We had the good fortune of connecting with Brad James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brad, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I was fresh out of college and started my business, there was, quite naturally, a drive to succeed, as well as a strong desire to not fail. I had come from a successful family and was accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Starting from ground zero, with a business model that required making “sales” on a consistent basis puts you behind the 8 ball right off the bat. I have often joked that I did not receive my first commission check for nearly 6 months, and it was for about $9.00. People often asked me if I framed the check. I said ” hell no, I cashed it, I needed the money”. I went to a private school here in Los Angeles, and may of the kids had very well known, successful parents, and many of them went on to have well known, successful careers. I would often go down to Palm Springs on weekends where my family had a home, and I would play golf, Come Monday Morning, I felt very guilty if I was not back at my office in Los Angeles, making those sales calls and Networking. So, for about 15 years, I was VERY goal oriented with regard to the growing my business. As I hit my mid thirties and met Sinia, my future wife (and inherited 3 beautiful children), the drive was certainly still there, as was more pressure to be successful, (now that I had a family of 5 to support), but I began to look for more of a balance. You want to be there for the wonderful events in life: Music Recitals, Soccer Games, The First Day of School! You learn to take a breath, to look for all the magical experiences life has to offer. The Pendulum continues to swing the older you get. You work hard to keep all the plates spinning, but I focus more and more on family, vacations and realizing that life is truly a gift. 2020 has certainly driven that point home more than ever. You miss the little things you took for granted, The simple pleasures, the small joys. They truly are what life is about. I now am blessed with 2 beautiful grandchildren and they become your world. I will always work, I have no plans to ever retire….but if you put the right systems and processes in place, with discipline, you truly can have it all.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
All career’s have their ups and downs, their highs and their lows. Mine has certainly been no different. I think the key is that you MUST enjoy what you are doing, and have a determination to get back up each and every time you are knocked down. Always come from a place of honor, respect and integrity. When you are self employed you often wear many hats, certainly when you are starting out…. You are head of marketing, head of sales, head of order processing, head of customer support, head of collections and head of accounts payable…. You certainly need a certain type of personality. No one cares if you show up at noon, take a 3 hour lunch and call it it a day at 4pm. You need to be disciplined. Have a routine, know how to focus and prioritize……It may be a cliche, but you truly MUST put the client first, no matter the size account. The services I provide them (voice, data and cloud) are VITAL to their success. Whether they are a 2 person office or a Fortune 1000 Company, they deserve and demand my attention, advice and support. I truly get as the same joy signing on a new client, regardless of their size. The fact that they have put their faith in me, is why I truly look forward to Monday Mornings. It’s the old adage “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”. I totally agree! I learned at a young age that being successful means giving back. My family has been involved with dozens of Charities, most notably, United Cerebral Palsy, going as far back as 1950. For decades we had a Celebrity Golf Classic Down in Palm Springs to raise money for UCP. Just a few of the many celebrities that have come down to play have included: Joe Pesci, Meatloaf and Peter Marshall.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, putting Covid and 2020 aside, Los Angeles truly is one of the great cities of the World. The entertainment, dining and siteseeing options are truly endless. On a Saturday head down PCH and cruise the Coastline thru Malibu and have breakfast at Dukes. Enjoy the wonderful views of the ocean. After soaking up the sun, head down into Santa Monica. Walk the Santa Monica Pier, go on a carnival ride or two, then head over to “the Ivy” and perhaps see Corbin Bernsen or Jennie Garth having lunch….take a drive to Hollywood and take in the melting pot that resides and visits there. The quirky gift shops, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, the mimes and costumed actors that call Hollywood Blvd. home. Head up the hill to Yamashiro’s and have dinner with an amazing view of the City. The following Day take in a Ram Game at the New SoFi Stadium, the newest, most elaborate Football Stadium in America. Hear the dulcet tones of my Sigma Pi brother, Sam Lagana, as he announces the game from his perch inside the stadium. After the game, head to Marina Del Rey and walk Fisherman’s Village and have dinner at “Salt”. Whenever you are looking for some exercise, we can head over to Venice Beach and ride bikes, rollerblade or simply walk the miles of coastline and see the people, enjoy the bars and restaurants along the water or watch the body builders work out at “Muscle Beach”. So much to do and so much to see in Los Angeles.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who have helped me move forward in my career and allowed me to derive the joy and success that has come along with it. I would start with Tom Von Der Ahe who, straight out of College, bought a distributorship to a Company called Phoenix Network, a pioneer in the rebilling for Telecom Services at a discount. Tom was a close friend (his family founded the Vons Grocery Chain here in Los Angeles.) He and I became Partners in the Telecom Business and when he had an opportunity to work in his family Real Estate Business, I took over our Telecom Enterprise. A short time later, I met a very unusual guy name Ed Bernstein. Ed is a force of Nature. EVERYBODY knew Ed. I first met Ed thru the the Telecom Industry, but he quickly started pitching me Diet Cookies, Awnings and Copier Supplies….. Yup, that was Ed. His slogan was “how wide is my trench coat”. I am not sure we have that answer even now. Ed introduced me to many new business associates, (including Joe Grauman, whom I have worked with for the past 20 years) as well as many clients and friends…… A final shout out to my Family and my brother Randy, a Talent Manager here in Los Angeles. He was always happy to open his Rolodex (that dates the story) and introduce me to the heads of PR Firms and Entertainment Industry Clients……… It truly does take a Village.