We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Polonia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I feel like this question is meant for me. It’s so exciting I don’t know where to begin. Understanding and learning the difference between a risk worth taking and risks that aren’t worth taking is a vital part of your individual growth. I’m not a person who doesn’t take a risk because they are scared of failure. If you are afraid of failure or taking a risk, you will never know what you could genuinely become or accomplish. I’m all about taking the risk but a calculated risk that’s worth the biscuit. I don’t want the old stale biscuit that they give out for free at the end of the brunch for anyone to have. I like the fresh one just made with extra butter, first thing in the morning, maybe it’s a little oversized also. But in all seriousness, the meaning behind that is I’m willing to risk it all, but only for something, I believe in and truly want. When you find that passion or that thing that drives you, something inside you tells you it’s time. When that happens, your intuition is usually correct, But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. You’re going to have to work hard for it and never give up. Take that chance, make yourself uncomfortable, and you are going to either succeed or fail, but either one is a win. You will learn regardless, and that is knowledge gained.
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.
I think over the years, my influence from my sister and mom have both turned me into more of a creative thinker. I have always paid attention to detail and notice the little things in just about anything and everything, and that’s because of them. Ever since I was little, I always had a pretty radical imagination. I tried starting my first clothing brand in 1st grade. We called it Lincoln. We sewed carpet onto our back pockets and front pockets of our skate jeans because we would always rip our pants from skating or the grip tape rubbing on the front. We thought the carpet would help prevent that.
As far as art goes, it took some time until after college.
I started to shoot videos on a drone and GoPro. I loved to try to create and capture incredible moments. It became my new creative outlet.
Once I got my first drone, that was it. It led me to travel around the world, creating, exploring, and pushing myself to learn and grow.
I would spend hours on YouTube in my room for the first two years. There was so much to learn with so many talented people ahead of me.
I also had a full-time job to pay my bills, which cost slowed me down with the experience and filming I craved.
I frequently thought about taking to that leap of faith and do what I loved but never took that risk. Three years later, as a general manager working 50hrs a week and late nights as a General Manager, I finally started to excel at the video. I rarely got to work on projects because of my full-time career.
I would film one or two weddings a year, and the other videos were my vacations which weren’t often enough.
It’s never easy to let your dreams go, but they slowly did over those three years.
The best thing from the COVID pandemic is this business I had in mind for five years; since college ended.
I wanted to create an athletic brand that had a mission statement of making the most of your life regardless of your situation.
Something inspiring and relatable to a lot of people. I started to work on that while running my restaurant. I also started to do more videos because creating this brand would allow me to do all the photos and videos for my vision. I used this new brand as a two-way path for myself. I will learn to create and launch a company with a product in which I have a passion and work on my video, photo, and marketing skills.
Regardless of the success of this new venture, it became a reality.
I started finding manufactures, getting samples, working 60 hours weeks at the restaurant, and then getting home to talk to these vendors all over the globe.
It was a difficult two years, but over that peris, I built a brand I am proud of, worked on video and photo projects, and found an investor who seemed to be more like an angel.
I realized the more I believed and worked towards my dreams and goals, the closer they became. Now it’s December, and my company is in full blast.
I’m still running this restaurant with about 50 employees.
December 17th, I was let go from my General management position. The owner and his father’s friend I had been training for a year ended up replacing me.
In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have ever happened. I was never going to leave when I should have left years ago.
It was a tremendous learning experience running a legitimate money-making business.
I learned so, and I’m grateful for that time.
It has to lead me down this path where I am today. It was all aligned and meant to be. I now dedicate my time to my health, this brand, and photo/video skills.
I worked 19 hours a day because I’m so in love with my product and vision of what is to come.
So overall I’ve learned we have one life, and we should do whatever the hell it is we want. For you, it may be to quit your job, travel the world, pursue your dreams. Whatever it may be, go for it. But remember to be smart about it. Don’t expect things to happen with no action. If you want it that bad, write it down, make a plan, manifest it, and make it happen.
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.
So for me, I would make sure it was a balanced trip. I would offer them to go on my daily morning workout routine. After that, I would make them a substantial breakfast a couple of days out of the week. I would take them on a walk on the beach, where I take my dog over to the Carlsbad cliffs off Palomar Airport Road.
Later that week, I would take them surfing one of the days for sunset or golden hour.
For dinner, we’d head to Sabores Colombianos in San Diego. It’s an authentic Colombian restaurant serving the best food around, hands down, and the prices are unbeatable.
We start with Colombian empanadas and some cheesy Arepas. The empanadas are made of corn and are fried, so they are crunchy on the outside. The inside has Colombian yellow potato and shredded beef with spices. Crunchy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.
For my main course, I get the most popular dish called Bandeja Paisa. It is served with rice, beans, half of an avocado, a sweet grilled plantain, fried egg, chorizo sausage, skirt steak, and chicharron, which is a crunchy pork belly. The cost for this enormous plate is only $18.00!
Each empanada is only about $1.50. This is a perfect spot for hungry people who like meat and large portions.
Later that week, I may take my friends golfing over at the Crossings in Carlsbad. It’s a terrific course right on the beach. They will have to enjoy fresh air, a very relaxed atmosphere, and such beautiful scenery.
To end the week, I would schedule something that is a passion of mine. Being an avid skydiver, I would surprise my guest with a weekend jump out of a perfect plane.
There is nothing more exhilarating than sky diving. This would be an ideal send-off after a week with me!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I had to recognize one person that influenced my life or work ethic, that’s easy; it would be my mother.
She is the strongest, most dependable, and driven businesswoman I know. I watched her build a multi-million dollar promotional merchandise company while becoming an exclusive distributor in the U.S. with all licensed sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA, and more. She incorporated a 5013C that was her dream but had to put that on hold while raising my sister and me by herself in Orange County. During all of this, it was imperative for her always to give back to the community. She instilled this belief with my sister and me. I remember the many years she was involved with Muscular Dystrophy and City of Hope and the meaningful and life-impacting memories I have from attending different events with her.
My father left the country when I was two, and my sister was three. He left us with nothing, no financial support, or even emotional support as a father from a distance. She built our life from her love and commitment; she had for my sister and me.
She provided a life that I’m so appreciative of; she sacrificed all of her personal goals she wanted for us. When she was 14, her dream was to be on the cover of Time magazine; she probably would have been if my dad never left. I was always around my mom, who never missed an opportunity to network. Everywhere we went, she was always working and being an amazing mother at the same time.
I realize now I was consciously soaking up everything she was doing at a young age.
When she took me to school, the beach, sports, everything we did, she had our day planned, organized, and always a briefcase of work nearby. She is just amazing and an inspiration to me.
I work every day with my purpose of having an opportunity to take care of her one day and be half the boss and role model she was.
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