Dave Anderson: “You Have to be Willing to Fail Over and Over and Over Again”7 min read
Being a bully has never been something to strive for. It hasn’t been a good title to be called and no one really likes a bully. But, the fear that can be instilled into the bully’s target resonates deeply at times—even when you stand up to said bully. Let’s think about how the actions of a bully either intimidate you or make you stand up for yourself. This is where Dave Anderson comes in. The thought of a bully helping you succeed in your business may bring back memories of succeeding in spite of the bully’s actions. Not with this ‘bully. Anderson’s approach is not for the weak-minded. This ‘Business Bully’ has a different approach that has helped others in their quest for business success.
Standing up to a bully is always impressive and in doing so, this writer was able to speak with him about his bullying tactics and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
Tell us about your company, The Business Bully, the origins of it and what you hope to accomplish through it.
The Business Bully L.L.C. is a full-service business consultancy and marketing firm for entrepreneurs. I started my company under a different name in 2006 but the name was becoming limiting based upon all of the things we now offer: coaching, business development, marketing, media training, digital, etc. So, one day I’m on Facebook and I answered a question from someone who had been asking the SAME QUESTION in different groups for YEARS. So when I finally suggested that it was time for that person to take action, someone decided to reply to me and say “Dave Anderson, you’re a Business Bully.” I replied to that person, “No, I am THE Business Bully.” I immediately called my trademark attorney.
What made you decide to enter the world of business coaching?
Truth be told, I was always doing business coaching. Whether it was helping talent that I was either producing or working within radio or television or comedy, I was always giving out business advice and helping people market and present themselves in a way that would allow them to earn more money and be seen in a better light. It was a natural transition for me. On top of that, I really wanted to make my own mark in the world outside of the media and entertainment. After 25 years in the business, I found that no matter how talented I was or how gifted I was, I wasn’t going to reach my full potential while working for someone else. For me, owning your own is the only true way you will ever be completely free.
You just wrapped up BullyCon a couple of months ago. How did that work out, what went into the planning of the con, and how was it received?
BullyCon was phenomenal. We sold out almost all of the in-person seats and had an amazing online live streaming audience. Although we had a BullyCon before, my team and I made it our mission with this year’s BullyCon to create a safe space for black people to discuss business and collaborate with one another.
The event took place in Philadelphia with a kick-off called “The Cheesesteak Social.” Traditional networking parties and business card exchanges are extremely boring, not to mention stuffy. No one can be too serious while they are eating a cheesesteak. So this calms a lot of the anxiety and nervousness that people feel when meeting people in a business environment. It’s also a really fun way to kick off an event.
The second day was filled with amazing speakers and workshops. Instead of having speakers pitch every single product they had at people, we focused strictly on value for the participants. We had a women’s panel that focused heavily on growth and achievement strategies. Our speakers came from all over the country and from all walks of life. Kenny Jones, The Comeback Kid, did the keynote. Carla Kelly, my right hand and Chief of Staff hosted and assured that things ran smoothly. Chuck Creekmur, founder of Allhiphop received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Musician/Activist/Entrepreneur David Banner received the impact award. Rizza Islam reminded the audience to focus on our mission and Derrick Grace helped with teaching wealth strategies not taught in business school.
The last day was a pitch contest where we gave away a $15,000 coaching package and a trip to Phuket, Thailand. When you’re surrounded by such brilliance, all of the time and hard work you put into the event means so much more.
What does it take for someone to become a successful entrepreneur?
I think success is determined by how you feel about where you are. A successful entrepreneur to me is someone that is living the type of life they always want to live and doing it by making money using their gifts and talents. I don’t think you need $1 million to be successful. I think if you’re able to make a great living doing what it is that you love to do, that’s all that matters. Now to perform at the level that I perform at you have to have a certain level of resilience.
Many people get discouraged because most people are not entrepreneurs by definition. Most people will listen to their peer group, who haven’t necessarily had any experience in entrepreneurship. Or they might listen to a friend or family member who “only wants the best for them,” not realizing that that person or people are steering them in an incorrect direction.
You have to be willing to fail over and over and over again. You have to be willing to be early on things. If you’re OK with people thinking that you’re crazy, and you’re OK with people not understanding what you’re doing at all times, you can be successful. The very people who told me I was out of my mind are the same people who tell you now that they knew me back in the day.
I feel like when you know that you have something special to offer to the world, you can’t let anyone stop you not even your own self-doubt, let alone the doubts of other people
What motivated you to take the type of approach you present when giving advice and suggestions to people?
When I looked around, I saw everyone giving people pom-poms and rainbows and springtime and vision boards. Many so-called “coaches” weren’t telling people the truth, and as a result, people walked around with an over-inflated sense of ego and often burned out very quickly. We live in a world full of participation trophies and very few results. While I’m a very loving guy, I got sick of watching a hug-fest that only left people good on the outside for a little while, but poor in their bank accounts and quality of life.
In my world, business is brutal. It’s a bloodsport. It is financial Darwinism. It literally is survival of the fittest, so you have to have a thick skin. I noticed that my bare-bones and brass tacks approach to speak in the people was resonating. So I double down on that. Fifty-four million in client revenue later, I think we’re on the right track
Tell us about ‘Black Boys Win’ and what inspired you to start it.
I started Black Boys Win because I saw that we weren’t celebrating our boys the same way that we celebrate our girls.
While there are programs for black boys, many of them involve pushups, wearing a suit and tie (as if that has anything to do with professionalism) or focusing on athleticism. I wanted to create something that celebrated all different types of black boys. We not only talk about education but plan amazing experiences with people from every field of human endeavor. We also help those young men who are interested in starting and scaling their own businesses. It’s hard because we don’t get award shows and massive donations but we are truly doing our best to make an impact. You can apply for a young man or donate to the cause at BlackBoysWin.com
What are you working on now?
Growing my coaching business and helping as many people as I can. My podcast, which is on every major platform, is putting out a lot of amazing content. There’s a reality show we’re developing around my business coaching style. I’m working on some projects with TV icon Ananda Lewis. Also, there’s the business mixtape I’m dropping with DJ Suede, The Remix God. I’m always looking to test my limits.
Working with me and my team isn’t cheap (usually between $15,000 – $30,000) and it shouldn’t be. But we want to help as many people get to the top as possible. We just launched FreeGameAlert.com where I pull back the curtain and give people actionable information that they can use for free.
What’s the most important thing a person can possess that can make them successful, regardless of what they want to do?
I think that the most successful people should possess an allergy to “Plan B.” So often people look for something to “fall back on.” I’m a big believer that if you only have your dream and your plan to hold onto you don’t have time to fall back. Everybody I know who has “made it” are people who didn’t look for a Plan B or didn’t look for tomorrow, they stayed focused on their journey and on their goals. That is the only way to win in my professional opinion.