiring stuff and stay true to your vision. You can learn more about me at Alibrown.com

Gresham Harkless 16:02

Awesome, awesome, awesome. So we will have those links and that information in the show notes. But thank you so much again for your time and all the leadership that you provided to us as well too. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 16:12

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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