Christian Bishop: “Your relationships, network, and representation are everything”

I’d like to inspire a movement around anti-bullying. I love to focus on uplifting people and being positive. I am passionate about helping prevent bullying and encourage people to talk about it and help build a safe environment. As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a […]

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I’d like to inspire a movement around anti-bullying. I love to focus on uplifting people and being positive. I am passionate about helping prevent bullying and encourage people to talk about it and help build a safe environment.

As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Bishop, WSOE Commissioner and VP of Business Development at Estars Studios. As World Showdown of Esports (WSOE) Commissioner, Christian Bishop has been an integral part of the multi-genre, multi-game tournament series development since joining the team in Fall 2018. Today, Christian is responsible for the continued growth of the series while managing current and new developer partnerships. He also oversees new, large-scale business opportunities and transactions to accelerate the company’s white-label production growth. Previously, Christian was Chief Executive Officer at Thunder Gaming, the largest esports gaming and production center in the West Coast with a total property size of 150,000 square feet. Over the course of his career, Bishop has served as an Enterprise Media Director with Level 3 Communications, AT&T and Time Warner Inc. In addition, he served as a Director of Content for BidChat, a cutting edge two-way live broadcasting platform for social influencers. In 2017, Christian also launched “4Cast,” the first of its kind esports and gaming show to deliver unique esports and gaming news and information in an entertaining and engaging format that appeals to all gamers and fans. He is also an Executive Producer for the film “Huntsville” and is most recognized from his recent work on ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” Christian also serves on several boards and participates in community organizations such as the Western Regional Diversity Council, where he works to advance and sustain an inclusive environment for gaming enthusiasts. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from California State University, Northridge.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I’ve been a gamer my entire life and developed my ambitious nature during childhood. When I was growing up, I lived in a single-parent household, and I had to work hard for everything we had and later, in the privileged world of my father and stepmother.

Growing up, I moved around the country a lot and eventually settled in at a boarding school in Florida in the 8th grade. Being a hybrid athlete-gamer, I was determined to break stereotypes and went on to become varsity captain of numerous teams, founder and president of the gaming club, senior class president, and more. I graduated top of my class with numerous awards and the rank of major. Eventually, I moved back to Los Angeles to attend college at California State University, Northridge, where I majored in business. I supported myself through college working two jobs and eventually went on to manage a GameStop. Running a video-game store was a dream come true for me! I hustled day in day out and through my dedication and passion, I was quickly asked to launch a new flagship store in Northridge, CA.

Throughout my childhood, I was always gaming. It was a constant for me, and when I was not working or in school, I was raiding 40 hours a week in World of Warcraft. Instead of going out in the city with friends, I would stay in playing video games and eating Burger King. GOOD TIMES!

What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah-ha” moment with us?

My big “ah-ha” moment was getting to the point where I was frustrated with traditional corporate America and the entertainment industry and deciding to choose to instead focus on something I was passionate about.

There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?

Extreme work ethic fueled by passion allows you to work through the really challenging moments. A lot of people have great ideas, but it’s the special ones that focus on improving and work their tails off to make it happen every day.

What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?

I would recommend surrounding yourself with other people that share your passion and drive. Attend events and workshops that involve what you love and are passionate about. Consume as much content you can and as often as you can whether that be reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, start to get into the habit of expanding your knowledge about what you are passionate about. Eventually, at a certain point, you will continue to learn and build relationships in your space and grow to be a leader within that arena. Once you are good enough and have value to share, you can commercialize your passion.

It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?

Over the years, I’ve heard this from close friends in my life and that always disappointments me. I think it stems back to a person’s mindset and the people you surround yourself with. If you fall in love with the process and the journey you are living, you should enjoy it daily. It’s not only about the end result. The journey and the process of getting to where you are going are just as important, if not more. Fall in love with that, and it should help.

What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?

I enjoy giving people, who share my passion opportunities to live their dream. It’s an amazing feeling surrounding yourself with hard-working, passionate people and helping them provide for their families and their future.

The downsides of running your own business are that the final and ultimate decisions and responsibilities fall on you when things hit the fan. There is no clocking out, no walking out the door. People are looking to you for answers, and payroll is due.

You can overcome challenges by surrounding yourself with brilliant, hard working people. Empower them, to help you problem-solve.

Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

People assume that working in video games allows you to play a lot of games. It does not. There’s a lot of very serious work to do.

Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?

Early in businesses, it’s common to run into financial challenges that break you down over time. You have to evaluate the fact that you can go get a job in corporate America making six figures like you used to, but it helps to have a great support network to have your back and help keep you motivated during the tough times.

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?

Funniest mistake — — Uhhhhhhhhhhhh I wish I had mistakes I found funny. They crush me! I hate making mistakes.

Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?

People with an extreme work ethic who manage huge teams, companies, or shoulders great responsibility, inspire me. People that manage these responsibilities but maintain a high level of integrity and character like Barack Obama, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Seacrest.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I do my best to work with young people through mentorship programs, and if you are passionate about something, willing to put in the work and always making yourself available, hopefully, great things will come for others.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

It would probably be more appropriate to say, “what are five things I would have listened to.” A lot of my learnings have come from challenges I have experienced.

  1. Running a publicly traded company is a very emotionally taxing experience. Shareholders and your own emotions are directly affected by your stock price. You could be working your tail off, trying to build the business, but get harassed by the public.
  2. A lot of my businesses have really scaled up after hitting that two-year marker but be prepared to struggle and get in a stride at the 24-month point.
  3. As a CEO, your most important hires will be the ones that are filling your weaknesses. In my case, a great COO and accountant are very important.
  4. Legal — Spend the money on day one for a good attorney for the specific use case. From the very beginning, when you are incorporating. Legal zoom and doing it yourself does not always cut it.
  5. Your relationships, network, and representation are everything.

What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. 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’d like to inspire a movement around anti-bullying. I love to focus on uplifting people and being positive. I am passionate about helping prevent bullying and encourage people to talk about it and help build a safe environment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“With great power, comes great responsibility” — Stan Lee

We are very blessed that 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.

Dwayne Johnson. He is the man and has an insane work ethic

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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