“Building an A team, spending more time hiring for more employees than you anticipate, having a work-life balance is key, and remember what is really important. The first two are related to some mistakes I have made. To accomplish all the things I want to, I rely tremendously on my team. Work-life balance is such an overused term. What I mean by that is manage the work swings accordingly. Some months there are so many things happening that it becomes easy to be overwhelmed. I have also learned over time to always allocate some time for myself to play sports and relax. It allows me to tackle work more efficiently. Remembering what’s important is to help put things back into perspective. When you have a tough day, always remember that there are things more important than what is happening to you and there is no need to stress.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Philippe Frayssinoux. He owns several entertainment companies in the Reno/Tahoe area. Before founding Break Through, Puzzle Room, City Adventure Tour and OnyvaClub, he played tennis professionally. Frayssinoux then went on to pursue an MBA and worked at Microsoft Reno for six years before starting this new venture.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’m originally from Paris, France, and moved to the United States to play tennis and get a business degree at Mississippi State University. After graduation, I went professional and traveled around the world to play tennis. A few years later, I decided to change my career and moved to Reno, Nevada where I received my MBA and coached tennis at the University of Nevada, Reno. I took an internship at Microsoft in 2011 and fell in love with the company. I worked there for six years before focusing on my entrepreneurship endeavors. I opened my first company, Break Through Reno, in 2014 and discovered a true passion for creating new and unique experiences. I love traveling, exploring, and trying new things. It was natural for me to share this passion with everyone by creating fun experiences and letting people find their escape!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company
I’m not sure if I have one favorite funniest story, but it’s always fascinating to me when I describe what I do and the concept behind an escape room to someone who has never heard of it. Especially in the very beginning, four years ago, when escape rooms were not popular at all, less than ten companies in the country existed at the time. The reaction and comments from people were priceless. “You really want to open a business where you lock people in a room? No one will want to experience that. Once I was locked in a public bathroom and it was no fun. I would not do that again.” I think what really makes every reaction unique and interesting is the expressions people make when they hear the concept. Most people stay quiet (maybe out of respect to avoid hurting my feelings), and it’s always fascinating to see how much their expressions give away!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are obsessed with customer service. I like to believe that our priorities make us standout — the customer always comes first, our own team/employees second, and profits last. Without data to back it up, it feels to me like most companies out there always prioritize profits first. I can understand that, but we personally built the companies to share some cool and unique experiences with other people so we will always prioritize quality of our games and customers first. Growing our employees is something my business partner and I are passionate about. We have 30 employees total and several received multiple promotions for their great performance. We have two employees that climbed their way up to a managerial position before even graduating from UNR! We would not be where we are without a great team.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I am very lucky to have a lot of friends that always share some very helpful advice. I also have mentors and mentees (even though I never really tagged them as such) and a lot of friends from Microsoft that always help sharing advice over a beer or cup of coffee. I live in Carson City and spend most of the week either in Reno or South Lake Tahoe. I always listen to an audio book to help with productivity. Learning and actualizing yourself is the key for long-term success, and I really have to thank my friends for all the help they provide.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We are working on the next big experience in Reno. It’s still a little early to talk about it, but hopefully we should be able to share this exciting endeavor by the end of August. Also, we just launched two new initiatives. One is a scavenger hunt that mixes aspects of an escape room and partners with other local businesses. It’s called ‘City Adventure Tour,’ and it’s a fun and innovative way to bring our indoor game outside. The second touches on my passion for traveling and my French roots. A friend of mine and I are working together on implementing a new travel program. Each year, we will bring a group to sightsee, eat amazing food, taste wine and take tennis or golf lessons in Paris. This is just one more way I can take people on unique experiences. You can visit www.onyvaClub.com for more information.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have a passion for giving back to organizations that are dedicated to helping others. Each year, I increase my contribution to the world, both through finances and volunteering. We donate a percentage of our business profits to numerous organizations. The Boys and Girls Club of America and the Children’s Cancer Foundation are two of my favorite nonprofits to support.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
“The 7 Lessons of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey is the one book that has been the most impactful on my life. It was one of the first business books I read and there were numerous valuable lessons that I applied quickly. Recently, I read a few autobiographies and they were all very inspiring. I like listening to the amazing stories and experiences others have gone through. There is always something you can take from them and apply to your life.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Building an A team, spending more time hiring for more employees than you anticipate, having a work-life balance is key, and remember what is really important. The first two are related to some mistakes I have made. To accomplish all the things I want to, I rely tremendously on my team. Work-life balance is such an overused term. What I mean by that is manage the work swings accordingly. Some months there are so many things happening that it becomes easy to be overwhelmed. I have also learned overtime to always allocate some time for myself to play sports and relax. It allows me to tackle work more efficiently. Remembering what’s important is to help put things back into perspective. When you have a tough day, always remember that there are things more important than what is happening to you and there is no need to stress.
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 whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
If I had to pick a few people they would be Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Richard Branson, and Roger Federer. They are all so inspiring in their own field, but I also love how they donate to communities making the world a better place.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, Authority Magazine, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.
Originally published at medium.com