Updated: Sep 17, 2019
My entrepreneurial nature has become my personal brand — what I am and want to be known for. No, I’m certainly no Musk, Gates, or Zuckerberg (yet), but I’m committed to the journey and have the same ambitions. Fueled by a chip on my shoulder and the desire to prove myself, I am motivated to change and grow from the bullying I endured during my childhood years. It doesn’t hurt that I was born with a knack for creativity and a mind for business. Looking back at my encounters and those of others, sometimes that creativity is why bullies target future entrepreneurs. There can be a tendency to squelch unique, creative, and different kids — especially during the elementary and middle school years. In high school, I was able to turn some of my biggest interests into a lucrative opportunity, completely reinvent myself, and pursue the path of entrepreneurship. This story of growth has had a tremendous impact on my well-being and has provided me with a distinct advantage not only in the world of business, but also in life itself.
The effects of an emotionally damaging event such as bullying will never go away completely. Many victims are tragically hindered both physically and mentally throughout adulthood, even when they go on to achieve incredible things. I am writing this to show victims of any type of pain that you don’t need to let these moments define you, but rather shape you for entrepreneurial success. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur. Once it finally clicked that little Randy was not going to fulfill his dreams of playing in the NBA, I have had my sights set on founding my own company. When anyone asked what I wanted to be, I’d say a CEO. “But of what company?” “I don’t know,” I’d say. “I just know I want to start a company.” I have to wonder whether this desire and mindset may have predisposed me to be bullied or enabled me to overcome bullying. I’ll never know exactly. But I do know this coping mechanism is important enough to me to write this book for others to leverage.
For this book, I have conducted interviews and studied the stories and psychology of a diverse group of highly successful entrepreneurs and their experiences with adolescent bullying. Furthermore, I dive into how these individuals were able to successfully leverage their struggles to help fuel their fire and turn them into the powerful leaders they are today. This book is a collection of stories, insights and lessons from both high-profile entrepreneurs and some who are less familiar.
You will learn how: • Tom Ford overcame bullying to launch one of the world’s largest fashion houses and reinvent himself as an award-winning filmmaker. • Elon Musk’s familiarity with pain helped him to start PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. • Andrew Nikou used his “superpower” to help him beat childhood bullying and go on to found OpenGate Capital, a multi-billion-dollar global private equity firm.
But perhaps more important than a series of anecdotal stories, I am offering a framework — aptly called INVENT — to help you leverage your pain to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, enabling you to excel post-bullying and beyond. This framework offers a succession of tips and approaches to help you overcome adversity and rebuild your life as an entrepreneur.
In reality, everyone has something to overcome. We have all encountered some type of adversity at some point in our lives and we continue to fight our own internal battles. My hope is that this book will serve as a therapeutic resource to help motivate and guide you as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey — something to turn to when the going gets tough to let you know you are not alone. It will teach you how to overcome even the greatest of obstacles, find your voice, share your story and turn whatever roadblock you’re facing into something special.
I’m excited to see what you make of it.