ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | JAMIE BIANCHINI
Jamie Bianchini is an Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Author, and Philanthropist. As a Cutco/Vector Marketing representative in the early 1990s, Jamie advanced as far as Branch Manager, while attending college at the University of Southern California. After college, Jamie embarked on a series of business ventures, but struggled to gain traction as something was missing from his life. He decided to go on the ultimate adventure, an epic 8-year journey around the world on a bicycle. The bicycle itself was special, and the journey was life-changing. Upon his return, Jamie hatched an idea for a business that evolved from a need he saw on his travels through Africa. He founded his own company, which he built and has now sold. His story is a remarkable tale of connection, compassion, and contribution.
Q&A WITH JAMIE BIANCHINI
Q: Tell us a little about how you got started selling Cutco with Vector.
- I was looking for a job in college and wanted something that would give me great experience as well as good pay and when I found Cutco I really believed in the product and knew I’d have a lot of fun selling it.
Q: What were some of the early experiences you had selling Cutco and what were some lessons you learned?
- I liked the idea of “putting on Rhino skin” and not taking a “no” from a customer in a personal way.
- Especially in sales, success is a numbers game.
Q: You got to work with Filippo Mancini. What were some things about him that you aspired to?
- He always had such positive energy.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your business ventures after Vector/ Cutco.
- I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I had earned the Business Plan of the Year award and I thought I knew better than everyone, but in retrospect I didn’t stick with anything long enough because I wasn’t patient and I wouldn’t ask for help.
- That eventually led to me going bankrupt at 28 years old because I had taken on too much debt.
Q: Let’s talk about your bicycle ride. For context you took an 8 year, 80 country bike ride around the world. You did this on a custom tandem bike, and you would invite total strangers to ride with you for as long as they wanted. Let’s start with what made you decide to do this?
- After the bankruptcy, the wake-up call was to be really authentic to who I felt I was. I always heard the advice to live your passions when you’re young and I really wanted to ride my bike around the world.
Q: What country surprised you the most in terms of how much you liked it?
- Nepal! I knew I’d like it but I didn’t realize I would love it as much as I did.
- Mozambique was another place I fell in love with.
- I also really liked Bosnia.
Q: Let’s talk about some of your favorite stories from the trip. What stands out?
- Living on the road leaves you really vulnerable but I learned that people will take care of other people, especially if you’re vulnerable. One of my takeaways is that humans are compassionate.
- I also learned how simple it is to put a smile on someone’s face.
Q: In Uganda you ended up partnering with a man who is truly transforming his community. Can you talk a little about Innocent?
- Yeah, Innocent came on the back of my bike and had never even ridden on a bike before. I took him on a long trail with grueling terrain. I interviewed him, and asked if he could do anything in the world what would he do and he said, “I would build a school for all the AIDS orphans and the needy in my community because a lot of kids are orphaned and they never end up getting an education.”
- I promised him that I would help him achieve his dream so I gave him his first step and he completed it. So I gave him another step… and another and another until the school was built.
Q: Tell us about something you enjoyed about going through Europe.
- My first experience in Europe was in Italy and I learned really quickly that people in Europe are a lot more fearful and cautious than people in Africa. I had no trouble getting people to want to join me on the back of the bike in Africa, but in Europe I had to completely change my ways of connecting with people. But Europe turned out to be magical.
Q: Tell us about the experiences you had in South America.
- I wanted to learn Brazilian Portuguese so I went to Brazil for 3 months. Then I met the woman who would one day become my wife. She hopped on the bike for a 15km ride and ended up staying with me for 20 days. She then got her own bike and we rode together until we found out we were going to have our first baby. She eventually went to home to Spain to have the baby. 3 months after my son was born, he and my wife joined me for the final leg of the trip on the West Coast of the US.
Q: Tell us about your business venture with LuDela. How did you decide on the name and how did you come up with what you did with LuDela?
- While I was traveling in Africa I fell asleep with the candle burning and I woke up to a candle fire in my room. I was able to put it out but it was really scary.
- I decided to invent something to allow you to safely enjoy real flame candle light.
- So I invented this product in Africa, and one of Africa’s biggest problems is their illiteracy rate because people don’t have access to books. So we decided to make LuDela a public benefit corporation and donate books for every candle product sold to illuminate minds not just homes.
- And the name came from my 2 kids, Luca and Candela.
Q: What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs just starting out?
- I would suggest doing something within your superpower over something you don’t enjoy doing.
- Having patience is something else you have to have. Sometimes it’ll take 4-5 years just to get things off the ground.
Q: As you look into the future, what are you most excited about?
- I just launched my coaching and consulting practice. I just want to help people at a higher level.
- The idea of putting on rhino skin and having the courage to do things that make you uncomfortable at times.
- Success doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes we experience some challenges along the way.
- Of course his amazing journey around the world — 80 countries in 8 years. Jamie learned about openness, trust, compassion, love, and respect for all others.
- “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you pursue?”
- Do things that jive with your skills and who you are as an individual.
After 30 years creating impactful business and social ventures, Jamie is now dedicating a portion of his time to coach individuals step by step on achieving their most audacious dreams. He also has limited consulting slots available for companies looking to take their businesses to the next level of both profits and purpose. Learn more about Jamie’s consulting and coaching offerings at www.JamieBianchini.com.
Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina.
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