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IAM2015 – Wealth Manager Shares the Value of Open-Mindedness in Business

Podcast Interview with Brian Harte

In this episode, Brian Hart shares his journey from humble beginnings to becoming the CEO of his own wealth management company.

Brian talks about the impact of rapid growth on his business, which led to a setback in 2009 that nearly put him out of business.

Also, he discusses the establishment of the Investors Coffee Shop Podcast, which focuses on the diverse aspects of investing, beyond just stocks and bonds, including comic books, Pokémon cards, and even wine.

Brian believes being a CEO means helping people grow, providing mentorship, and making tough decisions.


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Full Interview:


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Brian Harte Teaser 00:00

It's hard to overestimate, but I truly got screwed. It almost put me out of business. That was the scariest thing. And then when I opened the office in DC in 2010, I had pretty much lost everything.

So, at that point, the risk was worst-case scenarios, I'd go back to New York City. But it was that for me, that overgrowing so fast and losing control of everything.

Intro 00:21

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:50

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Brian Hart. Brian, excited to have you on the show.

Brian Harte 00:57

Thank you for having, pretty excited. I've read about you, looked up some of your episodes. I'm a big fan of this. Thank you for having me on.

Gresham Harkless 01:03

Yeah, absolutely. I'm definitely a fan of you as well, too. I always say it's really great to have other podcasters. We're speaking the same language here. So, excited to hear a little bit more about what you do. And obviously, we're recording live at the Intelligent Office in Alexandria.

So super excited. We get to not only record it to meet you, but we get to do it in person, which is like the icing on the cake.

Brian Harte 01:22

Exactly. So I always try to report to I prefer that, but obviously, we have our mistakes and got to be able to edit them out when they need to be. So we'll see how well this goes.

And hopefully, I won't make too many mistakes for you. And it'll be an easy operation for you.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 01:35

Yeah, absolutely. I always say I make more mistakes than anybody. So it's a race to the top. I guess I should say. So, exactly. So, I guess to kick everything off. I wanted to rewind the clock here a little bit more about you, what you're doing and what led you get started.

Brian Harte 01:48

Okay. So I got started in Wall Street back in 2003. I left Richmond, Virginia, moved to New York City. I have a rough growing up lots of insanity, let's say that. So I had to get out of Richmond and then move to New York of all places that seem quieter.

Gresham Harkless 02:04


Brian Harte 02:06

So, I went to New York City. I didn't know anyone. I was a fresh restart and I started my 1st job as a ticket sales in Times Square.

And if you've ever been to Times Square, you've seen the guys say, buy a ticket. That was me, I was in the way chasing down promising to see Jerry side.

Oh, it was a good, but either way, that was the goal. And then I read a newspaper and you're hiring on Wall Street, 44 Wall Street. He wants us in management for call. So, I went down there and figured what the heck at this point, what do I have to lose?

I was more than shocked that they hired me on the spot because I didn't graduate college. I don't have the background especially in finance. So I started from there and built my empire up from there.

Gresham Harkless 02:47

Nice. I absolutely love that. I can imagine that. I think even that when I graduated from school, I heard how valuable sales opportunities and jobs are mentioned the cold calling being out in Times Square and talking to people that I've imagined that probably great created a lot of foundation for everything you're doing now.

Brian Harte 03:01

Yeah, sales are everything. And I've always had sales jobs. Even growing up, I would sell dolls to people on the street, give the dolls to little kids. So the parents had no other choice, but to buy the dolls from me.

So there's always side hustling and things like that. And it just seemed to all work. Not that well I guess Wall Street is side hustling.

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That is what we do. There's no cutting it around. So.

Gresham Harkless 03:22

Yeah, absolutely. So I guess take me through a little bit more on what you're doing now, what your show's about and all those awesome things you're doing to make an impact.

Brian Harte 03:28

All right. So last year I created Investors Coffee Shop Podcast and the whole idea with that, without going over rules and regulations, I can't talk about stocks and mutual funds or anything that deals with you want to ask management as a company, but we discuss investing in housing, trust accounts, the most popular podcast as far as the Pokemon blown the roof off.

Subscribers from Pokemon comic books and alternative investing and coming up, we're going to be doing watches and we'll be doing wine and we'll be doing other things that go within that area. Just different avenues for us to make money for it.

Gresham Harkless 04:04

I imagine how powerful that is. And I think that sometimes when you get the word investing, people's minds automatically go to this, whatever that might be.

It might be real estate. It might be 401k just sells things, but to it sounds like create a more holistic definition of what that looks like. That's what you're able to do on the show.

Brian Harte 04:20

You should break up all your investments. So whether it's crypto stocks, bonds stocks and bonds are the most common because that's what we hear about all the time.

The most profitable is comic books and Pokemon, things like that, that have been around for a while, Pokemon has been around for over 20 years. It's not going anywhere.

I mean, you pay 5 for a card and next thing here's a million-dollar card in your hand. The return is incredible comic books. If you've been in my office next door, I've made the most comic books.

I've been collecting comics as a kids and I actually have clients who are artists and writers in that industry. , So when you go on the wall, there's pictures of me and Stanley and there's people like that and everything signed.

But those books, I would probably say 10,000 to 20, 000 percent return for me.

And so I talked about that. So people always think of just 1 way to invest. Yeah. There are many ways to invest the 1st. Most people, if you remember when the 1st, if you look today, you find that used broken, they go for about 5, 000.

Oh he sent 2 to 300 back 20 years ago, not 20, 10, 15 years ago when they came out, you've quadrupled your money and imagine if it works. 5, 000 for 1, that's broken 1, that's 1 that works. , And you can see these things on eBay and that, there are just different ways to invest your money.

You just don't think about or you're at your trash. There's tons of money sitting up there. You have no idea. You just give it away. You toss it away.

Gresham Harkless 05:46

Yeah, that makes sense. Being able to see that, even just you talking, I almost see investment as far as not necessarily stocks and bonds, but basically finding something of value, being able to provide that value to somebody else and get paid for it, or get some return back or something.

Brian Harte 06:00

We're not even providing it to somebody else. It's just something how true, the art sales are great. Gary V is a famous one. Everybody knows about him. His big thing is going to the art sales.

He doesn't like films on YouTube and he buys something and there were the 10 minutes he sells it for twice the money. I've seen him actually buy something from a yard sale. I did a video and the lady didn't want to sell it and he was like, all right I paid you 2 for it. Give me 4 insurance back and she gave him the 4 bucks just like that.

And all I did was just show up now. 2 is a lot, but 2 to 4, 100 percent is 100 percent no matter how you look at it. And that's how you have to look at these things too. Sometimes people will get comics.

Yes. 90 percent of them will go back. So it's not all they're going to go up. Same thing with baseball cards or hockey cards or any other memorabilia pops.

It is a big thing. Now people buy this bottle of things.  The majority of. To become what they are toys, but it's that 10 percent and usually that 10 percent is what you don't even know you have and you may have one of those. So it's always worth checking out. Even if you just scan eBay or heritage options or something like that, watch time as watches the old Casino computerized watches. Those things go for a bundle. And we all had those as a kid, right? Playing on the calculator. We knew those would be worth 10 times what they are back then.

Gresham Harkless 07:18

Yeah, that's crazy to think. I love that you talk about that, a lot of your podcasts.

So is that transition into like how you help serve the clients and how you work with them?

Brian Harte 07:27

As far as working with them, because my clients in E1 were doing wealth management, that's mostly equities, IRAs. Things like that has nothing to do with that right now. The podcast is an add-on to them.

They get out to their own selves. I don't recommend people to buy spider man. or Pokemon card, rookie card.

Talk about it, right? It's discussed with professionals in that field. I'm not that professional. I interviewed those professionals. So every episode, you're seeing somebody who's at the top of the field that so you can learn from that person, but all of us to take risks and you have to do your own research before you do anything. Even listening to this. If I say anything, it seems like you want to jump on it. You still have to do your own research. You can't take everything I say. It just went to the courses with it.

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Gresham Harkless 08:14

Yeah. But that makes so much sense around creating that awareness. So that's awesome. So do you feel like part of your secret sauce?

You or the organization or a combination of both is your ability to have this. Again, I'm gonna go back to the holistic kind of definition or perspective on the investing and what that looks like in many different ways. Do you feel like that's part of your secret sauce?

Brian Harte 08:33

You have to be open-minded and that's the hardest thing for the average person to be as open-minded.

They get stuck in a rut and they think everything has to be one way and they won't look at anything else. I do it too all the time. Sometimes I like cars. For me, high-end cars, Mercedes and stuff like that, I think is a joke. I drive a Honda Fit. And it's not because of money or anything else. It's just because I can drive just as fast as a Tesla in my neighborhood.

So to me, that, that value is not there so much, but that's me being closed-minded because that Mercedes could be a co opter down the day where really nobody's going to want my car because they make millions off of it. You could go to a junkyard and get it for free.

So there is a value there to that. But it's open-minded.

That's it. You have to look at everything with the whole perspective. Whatever you think, you really don't know. You have to go into it, not knowing anything.

So, even going into drinking wine, that's a big thing for selected people. It's hard to understand that it can become very valuable, but there's certain years 1996 and other years. Those bottles are worth a lot.

And if you bring that bottle out, it'd be like 10, 000 to the average person. I'm not going to spend 10, 000 for a bottle of wine, it's because they want to spend 10 so they can drink it now, as opposed to that 10,000, which could turn into 25, 000 in 20 years.

Gresham Harkless 09:53

That makes so much sense.

And do you feel like that's something that open-mindedness and I guess the ability to see things from different perspectives, that's something that you always had, or you've been able to cultivate and then grow into?

Brian Harte 10:04

No, I read a lot of psychology books, so I'm very guilty of being closed-minded, unfortunately. But when I talk or when I talk to clients, there are certain things I will always close my mind to.

There are certain things I personally, because of my beliefs, I will not invest in. Things like war, things that kill people or drugs, anything that can actually hurt somebody, I will never touch.

And it doesn't mean they're out of investment by means. It just means I'm close-minded there because to me, it's not worth how much money I can make on it. If people are suffering or doing things like that, but it could be a very lucrative investment. The same time.

Gresham Harkless 10:41

Yeah, that makes sense. Do you feel like I almost feel like we're all closed mind to some degree because we all have our preconceived notions.

Brian Harte 10:47

We all. And that's the hardest thing. We're closed-minded about it. We don't like people telling us things to do, especially in investing. We want to think, everything right now with technology, you can put everything in the hand.

Gresham Harkless 10:57

Yeah, that makes sense. And that's why I like a lot of the things that you said, things you use a phrase, I think, stand the test of time. And I find a lot of times when you are very foundational driven in terms of, like, how you've been able to build everything, you can go back to looking at those things that do stand the test of time.

So you can make more. I guess it's better informed decisions.

Brian Harte 11:17

Yeah. And you got to use your gut. So your gut will lead you off, but you just have to open your mind up to different possibilities. Yeah. It's you have this preconceived notion of I was going to say, I guess we don't use bars anymore, but you still have to look at this picture and you're swiping and you're making this decision based on 1 2nd, which is probably the worst possible thing you could ever do in your life.

Because you put no research, no effort, and you just call it past your purpose. And it's the same thing with the people do it all the time. Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 11:55

Yeah. It's about doing the due diligence and actually drilling down and diving in. I want to say it's never crowded along the extra mile, but no 1 extra mile.

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

Brian Harte 12:16

I would say. There are so many apps out there, so that's hard to say because everyone's doing the apps.

I use obviously don't apply. You don't apply to 90 percent of the probably the listeners out here. So let's get that. I'll say being running a business for as long as I had made a lot of mistakes.

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The biggest 1 was back in 08 or 09. I had hired too many people too fast. I couldn't control the employees. I had when the market crashed, I ended up getting sued for things I didn't even know what going on. And that was the problem.

And since then, it's been a slow growth, trying to rebuild my business since then, and I will try not to ever make that mistake again, no matter how good business gets slower, once the way it breaks.

Gresham Harkless 12:55

Yeah, absolutely. The tortoise over the hare. And so what would you consider to be what I call a CEO nugget? So, a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice.

I say, it might be something if you were to hop into a time machine, you would tell your business self.

Brian Harte 13:08

I'd like to repeat. What I just said, I know it's hard to overestimate, but I truly got screwed. It almost put me out of business. That was the scariest thing. And then when I opened the office in DC in 2010, I had pretty much lost everything.

So, at that point, the risk was worst-case scenarios, I'd go back to New York City. But it was that for me, that overgrowing so fast and losing control of everything.

Gresham Harkless 13:32

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

Brian Harte 13:34

I can't stress it. It was the scariest and dumbest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I would go back and nip that in the bud.

Gresham Harkless 13:41

Yeah. So I wanted to now ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. My goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on my show.

So what does being a CEO mean to you, Brian?

Brian Harte 13:52

A CEO. The short answer would be as someone who is overseeing an organization that people can look up to for answers. Your job is to help other people grow, to mentor other people. Most CEOs, they get attitudes or they think they're at the top of the world, but that's really not what your job is to do.

Your job is for everybody to feel like they have an equal chance to get up to the level where you are. If you have lots of people fighting to be where you are, then you're doing your job correctly. Because you made it an interesting place to be, but bossing people around CEO, CEOs do make tough decisions. If you have multiple roads, you are the 1 who makes that final decision. And if things don't work out, you're the one who has to take responsibility for it. A lot of CEOs, you'll see, especially small businesses won't blame people or they'll fire employees because they think it's the employees. No, it's you who made that decision.

You need to own up to this and figure out how you're going to fix that decision. You didn't. And that's all about leading. So it's allowing your employees to lead, allowing them to have an open-door policy.

My assistant, she tells me ideas all the time. Whether they're good or not, it doesn't matter. She knows she has the right to do it. She can call me 24 hours, anytime she wants. Any idea, it doesn't matter.

She'll reach out to me and she'll be like, hey, I got this idea. 50 percent are great, 50 percent aren't, but you never know until you listen to it. And some of those things have changed the way I operate. And because of her, I have Investors Coffee Shop, but because of her mother, these were her ideas. These weren't necessarily my ideas.

Gresham Harkless 15:22

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that kind of speaks directly to the culture that you have even been able to create where, you help people to grow in turn, they feel that connection. They feel that relationship. They feel that connectedness to the organization that they want to in turn also do things to help the organization that will help you grow.

So Brian, truly appreciate that definition of perspective. Of course, I appreciate your time even more.

So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, of course, how best people get all the views, subscribe to your podcast, find out all the awesome things you're working on.

Brian Harte 15:53

I'm the CEO of Investors Coffee Shop. We're on all major platforms. You can see us on Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever it's your favorite podcast. If you like everything here, you can send comments, ask your questions on the air when we do those.

And also if you're interested in wealth management, you can check me out at e1 asset-management,

Gresham Harkless 16:13

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. To make it even easier. We'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too. So subscribe to find out about E1 as well too. So thank you so much again, Brian. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Brian Harte 16:23

Excellent. so much. I enjoyed it.

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media.

Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

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This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


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