You will work 7 days a week all hours of the day- There is no real story with this one. It is just the truth and I live it everyday. I had no clue running a business would take this much time. If you are not working you are always thinking about it
I had the pleasure to interview Brandon Fishman. Brandon is CEO of VitaCup, maker of the first-to-market line of vitamin-infused coffees and teas. Products are available online and in over 10k stores including Walmart, with Target launching in August 2019. VitaCup ranked as the best-selling coffee pod at Sprouts nationally last month. Brandon Fishman is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record of success. He has been at the helm of two previous successful startups, one of which is Internet Marketing Inc., which grew to a 100-person Digital Marketing agency representing many Fortune 500 brands. He is originally from Philadelphia, PA, studied at Emory University for undergrad and the University of San Diego for his Masters, and now resides in San Diego, CA, where VitaCup is headquartered.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is it about the position of CEO the most attracted you to it?
I worked for a company for 9 months in my life. I knew right away I could never work for anyone. I love being a leader. I love creating something from nothing. I was born to be a CEO.
Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO does, but in just a few words can you explain what a CEO does that is different from the responsibilities of the other executives?
As a CEO, everything rolls up to you. If someone makes a mistake you get blamed. If someone does well you get the credit. That is a lot of pressure and it takes a unique individual to handle it. A CEO makes all the key strategy decisions and is responsible for all growth within the company.
What were your biggest struggles throughout your professional life and how did you overcome them?
I went through a process where I had to buy out my partner because he was not pulling his weight. That process was a difficult one and an expensive one. I was encouraged to leverage up the business and buy him out but if I had to do it all over again I would have just fired him and let him keep his equity. It hurt the business from a cash standpoint.
What is the one thing that you enjoy most about being a CEO?
Helping to provide for many families. I love knowing that my hard work helps families live and thrive.
What are the downsides of being a CEO?
The stress and the anxiety are extremely high and hard to handle on many days.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In my new company VitaCup we ran out of capital several times in the early days. I once booked a one way flight to New York and told my wife that I was not coming home unless I raised enough money. I raised money the night before payroll and we kept on chugging☺
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In a major proposal I spelled a company’s name wrong in the deck. I don’t recommend that. We did not get the deal:(
Specifically, what is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I have to learn something new every day. I thought I would know everything but each day I only learn what I don’t know how to do and I have to learn and adapt.
Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be a CEO, what specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful CEO and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be a CEO?
-Ability to deal with stress
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Always respect your team and tell them how much you appreciate them.
Who inspired/inspires you and why?
Steve Cushman- a local San Diego business man. He is my mentor and helped me become the business man I am today.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Every quarter we do a charity event, packing food for homeless, or serving meals at a hospital. We like to donate our time because it means more.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- You will work 7 days a week all hours of the day- There is no real story with this one. It is just the truth and I live it everyday. I had no clue running a business would take this much time. If you are not working you are always thinking about it
- Choose your partner wisely- I made a mistake in the past. It is like choosing a wife or a husband and should be given a lot of consideration
- Sell when you are on top. I had 2 opportunities for large exits and I waited too long or got distracted. When things are perfect, that is the time to sell
- Take a long time to hire but be quick to fire- I jumped the gun on hiring some people too quickly and I waited too long to remove some people that I had relationships with. The correct team is everything
- Put good advisors around you. I have an amazing 7 person board for VitaCup and we would be nowhere without them
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I like inspiring people to make healthier choices. That is why I started a better for you coffee brand. I would encourage people to do 30 minutes of cardio 4 days a week. It would change the world and make everyone healthier.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Think Different”- Steve Jobs
Always think outside the box and different thn everyone else. That is how you succeed.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them!
I am a big golfer and I grew up idolizing Tiger woods. What he has done for sports, business, and charity is amazing. I would love to play 18 holes with Tiger.