Entrepreneurship, Tony Robbins, And Podcasting With Nick Bradley

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship


Everyone’s entrepreneurship journey is unique. But how do you know that you’re on the right track? Dr. Patty Ann Tublin sits down with Nick Bradley, the Co-Founder and Director, Scale-Up Specialist/Business Growth Mentor of The Fielding Group, and host of The Scale Up Your Business podcast. In this episode, he talks about how meeting Tony Robbins transformed his life. He shares the shift in mindset that allowed him to gain fulfillment in his work and re-imagine his goals and purpose. Nick also shares how podcasting has helped him solidify his path and what it means to have integrity in business. Stay tuned!

Listen to the podcast here


Entrepreneurship, Tony Robbins, And Podcasting With Nick Bradley

I was excited before I spoke to our guests, but my guest and I were speaking, and I was even more excited. I cannot wait to get this interview started, but since I know that our guest is going to knock it out of the park, make sure you like, comment, share and subscribe to this episode. Let me tell you a little bit about our guest because he can speak for himself.

I’m going to start with his personal accomplishments, which blows my mind. He has completed 67 marathons and 24 ultramarathons. If you can accomplish that in your personal life, you can imagine why this man has the number one podcast on iTunes and the Spotify business chart called Scale Up Your Business. He has bought and sold 22 businesses with a combined valuation of $5 billion. Let me welcome our guest, but first, put on your seatbelts because Nick Bradley is going to take us for a ride. Welcome, Nick. I’m excited to have you.

How could I not show up with the whole fire hydrants of the mouth now? I’m going to have to pour out everything I have got. I’m ready to go. Let’s do it.

You agreed to speak on the show now on your day off. Nick, I could go on. We were chatting about flying, about children, about flying with children vacation, and you have all these businesses. Start to share with us anywhere you want to be, how you get here, you can start from now, go backward from where you are now, how you got there.

I will give you a little bit of the story in sequence, so it makes a bit of sense. I grew up in a place called Adelaide, which is in South Australia, so I have this weird accent, part Brit, part Australian. I’m in the UK now.

We think everyone that speaks English is from the States.

Adelaide is like a country town. It is not anywhere. You got the big Eastern cities, like Sydney and Melbourne.

Did you say not anywhere?

I’m in the middle of nowhere. It is famous for three things. It is famous for big, great white sharks. A lot of the open water scenes from the original Jaws films and stuff like that were filmed in South Australian waters. It is famous for its churches. I do not know what this is, but if you go around and look in the main part of the capital city in Adelaide, there are church spires everywhere. The third thing, which is the weird one, is serial killers. We have more serial killers per head of population and crazy deaths in any other city. We are about 6,000 miles away, so we are okay.

I’m going to add a fourth thing that Adelaide is known for and that is Nick Bradley.

The point is here I left for those reasons now. I started a business when I was eighteen there, which was a personal training business. I’m 47 in 2022. Back then, we are talking late ‘80s, early ‘90s. These days people have personal trainers. It is quite a common thing. You did not have any of the stuff that is there now.

It was a career, but it was a different thing. I managed to build a small but successful business of some high-net-worth individuals who would come to me a few times a week, and I would train them. I had a private studio. These days, the stuff I’m saying, now people go, “That is what people do. Everyone does that.” Back then, if you had a personal trainer, it was for the elite. It was a strange thing. I had that business, and it was doing well, but for whatever reason, I decided to sell it. It was partly because of the serial killers and the sharks.

When you say, “For whatever reason,” because you are a serial entrepreneur, I do not want to let you off the hook that easily.

You do not know the whole story yet.

You said you were not sure.

What happened was I sold the business for 3,000 AUD. These days it is a Starbucks coffee. The reason I did it was fear. I did it because, back then, I was not a serial entrepreneur. I was clouded with a lot of different perspectives from my environment and my family about what I should do and should not do. We are talking 17 to 18 years of age. Everyone in my family that I knew of and in my close circle were not entrepreneurs. They were like, “Get a job. A job equals safety. Do not do this entrepreneurial thing. If you do that, that is going to come crashing down. It is bad.” That is what I was around.

“You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people have what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

The people who were telling me that I trusted because that was all I knew at that time. I sold that business and I thought, “If I’m going to get a decent job, it is not going to be in the small country town of Adelaide.” That place was very much around. If you are a lawyer, a stockbroker, a doctor professional services, it was that, but big business was on the East Coast.

I sold the business, and I ended up in Sydney. I had those high net worth clients in my personal training business, and they had connections everywhere. The thing I learned was the power of connection, the power of relationships, and proper relationships. When you are 21, you do not think like this. Most of my peer group were in bars and playing pool when I was trying to carve out something.

I ended up going to Sydney. A media guy called Matt Hambrick, who was Rupert Murdoch’s nephew. That got me into this crazy, amazing world of media. I got a job working for news international. I went in as the marketing manager of a men’s health magazine in Australia. It was a nice bridge between my fitness stuff, my love of health and fitness, and businesses, which I do now. I did that and progressed in that company.

I ended up getting poached to go and work for a UK competitor that had a satellite office in Sydney. I did well there, and I got invited to come to the UK in 2003 to head up a division of that company here. The rest is history. I have been here ever since. What was fascinating is I progressed quickly through the world of corporate with a job. I got to running divisions before I was in my 30s. I was the CEO of certain parts of these businesses at a young age. I have a good income and all of that.

I got to a point where I kept getting sacked. I would get up to a certain level. I would sit at a board table. I was the youngest guy at the board table, and I was quite chippy, quite outspoken. I started to understand the political things that happen at the higher levels of business. As soon as I became a threat, or my self-awareness was not there at this point, I was saying what I thought, I would get pushed down and pushed back. There are a few things that happened around that.

I found a lane within the corporate world in private equity, and that happened around 2008 to 2009, just around the big crash of 2008. I was quite senior within this media company. The shareholders and the chairman decided that we needed to pull this company apart and sell it for the assets effectively. This was around the time when traditional media magazines and print media newspapers were starting to get disrupted by technology.

If you think back, Amazon was around, but people were starting to question whether Amazon would exist. It was an interesting time because I saw the demise of something that had been a key part of how we got information as a society globally. I saw that demise, and I saw the breakup of this company. I went from analog media to an interesting digital media business in New York or Getty Images. I ended up going over there for a while and living in New York.

Getty is a little more business school around how you should grow and scale. It is a business that was driven around both disruption and acquisitions. They took an analog industry, stock photography that people used to send around photography books in the mail. They bought up and digitalized all that content. They built amazing systems around it and then they went off and bought everything. Anything that was music, video, and photography that they could then bring in and sell through their technology platforms is what they did.

The business was invested and sold. It was sold and bought 4 or 5 times through the various progressions that happen in private equity. I was involved in 30 odd acquisitions in my time there. The way you scale a business is not to grow one customer at a time. The way you scale a business is more strategic than that. That got me into the world of private equity. I had a great few years going into businesses that were failing, invested in by private equity for tens to hundreds of millions. I would be the guy that would go and fix them up, not financially and not from a spreadsheet, but going in there and restructuring.

You are more of the carry-around guy.

I always say that there is not much difference between turnaround and scale-up. It is the same principles of what you need to put in place. People process all of those things, getting the strategy, clear focus. I joke a little and say, “If you have seen Pretty Woman, I was Richard Gere.”

You are a pretty good-looking guy. I will say that for people that are reading. I might get myself in trouble with you, but that is okay. Private equity guys do not have a reputation for being the nicest guys on the block. That is their reputation. They are scumbags. They are assholes. One of my sons is in San Francisco, and he has been there several years.

He saw the transformation of San Francisco from being a real entrepreneurial place to, and he goes, “Now all the assholes from the East Coast where he grew up from Wall Street, they are all there. They are all the private equity guys.” You are in a meeting. Everything is going great, walk the private equity guys, and let’s get in trouble with another profession. The attorneys and everybody turns into an asshole.

That was my world for a number of years you. There was a transition. You quote it out. You said, “Serial entrepreneur.” Effectively, I have had that streak in me for years, and I will explain why, but I repressed it for several years in that world of corporate. The reason I was getting sacked was because I was acting very entrepreneurially in an environment that did not want that. They want you to conform.

I thought you did not know what I thought, that you already know.

I know you are very clever.

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: The way you scale a business is not to grow one customer at a time. The way you scale a business is more strategic than that.


I’m curious what you think and I was waiting for you to finish so I could tell you, but go ahead. I was going to say that they were threatened by you, but I did not know what the threat was. In the corporate world, if you do not echo in many ways the board room, which people do not think. It is a little left up.

The board room is an echo chamber of what everybody wants to hear, led by the chairman of the board, the CEO, and the two of them together, depending upon how much in cahoots that relationship is. Nobody wants innovation. They want to say yes to cash out as quickly as possible and to move on to the next. If you went in there with an entrepreneurial mindset, you did not fit the culture. That is what I think. You gave me the answer.

You said it nicely. That was beautifully put together with more context, but I did not know this at that time. I did not think I was that entrepreneurial because I was told that was bad and everything else. For me, entrepreneurship was about as far away from who I thought I was from my identity as possible.

Did you hear that distinction? You always were, but you never accepted it because that is not how you saw yourself because of the message you were told growing up.

I was programmed differently until something happened. You said I’m nice. I’m wearing a cardigan now. I got my notebook and T-shirt on. I’m not in a suit, so I’m not the private equity guy anymore. I got an awakening. I was doing a number of deals. To be clear and reiterate your point, in that world, certainly in the time that I was in there, post the crash of 2008 into the mid-2010, 2012, 2014, that era. There was a lot of private equity money floating around because a lot of them had assets that they hadn’t deployed. All the assets go backward. You invest and scale them up.

There was a lot of going and finding good businesses or businesses that were performing well before the crash and hoovering them up for little amounts of money in the scheme of things so that the entrepreneurs that had created these amazing businesses solving big problems were the ones that lost out. The way it works in private equity, to unpack this is there will be some nice guy. Normally not me, the guy came in after this.

He would do a rapport with someone and call someone up. It was like a machine or a sales funnel. You would contact people with businesses and say, “This is a fantastic business. We would be interested in investing in that business.” The unaware entrepreneur business owner at that point in time would be like, “I’m flattered.” The entrepreneur, I do not want to generalize too much, do not think of it like that. They think about this problem they are solving, and they are creative.

They are thinking that they are trying to add value.

They are not thinking about the value necessarily for themselves all the time.

Add value to the world. I do not mean money value.

I have changed the narrative on that a lot, which I will get into. I was out there, and I was the guy that would come in afterward. My job was to make the business look as poor as it possibly could, so we could get the lowest valuation on it. We could buy it for hardly anything and we would know exactly what we were going to do because turnaround and scale-up left and right hand. We would go in there and agree on the price and the terms. The terms are more important. The term sheet is what the seller is going to get and at what timeframe. You are not going to get all your money upfront when you sell a business or should not.

There were lots of things going on, but the short part of the long story is this. My father left our family when I was two years of age. I did not know anything about him. We had the whole character assassination from my mom and everyone about how bad this guy was. He was an evil guy. He let you look at this and how bad it is. It was my grandfather who was the male influence in my life. He was a working-class guy. My mom got married a number of times. I had a lot of uncertainty around male figures in my life.

We will call them serial male figures like serial entrepreneurs.

They came in and out. It was a confusing time. I had all of that. That was part of the environment. I say that because, at the age of 34, when I was in this private equity world doing these deals, I was this guy who was known for going in there and being clinical. My dad appeared. He came back. He reached out, and he got in touch with me before my first daughter was born.

I had made the decision a long time before that to say, “I’m not going to meet him. He is an ass. I’m loyal to my family.” A lot of things were going on at the time. Particularly because my daughter was about to be born and my wife had helped orchestrate the connection with my dad again, I thought, “I will meet him,” so I did.

Your wife orchestrated the meeting without you knowing it.

Focus more on how you could help people versus just yourself.

I say now it was one of the best things she ever did, but at that time, it was entertaining.

Entertaining or pissed off?

I had a feeling that I should meet him, but loyalty is a strong value of mine because of the things that happened. I felt loyal to my grandparents and my parents. There was a great thing against my values, but a few things had happened in those relationships, which made me think, “I’m going to lean into this. I’m going to do this.”

I met him, and I found out that he was a successful entrepreneur. He had a business and he was a millionaire before he was 40. He had a range of jewelry shops in Melbourne, Australia. He lost all of that money in a terrorist attack, where there was the Turkish consulate bombing was in Collins Street a number of years ago. His main shop was next to it and the whole thing got damaged.

How do you lose all your money? He had a lifetime of money up until that point.

Back then, there has no insurance with that terrorist attack. All of the insurance money that would have been paid was not paid. He could not close it back. He went off, and he got a job working for someone again in his 40s. He ended up seeing an idea in that environment. He went off again and started another business.

He turned that into a seven-figure business in his 50s. I say that because it squares the circle a little bit back to what was going on. I thought, “Entrepreneurial, I’m not that at all. Getaway, that is not good.” I meet my dad, and I’m thinking, “Perhaps there is something else going on here. I am a bit more like him than I knew because I did not know him.”

Perhaps it is in your blood, you just did not know it.

That is what I sense now. Two things happened, I was closing probably the biggest deal of my life. It was a $2.3 billion deal. He was around the place. My daughter had been born. She was about eighteen months old at this point in time. We go away on this amazing trip. I’m running an ultramarathon in Vermont.

This is the first time that he has come over from Melbourne. I head over there from the UK. He gets to meet his granddaughter, all this stuff. We had this amazing three weeks where we ended up going to Cape Cod afterward. I got to know him. He got to be a bit of a dad. He had never done that and certainly got to play with my daughter.

He did not have another family after he left your mom.

He got married, but no children. He came over with his wife.

Can I pause you now or later? Can you tell me how you then reconciled and developed a relationship with your dad, which I get the impression was taboo from your mom’s perspective? Did she know you were doing this?

That was all hidden. Some other things were going on in their lives at that time. I did not want to bring any more complexity into it.

You do not want to know what other things are.

There was a massive fight within money in a wheel situation between all the entities. Do you know the ideology or the saying of, “When things are not serving you, do not hang around in those environments?” I tried to help him fix it, and then I realized I was not going to get any way here. There was a lot of stuff going on. With that going on, and then my dad coming back in was partly related because I do not think If I had those things not been going on. I do not know if I would have met him. It is hard to say.

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: You need a shot in the arm. You need something that’s going to take you somewhere else. There’s a point where what you think is integrity and what I think is integrity are different.


If you want to get a little woo-woo, I’m not a woo-woo person at all. I’m a scientist. I believe in neuroscience and all that stuff, but there is something to be said for the situation was aligned where if you were still entrenched with your family, as you knew it, there would not have been space for your father to have come in and your wife probably knew that.

What was going on with your family is sounds like, it is like, you are from Australia. I was one of the first life gods on the beaches when the government of New York out of the United States mandated. Maybe it was New York. You had to hire women as lifeguards. I’m not that old, but I’m old enough. The reason why I was hired was because the chief of the beach was my swim coach. I was a competitive swimmer begrudgingly, “I got to hire these women.” He hired swimmers.

The first rule of thumb when you are a lifeguard and you are going out to save somebody is you do not let them ever pull you under because now two people will drown. The point of that story is you were involved with your family. It feels like the way the little you told, they were starting to pull you down and suck you in. To avoid that quicksand, you had to skedaddle, and that gave the room for your dad to walk in.

That point was a challenging thing for me to get my head around because back to the whole point of loyalty, those sorts of things, and wanting to do the right thing, I thought I had to be involved in that situation. It took me a little while to realize that it was not serving me at all. It certainly was not going to serve how I showed up at home with my now young family and wife here.

Here is the big thing. I meet my dad. I find out he is a successful entrepreneur. I know that I’m out there doing all these various things, doing big deals. We do this trip to Vermont and Cape Cod. We are on the beach. Still to this day, I do not think I have ever been on the beach a day like this. I have been to Sydney and places like that.

I do not know what it was. We went out for dinner. We were celebrating my 40th and his wife’s 60th. We ended up at the beach and my little daughter was running around. My second daughter is not yet born, but my wife is pregnant. It is the most beautiful, perfect night. At that point, we are saying goodbye because he is going to go back to Melbourne. We had to go and do some stuff back in the US and then back to the UK.

Fast forward over a year to that day, the next time I saw my dad, he was in hospital in Melbourne, and he passed away the next day. He has an aggressive form of cancer that affects him in that twelve months. I think he is going to be fine. Everyone is saying, “He is going to be fine.” I turn up at the hospital. I go and see him. I did not even bring my now newborn second daughter in because he would be out. We will go out for dinner, and he passes away the next day. To your question about connection and stuff, I did not get that because I only met the guy twice in the space of when he came back.

Once we met the first time that we connected, he came to London, and we met in a pub in London. The second time was this trip. What it sparked was incredible. This is where it all went, probably as far to the lowest point. I came back from Australia after he passed away. I had to do the eulogy at his funeral. It was mental helping. The whole thing was crazy. There are 300 people there.

Did your mom know that at this point? She did not know he died?

Are you ready for this? You are pretty resilient. I’m in the hospital where he is and I have been called up by his wife, my stepmom. She said, “He is not going to make it. Overnight, if they got him on morphine, we do not know when it is going to happen. They are going to turn off the life support.” I went in, and I sat with him, held his hands. He was out unconscious.

I believe people can still hear and feel things in that situation. A few things happened which are interesting. I had to leave there, go and have lunch with my mom because she was living in Melbourne at the time. While I’m sitting in Melbourne with my mom and my stepdad because she remarried, I get the texts from my other stepmom saying my dad had passed away.

What did you do at that moment?

I had repressed emotions for many years in my private equity days. My wife was like, “Are you not upset?” I said, “I do not know how to feel and how to react. It is what it is.” That is how it was.

You are at the dinner, and you look at the text. What did you do? Did you put it down, and you start eating your salad?

I went to the bathroom, texted my wife, and told her. She came and met me out the side of this place. We knew it was happening anyway because I had been in the hospital that morning when it came through. It was like, “It is real now.” Even if you ask me now why I reacted that way, the only thing I can say is that I was always this guy that was unemotional, hiding due to fear of things.

I will direct you for a moment if I may. It is not that you are unemotional. It is that you were removed from your emotion. You are not in touch with it, but it is impossible to be unemotional. It is whether you are aware of them or not.

The opportunities are always there in front of us, but we cloud it.

I was repressing it. Let me tell you what happened after. I got back to the UK after this period of time. It was that there for a couple of weeks, in the end, did the eulogy, the whole piece. I went to bed one night, and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning. I had a huge pain, like I had been punched in the face. I thought, “What is going on?” I thought something had bitten me like a spider. I went to the bathroom. I’m clicking around here with my tongue and the right side of my jaw, and I had little shards of teeth. What I did is I did crack the two molars.

Did you grind your teeth?

Not to that point. In the situation of knowing he had cancer and doing this ten-figure deal, some other things that were starting to become aware to me at that point in time and this incident, I was not feeling great and good. Back to the repression of emotions because it is going to come out somewhere, it came out of my teeth. I remember thinking this. I looked in the mirror after I had worked out what had happened. It is 3:00 in the morning. It is painful as hell. I remember looking at going, “How did you get here?”

I can answer that clearly now, but I could not answer it then. I ended up going to the doctor first in the morning. They said that they did not see this happen before in a high-stress situation in investment banking, some of the stuff I was in, let alone my dad. I realized when I thought about this deeply for a while that all of those years in private equity, where I was going into these businesses, entrepreneurs and I was taking away all of the value and I was getting remunerated crazy like that, I realized the person that I was raping was my dad. People like my dad. I had not appreciated that until that point because I was disconnected from all that. I did not care.

I do not know if it is accurate to say you did not care. I truly think you did not know. You would have cared if you knew. You were so glued from your emotions, the Iceman coming. Show me the numbers.

My values were different then. What I saw as important then was not what I see as important now.

What was then and what is now?

I will give you the summary. Back then, everything was about how I looked, how much money I made, the top job title I got, the status, the significance, all of it was that. If anyone were getting ahead of me, I would want to kill them. The environment, partly the way you are entrenched in that, but I was like that before I had gone into private equity. Going into private equity was like coming home. It was like, “This is where I need to be.” I get sacked in this corporate world, put me into private equity where we’re going to go and celebrate the raping and pillaging of an entrepreneur at the wine club, where we buy another Bugatti or something.

As we pass the homeless families on the street, because the guy lost his job and they lost their house, but that is okay, order him another bottle of wine.

It was crazy times.

That is what private equity does.

It has changed a bit because of the way investment happens now. There were people putting money into these private equity funds that won’t accept that behavior.

They were still not the nicest guys at the party.

I have seen a big transition in it in the last several years. It was before that, but going back several years, that was the reputation. What I ended up doing was I called up a friend who was always a bit strange at university. He was the guy who did not go out drinking with us. He read books and stuff like that. He ended up retiring early in his early 30s. He is a multimillionaire.

You know the joke, right, Nick?

What is that?

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: A lot of people judge others based on their own values or levels of what their definition of integrity is.


What do you call the nerd when he is older?

Elon Musk? I called him up, and this has happened after the teeth incident. He said to me, “I used to read all those books and stuff.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you know what you need to do? You need to go and get yourself to one of the events I used to go to.” I said, “What was that?” He goes, “You should go to a Tony Robbins’ event.” I was like, “I do not go to that. I do not want to do that at all.” I listened to him. I went online and went to Unleash The Power in Chicago. I cried for four days in that environment by myself. No one else was there with me.

There are lots of things that happen. There is one thing that I became aware of in that environment that I had never seen before. It was a Zig Ziglar quote. It was the quote where he says, “You can have everything you want in life.” If you help enough people have what they want, help them get what they need. That one is quite strange how this happens. It hit me.

I suddenly had this realization that everything I had done up until that point was about me. It was nothing about anyone else. I was going to quit private equity that weekend. I made a decision that I was going to focus more on how I could help people versus myself from that one quote. They were the two decisions I made, and I came back. My wife was like, “Okay.” She understood.

Was she okay with it because by that point, you got enough money?

We had a lifestyle that was built around making a lot of money, Porsche’s, million-dollar houses, private schools, all that. We had three Porsches at one point. This was important, and I still believe this. If people ask me for advice on this, I say the same thing. I said, “Do not get romantic about this. People got to burn the boats, and you have got to quit.” I was using your word early. I was strategic. I said, “I’m going to go and create what I want my life to be like in the future.” One of the things you do in that event is project twenty years into the future. What do you want to be? Who do you want to be? How does that look?

In order to be there and get to that, I had absolute clarity on that after thinking about it for the first time, I need to change things, but I’m going to do it in a strategic way. The first thing I did was I came back, and I said, “I want to share my story because I think it would be interesting for people to hear some of it.”

I also wanted to share my story because it was going to be cathartic for me. It was going to be a little bit of therapy. That was my thinking. My wife at that time was doing blogging. I thought, “I’m going to do a podcast. I’m going to go and share what it is like in this environment. I’m going to teach people what they need to know to be able to go into that environment as an entrepreneur and be able to fight their corner.”

Podcasting was in it is infancy back then.

It was several years ago. I’ve now had 250 odd episodes in, but it was early enough. It has accelerated hugely in the last couple of years. I did a whole heap of things I had never done before. I went and got a mentor who had a podcast. I learn how to do it. I put the podcast out there in the first 25 episodes, which I did two episodes a week for quite a while. It was just me speaking to the microphone. I had the microphone the wrong way around the first time.

Because I was quite vulnerable with it, and I was trying to offer perspectives around what I had experienced, it got lots of traction early. It ended up going to number one in the UK charts early and staying there for a long time. People were texting me, going like, “Is that you, Nick? How come you are number one on the charts.”

I was like, “I quite like that because of my whole significant status thing, but it was not the intention.” The private equity firms that I was working for at that time, I was working for one specifically knew about it. I was still going in there, doing turnarounds and whatever I hated. I knew I had to do it for a period of time because of what I mentioned. I said to my wife, “He knew I was going to quit.”

What is his first name?

Carrie. She was supportive because she knew that I had a plan of what I wanted to go and do. I had explained what I wanted our world to be like. It still surprises me. That is why I keep saying how that is happening now. I wrote my resignation letter and I put it in my bag. Every time I had to go to a board meeting because I had to go to a board meeting every month to report back, I was ready. As soon as they said, “You have got to stop doing what you’re doing or whatever.” I had the letter. It took seven months. They chipped away, “How come your LinkedIn profile was saying this?”

There is one session that the main chairman guy of the firm called me and said, “You have got to quit. We have all had a meeting. We think you are not representing what you are doing anymore.” I was now the black sheep in an environment where I was not that person beforehand and I got the letter up. What had happened in that seven months is I had created another ecosystem where I was out there doing what I wanted to do, which was help entrepreneurs in this interesting environment. I had already built something up and started to build some businesses underneath that. When I did leave, it was managed effectively so that my family would not suffer any of that risk.

How many years ago was that when your hands were in your resignation?

You really only fail in anything if you give up on it.

It is about four years in 2022.

What changed? You went home, and you said, “Carrie, it is game over. The king is dead. Long live the king.”

I lens into the concept of being an entrepreneur. I embraced it, whereas beforehand, I pushed about as far away as I possibly could. That was the first thing. The podcasts helped that because as I was sharing my story, I got validation. That has allowed me to also think, “This is the path.” Any uncertainty or fear that I had leaned into something that was new.

People are writing to me saying, “Your stuff is changing my life. It is amazing. Thank you.” I thought, “This is cool.” All of a sudden, for the first time, I understood contribution and service. There wasn’t a direct expectation on it. Other than the fact that from that, I could build income streams and businesses, but I could do it much more on my own terms.

I started to invest more in myself. I started to get myself in bigger rooms, different rooms, and more creative rooms. I started to put myself out there into different environments that were different from the environments that I had grown up in, and I was involved through my corporate and private equity career.

That was also from the podcast because I was meeting people on the other side like I’m meeting you now, who were like that. I thought, “There is a whole new world out here that I did not appreciate before that.” The other piece is I started to get more intentional about what I was creating for myself, my family, and for others, which I had never done before, visualizing things and having more intention in terms of how I spend my time. Those are the biggest change. I remember coming home on weekends in the private equity world, and I would stop. You do stuff or any job you stop, and there are the weekends. Sunday night, you hate it. Monday is coming. You get on a train.

People do not even take the weekend off, texting and emailing. It is insane.

What I realized was I had not found my passion before I found something to make me money. That gave me a certain amount of significance and status. When I thought about what I want to do in this world, what I want to be known for, how do I want to help, and what identity am I going to have, there was a massive shift of identity. That started to build a whole different level of momentum. It is still going. That is why I keep catching myself even on this conversation. I know I’m doing it because I’m still like, “Things happen all the time,” which still surprises me.

My wife and I cut off the travel. We said, “We want to build businesses that will allow us to do that.” We want to build those businesses in the places that we like to travel to. We have done that. We got three businesses in Florida. We go there every second week. I want to have people know me around the world for something that is going to be very different from what I was known off beforehand. I get to go and help people all over the place. I got back from Dubai. I get to go speak on stage. I get to do things like that, which I never thought I would do.

I have two comments. One is, did you ever reach out to Tony Robbins and tell him the impact he had?

To be clear on Tony stuff, Tony does light you up. A lot of people go there for the adrenaline, and it does not always work. I see that because I have been to a lot of his stuff and you see people who go every year to date with destiny. It is like, “How many destinies you got?”

What time are you going to implement this stuff?

You need a shot in the arm. You need something that is going to take you somewhere else. I was blown away by the stuff. When I was in Chicago, I said, “I’m going to get on that stage, and I’m going to speak with you, Tony.” That was one of my commitments, and I’m edging ever closer to that, Patty Ann. I only found out, for example, he said yes to come on my podcast, and the date is to be confirmed. That is the first time we will talk like this. You could argue we are on a stage together.

It is the perfect timing because he is coming out with his new book.

I wanted to build the situation. I was getting towards that without being too direct. I wanted to build myself to a point where I felt that I deserved it.

We have all been to events where you know that you have the sink offense, which is nauseated. I have watched people like Tony Robbins trying to go to the bathroom, and it takes them two hours to get because everyone is coming up to them. I’m watching from a distance like, “Can you let the guy pee?”

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: Don’t be the bandwagon person.


It was not about sharing the stage with Tony Robbins, but that was a symbol of me saying, “I want to move more into a space where I can do that.”

The symbolism is incredible like, “I want to be in charge of my own stage. I want my own stage.” That is what was.

People say to me now, because I get asked this, “What do you want to do?” I joke about it sometimes, Patty Ann. I go, “I want to travel around the world, speak on stages, share my message and help people. That is what I want to do.”

Why is that a joke? That is not a joke.

I know it is real, but I get asked so often. It is not a flippant response. People were like, “There might be challenges, but we have got seven separate companies.” There have different challenges in the businesses. We will be dealing with something, and I will go, “Can someone sort this out? All I want to do is speak and help people with the stuff that I have amassed of several years of all this stuff. That is all I want to do.”

I do not remember what I want to be when I grow up. Do not ask me. I will tell you when I figure it out.

I know what I want to be. I do not want the other stuff. That is what I mean when I joke about it.

Where are you now? It feels like you have, but what was the process from reconciling the shark Nick to the dolphin Nick?

You suggested it a couple of times, and I’m not massively we will either, but I do think things happen. I’m starting to become more aware of things like serendipity and opportunity. One thing I have learned over the last few years is that the opportunities are always there in front of us. We cloud it.

Do you know Dan Sullivan?

I have never met Dan Sullivan, but I know of him. He is a very famous coach.

Dan says something like, “Your eyes only see and your ears only hear what your mind is open to a what you are looking for.” Something like that. That is what you are saying.

Everything I was doing now was always in front of me and always there. I did not see it. There is another important thing. I cried when I was away at this first UPW thing. There was an intervention that Tony does where he does project forward, and you have to feel it. He has a very special way of doing that. What happened was I had this strange thing happen where I had these words come into my head, and they would not go away, like, “Trust yourself.”

That connection we had there happens now a lot. I have made many friends through this medium. The other thing I will share with you is I remember when I used to travel the world in private equity, I used to go to New York or whatever, go to the restaurant and eat dinner by myself. To be honest. I could be with anyone else. We do a lot of stuff in North America, even though I’m based here. Most of my stuff happens over in the US. There isn’t a city I can go to where I can’t at least have dinner with someone, a coffee, or probably stay at their house.

I can’t wait to have dinner with you.

You get these deep friendships. This is what I mean. I do not think I was open to that anyway beforehand. I do not think I was confident enough in myself to do that. The trust yourself thing, I remember coming back going, “Wow.” It was such a powerful message. It was not random, and I could not get it out of my head until I started taking action.

The journey that you’re on is more important than the endgame.

Let me ask you this question. I might be completely wrong, which is cool too. You said you were divorced from your feelings. You were separated from them. Not your personal life standing, but professionally, it feels like this was maybe the first time where you accepted the feeling, and you owned it. That is why you could not get away from it. That might have been why it was so freaking powerful because it was an emotional reaction and not logical.

I was very vulnerable. They say, “People make decisions when they are at the dimensions of pain and pleasure.” They do not make it when they are sitting in the middle. I do not know if science is behind that.

The teaching shows up when the student is ready.

I have gone through such an interesting few weeks. It was painful, but it was also fascinating. At the time, I was all over the place. It was massively confusing. Looking back and seeing the sequence of events, all of it now, makes much more sense to me.

The boat is always in the middle, and it is always when it is messy.

Looking back, I go, “This was all meant to happen in the way it happened.” If it had happened sooner, it probably would not have worked late, whatever. The vulnerability that I had at that point of time when I happened to be in the Tony Robbins event, and I was there engrossed with what I was learning. It is about how the mind works and some of those things. That is when I was open enough to hear it.

You mentioned another word that I have been going with this whole trust concept. There is a concept of vulnerability loop in businesses. Are you familiar with it?

I do not think I have heard it. Explain it to me. I have not heard that expression.

It is one of these common-sense things, but the least common of all senses is common sense. The more people allow them in a business and in a relationship, the more somebody feels comfortable to allow themselves to be vulnerable to someone else. That is reciprocated the more vulnerability or expressed. You create a vulnerability loop that increases trust.

What you are saying is the more that you are prepared to share, the stronger the bond that comes.

You come from the premise that 97% of people are trustworthy, but we build our lives around the 3% that are not. The companies have all massive regulations, protocol, and bureaucracy because somebody might do something, and it encumbers everybody else to have to follow these ridiculous procedures, as opposed to being able to make a decision fast because I trust you.

Stephen Covey talks about the two aspects of trust. Character, if somebody is trustworthy, do they have the integrity, all that good stuff? From business, do they have the competency? You might trust me. You might think, “She is cool. She is a person.” You did not want me touching your books. I do not want to look at your spreadsheet. I’m not a dummy. I took calculus in high school, but I could care less. It is not in my wheelhouse.

You would entrust me with that aspect of your business, but you would trust me to know that I will speak truth to power. You can take that to the bank with me. I’m going off on a tangent here, but when people say, “Nobody trusts me.” My first response is, “Are you trustworthy?” The silence can be deafening. That is your answer.

On that to bring it back to the trust yourself, I probably was not at that point. I certainly was not trustworthy in my relationships in that private equity world because I would say one thing and do the other. It was a paycheck at the end, and we all did. Someone said to me quite interesting that there isn’t integrity because integrity is your own definition of that. There is a point where what you think is integrity and what I think integrity is different. It was John Demartini who said that. He was also talking about anything that a person can do. We all have the ability to do the same thing, whether we choose to do it or not. It is a different point.

My response to that is perhaps.

I get where he is coming from. There are common values, human traits, where if you do the polar opposite of that, killing someone or whatever else, but the point being is, a lot of people judge other people based on their own values or levels of what their definition of integrity is.

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: When people think these things are overnight successes, a lot of it is the grind.


I will go with that from the perspective of if you look at war. Our soldiers and military kill because we are right. Our side is right. The other side feels the same way. From that perspective, I guess I get it.

It is one of those things that you got arguments on either side of that.

I speak a lot about trust is not absolute. It is not a zero-sum game. It is based upon your life experiences and your perspective. Your truth depends upon your experiences.

It also depends on the situation. There are people who may say, “I do not believe in telling false truths.” If their families are at risk or something like that, they will do it. There are times when you will compromise. That whole experience of trusting yourself, that combined with the Zig Ziglar thing and everything that had happened.

I was at a low point because of my dad passing away. I was in that environment, I was hearing things for the first time, and I knew I needed to change because I was there. It was the perfect recipe at that time for me to pivot, change, and adjust. I have transformed my whole trajectory from what I was doing. I was still teaching a lot of the same stuff I was doing. I’m doing it in a different lane than what I was before.

Would you say your why change like Simon Sinek?

I became bigger as opposed to changed. I still love having good things and traveling. That is life. It is not something like I sold all my stuff and decided to become that thing. I like telling the story because every time I tell the story, it connects different dots.

Does it connect differently?

In the beginning, it did. When I first started to do the podcast and started to share it, it was not clear in my mind exactly how it happened. When you express it, you think about it, and new insights come in. That is what has happened. I remember things that I did not remember initially. The other part of that is because it was such a dramatic sequence of events in a short space of time. I said before, “It was clouded time and distance. To some extent, it makes things a bit clearer.” Therefore I’m not as emotional as I was at that point about it. I can be a little bit more objective, and then I’m seeing things that I did not see.

When we experience a trauma, like a death that was sudden, somebody can be 110. We know they are dying. There is an element of denial prior to that. It feels sudden. What that does is it disrupts us at our core, and it takes us off our game. When we are thrown off our game, even if it is slightly of a tilt, it opens up opportunities and possibilities. It sounds like that is what you are talking about.

This is a bit of a weird one because I remember it the last few years versus at the point. I always had these gut instincts that what I was doing was not right. Not right in the holistic sense of it, but not right for me. I had that feeling, and I always had this feeling that I was going to do something else.

How much did Carrie, you believe, influence your ability to be true to who you are?

She is very insightful, generally. There are lots of things. We met in 2007 and lots of things happened after that. The biggest thing was having Arabella, our first daughter. That was probably the big shift because I did not have a father around. My grandfather was like my father, but it was a different relationship.

I became a father, and I started to have these different feelings and emotions for my daughter that I thought, “I did not have that.” I started to think about that more because every single day, I have to live that. That made me have that around the same time my dad was around. But it felt right that I met him after that because beforehand, I did not think about it, but the environment changed, and I did.

How your wife may have influenced your ability to be true to who you are.

By herself, I would not have changed. That might have been the beginning of the journey and part of that, but it certainly was not. I’m a hard ass guy. I run ultramarathons. It takes quite a lot, like breaking your teeth, for me to change. She had a role in it but had it have been like that. I was too pigheaded.

A business makes a lot of money when it serves a bigger need. It makes money when it is profitable.

Which serves you well? Grit, you could take the positive with the negative. For some reason, these words crept into my head, and you said ultramarathon. Speak to you, what everybody can look up. What role has failure played in your life?

I hate the concept of failure. It makes me sick, and that was driven because I had lots of things I felt I needed to prove. I got a different perspective of failure now than I used to have. The failure definition is if it does not work out on my terms, it is a failure. If I say, “I’m going to get that job promotion.” I do not get it. That is a failure. Therefore I need to react to that failure. That would mean normally making sure that it was going to happen at some point.

You look at the failure as the failure occurs. You want to accept it, and then you will do what you need to do not to repeat that failure in that specific situation. Is that always possible?

My definition of it and my appreciation for it is different now. You only fail in anything if you give up on it. It is my understanding of it now. I do not fail at anything. I have had challenging times. My daughter gave me this bracelet here says, “Never give up.” She chose it several years ago when we were in Greece, and it was my birthday.

She went into this jewelry shop with Carrie to choose something for me. She said, “That is, daddy.” I do not give up on things, but I also realize that the journey that you are on is more important than the end game. Whereas beforehand, for me, it was the result at all costs. Therefore, failure of an outcome at that point was more default or definitive than what I think about it now.

I hear the parental influence in that. It is the journey. If you and your kid fall short, did you try your hardest? Did you do your best? Did you give your all?

As I have lent more into that entrepreneurial thing, it has been a challenging transition to some extent because I have to learn so many things. It is unprogrammed to many things, and to this day, not everything, particularly in our businesses, works out. We are trying new stuff, and we are trying to be agile. There are days when I was still leaned back into who I was prior to that.

It is not like now, as I speak to you, I’m this new guy. I’m still that ass sometimes. Something would come up like, “What was that? Why has that not happened? What are you doing not? Get it done. You are not stopping until you get it done because that is not acceptable.” I still lean into that, and I’m aware of it. If anything, what I have gone through is evolved who I am. I do not think I’m a fundamentally different person. I’m more congruent. I have a broader acceptance and appreciation of things that I was closing down before.

The word congruent is key. That is the magic word for you. You spoke so many things that you said earlier. You are familiar with the concept of Vivid Vision. Cameron Herold talks about it for your businesses.

I met him once through some connections. I would not say I know him well, but I have seen his work.

He has it for his business. There is a woman, Jennifer Hudye, who does copywriting, but she also has taken with Cameron the Vivid Vision to the next level. I’m going to be in San Diego with her doing a retreat on it the whole concept. I’m thinking it might be something that you would be interested in the future.

If you like me to connect you with any of those people, let me know. It feels like you. I’m curious about this, and there was something you said earlier. This serial entrepreneur, I know talking about Disney and your different businesses, which I do want to ask you about a little bit. Are you in the space of the NFTs or any crypto? What is your take on that?

People see me as this mergers acquisitions, high-level big thinking business guy, investment guy, investment banking, all that, because private equity has that connotation. I can hold my own in that, but it is not who I am now. What I say when people ask me that question is, “I play my lane. I know how to buy businesses. I know how to create value in businesses. I know how to sell them for life-changing money. I know how to do that.” I have honed that.

I have bought a little bit of crypto from an investment standpoint. To answer your question specifically, I’m not open-minded to the way the world is changing. If I see what my daughters are doing, they are buying Roblox, altered reality things. I’m not one of these guys that get rich quick at all costs. I’m going to go buy a stupid ape, and it is worth $50 million. I’m not that guy. That is why I’m so direct on the answer. There is a lot of people out there who are looking for these shortcuts, and you have got to put in the reps. If someone is going to make a fortune out of NFTs and that is the future, that is great but do not be the bandwagon person.

Tell us a little bit about your different businesses.

We have media businesses, consultancy businesses, and services around that professional services, B2B services. Carrie started FlyingWithABaby.com when we had Arabella. It was an interesting thing. This is a good story of someone leaning into the passion without thinking about it. She was a flight attendant for several years. When we had our daughter, she could not do that anymore. She thought, “How can I bring together my passion for travel and specifically flying? Where is there a problem here that I can help solve?”

TTD 21 | Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: When you’ve got a bit of a personal brand being developed, it’s good to sometimes separate the business brands, particularly if you want to exit that business brand one day.


I want to interview her too because I talk to flight attendants all the time. I love their stories.

She went into private flying afterward and was a flight attendant on a super-wealthy billionaire. She used to work for the Dubai Royal family. She created a blog. When you travel, how should you pack? If you have to go to take milk, how do you keep the milk so it does not go off on a long flight? Where do you sit on the plane? She kept doing it.

One day, she said, “Can I book a meeting with you?” I said, “Okay.” we went down to the coffee shop, we had a business meeting. She said, “I need some help.” She was getting overwhelmed. She was not seeing a lot of traction and stuff with it. She was putting a lot of time into it and took it as a passion. She wanted to see some results at that point.

She started to get fed up. I asked her one question. I said, “Let me explain this to you. You have got to make a decision here. It is going to be a challenging decision, particularly from where you have come from, but it is an important decision. The question you have got to ask yourself is this, is this a hobby or is it a business?”

She was like, “It is a simple question but not when you are not from that world, which is like a business.” I said, “You do not seem to be certain about that.” She did not know what it meant. When we spoke about it, she said, “I do not know what you mean.” I said, “Business makes a lot of money when it serves a bigger need. It makes money when it is profitable. You have only got a certain amount of hours in the day, and you are loving what you are doing, but are you directing that energy into something that is going to generate value and, therefore, profit, or are you doing stuff?” She had not put those two things together.

What she ended up doing is she started to direct that energy to what are people need. What information do they want? How can we marry that information up with advertisers who want to reach those audiences? What are the ways that we can monetize this entity? She did it. In fairness, I did not get that involved.

She started to grow the audience base quite dramatically. It has been going on for several years. When people think these things are overnight successes, a lot of it is the grind, and you see the result. She kept doing it. She was consistent. It started to grow, and our core site FlyingWithABaby.com is doing over 300,000 page views. Now it is a great six-figure business. I call it semi-passive because we outsource a lot of the content. It makes money from different sources.

Off the back of that, we created a number of other brands. Orlando With Kids, Florida With Kids, Disney With Kids, we are still negotiating the final pieces of that. We got California With Kids launching. We have taken the same thinking, and we have applied that media play into what effectively is an advertising and affiliate revenue set of businesses.

We get asked to sell them all the time now, which is cool. We have got an asset that has been created. That is why I’m very proud of it for that. On my side, I have got a consultancy business, which is called Scale Up Your Business. My podcast is called Scale Up With Nick Bradley now. I have to change it for various reasons. We separated, and I advise people to do this when you got a bit of a personal brand being developed. It is good to separate the business brands, particularly if you want to exit that business brand one day.

I wanted to bring different people onto the show, people who are doing great things in the world of sport or theater, not just business. Scale Up Your business was about how can we bring that secret playbook of private equity? How can we bring that to small and medium business owners, and how can we educate them on those things?

The way that business works ultimately is we educate them on what they need to know, but we partner with them. We have small equity stakes in those businesses quite often once we have built trust. We are advising them all the way through to what they ultimately want to achieve, which is an exit of their business, but it is an exit on their terms, their arms with someone like myself and my team, they are not going into these situations with private equity or elsewhere without the right weapons.

We make our own investments. We got a recruitment business. We are looking at a window fitting business in Florida at the moment. When I teach mergers and acquisitions, I also get opportunities that come to us where we can invest in businesses. We buy businesses, usually of people who are retiring, where the idea of having to go to work every day is not what they are interested in. Time is more valuable than money.

We buy the businesses for a fair price, but it is not about the money. It allows them to exit. We can take those businesses, and we can do things. Sometimes they will stay in, and they will let us scale them up. They get more money than they would have. I have brought the private equity playbook into a number of different things, which allows me to travel and do the stuff that we spoke about.

What is next for you? Do you have any idea?

The big thing for me is speaking, traveling, and connecting. I have started to go to a number of masterminds now to speak at them. I’m getting invited to speak to a lot of the ones, particularly in the US. The network is bigger there. That is what I want to spend my time doing. For the rest of it, I see the businesses. I go and see them once a quarter. I have operational general managers in place to run them, so I do not have to get too involved. I’m focusing again on the podcast and putting as much stuff out there as I can because I get so much from that personally.

You have been generous with your time. I have two quick questions. One is, what is the one most important thing you have learned in life that you want everybody to know?

Follow the thing that’s going to give you the most fulfillment. Even if it feels risky at the time, lean into it and do it strategically if you need to, but don’t ignore it.

If you are on a path and you get that feeling like a niche that needs to be scratched, but it is not the right one, you need to lean into that, not ignore it. I look back and think I’m lucky that I had the situation with my dad coming into my life and the teeth incident. As I said beforehand, I was pigheaded. I would not have changed.

I think about that sometimes, thinking, “I might have been the guy who stayed in the lane that was not the lane for him until I was of an age where maybe it was too late to make a change, or maybe I never made that change.” The message to people here is, and this is the lesson for me is follow the thing that is going to give you the most fulfillment. Even if it feels risky at the time, lean into it, do it strategically like I did, if you need to, but do not ignore it. That, to me, is the most important thing.

What is the last book that you have re-read?

There is a book I’m rereading now. It is Michael Singer’s book, The Surrender Experiment. It is a book that effectively talks about slowing down to speed up. I read it, and I hated it. The other one is The Untethered Soul. The reason I hate it is because it is probably in my mind the thing I need to learn still. I’m competitive. It is practically about surrendering to the different things that come in front of you. If you have read it, it is a fascinating book.

Instead of trying to control everything, like, “I got to control this situation, I got to make this decision. I needed to do it.” He tells the story of his life where he surrenders to everything. He says yes to everything, even if he does not want to say yes. It is the opposite of me, but it is also maybe the extreme of the example.

He goes from this guy who is stressed out. He was meditating all that time. He ends up creating this business empire worth nine figures by weird serendipitous interactions where he says yes to something, but he does not want to say yes. He leans into it anyway, and it turns into another opportunity. He meets this person, and this happens. I do not like it, but I know I need to get it. I still try and control.

It takes you out of your comfort zone.

I have had that indoctrinated for years in my professional life is it sucks so much energy. I still get exhausted with all the stuff I’m doing. Even the businesses and I’m speaking about it. I need to get better at slowing down, and I’m still trusting that everything will be awesome. The other part of that is to have a little bit more fun. That is a good book. I recommend it to people, particularly if they have come from my background or similar.

I suspect being a father will help you with both of those issues because you can only control so much with your kids, and they are fun. How can people learn more about you?

If you want to go back and listen to the heady days of the podcast, that is always fun.

It is now called Scale Up with Nick Bradley.

We are coming up to 250 episodes. The early ones are interesting when I talk about fear. I get some great guests coming on. It has been an amazing experience you can. You can download that from all the various places, iTunes, and Spotify. If people want to reach out to me, you can reach me on Instagram or Linkedin. It is The Real Nick Bradley, which sounds somewhat glorious. People copy your profiles these days.

Do you have the blue check after your name?

I have not done that yet. I like social media and all that stuff for what it is useful for, but I’m also not this guy who needs to have a million followers. It is not me. LinkedIn is great. If people are reading this and they go, “I liked your story.” That is always nice. I always like getting messages of that.

Thank you so much. You shared so much wisdom. You have been transparent. This has been great. I appreciate it. That concludes this episode of the show. As I promised, Nick Bradley took you for a ride. Make sure you like, comment, share and subscribe to this show. Until next time. Thank you.


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About Nick Bradley

Nick Bradley is a renowned entrepreneur, investor, author, speaker, and business growth expert. He has built, bought, and sold 24 businesses with a combined valuation of over $5bn dollars. His mission now is to empower business leaders and investors to create valuable businesses that create global impact.

Nick is committed to fostering entrepreneurship and building empires as a global force for good. He is an inspiring and engaging speaker, who regularly speaks on the world’s biggest business, entrepreneurship and personal development stages.

His “Scale Up Your Business” podcast, which ranked #1 on iTunes and Spotify’s business charts, has more than 250k downloads in over 130 countries.

s a scale up specialist, Nick uses his experience to coach and mentor other business leaders to unlock their full potential and with 67 marathons and 24 ultramarathons to his credit, he demonstrates excellence and tenacity outside of the business world as well.

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