For our new interview series Greatness On The Go we’ve decided to speak with our very own CEO and fearless leader Vincent Bradley!
Prior to co-founding Proper Wild, Vincent was the CEO & Co-Founder of FinTech Global Markets, a tech-enabled investment bank which he sold in 2017. Vincent has been starting businesses since he was 14 years old and has traveled the world advising and building companies. With an exit under his belt before the age of 30 years old and now building Proper Wild into one of the fastest growing beverage companies in the United States, we’re excited to be checking in with Vincent to learn what motivates him to strive for greatness!
Proper Wild: What have you accomplished in your life that you’re most proud of?
Vincent Bradley: I think it’s really important that when you achieve some level of success that you acknowledge the help you got along the way. No one gets to the top of the mountain without a lot of support and a little bit of luck. Friends, family, co-workers, and mentors all play a huge part and that’s why I believe it’s not only important but it’s your duty to send the ladder back down and help the next generation or entrepreneurs that are grinding to build the next great thing!
I take great pride in being able to help and mentor a group of young entrepreneurs, and it’s something that I absolutely love doing. To be honest, it’s also a great way to keep learning and staying sharp.
Proper Wild: What do you think is the key to success?
Vincent Bradley: There’s no silver bullet to becoming successful, but if I had to pick one universal truth, it would be that perseverance, never quitting, is the common denominator to all successful people.
You have to be organized and make smart decisions and get others to follow you and timing and luck play a large role as well. But the thing about perseverance is that if you keep grinding, the chances that your timing will be right increases, and the chances that you’ll get a couple good bounces and get lucky increases, and after a few mistakes you’ll start making smarter decisions and you’ll learn what works and doesn’t work to get others to follow you through trial and error.
You see perseverance, never giving up, gives you the runway to figure out how to succeed!
Proper Wild: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life?
Vincent Bradley: Having to fire good people because your business or the economy has hit a rough patch is really tough. It’s especially hard when you make a bad decision as a leader and the business suffers; instead of growing, you have to shrink and fire people.
On my first venture funded company, when we were still figuring out our identity and product market fit, we hired a bit too fast and it took a little longer than we expected to really find our groove. Because of that I was forced to fire some really good people and let me tell you, that really sucked!
I truly value my co-workers and their families. We take great pride in giving all of our employees great benefits and when you have to fire someone and tell them that they're no longer going to be receiving a paycheck or benefits to provide and protect their families, it’s just a terrible feeling!
Even firing bad people, which is really important to do and do well is tough for me.
With Proper Wild, I’m really proud that we’ve not had to layoff or furlough anyone during the Covid-19 crisis and that as a direct result of our growth as a company we’ve also helped our vendors and partner companies maintain their workforces!
Proper Wild: Any advice for a young entrepreneur out there?
Vincent Bradley: Do not be afraid of failure, embrace it and wear it as a badge of honor.
Failure is going to happen a lot and it’s important you acknowledge that it’s part of the journey. When you do fail, you should own it, learn from it, and then map out the solution to move forward.
I’m actually at the point in my life where I love failure, because it means that I get to fix something and make it better. I give myself 10 seconds to feel bad for myself when do something dumb or make a mistake and then I transition into problem solving mode. Every failure is a chance to create a solution and when you train your brain to think that way, you really become stronger as an entrepreneur and doors and opportunities start opening left and right.
Proper Wild: What’s next for you?
Vincent Bradley: Proper Wild, Proper Wild, Proper Wild!
I’m having so much fun building Proper Wild and it’s really rewarding being able to help people with our clean, plant-based energy shots! All the crap on the market right now in the energy category is just junk and not only does Proper Wild functionally work better, but it’s way healthier!
We’re actually changing people's lives for the better! Everyday I get a couple emails from customers telling me how it helped them at work, or got them off a medication they were taking. It just gets my juices flowing and motivates me to work even harder!
I think in five years Proper Wild will be a globally recognized brand and while the star of the show will continue to be our clean all day energy shots, we’ll make some pretty aggressive moves to expand the business and brand. I’m excited and looking forward to continuing to build Proper Wild for years to come!